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  • Direction: Transforming Violence: Linking Local and Global Peacemaking
    and global levels While broad statements are made about world peace in reality all peacemaking is local 93 While the local context is usually defined geographically Elise Boulding focuses on the locality offered by communities of faith which maintain distinct identities even as they span the globe In his account of the Bosnian Student Project s struggle against genocide Doug Hostetter demonstrates how local activity extends globally Adries Odendaal and 74 Chris Spies offer a powerful example of how local peacemaking teams helped reshape societal patterns in South Africa Dekha Ibrahim and Janice Jenner detail the remarkable story of community based initiatives that ended the virtually unknown Wajirian war among Somali clans in northeastern Kenya The final section of the book examines the link between local contexts and global realities If global events are rooted in local community life then local realities need to inform global understandings 151 David Jackman addresses the need for a planet sized peacemaking system in which the church is deeply involved While parts of the system are already being created church based peace efforts aren t going to be effective unless our efforts fit sensibly into a wider structure 155 In the two subsequent chapters Lisa Schirch considers the viability and future of civilian peace teams and Kathleen Kern describes the realities of long term peace team involvement in Haiti Hebron and Washington D C Despite the struggles peace teams are establishing a unique niche in peacemaking 176 Examining the many dynamics of international conflict mediation John Paul Lederach concedes that there is no Holy Grail of conflict resolution Solutions need to emerge from the soil where the conflict is rooted 178 Lauree Hersch Meyer closes the work with a call for peacemakers regardless of national or religious identity as citizens of God s kindom

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/29/1/transforming-violence-linking-local-and.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Harold S. Bender, 1897-1962
    and Archives the founder and editor of the Mennonite Quarterly Review a leading editor of The Mennonite Encyclopedia and eventually President of the Mennonite World Conference Along the way he nurtured a generation of scholars served as a link between American and European Mennonites and contributed to the establishment of Civilian Public Service Bender s influence went far beyond his managerial interests and capabilities Keim lays out the way in which Bender was able to walk a fine line between conservative and progressive forces which threatened to tear apart the Mennonite Church often serving as a mediating agent between the two camps His intimate involvement with the leading Mennonite institutions allowed him to shape these institutions in ways that expressed his own conservative theological understandings while advocating a more expansive view of inter Mennonite relations His tendency to promise what he could not always produce opened him to criticism 76 regarding the ways he managed his multiple roles Often pressed to resign his institutional commitments in favor of more scholarly research and writing Bender consistently chose to work for the institutions of the church It is a telling portrayal of the dilemma facing someone caught between a love for the church and scholarly interests Keim is particularly helpful in showing how Bender was able to articulate an understanding of Anabaptism that helped forge Mennonite identity in the twentieth century Bender s essay The Anabaptist Vision first presented in 1943 as a presidential address to the American Society of Church History interpreted sixteenth century Anabaptist themes in the language of nonviolent service devout discipleship and a primary identity with the people of God the church 524 This is by Keim s own assessment the story of the life of a public man Given 500 pages it seems greedy to ask for

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/29/1/harold-s-bender-1897-1962.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Armageddon and the Peaceable Kingdom
    on common premillennial themes the new world order the rapture the tribulation and end time judgments In these chapters the author shows how the dispensationalists have misused Scripture utilizing a cut and paste approach to the prophetic passages In doing so they have produced end time ideas which Klaassen regards as Fundamentalist science fiction He comes down hard on these modern forecasters but he still regards them as Christians In part two beginning with chapter seven Klaassen presents what he regards as a biblical view of end time events He does not focus on Daniel and Revelation as do most premillennialists Rather he bases his ideas on a balanced view of the New Testament giving considerable weight to the Gospels and epistles Klaassen does not use the words preterist or amillennial But his ideas are akin to those positions and he links them to Anabaptist teachings The kingdom of God began with Christ s first coming not with a future millennium The kingdom is not a literal physical kingdom but a spiritual one which people can now enter Christ s rule is here and now and it concerns peace and justice not power and materialism The book of Revelation does not address future events especially those in our day Rather Revelation speaks to developments in the first century Klaassen must be commended for this book He provides an antidote to the widely popular premillennial eschatological position He rightly castigates the forecasters who are making wild and irresponsible predictions regarding the end of the world Moreover he correctly labels the end time scenarios as set forth by many dispensationalists as Fundamentalist fiction Still I have several questions objections In his brief survey of Christian eschatology Klaassen fails to mention the Millerites perhaps the most famous millennial movement in American history Also

