Date of Award

Spring 1999

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Theology

First Advisor

John Hart

Second Advisor

Annette Moran

Third Advisor

Dennis Wiedmann

Abstract

This is a thesis about reconnecting faith lives with public lives. It is a vision of Christians who are seeking and living out their values at work, school, in entertainment selections, conversations on the phone, consumer habits, and interactions with self and others. An assessment of contemporary American society describes the need for such a vision. Americans have been described as increasingly placeless people who feel a lost sense of social empowerment, community and meaning. There exists a strong resistance to reconcile facts with values, leaving personal beliefs isolated in the private life. The church must make the choice to consciously follow the retreat from public ambiguity or gently guide its people into a holistic and public faith life. By examining scriptural and historical precedent, this thesis explains how it is both the intention and the challenge of church leaders and members to live their faith publicly. Christian tradition and scripture teach the discovery of God among people, especially the poor. To be Christian is to be an advocate of justice—a role that can not be fulfdled if secluded from the immediate and global communities in which one lives. The church proves ideal for bridging the private and public gap. Unique to any other body of people, the church on a frequent basis draws together a diverse group of members united by heartfelt beliefs. As well, churches are found in every community thereby providing stability and a place to be informed and connected. The understanding of church in this thesis comes from my own experience of church both as a Methodist and as a Carroll College student. Not only has each community fostered my faith, but has energized me to experience and penetrate my faith publicly.

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Christianity Commons

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