archive-org.com » ORG » D » DIRECTIONJOURNAL.ORG

Total: 1247

Choose link from "Titles, links and description words view":

Or switch to "Titles and links view".
  • Direction: Why Not Just Live Together? Some Reflections on Covenant Community
    family to a shopping mall is monumental And it is no wonder that covenant community is on the decline and living together is on the rise Covenant promises have no place in a shopping mall People come and go as they please forming superficial relationships and meeting their own personal needs But why be concerned about all this After all even if the church is a religious mall today are we not still doing evangelism and running effective programs and serving our communities Why not just live together The answer goes back to God s vision for covenant relationships Just as God intended much more for marriage than just living together he also intended much more for the church than just living together God had something far better in mind than the easy come easy go relationships of a shopping mall His intention was to form a redeemed community a whole new society where his design for a new creation was on display PAUL S VISION FOR CHURCH Here is part of that vision as Paul described it for the early church Love must be sincere Hate what is evil cling to what is good Be devoted to one another in brotherly love Honor one another above yourselves Never be lacking in zeal but keep your spiritual fervor serving the Lord Be joyful in hope patient in affliction faithful in prayer Share with God s people who are in need Practice hospitality Bless those who persecute you bless and do not curse Rejoice with those who rejoice mourn with those who mourn Live in harmony with one another Do not be proud but be willing to associate with people of low position Do not be conceited 214 Do not repay anyone evil for evil Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody If it is possible as far as it depends on you live at peace with everyone Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good Rom 12 9 18 21 NIV Be imitators of God therefore as dearly loved children and live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God Eph 5 1 2 NIV In other words the quality of our relationships in the church is very important says Paul because a large measure of the gospel is found in the changed lives of people within the body of Christ The church is like a display window for the rulers and authorities of the heavenly realms where God is showing off the magnificent power of the cross Eph 3 10 And it is in the ordinary lives of believers living in faithful community where that power is most wonderfully displayed And so it is no small thing when the church moves from being a family to being a mall outlet and when relationships in the body of Christ become promiscuous The gospel itself is at risk

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/30/2/why-not-just-live-together-some.html (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive


  • Direction: How to Understand the Bible
    character of this Judeo Christian anthology of inspired literature In How to Understand the Bible author David Ewert provides such guidelines and perspectives for biblical interpretation An esteemed scholar and Mennonite Brethren church leader Ewert here offers some of the fruit of his own many years of preaching and teaching the Bible in Canada the U S and many other places around the world This book is organized into thirteen chapters This structure makes it a useful resource for a three month congregational class devoted to the theme of biblical interpretation The language is nontechnical and quite understandable His numerous forays into discussions of particular themes and issues such as the ministry of women 121 24 illustrate well how the author himself goes about the process of trying to understand and appropriate the Scriptures faithfully In an opening chapter on the meaning and significance of hermeneutics Ewert elaborates on the historical cultural and linguistic reasons to be attentive to how one moves from biblical texts to contemporary faith and life His second chapter illustrates from the history of interpretation how interpreters pre understandings often shape what they find the Bible to mean Chapter 3 deals briefly with the nature of Scripture and the emergence of the canon Several subsequent chapters focus on the language of Scripture its original languages and the nature of translations biblical words and sentences figures of speech in Scripture and the use of various kinds of symbols The reader who engages this part of the book and consults the Scripture texts referenced in these chapters comes away with a clear awareness that the interpretation of scripture needs to be informed by an acquaintance with its language and literary genres A chapter on General Principles of Interpretation and another on Cultural Settings provide helpful guidelines for both

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/30/2/how-to-understand-bible.html (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Direction: Violence Renounced: René Girard, Biblical Studies, and Peacemaking
    volume The essays address the scholarly community and are not as accessible to a lay audience The essays engage and test the very influential and provocative theory of Girard that the underlying cause of the recurring cycle of violence in human cultures is mimetic desire and rivalry which leads to violence and a threat to social order Girard posits that in order to deal with the threat of violence and disorder a victim is selected as the scapegoat onto whom the violence of the community can be projected Girard argues that this scapegoat mechanism has been exposed in the Scripture and is overcome in Jesus death on the cross Part I of the book sets out Girard s theory tests how it applies to biblical literature e g Deuteronomy Joshua and Hebrews and shows how Girard s view is an alternative to traditional substitutionary and satisfaction theories of the atonement God is revealed in Jesus to be a 219 nonviolent God The scapegoat mechanism the necessity of Jesus death to satisfy God is unmasked The nonviolent God of Jesus calls into question as well the necessity of human violence against a scapegoat to restore the moral order Many of the essays also raise a number of critical questions and issues about Girard s theory Is the theory too reductionistic by explaining the source of all violence in mimetic desire Does Girard make exaggerated claims by positing mimetic desire and the scapegoat mechanism as a universal explanation for all cultures By claiming that the New Testament is the supreme example of the unmasking of the scapegoat mechanism does Girard overlook the Old Testament and evidence of this unmasking in other religious traditions In what sense does Girard s theory need a more adequate theological grounding e g in a trinitarian view