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/29/1/armageddon-and-peaceable-kingdom.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Imperial Cult and John's Apocalypse
    and economic choices 9 with which they doubtless were confronted His chapter titles depict well the tenor of his discussions A Dwelling Place of Demons Nations Have Drunk Her Wine The Merchants Have Grown Rich Repay Her Double for Her Deeds The Blood of Prophets and of Saints A Healing of the Nations John of Patmos warns against the lure of commerce and against joining 79 forces with those who would be rich within the pyramidal social structure of the Empire evidenced throughout Revelation 74ff Kraybill argues that John sees the commerce of the Roman world tied in with the Imperial cult The concentration of merchant and guild offices at Ostia in a port city where the imperial cult thrived suggests imperial interests and ideology pervaded the shipping industry 134 From John s perspective so Kraybill argues commerce in the Empire requires 13 16 17 the mark of the beast the mark that people had to wear in order to buy and sell 136 The mark appeared also on money used for trading Moreover John may have refused to handle Roman coins simply because they normally carried the image and name of the current Emperor 138 In the end what John envisions is a just society epitomized in the coming down of the New Jerusalem which will be incomparably better than any Roman city 211 In the meantime Christians are to respond to social injustice in nonviolent ways after the manner of Jesus who confronted the powers of his time Collaboration with the beast of Babylon viz Rome dishonors Jesus who gave his life to redeem humankind from corruption and injustice I find myself hard pressed to find any fault in this book Kraybill has executed a masterful reconstruction of the socioeconomic political context for his argument about the burden

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/29/1/imperial-cult-and-johns-apocalypse.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: The Journey Toward Reconciliation
    Lederach narrates many intriguing stories In spite of frequent advice from his family friends and peers however he resists the temptation to just tell the stories He uses the stories throughout as a means of explaining and developing what he calls a theology of conflict In some instances he uses the classic portions of Scripture such as Matthew 18 In this particular analysis he points out that the Scripture is extremely clear and direct There are few issues of difficulty in understanding what God requires of us when we need to restore and reconcile with our brethren Yet in spite of this fact we often fail to follow the teaching He offers a modern paraphrase of the passage that summarizes how we usually behave in these situations His attempt to develop or begin to develop a theology of conflict is very helpful and well done I found myself hoping that he would discuss several of the more difficult passages however He could have done even more to develop a theology of conflict by discussing those passages which might challenge our thinking He began to do this early 81 in the book by referring to the imprecatory Psalms After briefly mentioning such difficult passages however he went on to other subjects without adequately wrestling with their perspective How do we understand passages such as Matthew 10 34 given our views on peace and conflict I found myself wishing for more emphasis on repentance He implied in one early story that he was assuming repentance had occurred He wrote of the need for a balance between the principles of truth mercy justice and peace I think his theology of conflict would have been strengthened by even more focus in this area On the other hand he does deal to some extent with

