In This Issue
Several years ago a board member of a Mennonite Brethren college and a teacher were discussing the rather positive conclusions of a study that had been done on the school. “When one is a board member or a teacher in one of our schools it is easy to get discouraged,” one of them mused. “Because we are responsible, we normally are paying attention to problems. It is almost a shock to back off and discover how much has been done well.”
For more than eight years Direction has fussed over the health of the Mennonite Brethren people and its churches and schools. Critical concern and analysis are appropriate because Direction is intended to speak to and for responsible church members.
But sometimes it is appropriate to back off and notice that we have much for which we can be grateful.
Of course, it is true that the institution of marriage faces severe pressures. But there is much to celebrate in our homes. And Howard Loewen’s essay, “Covenant Love,” places marriage within the supportive context of God’s covenant loyalty to his people.
Abram Konrad’s survey of Canadian church leaders on what they expect from their schools makes it clear the expectations remain high. Evidence that these expectations have some basis are provided in Harold Jantz’s survey of the Mennonite Brethren schools. This survey is a follow up of a survey of youth who have chosen other schools (Direction, July, 1979). He concludes, “Our survey . . . is very encouraging. . . . The young people who are choosing Mennonite Brethren schools are saying they are worth keeping.”
Of course there are also many concerns within the churches. But Arno Wiebe’s summary of New Testament teachings on the gifts of the Holy Spirit notes that in every age the gifts needed for the problems of that time have been supplied. An article for the churches by Karen Neufeld demonstrates a better way to chart church growth.
Finally, we are reminded to be grateful for our past. Consulting Editor David Ewert reviews fourteen recent biographies and memoirs—of and by Mennonite Brethren. Also reviewed is Associate Editor Katie Funk Wiebe’s book on the writing of memoirs and Wilfred Martens’ historical novel.