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/30/2/violence-renounced-rene-girard-biblical.html (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Direction: Exodus
    the more influential scholarly works in Exodus studies but also with helpful current trends in biblical hermeneutics specifically the kind of approach often called canonical criticism and with current literary approaches Janzen has helpfully applied such approaches in tandem with his own unique insights into the Exodus and its application to Christian life and theology making it accessible to pastors and laypersons Janzen refers to his approach to the biblical text as canonical literary His main focus is not the long process of the composition and editing of the final biblical text a common feature of older commentaries but on locating a structure to the narrative of the entire story of Exodus The macrostructure or narrative that Janzen identifies is one of anticipation and realization the focus of Exodus on God s salvation and commissioning of Moses in the first section of the book proves to be the prototype for the salvation and commissioning of Israel in the final thirty three chapters First Moses and then Israel are saved from a situation threatening death first Moses and then Israel are commissioned into God s service Moses at the burning bush and Israel at Sinai Janzen s structuring of the book in this fashion avoiding the more common bifurcation of it into exodus and lawgiving has the advantage of eliminating a common misconceived theological separation of grace and law corresponding respectively to the exodus and Sinai event Such a portrayal of the structure of Exodus also allows Janzen to integrate parts of the story of the book that many commentaries do not For example Janzen does not see the thirteen apparently tedious chapters on the construction of the tabernacle as superfluous to the main narrative but points out how the story as a whole moves from Israel in slavery building for

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/30/2/exodus.html (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Direction: Anabaptist Theology in Face of Postmodernity: A Proposal for the Third Millennium
    claims His prime examples of such universal claims are Anselmian atonement and the Nicene Chalcedonian creeds Given the particularity of these doctrines Anabaptist ethics and theology can be less concentrated on historical creeds and more centered on the gospels This acceptance of postmodernism ultimately refocuses our lens of interpretation However the assertion that Christendom theological formulas are particular is not Weaver s primary contention for he acknowledges that p eace church theology is also particular 125 Instead his contention relates to the point of reference for each formula Christendom theology utilizes the formulas of the fourth and fifth century imperial church that accommodated the sword while peace church theology rightfully points to the story of Jesus In a later chapter Weaver observes that black and womanist theologies support his claim to discard Christendom as reigning universal truth He also notes a correlation between Anabaptism and black and womanist theologies in terms of their opposition to an oppressive monolithic church 222 The author gives an historical account of Anabaptist and Mennonite theology in relation to the core tenets of Christendom theology e g justification by faith atonement He notes that although many writers were influenced by the voices of their time they were nonetheless cognizant of the differences they had with assumed general theology Some theologians like Harold Bender and Daniel Kauffman suggested that the Mennonite distinctives e g discipleship and nonviolence are not mere add ons to the core tenets but are necessary conditions to a complete Christian faith Weaver discusses the fragmentation of traditional theology due to its understanding of Jesus through the lens of the Nicene Chalcedonian creeds and Anselmian atonement This understanding separates the believer s assent to theological tenets from her obligation to the ethics of Jesus that is the acceptance of these creeds fails to

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/30/2/anabaptist-theology-in-face-of.html (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Direction: Mark
    at the end of the commentary short essays on selected topics appear I appreciate the clarity of Geddert s language and the sweep of his thought a sweep taking in some 430 pages of text on the shortest of the four gospels The discussion is solid lucidly focusing various salient views on difficult texts e g 83f 189f At the same time one could hardly call this commentary on Mark refreshingly new except of course for a reiteration of the 1989 Watchwords theme seeing eyes and hearing ears e g 191f 426 The lengthy Introduction makes plain the author s aim and approach He says this commentary will not focus on historical critical source critical form critical or redaction critical matters Rather the tools of literary criticism and reader response criticism contribute most directly in helping readers interpret the message of Mark Geddert then adds no critical method should be used alone 23 Yet he does employ historical critical reconstruction to argue for a particular historical figure as the real author to affirm one date of writing over another to posit Rome as the place of origin and to appeal to authorial intention All of this is nothing less than historical critical reconstruction Reader response by contrast requires no such reconstruction of events behind the text It requires only the text and reader When the focus is on the reader reading the text the need for a reconstructed real author s intention in writing the text is rendered inoperative Much as I applaud Professor Geddert s effort to capture Mark s portrait of the historical Jesus 18 without interfacing it with the respective portraits of Matthew and Luke I think at points Geddert 224 might have found clues in the contributions of these two early interpreters of Mark For example