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/29/1/journey-toward-reconciliation.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Bioethics: A Christian Approach in a Pluralistic Age
    Richard A McCormick as examples of Catholic thinking Rae and Cox also review the writings of Protestant 82 bioethicists Paul Ramsey and James M Gustafson The chapter ends with brief discussions of Fred Rosner and Immanuel Jakobovits Jewish writers One strength of the book is that the authors offer a useful conclusion to each chapter So at the end of chapter one they indicate that in developing their approach to bioethics they take an eclectic approach to the ideas of the religious ethicists just mentioned The next chapter limiting itself to Beauchamp Childress and Engelhardt reviews secular approaches to bioethics Useful evaluations of the positions of these men are given Engelhardt attempts to construct a basis for bioethics in the midst of a postmodern culture and world characterized by what he calls a polytheism of perspectives Section one with its review of religious and secular approaches to bioethics is more demanding reading than the rest of the book In fact the general reading public might find this section difficult and tedious In the book s second and main section the authors present the primary theological concepts they believe should inform a Christian perspective on bioethics They explore such concepts as the image of God personhood and the importance of death as a conquered enemy in ethical problem solving In dealing with ethical problems related to the edges of life Rae and Cox build a strong case for the continuity of personal identity from the earliest stages of development conception to death The final section of the book talks about Employing a Christian Approach to bioethics Given the fact that Christians have been marginalized in the debate over bioethics the authors suggest a way for maximizing the possibility of Christians being heard in the secular world They see the challenge this

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/29/1/bioethics-christian-approach-in.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: John the Baptist in Life and Death: Audience-Oriented Criticism of Matthew's Narrative
    he is not concerned with authorial intention 48 he still wishes to explore the intention of the implied author narrator This study proceeds sequentially through the text tracing the narrator s efforts to influence the implied hearer narratee s experience of the story If as he argues he is concentrating on the implied audience why does he worry about intention at all whether that of the original or of the implied narrator Part one A New Approach in which Yamasaki articulates his methodology opens with a chapter which surveys the history of research on John the Baptist The studies examined are chiefly of the historical critical variety A complaint which he constantly issues and the point of which was not altogether clear to this reviewer is the failure of these earlier works to consider the reliability of the historical data on John in the Gospels In chapter two Methodology Yamasaki sets forth his own method in interaction with more recent practitioners of a generally speaking literary critical method In part two Exegesis Yamasaki applies his method to the characterization of John in Matthew In this relatively brief section the following represent some of the conclusions to which he comes 1 Even after John has faded from Matthew s story line after his baptism of Jesus he remains important at a discourse level The narrator finds John useful for a variety of narrative moves whether he is free bound or even dead 143 The narrator uses John as a target of retrospection in drawing out the theme of John as Jesus forerunner to death both in 84 3 1 10 where John is introduced and in 14 3 12a where he is executed There are motifs in both these pericopes which are later included as part of Jesus own experience e

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/29/1/john-baptist-in-life-and-death-audience.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Direction: Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology
    the proper way to conduct any serious inquiry is to focus strictly on naturalistic explanations to account for phenomenon 67 Dembski with other intelligent design theorists argues that methodological naturalism is not only false but is also harmful to science Methodological naturalism is harmful to science because it artificially limits the questions that science allows itself to ask science cannot ask whether or not a certain phenomenon exhibits evidence of design This is as if a forensic scientist were not allowed to ask if a crime scene showed evidence of design The range of questions that one can ask limits the range of answers that can be considered Dembski s challenge is a powerful one If an intellectual discipline is aiming to discover the truth about something it is wrong to artificially limit the questions that can be asked The appropriate response of the methodological naturalist is that the restriction against asking questions about design is not an artificial restriction The notion of design they might argue is too vague to be of use The heart of Dembski s book and of the intelligent design movement is providing a definition of design that is in fact both precise and empirically detectable It is beyond the scope of this review to either present or evaluate his definition His proposal is careful sophisticated and well defended Even if his proposal ultimately fails it is worthy of attention and should provide fertile ground for other similar proposals In the natural sciences theories are challenged and eventually replaced because of the observation of anomalies that is phenomena that do not fit into the existing theory If the methodology of science prevents the observation of anomalies the methodology is harmful to the pursuit of truth Dembski and other intelligent design theorists are right to press

    Original URL path: http://www.directionjournal.org/29/1/intelligent-design-bridge-between.html (2016-02-16)
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