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  • Direction: The New Age Movement in American Culture
    New Age movement to the Judeo Christian tradition and particularly to earlier developments in American life He suggests that the movement is rooted in the Western occult metaphysical tradition and shaped by a worldview which sees everything as emanating from one all inclusive reality It is strongly influenced by idealized images of Eastern life and religious thought as well as the modern development of psychology The movement has flourished in the pluralistic tradition of American religious life drawing on an eclectic mixture of cultural and religious elements to move in two directions one emphasizing global reform and the other focusing on self awareness and self improvement It is a movement characterized by optimism a holistic view of science and the environment and a confidence in humankind s ability to transform society on both an individual and global scale The book s most significant contribution is its contextualization of the movement in American life Kyle carefully traces the linkage not only with earlier occult and religious thought but particularly with more 100 recent nineteenth century developments such as transcendentalism spiritualism and theosophy He explores the influence of psychology and the alternative medical practices that have long been a part of American life demonstrating how they have helped redefine notions of salvation and contributed to the growing interest in holistic health practices In addition he demonstrates how far the New Age and its worldview have penetrated almost every aspect of American life influencing business education politics the arts and entertainment and ultimately the church In his own evaluation of the movement Kyle argues that the church s response should be neither hysterical overreaction nor blind acceptance Many of the New Age emphases have been helpful particularly the emphasis on holism as it relates to health the environment education and mental health At

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/26/1/new-age-movement-in-american-culture.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Entrepreneurs in the Faith Community: Profiles of Mennonites in Business
    success and minimize failures weaknesses and tensions including those within families the question remains whether these stories represent only the larger more public entrepreneurial model Several themes common to western societies run through the stories poor immigrant beginnings struggle with different dominant cultures and risk competition and reward But common also are themes coming out of the Anabaptist culture religious commitment and commitment to enterprise community mores and the demands of competition and the whole notion of how to handle success Like Dallas it is public success that attracts so much attention among a peoplehood who for generations found identity in smallness common beliefs and mutuality Several of the subjects businesses became quite large dominant in their industry What emerges from these growth stories is a struggle to harmonize risk and innovation with a genuine desire to be faithful to God s demands on resources and to reconcile the perceptions of distrust from fellow church members In some cases particularly in older Mennonite 102 communities there appears to be more sensitivity to bending and adopting one s entrepreneurial style to the norms of the church Entrepreneurs from both groups Swiss and Russian were frustrated with the gap in understanding among church people on the role of profits in growing businesses Talking about money has never been easy in the church except to ask for more offerings Mennonite Economic Development Associates MEDA is the single Mennonite related organization that draws together men and women to talk about business and church and to do so without discomfort Several of the entrepreneurs chronicled in this book have been active in MEDA The editors contribution in giving us these stories is to expand the MEDA role of understanding and communication about church people who wish to become involved in risk oriented ventures and who want very much to remain faithful to historical church teachings If questions remain after reading Entrepreneurs in the Faith Community as they did for this reviewer one turns to Mennonite Entrepreneurs also by Cal Redekop professor emeritus Conrad Grebel College and by Stephen Ainlay a sociologist at the College of Holy Cross with the assistance of writer Robert Siemens It is in this book that one finds the historical and sociological framework within which men and women have found work for four hundred years The book consists of ten chapters organized into three sections 1 Mennonites and Entrepreneurial Activity 2 The Ethos and Experience of the Mennonite Entrepreneur and 3 Theoretical Reflections Part one introduces the reader to the historical Anabaptist Mennonite culture theology and sociology and outlines the tension between religion and economic activity In part two Redekop draws upon quantitative studies from his own earlier research Kauffman Redekop study the two Church Member Profile studies CMP and his own 1985 86 study of one hundred Mennonite entrepreneurs selected from major Mennonite geographical concentrations in Canada and the United States The interviews and written responses provide a fascinating glimpse into the struggles and frustrations of men and women trying

