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  • Direction: Power Failure: Christianity in the Culture of Technology
    issues of the philosophy of technology The first essay outlines what Borgmann takes to be the fundamental nature of the culture of technology His discussion of Cool Whip is particularly illuminating in this connection While Cool Whip seems relatively innocuous further investigation of its character reveals the key to understanding the culture of technology the device paradigm 15 18 Products of technology have their origin and substructure concealed by a vague and implicit understanding 16 built up from various methods of development appropriation distribution and commodification all of which are concealed due to the easy availability of such products The following essay contrasts traditional things around which communities historically found their focal practices of intimacy and virtue with technological devices that supplant such things Since traditional morality and communal solidarity are founded on such practices they become more difficult to sustain The next essay illuminates the way in which massive spectacles of celebration run by corporations and government agencies lack the necessary communal involvement and focus to sustain a vibrant public life Borgmann s call for public support for religious communities of celebration is particularly intriguing The second part of the book deals more directly with the place of 220 Christian theology and practice in relation to technological culture Technology in Borgmann s analysis tends to detract from a properly Christian conception of contingency and grace Technological thinking encourages a kind of regardless power that fails to be properly disposed towards God s creation Thus Borgmann calls for a rethinking of the notion of power in order to revise aspects of traditional Christian metaphysics Also of interest are a thoughtful critique of Harvey Cox as well as Borgmann s thoughts on affluence the middle class and a Christian culture of word and table Power Failure s essays never really come

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/33/2/power-failure-christianity-in-culture-of.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Captain America and the Crusade against Evil: The Dilemma of Zealous Nationalism
    Evil derives its theme from the comic book character Captain America Created in 1941 he demonstrates heroic acts through America s conflicts the Western frontier two world wars the Cold War years the Gulf War and the present war on terrorism This manuscript was completed in the winter of 2001 2002 Otherwise it undoubtedly would have included the war against Iraq which fits its theme even better than some of the previous conflicts These acts of heroism are often illegal and nearly always excessively nationalistic Jewett and Lawrence argue that America s civil religion contains two contradictory impulses zealous nationalism and the tradition of prophetic realism Both run through the pages of Scripture and American history they contend Zealous nationalism seeks to redeem the world by destroying enemies It is part of America s national psyche and it is the biblical and cultural counterpart of the Islamic term jihad Running parallel to zealous nationalism is the tradition of prophetic realism It does not paint things in terms of complete right and wrong or innocence and selfishness Rather prophetic realism attempts to redeem the world for coexistence by impartial justice that claims no favored status for individual nations 8 The authors focus more on the theme of zealous nationalism which runs from the Puritans to the present Particular emphasis is placed on current events and George Bush s response to 9 11 e g the Axis of Evil speech the preemptive strike doctrine the Patriotic Act war in Afghanistan and the incarceration of terrorist suspects While they cite American history for most of their examples of zealous nationalism they do note similar trends in the Islamic and Jewish traditions They claim that television and popular literature have been vehicles for conveying zealous nationalism They present a lonely hero exemplified by Captain

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/33/2/captain-america-and-crusade-against-evil.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Reading the Sacred Text: An Introduction to Biblical Studies
    linguistic approach that shortchanges modern period contributions Chapter 2 continues the theoretical dive initiating the reader into theologian Lonergan s theory of understanding consisting of four dimensions of human consciousness empirical intellectual rational and responsible Acquisition of knowledge leads to responsible action with moral components Chapter 3 focuses on Method Making Methods addressing the role of ideology in knowing informing of tools and rules for biblical studies and reflecting philosophically on method Chapters 4 and 5 take up Aspects of Meaning and Language Speech and Text Topics include the relation between the real world and textual meaning and the implied author and reader Shillington illustrates with John s use of logos guiding readers to understand logos 223 Part II treats the usual topics introducing the history of the biblical text writing of Scripture canon formation the history behind and of the printed text and then In Other Words an informative survey of translations ancient and modern Shillington draws on Bruce Metzger s The Text of the New Testament and Ernst Würthwein s The Text of the Old Testament He treats content found in Paul Wegner s The Journey from Texts to Translations and David Ewert s From Ancient Tablets to Modern Translations His treatment is usually briefer clear and crisp He uses tables of information helpfully comparing the canons of Eusebius Athanasius and the Council of Carthage 116 comparisons of selected texts translated by NRSV and NLT 182 Part III influenced by postmodern theory returns to the act of reading to analyze what actually happens Chapter 10 The Inter Act of Reading diagrams at two poles the world of the text and the world of the reader calling for engagement that decodes and then mediates to connect to the reader The next two chapters survey modern and postmodern ways of

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/33/2/reading-sacred-text-introduction-to.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity
    for the religious life of Christians in the first two centuries of Christian history Hurtado argues three basic theses 1 an intense devotion to Jesus emerged early in the circle of his Jewish followers not late and or due to Hellenistic influence 2 the intense expression of devotion to Jesus is unparalleled in the religious environment of the ancient world 3 the intense devotion to Jesus including the characterization of him as divine was formulated within a theology of exclusivist monotheism Hurtado argues these theses over against Bousset and the history of religions school of interpretation which dominated most twentieth century scholarly understandings According to this interpretation devotion to Jesus emerged slowly via an evolutionary process of religious syncretism Hellenistic Christians imported pagan religious ideas and practices into the Christian churches which over time replaced the original and purer form of devotion among the earliest Jewish disciples of Jesus Jesus who was not considered divine in the earliest stages of Christian devotion became a divine figure worthy of devotion through the influence of this evolutionary process Hurtado s Lord Jesus Christ is one long argument with this history of religions interpretation Christ devotion Hurtado s phrase within the framework of a profound Jewish monotheistic faith is already in the process of being routinized in the letters of Paul that is by 50 C E which means it began in the earliest decades of the Christian community Furthermore this Christ devotion was widespread among the Christian churches of the Roman empire and without any good parallel 225 devotional models in the Roman world Hurtado argues this thesis through the history of the early Christian church from the earliest Pauline churches ch 2 the Judean Jewish Christianity ch 3 the community of the Q document ch 4 the Jesus books the Gospels