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/30/2/mark.html (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Direction: The Bible in Cross-Cultural Perspective
    On the one hand the book is a Guinness book of cultural facts on the other hand it discloses the inner essence of what culture mythically veils Further culture is always plural for cultures understand cosmological origins worldviews the sacred mores and customs in vastly different ways Loewen puts this vast diversity in dialogue with the Bible and then exposits Scripture in insightful and often disturbing perspective For example though trained as a biblical theologian I have never before perceived the O T names for God especially Elohim and Yahweh in their variation and extensive usage as essentially two types of names generic class universal Elohim shared with the world beyond Israel and tribal special family personal Yahweh though granted Yahweh takes on universal claims in later O T writings as Loewen indicates His treatment of this phenomenon seems to depend on source analysis only secondarily a point of prime place for biblical scholars Rather of primary significance for Yahweh is the notion of a local god and family clan protector which later is universalized While Loewen s recurring emphasis is to resist making God too small yet this analysis had for me the effect of making Yahweh much smaller than I had ever conceived Typical of my response to Loewen s numerous provocative insights I ask but is this really the whole story Further to what extent do the comparative cultural insights on cosmology deity morality etc reveal more clearly what the Bible means to disclose to us or to what extent does this welter of comparative data blunt the particular intent and power value of the Scripture This question comes to a head for me in his discussion in several chapters 5 6 11 12 19 of the spirit world exorcism and demon possession He makes a yeoman s contribution in comparing the African 226 biblical Western materialist and Western Christian assumptions in their respective worldviews see tables on pp 135 44 The African and biblical worldviews are often similar but the materialist Western rejects nearly all the fundamental assumptions held by the other two Loewen contends that Western Christians especially Evangelicals are schizophrenic on these matters They are modern in their worldview but they also want to believe the Bible So they are torn and their schizoid problem becomes evident in their missionary work Loewen recounts several stories where dramatic healings 59 60 and exorcisms were effectual when either he as a doubting Westerner was absent or the Presbyterian Church had to refer a woman s request to be dewitched to the African Independent Church 220 22 Loewen s own solution to this worldview quagmire is to seek to expand the Western worldview to include elements of spirit reality as part and parcel of science but simply not yet understood He takes the lead of Scott Peck here in saying that ninety five percent of exorcisms can be explained by psychiatry but five percent cannot While Peck allows thus for the need of the supernatural in some

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/30/2/bible-in-cross-cultural-perspective.html (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Direction: Creation and the Environment: An Anabaptist Perspective on a Sustainable World
    Amish farmer and naturalist and a Mennonite pastor and environmental activist The four parts of the book address human activities and their alteration of creation Anabaptist Mennonite life and the environment Anabaptist Theological and Historical Orientation and the challenge to take care of the earth Throughout the book the contributors generally concede that the Judeo Christian record regarding the tending of God s creation is dismal and comes from a separation of humans from the creation The authors claim this is a misinterpretation of Scripture and that the Anabaptist Mennonite perspective might offer a new more holistic approach The Anabaptist perspective is according to editor Redekop a derivative of the Christian heritage but is also distinctively different Described as a third way neither Catholic nor Protestant its emphasis 228 is on the formation of a People who care for both human and creational concerns According to this view a true scripturally based environmental ethic encourages Christians to a renewal of creation where there is no more separation between the earthly and heavenly realms However Mennonites have also incorporated a use and dominate view of the creation and have been caught up in uncritical consumerism Thus the reason for this book to bring us to a high view of both human and creational redemption Both of us a Mennonite Brethren and a General Conference Mennonite thought the papers were well researched and provide good information on ecology and environmental issues as well as in depth analyses of Scripture as it relates to the creation Particularly interesting are a discussion on human population growth by Carl Keener and Calvin Redekop and a paper on creation and the fall by Theodore Hiebert Both topics are usually given inadequate attention in other Christian literature on the environment This book is in the same genre

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/30/2/creation-and-environment-anabaptist.html (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive



  •