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/26/1/entrepreneurs-in-faith-community.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Mennonite Entrepreneurs
    minimize failures weaknesses and tensions including those within families the question remains whether these stories represent only the larger more public entrepreneurial model Several themes common to western societies run through the stories poor immigrant beginnings struggle with different dominant cultures and risk competition and reward But common also are themes coming out of the Anabaptist culture religious commitment and commitment to enterprise community mores and the demands of competition and the whole notion of how to handle success Like Dallas it is public success that attracts so much attention among a peoplehood who for generations found identity in smallness common beliefs and mutuality Several of the subjects businesses became quite large dominant in their industry What emerges from these growth stories is a struggle to harmonize risk and innovation with a genuine desire to be faithful to God s demands on resources and to reconcile the perceptions of distrust from fellow church members In some cases particularly in older Mennonite 102 communities there appears to be more sensitivity to bending and adopting one s entrepreneurial style to the norms of the church Entrepreneurs from both groups Swiss and Russian were frustrated with the gap in understanding among church people on the role of profits in growing businesses Talking about money has never been easy in the church except to ask for more offerings Mennonite Economic Development Associates MEDA is the single Mennonite related organization that draws together men and women to talk about business and church and to do so without discomfort Several of the entrepreneurs chronicled in this book have been active in MEDA The editors contribution in giving us these stories is to expand the MEDA role of understanding and communication about church people who wish to become involved in risk oriented ventures and who want very much to remain faithful to historical church teachings If questions remain after reading Entrepreneurs in the Faith Community as they did for this reviewer one turns to Mennonite Entrepreneurs also by Cal Redekop professor emeritus Conrad Grebel College and by Stephen Ainlay a sociologist at the College of Holy Cross with the assistance of writer Robert Siemens It is in this book that one finds the historical and sociological framework within which men and women have found work for four hundred years The book consists of ten chapters organized into three sections 1 Mennonites and Entrepreneurial Activity 2 The Ethos and Experience of the Mennonite Entrepreneur and 3 Theoretical Reflections Part one introduces the reader to the historical Anabaptist Mennonite culture theology and sociology and outlines the tension between religion and economic activity In part two Redekop draws upon quantitative studies from his own earlier research Kauffman Redekop study the two Church Member Profile studies CMP and his own 1985 86 study of one hundred Mennonite entrepreneurs selected from major Mennonite geographical concentrations in Canada and the United States The interviews and written responses provide a fascinating glimpse into the struggles and frustrations of men and women trying to build

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/26/1/mennonite-entrepreneurs.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Current Research
    of the homiletic community and appropriating the themes raised in the ideological analysis of the text as the theological base of the sermon The second stage of homiletic development involves devising a strategy that employs the insights of reader response criticism to involve the hearers in the sermon The third stage of sermon preparation uses the insights of the rhetorical approach for the tactics of argument and style The method is tested through analysis of six sermons preached in a traditionally countercultural theological community the Mennonite Brethren church The study concludes with a series of homiletic suggestions 108 Keim Howard Rhetorical Strategies and Self Definitions of Local Leaders Four Case Studies Doctor of Philosophy Communication Studies Lawrence KS University of Kansas 1996 Advisor Robert W Roland Current Position Assistant Professor of Communications Tabor College The purpose of this project is to describe and analyze the communication strategies and self definitions of local leaders Social scientific approaches have provided useful theories of leadership and rhetorical critical approaches have contributed concepts to describe the persuasive strategies of leaders However few communication based studies have paid attention to the discourse of leaders across contexts Four case studies were conducted with successful local leaders in the Wichita Kansas area Tom Bishop President and CEO of Mennonite Housing and Rehabilitation Services as well as Kansas State Representative Dean Linsenmeyer Pastor of the Hoffnungsau Mennonite Church Elma Broadfoot Mayor of Wichita and Anita Oberwortmann Owner and President of Wilson Building Maintenance Each case study included recorded and transcribed discourse