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Mennonites in the Global Village

Mennonites in the Global Village

Copyright Date: 2000
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    Mennonites in the Global Village
    Book Description:

    An exploration of the impact of professionalism and individualism on Mennonite culture, families, and religion. Driedger contends that Mennonites are in a unique position in the global electronic age, having entered modern society relatively recently.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7723-4
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-2)
    Leo Driedger
  5. 1 The Global Challenge
    (pp. 3-22)

    In the summer of 1998, two hundred Mennonites met in Bluffton, Ohio, to discuss ‘Anabaptists and Postmodernity.’ We also discussed the electronic information revolution, and how computers, e-mail, and the Internet were changing communication, human interaction, and communities. Theologians debated whether Mennonites should still seek to articulate universally recognizable truths, and historians argued about the viability of tracing linear patterns. Poets, novelists, and short-story writers called for more individual subjective examinations of the Mennonite psyche, while others were more determined than ever to take vows of stability in increasingly diverse hyper-modern multi-ethnic, multi-religious worlds. Fifty years after the Second World...

  6. Part I: The Information Revolution

    • 2 Emerging Mennonite Urban Professionals
      (pp. 25-47)

      Donald Kraybill and Phyllis Pellman Good are uneasy about the change from martyrs who died for their faith in the past to today’s Mennonite urban professionals in chic suits (Kraybill and Good 1982). It represents a clash between the old and the new, the familiar and the strange, resulting in tensions that call on first-generation urban-professional Mennonites to engage in critical reflection. Mennonites have shown an ambivalence towards the professions, because their ancestors were primarily craftspeople and, later, agriculturalists who worked with their hands. Missionaries, ministers, teachers, nurses, and doctors were among the first accepted service professionals. However, many fear...

    • 3 Individualism Shaping Community
      (pp. 48-68)

      The emphasis on normative theology and cohesive community in the ‘voluntary’ believers’ church has been so strong in Anabaptist writings that the values of individualism, which has increasingly come to shape postmodern society, have been neglected (Holland 1995).¹ Indeed, in many conservative Mennonite traditions, individualism has been viewed as suspect, and as a result it has been suppressed to a great extent, interfering with the process of creative change. We wish to examine the strengths and liabilities of individualism, and to show that it is an essential ingredient of strong leadership. First, let us cast the concept of individualism in...

  7. Part II: Symbolic Extensions and Challenges

    • 4 Cultural Changes in the Sacred Village
      (pp. 71-97)

      When the Mennonites first came to Western Canada from Ukraine in the 1870s, they basically transferred their agricultural villages by pitching their immigrant tents on the untamed prairies. They were faced with reordering old experiences into a new, meaningful order (nomos) that would shield them from the terrors which lay ahead (Berger 1967, 19). This new construction of reality was like a ‘sacred canopy’ — a tent-like roof used by the Jews as protection from the elements in their wilderness wanderings. This canopy, symbolized by a blanket with poles at each corner to hold it up, provided a protective roof...

    • 5 Media Shifts towards the Global Village
      (pp. 98-117)

      Mennonites remained rural much longer than most Canadians or Americans, by isolating themselves in ethnic enclaves, at least until the Second World War (Hay and Basran 1992). Since the 1940s, however, modernization has forced Mennonite communities to open up, as demonstrated by Kauffman and Driedger (1991). One important element of modernity is the emergence of the mass media, and their influence in postmodern societies is well documented (Fleras 1994; Hoover 1995; Karim and Sansom 1990). Research evidence on the relationships of Mennonites to the media (Driedger and Kauffman 1991) show that exposure to modern society and to the media has...

    • 6 The Politics of Homemaking and Career
      (pp. 118-138)

      The United Nations Population Conference, held in Cairo 5–13 September 1994, was dominated by the abortion debate.¹ The strong opposition to abortion and lashing out at the feminists by the Vatican could not be ignored, even though many Catholic countries did not share this view. Support for the Vatican’s position from the Muslim countries also made it a significant issue in the debate. The feminists’ argument was equally strong, not only on the pro-choice issue, but also on the need to recognize women as actors and decision makers (Keyfitz 1995). In the past, U.N. population conferences made an impact...

  8. Part III: Reconstruction for Post-Modern Diversity

    • 7 Teens Growing Roots and Wings
      (pp. 141-162)

      A plaque hanging in a school principal’s office reads: ’We give our children roots — and wings’ (Bibby and Posterski 1985, 200). ‘In this maze of the modern world’ both are needed but, it is not always easy to find the right balance (Driedger and Bergen 1997). We examine, first, the roots, norms, and values of Mennonite teenagers, and then reflect on whether their roots prepare them adequately for life in the postmodern world. Growing well-grounded beliefs and values is the challenge, as the emerging generation of Mennonite teens leave their nests and fly.

      Bibby and Posterski (1985, 3; 1992)...

    • 8 Blending Educational Monastery and Marketplace
      (pp. 163-186)

      John Yoder (1995, 146) suggests that Mennonite schools often began as Bible schools, designed on the buffered monastery model and fostering an alternative lifestyle and set of values to the larger society. In the educational monastery, Mennonite faith and life can be developed and expressed within a segregated enclavic social, intellectual, and religious community. However, no institutions exist in total isolation; to be viable they must develop relationships with the larger marketplace. Yoder (1955, 147) concludes that, with time, schools tend to evolve towards a ‘progressive opening of doors in the monastic walls that facilitate ease of movement in and...

    • 9 The Emergence of Women as New Leaders
      (pp. 187-209)

      In the early days of the Anabaptist movement, women often took on leadership roles, some performing the functions of ordained ministers (Driedger and Friesen 1995). However, as Mennonites became more rural, they returned to patriarchal values, which did not include ordained ministry for women. Recently, Kauffman and Driedger (1991) have found that urban, professional, and upwardly mobile Mennonites have again become much more open to women serving in all positions of Church leadership. Based on the recent experience of Mennonite women in the pastoral ministry, let us explore the extent to which modern Mennonites in North America accept the idea...

    • 10 Peacemaking as Ultimate Extension
      (pp. 210-232)

      The discovery of sixteenth-century Anabaptist polygenesis and their plural visions by Stayer and others (1975) has brought new excitement to historical theological studies since 1975. J.R. Burkholder’s (1991, 5–7) typology of Mennonite peace theologies promises a similar new path to exploring contemporary postmodern Mennonite diversity. These developments are also entirely in tune with multicultural trends in sociological studies of minorities today (Driedger 1987, 1989, 1996). We suggest that these trends are a reflection of the postmodern social context in which Mennonites now find themselves, as half of them have become urban. Theologians focus on theological nuances and trends; sociologists...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 233-244)
  10. References
    (pp. 245-258)
  11. Index
    (pp. 259-264)