Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Dottie Escobedo-Frank, DMin
Mary McCracken, DMin
Christians in the United States have been divided against each other since before the Pilgrims touched dry land and Plymouth Rock. These divisions have created disaster in their wake, ranging from literal witch hunts in the early Massachusetts colony, to religiously fueled engagements in World War I, through to the continuing battles over sexuality, civil rights, and the American Christian exceptionalism that exist today. While the divisions are not new, our contemporary context suggests that these divisions themselves, even more than the subjects over which Christians are divided, are creating mortal danger to the body of Christ as a whole. The bitterness of these battles between the Progressive/Liberal/Mainline (PLM) churches and the Conservative Christian (CC) churches taints the flavor of the Gospel itself, making the experience of Church as a whole less palatable, less powerful, and less relevant. This bitterness, coupled with our increasing ability to tailor our newsfeeds in ways that align with our own preconceived notions, means that all of us, inside the Church and out, are more easily able to silence and ignore the voice of the Other thus narrowing our circles of information and impact. Overcoming the divides between the PLM and CC churches will require many different approaches, but this dissertation suggests that storytelling offers an effective, low-barrier means of bridging those divides and braiding relationships. Storytelling serves as the most basic technology of our Christian faith, and my hope is that storytelling can lead us back toward each other through the Master Storyteller himself, Jesus.
Yocum, Jennifer, "Crossing Lines/Weaving Lives: Storytelling as a Means of Building Bridges across the Progressive/Conservative Divide" (2018). Doctor of Ministry. 243.