interviews direct observations and supporting documents The data was analyzed in terms of how the leaders defined themselves in their organizations and what strategies they used While specific strategies and styles varied across cases each leader displayed a clear self definition or rhetorical identity Embodied and organizational stories purpose and placement were identified as three dimensions of rhetorical identity These dimensions varied across cases but were consistent within cases In all cases the keys to effective leadership were competence and authentic rhetorical identity Long Christina Ay Chen Selected Structural Elements and Aspects of Performance in Bagatelles 1971 and Konstellationen 1972 by Krystyna Moszumanska Nazar Doctor of Musical Arts Performance Denton TX University of North Texas 1996 Advisor Adam Wodnicki Current Position Assistant Professor of Music Tabor College This dissertation primarily concerns selected structural elements in Bagatelles the formal design and its relations with dynamics and texture in Konstellationen as well as the usage of indeterminacy There are also selected aspects of performance in regard to extended technique pedaling and certain dynamic control problems related to the two works in question Chapter one introduces the historical background of Polish music and 109 the emergence of Poland as one of the leading forces in contemporary music It also provides the musical background of Moszumanska Nazar as well as the stylistic features and representative works in her three compositional periods Personal interviews and correspondence with the composer provide additional biographical and stylistic insight for this chapter Chapter two focuses on

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/26/1/current-research.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: From the Editors: Post Modernism
    insightful leadership Nothing would please us more than to know that this issue of Direction represented an acknowledgment of your contributions in midstream The scope of Elmer s ministry has stretched to approximate the dimensions of his vision That vision is global in character missional in design didactic and proclamatory in method and reflects his engagement with the thought and life of our day His writings deserve close attention for their scholarship their insight their crafted quality and their creative engagement with contemporary issues It seems particularly appropriate to honor Dr Martens in Direction inasmuch as he has been an advocate for the continued role of this journal for Mennonite Brethren scholars and institutions His years of editorial involvement with this journal illustrate his concern to leave a legacy of thought and faith for succeeding generations Elmer does few things without passion The overarching theme of this tribute issue is The Old Testament in a Post Modern World Both poles of that theme reflect Elmer s deep concern To make the Scriptures come alive and to dialogue with our culture concerning the Good News The writers are with one exception Elmer s former students His preoccupation with biblical theology is evident in his lead article Ted Hiebert invites readers to rethink the way we have read and used the dominion theology of Genesis One to justify our abuse of nature Ben Ollenburger reflects on the nature and the effects of communicating the Old Testament in the church providing us with an example of such communication in a sermon from Isaiah 42 43 He reminds us of the incarnational nature of God s self disclosure Lynn Jost explores the impact that post modernity makes on the public preaching of the Old Testament He calls for a revision of our preaching styles

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/25/2/editorial.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: The Shape of an Old Testament Theology for Post Modern Culture
    the sense of being absolute truth Post modernism has embraced perspectivalism Destabilization In addition to these dimensions of the post modern mind loss of faith in reason pluralism and relativism one could mention features such as urbanism secularism moral malaise and rootlessness all of which have a bearing on a theological enterprise In philosophy the question of how one comes to know has become some would say super urgent The fundamental characteristic of the new post modern era is epistemological relativism Burnham x If reason has its limitations for helping us to know should more attention be given to experience or intuition How can one really know anything These questions indicate something of the destabilization that increasingly marks modern culture Post modernism is marked by a giant restlessness even anxiety due in part to the perception that longstanding foundations are giving way BIBLICAL THEOLOGY ENCOUNTERS POST MODERNISM A biblical theologian could be pessimistic about the current mood That pessimism could be compounded inasmuch as the discipline apparently never at rest about methodology and purpose continues currently in a mode of self examination as the titles of two recent books testify 10 The Task of Old Testament Theology and Biblical Theology Problems and Perspectives But the reasons for optimism are greater than the reasons for pessimism It may well be that a post modern challenge will serve as a jolt for the discipline to face outward rather than inward Besides engagement with post modernism opens several new possibilities Reaching for Narrative First one of these newer possibilities relates to post modernism s skepticism about reason as the arbiter in seeking for knowledge Eichrodt s Old Testament theology for example with its attempt to distill rationally the essence of the O T faith had its appeal in a modernist generation But readers of the 21st century are not as likely to be enamored with either the agenda or the approach which smacks too much of reason intellectualism and the abstract Post modern readers are more attentive to story than to argument In their view narratives more than argument legitimate a community Grenz 44 Even though there is some disillusion with metanarrative the openness to story by post moderns should be of interest to the biblical theologian The Bible tells the grandest of stories after all and so biblical theology can take up the challenge That challenge is more than to relate a story it is to relearn the Scriptural language as George Lindbeck notes I agree with Lindbeck 55 that Relearning the language of Zion is imperative whatever the cultural future of the church Certain problems remain however as Leo Perdue 1994 reminds us Biblical theologians have in the past argued about how story can yield theology That argument may now heat up but what should not be missed in any future biblical theology is the pervasiveness of narrative An emphasis on narrative will explore in greater detail matters such as metaphor intertextuality characterization and repetition To be sure there will be some resemblances to earlier salvation histories but less attention will likely be given to their referentiality and more to literary niceties as a way of uncovering the theological components One can conjecture that there is not likely to be a keen interest in whether Old Testament theology has a center That way of formulating the agenda will be considered too academic But since story has greater open endedness than does didactic material talk of a multi perspectival approach Poythress or a multiplex approach Hasel 139 49 will likely get an appreciative hearing Already it has been suggested that a theology best emerges from close attention to texts especially to the redaction process and the theology discernible in the literary seams Sailhamer It would be skewed to abandon theological attention to events and concentrate alone on the text but a more pronounced literary reading as contrasted with a referential historical 11 reading may well be necessary as a way of addressing the post modern generation Those sensitive to the post modern ethos will almost certainly be more inclined to emphasize the multi functional possibilities of the discipline Whatever the shape of a biblical theology turns out to be in a post modern time it is less likely to be driven by rationalistic oriented academically inclined conceptualization than by experiential and pragmatic considerations Such a shift in the shape of biblical theology will be deplored by some as yielding to alien forces and welcomed by others as giving an academic discipline relevance Almost certainly a cultural shift with post modernism now posing fresh challenges will serve to tease new insights from the enduring Word Though anxiety as a response to the new paradigms is understandable excitement about moving beyond the strict parameters dictated by rationalism is legitimate Welcoming Select Conversation Partners Secondly in an era of pluralism a biblical theology while it will compete with more numerous voices also has a better chance of being heard The reason for this new hearing lies in the propensity of post moderns to be connoisseurs of available ideas A shift to post modernism need not be roundly decried Rather than silence spokespersons for the Christian faith as modernism was wont to do post modernism theoretically welcomes all opinions to the table Christians may be chagrined by pluralism alternatively they can enter more aggressively into the market place of ideas Here a caveat is in order The stance with which a Christian comes to the discussion while not adverse to dialogue is not one in which engagement in dialogue is for the purpose of establishing the truth As evangelicals we hold that the truth has been revealed in Jesus as well as in Scripture See Carson chap 4 Has God Spoken The Authority of Revelation While post modernism has the positive effect of giving a wider hearing to various voices it also poses the pitfall of neutralizing views that hold out for absolutes Still one concrete possibility of a new openness could be that biblical theology

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  • Direction: Rethinking Dominion Theology
