Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
The Western world has undergone dramatic transformation in the last five hundred years. A premodern world became modern and then postmodern. In the terms of philosopher Charles Taylor, the Western social imaginary—the collection of images and ideas that define human flourishing and guide a populous through daily life—has shifted from one of “transcendent-enchantment” to “immanent-disenchantment.” Christianity, a
once singular Roman Catholic Church, is a diversity of denominations that, despite best efforts and intentions, are watching people of all demographic groups join a mass exodus in body, soul, or both from the church. However, one would be mistaken to denounce those leaving as unspiritual. Rather, like their “spiritual but not religious” counterparts, they are seeking a sense of enchantment beyond what they found at church. So how can the Church respond?
Using the quantitative research methodology of autoethnography, Chapter One offers the life of the author as a catalyst to explore a recommended response from the Church toward those leaving as seekers. Chapter Two uses the New Testament’s Gospel accounts to define a Divine Imaginary—images and pictures God uses to describe human flourishing and guide God’s people through daily life. Chapter Three turns to historic interpretations of Romans, a text at the core of many Western theologies, in an attempt to both understand the development of Western Christianity and set the stage for reading of Romans according to the Divine Imaginary. Chapter Four takes a practical turn by exploring homiletics, social action, and the church’s response to trauma as paths to form people according to the Divine Imaginary. Chapter Five combines topics for further study and paths to implement change.
Burnham, Robert Joseph, "Restorying God: Re-Imagining The God of The Bible and Re-Enchanting Our Neo-Secular Selves" (2016). Doctor of Ministry. 148.