Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS)




The modern world has created for us a dichotomy in which the secular and religious worlds are divided along Cartesian lines. These Cartesian lines exist between church, the workplace, political life, social life, and any other arena in which a philosophical distinction can be demonstrated. The result is that not only has society been divided, but also each individual person has been divided into multiple distinct areas of life. 1 With the onset of the postmodern era, we have begun to reformulate our worldview along the lines of holism. Holism has been defined in the American Heritage Dictionary as, "The theory that living matter or reality is made up of organic or unified wholes that are greater than the simple sum of their parts." Another related term that may be useful is "holistic," which is defined as, "Emphasizing the importance of the whole and interdependence of its parts."2 Using holism, we have begun to recognize the artificial nature of the boundaries that go across a person's life and across society. We are, in ever increasing degrees, recognizing that a person is a single whole, where each part affects the rest of the person's life. This same principle is only just recently being applied to society as a whole. Each individual is a member of multiple communities, including those at church, at work, at school, or in their neighborhood. As individuals gather in a community, they bring with them ties that they maintain to other communities. In other words, the community where I work is connected to the community where I go to church, through me. We are beginning to realize that what we previously viewed as a collection of independent parts can actually be viewed as a web of interrelated communities. There exists within society today an infinite variety of worldviews that range from purely modern to purely postmodern, with every conceivable combination between. We are beginning to understand the relationship between the person and the community. However, the interrelationship between communities is still largely an enigma. I will seek to bring together a concise view of the postmodern representation of the church as a holistic community, so that it can be used as a starting point for understanding the complexities of the interrelationships between the church and other communities that exist within our society.

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Christianity Commons