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Fractured Dance
Gadamer and a Mennonite
Conflict over Homosexuality

C. Henry Smith Series 3

Michael A. King

Foreword by Herbert L. Simons


Market: This study of a Mennonite denominational body’s deliberations over excommunicating a congregation for its stand on homosexuality will engage students and scholars of hermeneutics, rhetoric, communication, conflict, Gadamer, homosexuality, “culture wars”; church leaders and pastors; anyone interested in how true understanding unfolds—or not—amid conflict.

Comment: “What a joy that a theologically Reformed psychologist can profit from a Mennonite pastor who courageously engages a raw conflict with the playful hopefulness of a postmodern, Gadamerian hermeneutic. Gadamer would be thrilled.” —Dan B. Allender, President, Mars Hill Graduate School

“By forthrightly addressing its critics, King illustrates how the Gadamerian conversational practices he advocates might reshape not only the church’s public sphere but also the argumentation styles of intellectuals.” —Gerald J. Biesecker-Mast, Associate Professor of Communication, Bluffton College

“Behind and sometimes through the scholarly overlay, one feels the passion of a Jeremiah who cares deeply for his people amid a tragic era. This is a book for those ready to imbue their vision for the church with the pulse of hope.”
—John A. Esau, Columnist, Mennonite Weekly Review

“King uses Gadamer to redeem the dance of relating, growing, and changing around and within differences. Through analyzing a failed dance, he highlights the fractures and provides hope for dances of the future.” —Carolyn Schrock-Shenk, Associate Professor of Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies, Goshen College

“King argues for genuine dialogue as a path not to mealy-mouthed compromise but to transformation. While showing that such dialogue has proved elusive in relation to homosexuality, King holds out hope that traditional Mennonite commitments to community, humility, and gelassenheit (yieldedness) may yet make it possible.” —Gregory A. Clark, Associate Professor of Philosophy, North Park University and member, Reba Place Fellowship

“This dispassionate analysis of the conflict over homosexuality is welcome and necessary. As one who loves lively debate far more than refusal to discuss controversial topics, this book encourages me to continue the dance—fractured though it may be at times!” —Reta Halteman Finger, Assistant Professor of New Testament, Messiah College More. . . .

Shelving: Hermeneutics—philosophical, of Hans-Georg Gadamer; Rhetoric; Communication; Conflict; Anabaptist-Mennonite—subculture, history, theology of; Homosexuality. BISAC: Philosophy, Social Sciences, Religion/Bibles. RTM: 690 Religion/Ethics, 750 Sociology.

The Author: Michael A. King, Telford, Pennsylvania, is pastor, Spring Mount (PA) Mennonite Church; publisher, Pandora Press U.S.; and founding editor, DreamSeeker Magazine. He has been pastor in diverse congregations and settings and is author (with Ronald J. Sider) of Preaching about Life in a Threatening World (Westminster, 1987), Trackless Wastes and Stars to Steer By: Christian Identiy in a Homeless Age (Herald Press, 1990), and of many articles.

Publisher: Pandora Press U.S. (copublished with Herald Press)
Publication date: November 15, 2001
Series: C. Henry Smith Series, volume 3
Approximate Pages: 304
Price: $22.95 ($34.95 in Canada)
Format: 6 x 9 trade paper
ISBN: 1-931038-03-1





Copyright 2007 by Cascadia Publishing House