    is to be carried out in accordance with the intention and design of the divine sovereign who delegated it And if that divine sovereign exercises power benevolently as Genesis 1 in fact depicts God as doing bringing all of life into existence considering it all good placing it all within a 20 harmonious ecosystem then humans as God s representatives or agents should exercise the power granted them in order to achieve the same ends Such a concept of benevolent rule may be corroborated by comparing it to God s commission to the heavenly bodies Gen 1 16 18 The sun and moon are given authority to rule the day and night though here the verb is malak rather than radah and this rule must be understood as rule exercised as an integral part of a harmonious natural system Finally human rule itself is limited by at least one important restraint dominion over the animals does not include the right to kill and eat them 1 29 30 Before the flood humans were given only plants for food Gen 9 1 7 The first humans were vegetarians These elements of the textual context of Gen 1 28 have provided the basis for transforming a rather straightforward dominion theology into a stewardship theology Rather than regarding the human being as the sovereign authority over creation the human is seen as an agent or deputy exercising only delegated power and exercising it according to the life giving designs of the creator God Humans are still positioned above the rest of nature with authority over it but they occupy this position as God s stewards a term that has been used more widely than any other by biblical scholars and theologians in recent years to describe humanity s place in and responsibility for nature Such a stewardship theology has come to define almost entirely the biblical position on environmental values Hall 1990 Gore 1992 167 81 238 65 There is much to be said for the stewardship interpretation of dominion theology an understanding of dominion theology certainly closer to the biblical point of view than interpretations that see biblical dominion in Gen 1 28 as unrestrained and exploitative But this stewardship understanding of dominion theology is still too simple to do justice to the biblical perspective on dominion This becomes clear when turning to the second context of Gen 1 28 the social world of the text Two observations are in order when looking at Gen 1 28 from the perspective of its social world observations which reemphasize the forcefulness of the concept of dominion but connect this emphasis with particular circumstances in the biblical world The first observation is about biblical society namely that it was a society whose economy was largely based on subsistence agriculture Such agriculture was preindustrial without modern machinery high yield crop varieties or chemical fertilizers and pesticides Moreover it was practiced on the rocky slopes of the biblical hill country and was completely dependent on rainfall which in these hills is variable and unpredictable Hopkins 1985 In such an environment life is a constant struggle to survive demanding extremely hard work to coax out of the rocky hilly soil each year a tolerable 21 crop Within this context it is not difficult to understand how the human relationship with the earth could be viewed in adversarial terms and how the human task of producing food could be regarded as overpowering the intractable ground as gaining the upper hand over it of subduing kavash the earth in the words of Gen 1 28 It is in this same context that we may also find the reason for the use of the verb radah rather than the more common malak for human rule over creation The verb radah is most often used in the Bible for rule over enemies and this may have been considered the appropriate nuance for human rule in creation a creation that in the ancient preindustrial agrarian society of the Mediterranean highlands was a kind of adversary that had to be subdued and controlled overpowered in a way in order to survive at all This is a more forceful and raw reading of dominion in Gen 1 28 than the stewardship interpretation of it But it must be recognized that such a conception of dominion arises not out of a context of human power but out of a context of human powerlessness For biblical society the balance of power was decidedly in nature s favor This means that the dominion theology in this text could not have signified the kind of control of nature now possible after the industrial and technological revolutions Such control was not even conceivable in antiquity when humanity was viewed as essentially impotent before the vast powers of nature This also means that the dominion theology in this text takes on an entirely new meaning when read by a twentieth century society in light of its new control and power over nature And this in turn raises an important question for the modern reader Is this image of dominion a legitimate and appropriate one for a society that sees itself as powerful rather than powerless for a society whose sense of its own power is decidedly different from the biblical society within which this image of dominion arose Before responding directly to this question one further aspect of the social context of Gen 1 28 deserves examination That is the social role of the priestly group considered by many to be responsible for the creation account in Genesis 1 Coote and Ord 1991 The biblical record is quite clear that priests held a prestigious position in Israelite society They are closely associated with kings and with royal authority 1 Kings 1 28 40 They are the leaders of Israel s religious establishment and are regarded in Israel as the mediators of God s presence to the people Lev 8 9 It may well be that this distinctive and preeminent role played

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  • Direction: Preachers, Deaf and Blind: A Sermon
    expanding memory of the main contours of the biblical story 3 In a culture that takes worship to be a matter of affect preaching is bound to suffer It will neither depend on nor nourish the special skills and knowledge that an equipped congregation brings to and takes from the worship of the triune God Preaching too like the church under Hauerwas description can produce enemies Perhaps this is especially the case with preaching from the Old Testament The modern world along with its putatively post modern successor has rendered the notion of enemy ambiguous This is as true for the church as it is for the military commanders that Robert Kaplan interviewed at Fort Leavenworth I want to suggest that the Old Testament that its preaching as well as preaching from it may help the church to recognize its enemies and to respond in faithfulness to God in the midst of a lost and dying world The suggestion is in the form of a sermon and the examples it cites are from times past from the hoary past and the recent past Both times as it seems to me could have been perceived as marking the transition from a modern to a post modern world A SERMON PREACHERS DEAF AND BLIND ISAIAH 42 18 20 43 8 12 In Isaiah chapters 40 through 42 the prophet asks a series of rhetorical questions among them this one may be the most striking Who is blind and deaf as the servant of Yahweh This is the same servant whom Yahweh has asked Have you not known have you not heard has it not been declared to you long ago The servant of whom the prophet speaks is none other than Israel that defeated and broken community identified as Yahweh s own commissioned to be Yahweh s sentinel to the nations as far as the scattered islands of the remotest seas In chapter 42 Isaiah asks Who is blind as the servant of the Lord And in chapter 43 Yahweh commands Bring forth the people who are blind You are my witnesses says Yahweh and my servant whom I have chosen Yahweh s servant is Israel deaf and blind chosen to be Yahweh s witness to the nations This people Israel defeated and in exile captive to the imperial power of Babylon are servants servants not of Babylon but of Yahweh and are Yahweh s witnesses blind and deaf witnesses that the God whose people they are is the creator of the world Lord of the nations and ruler of history 31 There is something laughable in this that Israel in its brokenness unable to hear or to see and thus with no memory and nothing to say is Yahweh s announcement to the world And this announcement is to show the world that Yahweh is none other than its creator its Lord and sovereign before whom the nations and their rulers those same nations and rulers who conquered Israel ravaged their land burned their temple sent them into exile and ruined their faith these very nations and rulers are beside Yahweh so much weightless dust If ever there was a lost cause it was Israel divided between an exiled community in Babylon and an impoverished community in Judah the two shattered communities feuding between themselves about who had legitimate claim to the little parcel of land Nebuchadnezzar s armies had trounced and taken Subjects of an empire that had devoured them and spit them out this defeated floundering divided community is Yahweh s servant the corporeal and visible evidence of Yahweh s claim to be the only God and ruler a community of preachers with nothing to say blind and deaf and mute Well not entirely mute Blind and deaf they were but they did have something to say these preachers What they said was You have abandoned us God and we are left alone And by implication You are defeated and powerless God and we are without hope From their experience of exile and defeat Israel concluded that God too was defeated impotent absent The prophet devotes great energy and rhetorical genius and astonishing theological wisdom to severing this connection Defeated you are he says to Israel and both deaf and blind But you have no cause to think that the same is true of God God s sovereignty is not tied to your success or even to your faith That you are oppressed does not mean God is not sovereign That you are defeated does not mean God is not victorious That the world has become frightening and inscrutable does not mean that God is not its creator That you are without faith and hope does not mean that God has not chosen you and determined your future That you are blind and deaf does not mean God has not spoken and acted The message of the prophet in Isaiah 40 55 is directed to a particular time and place but its timeliness is enduring Before saying of them You are my servant God robbed Israel of all their security rendered foolish all of their wisdom and left them deprived of anything to say except what God had declared beforehand And that s the point Israel as the servant of God has nothing to proclaim and neither do we except what God has declared beforehand This is humbling and we ve had about enough of humility It is hard work and we d rather rise up to play We ve come to seminary to build on the sure foundations of our faith we have something to say But God took Israel to a different kind of school God eroded their foundations 32 deconstructed them from within and without demonstrated their foolishness their shallowness their weakness and their falseness God sent Israel away into exile placed them under the dominion of Babylon and Persia left them without sight or hearing until they could hear only what the prophet declared which

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