After Ten Years: Retrospect and Prospect
Direction was born in January 1972 as the offspring of The Voice, a journal published by the Mennonite Brethren Bible College, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Journal of Church and Society, published by the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Tabor College, and Fresno Pacific College. Direction has subsequently been nurtured and reared by the four Mennonite Brethren institutions of higher learning. In 1981 the Board of Christian Literature became a fifth and equal partner in this publishing venture.
From its inception Direction has been devoted to “dealing with theological and church-related concerns and issues.” It has provided a “forum where mature and concerned churchmen speak to significant questions.” Among the prominent issues treated in Direction during the past decade are: our Mennonite Brethren and Anabaptist identity, the work of women in the church, leadership in the church, the nature, life and mission of the church, the interpretation of Scripture, economics, Christian education, Christian ethics.
While leadership in local congregations has become centered in pastors, laymen assume significant responsibility and exercise a strong influence on conference committees and boards. Consequently it is our concern that Direction shall serve all these opinion shapers, administrators, and formal or informal leaders within our North American Mennonite Brethren church. Inasmuch as the scholars and teachers, particularly those within our denominational institutions, exercise a formative influence in the thought and life of the church, samples of their thinking and teaching need to be offered to the larger constituency. At the same time we need to hear the voices of those who reflect on the church and its mission within the context of a congregational pastoral ministry or vocations in the secular arena. Direction is intended to promote such a diversity of perspectives. This journal is a forum for dreaming, for testing ideas concerning the life and ministry of the Mennonite Brethren. Articles published here do not represent the official stance of the Mennonite Brethren, though one assumes that the writers reflect an attempt to come to terms with the heritage in which we stand.
The biblical roots and orientation of Mennonite Brethren will continue to be evident in Direction. One of the four annual issues will be devoted to a biblical-theological theme. The theme of the remaining three issues will be addressed from a variety of perspectives, using the tools and insights of various disciplines, including the biblical-theological discipline. Inasmuch as the journal draws on various disciplines and is intended for formal and informal congregational and conference leaders, articles will be scholarly but contain a minimum of technical language and apparatus. The specialized language of academia is not an essential part of wisdom and of powerful communication.
Projected themes include the Bible and science, biblical interpretation, sexuality, health-and-wealth, Paul, worldliness, and spirituality. We invite reader suggestions on the tensions and potential growing points in the church today. We also invite reader response to published articles.