Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Howard Macy, Ph.D.
Charles K. Church
Charles J. Conniry Jr., Ph.D.
Within many local churches people hunger and thirst for deeper spirituality, authentic fellowship and more active ministry in the world. Sincere disciples long to know and follow Christ and participate in a community of saints who embody the values of God's Kingdom in this world.
Along the way, however, many of these same people often feel unfulfilled and frustrated. Hindered by social pressure and conventional values, these Christians find themselves conforming to the American social patterns and practices they often disdain. Many simply do not experience the necessary communal support to live out the gospel in the face of the prevailing culture.
This phenomenon is exacerbated within the Religious Society of Friends because of the profound shift toward individualism that occurred within their religious heritage. It is further complicated by the rugged individualism that defines American culture and affects the Friends vision of spiritual experience and sense of call.
The subject of this dissertation is to demonstrate creative avenues for authentic, transformational community through the use of a covenantal model in a Quaker fellowship. Sensitive to the peculiarities of Friends' Faith and Practice, this model is designed to nurture and sustain the historical and present day alternative way of life of Friends.
Chapter one of the dissertation includes a further examination of the problem by setting it in the context of a local congregation. Critical definitions are included to further clarify the subject of study. Chapter two identifies key biblical themes and an overarching theology of spiritual community. The third chapter provides a selected overview of communal models within church history that demonstrate a coherent and consistent thread within the long experience of the church. Chapter four examines two significant barriers to spiritual community-present day American culture and paradoxes and tensions within Friends faith. The final applied chapter of the dissertation will serve as a resource for creating a covenantal agreement within a local church. Its aim is to intentionally nurture a communal way of life that embodies the parallel cultural values of Christ's Kingdom.
Saxton, Colin B., "Creating Community: A Quaker, Covental Approach Toward a Parallel Society" (2004). Doctor of Ministry. 342.