J. Lawrence Burkholder on Mennonite Ethics: from Isolation to Engagement
The lectures will cover three forthcoming volumes on this topic. In Volume I, Burkholder explores the strengths and limitations of the stance Mennonites took on nonconformity, which meant withdrawal from society. Volume II expands an analysis of the limitations and proposes a solution whereby Mennonites can continue their ethical stance but become engaged in nonviolent solutions to social problems. Volume III applies the ideas in real-life situations. He concludes that nonviolent action on the local/congregational level is needed to continue our peace witness and resolve tensions in the world. He introduces the concept of ambiguity as an ethical value while recognizing that the former absolutes no longer are viable. Lauren Friesen is the David M. French Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan and a Certified Docent at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago.