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  • Direction: Where Does God Dwell? A Commentary on John 2:13-22
    for the Jerusalem temple had been destroyed Still the author provides enough clues to indicate that another interpretation is intended First of all there is the reference to three days which is closely connected with the resurrection of Jesus cf Mark 8 31 9 31 10 34 and parallels also 1 Cor 15 4 As well the term I will raise up egeiro is the word used for the resurrecting act Finally there is a significant shift in temple terminology from hieron vv 14 15 to naos vv 19 20 21 Hieron generally stands for the entire temple complex 13 On the other hand naos tends to connote a sanctuary the very dwelling place of God 14 Still the change to naos is dismissed by some as irrelevant due to a general interchangeability of these terms in the New Testament period 15 90 Given the frequency of hieron in the Fourth Gospel 5 14 7 14 28 8 2 20 59 10 23 11 56 18 20 and the fact that naos is used only here the change cannot be ignored 16 Rather the shift provides additional evidence for reading here a reference to the death and resurrection of Jesus he is the temple of God Of course such an inference can only be made by the informed reader for an uninitiated reader of the Fourth Gospel Jesus remark remains enigmatic Accordingly the question of the Jews in v 20 This temple has been under construction for forty six years and will you raise it up in three days appears as a legitimate request for clarification However this misunderstanding is part of a pattern of confusion in the gospel in which Jesus words meant to communicate deep truth are interpreted at face value 17 As Alan Culpepper notes the most obvious function of such misunderstandings is to enforce a marked distinction between insiders and outsiders between those who understand and those who do not 18 Although the Jews pick up Jesus new word for temple they still refer to the physical edifice whose construction was begun in 20 19 BCE They do not discern the deeper meaning implicit in Jesus statement In order to make the implicit explicit the narrator includes a short explanation But he was speaking of the temple of his body v 21 On the one hand the equation temple Jesus is now clear and the connection with the death and resurrection of Jesus is made On the other hand the term body soma injects a measure of ambiguity The word appears often in the Pauline corpus in reference to the Christian church and we even find the juxtaposition of soma and naos Or do you pl not know that your pl body soma is a temple naos of the Holy Spirit 1 Cor 6 19 Thus it is possible to posit a third level of meaning for temple Temple can refer to the community which draws its identity from the death and resurrection of Jesus 19 However such a position must also acknowledge the substantial scholarly protest against such a reading 20 which generally argues on the basis of other uses of soma in the Fourth Gospel As in v 17 this section concludes with the remembrance of the disciples However there are particular differences here First of all the disciples remember after he Jesus was raised from the dead v 22 The fact of the resurrection once couched with ambiguity is now stated boldly As well there is the notion that the death resurrection of Jesus that event to which the signs point makes sense of previously enigmatic language Misunderstanding dissipates for those who believe Significantly here it is the disciples who are the believing ones The antecedents for scripture and word are unclear but there is a sense of belief in the new logos of God as continuous with God s covenantal Word HEARING THE STORY WITHIN ITS SOCIAL RELIGIOUS CONTEXT Having examined the text in detail how do we interpret the episode as a whole First we must try to understand the significance of the Jerusalem temple for Judaism Temple worship was deeply ensconced in Torah and thus was part of one s faithfulness to the covenant Moreover the temple had become a symbol of national identity a sentiment reinforced by the struggle with Antiochus IV and Hellenism in the second century BCE Consequently talk of destruction or replacement had both political and religious implications During the period in which the Fourth Gospel was written after the destruction of the temple in 70 CE Jewish rabbis were busy adapting Judaism to a situation in which access to a physical temple was impossible This loss however did not result in diminishing the temple s centrality instead temple worship was mythologized and continued as part of the tradition while hope for the eventual rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem persistently remained Significantly the Fourth Gospel s portrayal of Jesus in the temple arises in this time of Jewish transition and reconstitution In light of these observations we must consider the implications of Jesus as temple We have spoken of Jesus violent action in the opening scene as an indication of the replacement of the Jerusalem temple and sacrificial worship and the dialogue which follows confirms that Jesus himself is that replacement As Rudolf Schnackenburg asserts the temple cleansing is meant to portray the abrogation of the Jewish cult by Jesus and its replacement by himself and his community 21 For the Johannine community late in the first century such an understanding of Jesus would likely both stem from and contribute to the ongoing conflict with the Jews of the synagogue 22 In one sense this Christian perspective is a direct challenge to the Jewish approach to the temple s destruction At stake is the very presence of God So long as Jesus lives on earth God is present in him and him alone while for the Jews the presence of God is connected with the

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/22/2/where-does-god-dwell-commentary-on-john.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: A Psalm of the Unemployed
    me There is no understanding of chronic pain in a world of quick fixes and instant solutions How long O Lord how long must I endure this agony How long must my family see this broken man and tenderly carry his aching soul The mirror reflects the shell of a man once beaming with self confidence My feet are sore from pounding the pavement and my heart is crushed by another letter of rejection I have put my trust in you O Lord you have been my rock in days gone by I have called on you and you have answered me 95 Rebuild my life O Lord bring rest to my troubled soul Restore joy in my inmost being and create in me a heart of compassion Let me not be dominated nor let me dominate Make me a servant Lord and may the towel and basin always be close at hand Give ear to my plea O Lord and I will teach others of your care Give me understanding for those whose lives are chaotic and out of control I will again put my trust in you O Lord my confidence will be in you I will listen

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/22/2/psalm-of-unemployed.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Current Research
    the German language with intrinsic sacred significance all help to account for the passion and pain that accompanied the transition process While these factors and their analysis are not in themselves definitive for the question of Mennonite Brethren identity as an ethno religious group they can contribute to an understanding of the enduring potency of forces such as language religion and ethnicity in human affairs Klassen Roy L The Influences of Mennonite College Choral Curricula upon Music Practices in American Mennonite Churches Arizona State University Doctor of Musical Arts DMA 1990 Advisor Dr David Stocker Current Position Professor of Music Fresno Pacific College Fresno CA The purpose of the study was to investigate music curricula and related experiences available for church choral directors in selected Mennonite colleges throughout the United States The churches in the study were those with memberships of more than 200 parishioners Inquiry was also directed at the choral directors of the six Mennonite colleges in the United States to ascertain their perceptions of the college preparation of church musicians Data used to describe preparation in church music were collected through a questionnaires to Mennonite church choral directors and b questionnaires to Mennonite college choral professors Findings of the study included a in Mennonite churches where there were no paid choral leaders it was quite commonplace to note that the most important musical leaders within the congregation were the song or hymn directors reflecting positively upon the historical tradition of importance placed upon congregational singing within the larger Mennonite community b courses perceived to be most helpful in the preparation of church choral leadership were choral ensemble conducting and private instruction voice c there are not enough full time church choral music leadership positions available within the Mennonite church to warrant the addition of specific courses in church music d financial remuneration tends to encourage young music graduates to pursue careers in public 99 school music teaching rather than church music e college sponsored workshops and seminars in choral music are important to the growth and public relations of each of the colleges f Mennonite churches who financially support their young people specifically to the Mennonite college choral music program will b e more likely to see those students return to their churches as choral leaders and g colleges would see a greater retention of students in the area of church music leadership if internship programs were included as a mandatory addition to the music curriculum Esau Heinrich Grassroots Approach To Growth and Mission Fuller Theological Seminary School of Theology Doctor of Ministry Church Growth 1993 Mentor Dr Ray S Anderson Current Position Pastor in Sao Paulo Brazil Grassroots Approach to Church Growth and Mission emphasizes the involvement and mobilization of the laity of the church in mission The focus is upon empowering the members of the church as the body of Christ to carry out Christ s ministry of reconciliation Unless Christians connect what they do day to day with what they believe God wants them

