Sewanee: School of Theology Theses 2019


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 9
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    In defense of the development of Augustine's doctrine of grace
    (University of the South, 2019-12) Agisa, Laban Omondi
    Augustine contributed to Christian thought with some pivotal works that have developed Christian doctrine. His works continue to be relevant today in theology and Christian practice. He responded to some of the main controversies the Catholic Church faced in the fourth and fifth centuries on the doctrine of Trinity, Christology, and Grace. He believed that only the grace of God can bridge the chasm that sin creates between the Creator and creatures. Only grace can usher believers into God’s salvation. He also claimed that those to whom God chooses to give grace, God does so despite their power to resist. Pelagius and his followers, on the other hand, arguably misinterpreted Augustine’s doctrine of grace especially on the aspect of original sin; so Pelagius therefore denied the efficacy of baptism. He also claimed that Augustine denied the existence of free will in humans and that he held that free will was destroyed by sin, and thus free will was incompatible with Augustine’s doctrine of grace. He also accused Augustine of being a Manichean because of his doctrine of concupiscence. On the contrary to Pelagius, Augustine advanced the view that humans lost their free will only when Adam sinned. He, therefore, emphasized the believer’s restoration in Christ and the need for the grace of Christ. Therefore, the point of this project is to examine Augustine’s doctrine of grace including its development and key tenets. The analysis includes Pelagius’ criticism and its effect on the development of Augustine’s arguments on free will and efficacy of grace. Before its conclusion, Augustine’s response to Pelagius and his proponents becomes key in the project.
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    Like a tree planted by streams: A Christian mandate for placedness
    (University of the South, 2019-09) Scott, Jennifer M.
    Trees find strength in being rooted. Do humans need similar stability and placedness? This thesis explores the questions: “Is there a mandate for being placed?” and if so, “What is the impact on the local church?” In the transient, unrooted culture of the USA, the concept of place is easily lost. Individuals and whole communities are detached and disconnected. In this thesis, place will be explored through the lenses of Christian scripture, Christian theology, and social and environmental sciences. The final chapter will then explore the impact of placedness for the local church. In the first chapter, I will look at the biblical mandate for placedness, mainly focusing on the Hebrew Scriptures. The second chapter will address a theological mandate, with an emphasis on sacramental theology. The third chapter will look at the mandate for place that informs some secular studies , mainly in the fields of social sciences and environmentalism. The last chapter will then address how the local church can intentionally seek the sense of place, or placedness, that is mandated by these different studies.
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    Truth Telling at theTable: The Eucharist and White Supremacy in the Episcopal Church
    (University of the South, 2019-09) Brown, A. Claire
    The Eucharist is a sacrament of grace, liturgically enacted in words, gestures, and substances meant to recall the executed and resurrected body of Jesus Christ, a Palestinian Jew under political occupation. It calls the assembly into ethical action in solidarity with Jesus, to stand alongside him, and with those who currently suffer in our communities. The Eucharist is crucial for the work of racial justice and holds transformation for those white U.S. American Christians who are seeking to challenge the social and political idolatry of white supremacy. To access the practice of love that the Eucharist leads us to, to recover the vision of God from within the rites of a historically white supremacist tradition, white Episcopalians must engage in the uncomfortable and vital work of truth telling. This project offers an exploration of the racial history of the denomination, and a political liturgics grounded in black liberation theology, sacramental and political theology, and ritual theory. It concludes with suggestions for anti-racist liturgical and pedagogical practice for majority white Episcopal parishes.
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    Sacramental and Sacred: A Catechetical Introduction with Respect to the Relevance of a Sacramental Church in the Twenty-First Century
    (University of the South, 2019-04) Dalby, Mary Martin Douglass
    This project grew from my desire to explore the relevance of being a sacramental church in the twenty-first century and how that forms us as sacramental people in the world in which we live. Because baptism, confirmation, and eucharist are the three sacraments that most people will encounter in our traditions, they will be the focus of this doctoral project. My intention is that it will serve as a resource for any who are interested in understanding why and how the sacramental nature of the Episcopal Church enlightens our personal faith, as it also empowers us to do the mission of the church. This study is a program model that delves into the origins, evolutions, and current practices of these three sacraments to determine how they work together. Much attention is paid as to how Scripture is intertwined in the practices of a sacramental church. The person using this model may be new to our church or a longtime member in search of answers to questions previously not explored or understood. In either case, a fuller knowledge of the “inward and spiritual grace” that they convey to make us “outward and visible signs” of that grace in our sacramental lives is the objective of this work.
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    The Pitch of a Woman's Voice: Paradigms in Preaching and Power
    (University of the South, 2019-04) Ljunggren, Margaret Lorraine
    This project focuses primarily on the voices of female preachers. The interest arose from personal experiences as a woman whose voice has been challenged and questioned as well as encouraged and sustained both within the life of the church and in the world-at- large. The timing of this project is important in light of the ways in which women’s voices continue to be opposed, oppressed, or silenced. This project discusses the use of language in sermons as well as how the absence of certain language benefits preachers and listeners alike. Because the Women’s Movement and Feminist Theology overlooked the additional challenges faced by women of color, the writings of Womanist Theologians and preachers are included. This is followed by considering the metaphor of ‘voice.’ The project offers ‘real-life’ experiences of a group of diverse women preachers as they undertake using their voices in varied settings. Their generosity extends to offering examples of their own sermons for our edification and inspiration. This work provides preachers serving in a variety of ministry settings an overview of the still- unfolding theological reflections of women as well as guidance on applying feminist and womanist theology to the process of sermon-writing. An overarching goal is to encourage preachers, particularly women, to find and use their voices for the benefit of all of God’s people. An appendix is provided for those desiring to read more about the relationships between gender, patriarchy, and power, and the contributions made by feminist theologians past and present.