Sewanee: School of Theology Theses 2022

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    THE HOLY EUCHARIST AND THE MISSION OF GOD: PRINCIPLES AND CONSIDERATIONS FOR EUCHARISTIC WORSHIP IN THE NEW APOSTOLIC AGE
    (University of the South, 2022-05) Halley, Marcus George
    The Episcopal Church, like many American mainline churches, is facing a compounding set of challenges that threaten its identity and missional integrity. These challenges are not new and it is possible, when placed in the larger geographic and historical context of the church catholic, to draw upon resources that enable the Episcopal Church to weather the storm with its missional integrity intact. Chief among these resources is the church’s eucharistic practice. Even before the resurrection of Jesus, his followers gathered regularly for meals where they embodied the boundary-breaking inclusion and incorporation of the “other,” engaged teaching on the ethics of the coming kingdom of God, and practiced rituals that grounded them in their new, communal identity. After the resurrection, the followers of Jesus continued to a table-oriented ritual practice, albeit with new significance. They saw this practice as central to the ongoing participation in the saving work of Jesus, whom they believed to be present with them even as he was inviting them to eat together. While participation in the practice has ebbed and flowed throughout church history, it has remained central to the church’s engagement with the mission of God as an embodiment and participation in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This project argues that as the church explores creative solutions to the challenges posed by the new apostolic age, the eucharist should remain the fixed, ritual point around which the church arranges its common life.
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    Confronting the Phenomenon of Religious Shame With a Pastoral Theology of Mercy
    (University of the South, 2022-05) Adams, William Rian
    Religious shame damages the self and creates wounds that may never heal. One extremely harmful way religious institutions perpetuate shame on their parishioners and clergy occurs in their formal disciplinary processes. A shame-driven disciplinary process employs what I describe as four characteristics of institutional shame: l) Public exposure, 2) public judgment, 3) isolation from 'the faith community, and 4) prescribing a person's identity to them (e.g., regarding them "flawed" or "evil"). A central theme of this project is how the four shame characteristics drive various religious disciplinary actions, especially disciplinary actions against clergy for nonsexual infractions. To confront this religious shaming process, I present a theology of mercy that relies on God's mercy in the sacraments and mercy expressed in the life and ministry of Jesus. First, my research explores religious shame from a practical and psychological standpoint; next, it examines the contributions of depth psychology theorists Carl Jung and Heinz Kohut to shame studies; and finally, it investigates the role of sacramental theology as a means to confront religious shame. Ultimately, I propose a theology of mercy that calls for reform of current shame-based disciplinary practices.
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    The Preacher as Fabulist: Fabricating Fables, Allegories, and Parables for Preaching
    (University of the South, 2022-05) Bailey, Davis Mangum
    This thesis is an exploration of the craft of fabricating figurative stories for preaching. In this paper I assert that story telling is an essential tool in the preacher’s tool kit for sermon preparation. Then I look specifically at the practice of creating fictional stories for use in preaching. I begin by surveying genres of fable, allegory, and parable, with the understanding that such fictional stories have been used for millennia for rhetorical purposes. In doing so I look specifically at the literary building blocks of plot, character, setting, and dialogue noting how these raw materials of story are fabricated into narratives that bring wisdom, ethics, abstract concepts, and imaginative worlds to life for the hearer. This is followed by studying three sermons of modern preachers who employ story fabrication and storytelling in preaching. Finally, I bring all of this together in my own theory of fabricating figurative stories for preaching, using three of my own sermons as examples.
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    IN DEFENSE OF PREACHING IN THE SPIRIT
    (University of the South, 2022-05) Emerson, Jason
    This project defends the practice of preaching in the Spirit by first examining the connotations and hesitations around preaching in the Spirit. It then articulates the dearth of academic discussion of preaching in the Spirit from Anglican/Episcopal sources. Considering the lack of discussion from Anglican/Episcopal sources, scholars from the African American Christian Tradition, also known as the Black Church, are reviewed. An argument is made that while there are a variety of ways to preach in the Spirit, the fruit of preaching in the Spirit is an alternative community marked by shared leadership, diversity, and equality. An analysis of scripture shows how Spirit led speech in scripture cultivates this fruit. Following the scripture analysis two preachers of contrasting styles are profiled and selected sermons analyzed to show methods of preaching in the Spirit. Finally, sermon examples and reflections are presented to demonstrate how I have incorporated this research in my preaching.
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    Types and Shadows: Mysticism in the Parochial Sermons of John Keble
    (University of the South, 2022-05) Morris, Kevin Larry
    John Keble's parochial preaching represents the confluence of two major influences: a patristic approach to typology that Keble admired and sought to revive, and the use of imagery and symbol practiced by the Romantic poets. Both of these influences represent an early-nineteenth- century reaction against late eighteenth-century preaching styles and rationalist intellectual movements. But Keble's purpose was not to shape an intellectual movement, but rather to change Christian lives. The influences of Romantic poetry and patristic typology produce in Keble's parochial sermons an everyday sacramental mysticism. He led his congregation to frequently make connections between symbols, not just within scripture, but also in everyday life. In Keble's parochial sermons, these symbolic connections are presented to the congregation as sacramental encounters with God that have both mystical and moral implications. This thesis begins with a study of preaching in a particular historical context and argues that Keble's expansive use of typology that removes symbols from the realm of strict biblical interpretation to make them a means of an encounter with God is of use to modern preachers who wish to guide their congregations to see the God of scripture as an active presence in their lives.