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/22/2/current-research.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: The Flowering of Old Testament Theology
    essays The first by Ollenburger traces the course of OT theology from 1828 to 1930 The other two contributions are from Otto Eissfeldt 1926 and Walther Eichrodt 1929 who set the stage for the debate between the historical i e scientific and theological i e faith approaches to the Bible Part 2 Sampling Old Testament Theology is the largest part and contains 15 chapters of about 20 pages each from various writers The editors first provide a Theological Synopsis of the given author Then follows a select bibliography listing pertinent books and articles by and about the author Next comes the author s Approach to OT Theology which is usually from the introductory chapter of the author s own book followed by a reproduction from the author focusing on some aspect that the editors determined is central or unique to that particular theologian The writers represented and the chapter titles the editors think encapsulate their approaches are as follows Walther Eichrodt Covenant Theodorus Vriezen The Nature of the Knowledge of God George Ernest Wright God the Warrior Gerhard von Rad Eighth Century Prophecy Edmond Jacob The Spirit and the Word John McKenzie Cult Walter Zimmerli Life Before God Ronald Clements Law and Promise Walter Kaiser Jr Promise Samuel Terrien Jr Presence in Absence Claus Westermann God s Judgement and God s Mercy Elmer Martens Land and Lifestyle Brevard Childs Canon and Paul Hanson The Community of Faith Part 3 The Way Forward OT Theology in the twenty first Century is a collection of six essays that the editors deemed valuable because 104 of the influence they are currently having on the field They are Gerhard Hasel The Future of OT Theology Prospects and Trends Hartmut Gese Tradition History Walter Brueggemann A Shape for OT Theology Jon Levenson Creation and Covenant

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/22/2/flowering-of-old-testament-theology.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: First Peter
    for the preacher teacher and a study guide accessible to the layperson Once again Professor Hiebert brings to the text not only his concern for scholarly excellence reflected in extensive footnotes and a lengthy bibliography but also the warmth of his pietistic faith and the richness of his Mennonite Brethren heritage 105 evident in his balanced treatment of election and foreknowledge and his appreciation of the believer s resident alien status The commentary s introduction defends Petrine authorship by replying to the critical arguments For supplementary material regarding the life setting of the recipients of 1 Peter one may wish to refer to Bo Reicke s Anchor Bible commentary or to Peter Davids recent commentary on the epistle In addition to Dr Hiebert s careful Greek exposition and his meticulous survey of the insights of early church fathers the reformers and recent scholars this work contributes a thematic outline of the content of 1 Peter Rather than following the clues suggested by the literary forms of the original this outline points out the doctrinal foundation of 1 Peter 1 1 12 which is followed by three movements of practical exhortation in 1 13 5 11 exhortations in view of our salvation our position in the world and Christian suffering Peter s fundamental purpose was to establish his suffering Christian readers in their faith The entire letter is an earnest appeal for them to staunchly maintain their stand A window on some of the key texts of 1 Peter enables the reader to appreciate Hiebert s careful approach to exposition In commenting on Christ as example in 2 21 he indicates that humans cannot always place our feet fully in His footprints We can follow where His tracks lead He asserts that sinful men need more than a perfect example they

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/22/2/first-peter.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: A Man of His Word: A Biography of John A. Toews
    combined work studies teaching and leadership in preserving the heritage of his people often referred to as People of the Way Three years in the Coaldale Bible School immersed him in Canadian Mennonite Brethren culture and vision Three years at Tabor College in Kansas exposed him to the ethos of the United States Of Tabor he said I learned to appreciate our spiritual heritage and the balanced emphasis on evangelism and social concerns From 1940 46 he served as teacher in the Coaldale Bible School and developed skills in preaching and conference leadership After completing his B A degree at the University of Saskatchewan in 1947 with a history major he started a twenty year span of service at the Mennonite Brethren Bible College MBBC now Concord College in Winnipeg His first love was teaching Mennonite history For seven years he served as president Somehow he found time to earn the M A in history at the 107 University of Manitoba and a Ph D at the University of Minnesota at the age of 52 years With incredible diversity of gifts scholar teacher administrator preacher evangelist conference leader and writer he helped the North American Mennonite Brethren constituency clarify its identity as a Mennonite people His knowledge and passion were encapsuled in A History of the Mennonite Brethren Church published in 1975 People without roots suffer from an identity crisis he often said Inter Mennonite Cooperation Toews sought to heal the wounds created by the Mennonite Brethren renewal movement of 1860 in South Russia He had close connections with the Alliance movement both in Russia and Canada He was a strong advocate of inter Mennonite cooperation especially in the ministries of MCC and world missions He served as counselor in the Conscientious Objector camps during World War II and as MCC ambassador in South America seeking to help the new Mennonite communities there He was a speaker at many peace conferences always seeking to maintain a strong balance between the peace witness and evangelism His book True Nonresistance Through Christ 1955 was widely used in the larger Mennonite community and by peaceloving people around the world Toews attended four gatherings of the Mennonite World Conference and served on the Presidium He was often criticized for his ecumenical spirit but through gentle tenacity he helped both the Mennonite Brethren and the larger Mennonite community work together in the Name of Christ Recovery of the Anabaptist Vision Inter Mennonite ministries inevitably led Toews to Harold S Bender and his pivotal essay The Recovery of the Anabaptist Vision More than any other person Bender inspired Toews to recover that vision for the Mennonite Brethren fellowship He understood the great pressure of cultural accommodation and theological drift in the free society of North America He was clearly a corrective force in defining the Anabaptist concept of church The Anabaptist vision as Toews perceived it defined the church as a community of believers Bible readers stewards disciples and witnesses Only those who had experienced the