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/33/2/lord-jesus-christ-devotion-to-jesus-in.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: God Among Us: Studies in the Gospel of John
    distinctive literary structure of the Fourth Gospel The Introduction to John s Gospel 1 11 covers the usual concerns of a modern introduction to a biblical book Who is the author of John 1 4 What makes John unique 4 8 When was John written 8 9 and Why was John written 9 11 Noticeably missing from the introduction however are more recent and very fruitful ways of reading John socio rhetorical literary narrative political to name a few Bystrom points to the narrator a few times e g 84 281 but mostly to the author 214 or simply John 214 296 Narrator and author are hardly interchangeable figures While Bystrom compares John with the synoptic Gospels in the introduction 4 8 and also at various points in the commentary happily he does not attempt a forced harmony of John with the Synoptics The Fourth Gospel has its own portrait of Jesus as Revealer of divine wisdom logos and Bystrom admirably lets that portrait shine through in his exposition At points this commentary neglects to deal specifically with particular texts within a unit under review For example in John 4 the narrative about Jesus and the Samaritan woman 83 89 verse 22 is left unexamined You plural worship what you do not know we worship what we know for salvation is from the Jews Who are the you here And who are the we And what can we infer from the dictum on Jesus lips salvation is from the Jews As Bystrom affirms John 4 is about the breaking down of barriers between peoples Still we are left wondering how to understand the idea that salvation is from the Jews who are elsewhere in John disparaged belonging to the world Likewise at John 8 44 149 the deeply troublesome word

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/33/2/god-among-us-studies-in-gospel-of-john.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Does God Have a Future?
    might or might not react appropriately to his love for them God opened himself to disappointment and suffering Of course God did not have to make a world of this kind He could have made a safe totally foreknowable world Yet God chose instead in order to experience rich reciprocally voluntary loving relationships with his creatures to create a world in which even he does not have detailed foreknowledge of what his free creatures might do Hall and Sanders eventually do a fairly thorough job of airing and arguing the relevant scriptural evidence the charge that open theism is guilty of a kind of impiety or hubris in restricting God s characteristics to what makes sense from the point of view of human logic and concepts the extent to which one may appeal to the Christian tradition in settling such disputes the range of different views on these matters that were held by the early Fathers how prayer can make a difference and the nature and revelatory power of the incarnation They also consider but less thoroughly the problem of evil and the nature and implications of free will The most impressive thing about this book is its excellence as a model of how theological disagreement ought to be conducted Hall and Sanders interpret one another s positions and arguments fairly even charitably and the tone of respect and friendship is a constant There will be mixed opinions about the format of the book I see it as a strength in this respect that it presents difficult material in an engaging way that makes the reader want to keep turning the pages and that it lends a feel of storyline and plot to what might otherwise be fairly dry argumentation Others may find it a little artificial and everyone will

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/33/2/does-god-have-future.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Mere Discipleship: Radical Christianity in a Rebellious World
    already too easily believe themselves to be Christian 22 23 Camp therefore proceeds to argue for a way of seeing the Gospel that goes beyond the Christendom based hermeneutic in order to pave the way for the practice of a radical Christianity The crux for Camp is the necessity to move Christianity away from the idea that it is a religion constituted merely by cognitive assent to propositions to one that is embodied by the simple yet oh so demanding call to follow Jesus For Camp the call to believe in Jesus is the call to follow Jesus In the second part of his book Camp gives a description of what it is that Christians believe He discusses this in terms of the Gospel the Savior and the Church In this section he argues that these three intertwining elements all of which constitute the Good News create a new world which disciples are capable of engaging The images and language provided by Scripture and tradition allow us to envision the world in a new way That God s kingdom is at hand calling us to repent that its king is a slaughtered lamb that such a politic is only possible through those Jesus assembled to bear witness to him the ecclesia makes it possible for those calling themselves Christians to follow Jesus and to therefore bear testimony to the in breaking kingdom of God Following Camp s description of what it is that Christians believe he continues in the third and final part of his book to show how such a grammar creates the ability to habituate such a world through right actions Baptism argues Camp means that the barriers that ethnicity national citizenship race or gender once imposed have been leveled No longer is one a Canadian or a

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/33/2/mere-discipleship-radical-christianity.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Information
    main activities of the A MSN Newsletters Two newsletters are produced per year These include short essays on topics such as publishing academic freedom and interdisciplinary teaching and announcements of calls for papers conferences and faculty openings Past newsletters are available online Database A web based searchable database of members is maintained Conferences The A MSN cosponsored the Ritual in Anabaptist Communities conference in 2003 and is planning a joint

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/33/2/information.html (2016-02-16)
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