IWU had its College of Arts and Sciences faculty retreat this past weekend. Amazing how much we grow each year. I think we added over 20 faculty to this one college in the university this year and our enrollment was up I think several hundred over last year--how will we cover these classes, let alone find room in the dorms??!!
We had the retreat at Shipshewana, Amish country. We took Amish buggy rides and toured the "Menno Hof," a sweep through Mennonite/Amish history. I smirked to myself thinking (I'm not sure of course, it's just a guess) that the place was run by "liberal" Mennonites with the Amish working for them. The "liberal" lady shoveling some 150 faculty (it may be more than that) into buggies didn't seem to me to have a great relationship with the Amish buggy drivers.
Anyway, it was interesting to look at church history through Mennonite eyes. I wondered if the displays and presentations had been set up by someone from nearby Goshen College, which is Mennonite in foundation. I had a worldview moment when I asked our buggy driver if Goshen was about 30 minutes away. "About 20 miles," he replied.
Zwingli was first praised by the tour, then lamented for his affirmation of infant baptism (then I understood Jim West). I guess he called the drowning of one of the first "anabaptists" his third baptism. But one of the things that stuck out to me is how hard it would be for someone in one of these traditions ever to even consider infant baptism as a possibility. Too much blood remembered.
Another interesting feature was the emphasis on boundaries as important to keep community. "Good fences make good neighbors." Of course these groups have split and resplit like so many Protestant groups just following what the Bible says... and coming up with as many different interpretations as people reading the Bible alone...