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/22/2/man-of-his-word-biography-of-john-toews.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: From the Editors: Christian Nurture in the Church
    overseeing a plan that will maximize the church s educational components for Christian growth The urgency of the nurture question is quickly driven home by the helpful analysis Ron Penner gives of the way things are in the Mennonite Brethren Church Penner selects from the book which documents the extensive research of 1989 The Mennonite Mosaic and helpfully offers a bite sized package for ready reference and planning Current practitioners in the field of Christian nurture bring us into their world via a round table discussion a new genre in our publication The issues quickly come alive not only in this conversation by a good cross section of leaders but by Gayle Goossen s metaphor oriented article David Wiebe singles out one issue children and church ordinances From the local church Norm Rempel catapults us into the world of Bible colleges Courses in Bible are clearly the staple menu To what extent should courses in general education i e the liberal arts literature sociology etc be included in the menu Rempel s research is important data for educators A large vote of thanks is due Dr Bob Rempel coordinator editor of the theme articles Rempel recently completed doctoral studies in

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/22/1/editorial.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: The Curriculum of the Congregation
    in the context of relationships Richards contends that truth concepts are expressed in words and actions by many teachers Therefore all interactions of individuals are part and parcel of the church s educational ministry Further Richards suggests that learning happens most effectively as life is lived and is not necessarily determined by an agenda or printed curriculum Learning together is a matter of making the necessary connections between truth and life When asked how the church communicated what it believed to be important research respondents indicated that actions verified pronouncements The credibility of the message was in the messenger It doesn t help at all if the teacher doesn t apply it Sermon and lesson preparation are simple when compared with the preparation of a life which embodies the message The vision of the church often articulated in a mission statement must be reflected and modeled in the life of the church WORSHIP Worship is the service the church renders to God It is not only the central event of gathering but also a pervasive posture of life that is generated by that gathering Worship is at the center of a church s life and education can be understood to be one of its essential elements The rituals of worship communicate the faith story so that it is owned and internalized Education is concerned that the truths expressed and symbolized in the worship service be understood and applied Many come through the church door only at holiday time Christmas affirms that God s plans continue to unfold especially in an unstable world Easter confirms that God is not powerless in the face of attacks by evil and Satan None of these truths are radically new They may however be unknown to many who attend only at these times What marvelous opportunities to educate In worship the entire congregation should experience the joy of participation The family of God is truly intergenerational Children can appreciate the event even when they do not fully understand it Often children are considered the learners while adults are treated as worshippers but education begins and culminates in the experience of worshipping 7 together The Christian community has been given a unique learning environment one created new every day with forgiveness with new life with new possibilities for living together and serving Christ in the world Everist 1983 68 Worship serves as a reminder that there is no hierarchy in the kingdom of God Each person stands equally worthy in the presence of God Church hierarchy and practice may negate the truth of worship Should certain functions of worship be limited to staff Are certain elected positions inadvertently or otherwise given greater importance Do individuals feel confident that the service they render in their world is valuable and worthwhile Answers to these and similar questions may help focus the meaning and practice of worship PROCLAMATION Proclamation includes both content and process For Christians proclamation is centered in the life death and resurrection of Jesus and a

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/22/1/curriculum-of-congregation.html (2016-02-16)
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