• Hurting and Hiding: The Lived Experiences of Black Men Struggling with Same-Sex Attraction and Adherence to the Teachings and Beliefs of UK Black Majority Churches.

      Watts, Graham; Rich, Tony; Middleton, Paul; Bradshaw, Ruthlyn O. (University of Chester, 2018-04-25)
      Black Majority Churches (BMC) play a central role in the lives of Black people, informing culture and community. Within the BMC the issues of sexuality and in particular homosexuality are rarely spoken of. However, doctrines in regards to homosexuality have been conveyed in a seemingly homophobic manner, hence individuals experiencing same-sex attraction (SSA) in BMCs have remained silent and unsupported. This phenomenological study explores the lived experiences of five Black Men struggling with SSA and adhering to the teachings of the BMC. The study posed the question, ‘How do Black men struggling with SSA and the teachings of BMCs perceive and describe their lived experiences?’ Data for the study was collected primarily through individual interviews conducted with each participant. The transcripts were analysed using Colazzi’s method for analysing data and two major themes emerged: unfairness and needing support. Discussions of the participants lives indicated that they felt compelled to keep their SSA hidden to avoid stigmatisation, discrimination, isolation and rejection. Moreover, they were also discomforted by the ongoing conflict between their homoerotic feelings and their religious beliefs. Additional data resulting from the questionnaires completed by seventeen Black ministers and leaders of BMCS, provided understanding of the context in which the participants were struggling. The findings suggest that there is a lack of a pastoral care approach for persons experiencing SSA in BMCS and recommends that such an approach is developed. Importantly, this study gives voice to Black men with SSA hurting and hiding in BMCs and has the potential to contribute to the resources required by anyone wanting to find out more about this experience and initiate further research.
    • Postsecular Rapprochement: A Strategic Model for Church Engagement in a Postwelfare, Post-regeneration Age

      Baker, Christopher T. H.; Llewellyn, Dawn; Jones, Margaret A. (University of Chester, 2017-08)
      Since the global financial crisis of 2008-9 and the deficit reduction measures introduced by the British government from 2011, a new strategic deinstitutionalized model of community engagement has begun to emerge to address issues of social justice and environmental concern. Cloke (2011) identifies this new space of engagement as ‘rapprochement’. This research develops this concept, arguing that this organic, radical, social enterprise form of partnership offers the Established Church1 a potential means to engage in community-based social action in a postwelfare, post-regeneration age. A redistribution of power that seeks to enable agency and release enterprise, innovation and hope is at the heart of this new community-based model of partnership. These innovative enterprises are particularly evident in inner urban areas, although it is a model also appropriate for suburban and rural communities. This fresh model of partnership is a consequence of a developing nexus between rapprochement and austerity. Rapprochement emerges in what Habermas (2001 onwards) identifies as the postsecular. This acknowledges that religion, despite expectations to the contrary (Wilson 1982; Bruce 2002), continues to have a significant role in the public square. The global financial crisis and austerity measures imposed by the last two governments (2010-2015; 2015-2017) reflect a neo-liberal ideology leaving those least able to cope increasingly vulnerable and in need of support. A hermeneutic ethnographic approach accesses the experiences of leaders engaged in public, private and third sector organizations in a time of on-going austerity and considers their knowledge and understanding of partnership working. Data consists of 14 interviews and is triangulated with participant observation in two partnerships identified as examples of rapprochement. Case study helps clarify understandings of this new form of partnership. Dynamics characterizing these organic partnerships include a deep respect for hermeneutical integrity; a desire to create a sense of place, rather than space; a transformative form of hospitality and a style of leadership that enables the different stakeholders to acquire and develop a sense of agency. Innovative frameworks clarifying these dynamics include ideas of postsecularity, progressive localism, smart pluralism, and enablement. Alongside terms like personal responsibility, passion and vision, usual in partnership vocabulary, the research uncovered a more nuanced and sophisticated lexicon. This includes terms such as autonomy, brokering and process enablers. Rapprochement primarily encapsulates a person’s love for their neighbour. Those engaged in these partnerships practise a welcome engendering inclusivity, which offers a fresh theological understanding of hospitality. It also suggests a distinct theological understanding of leadership, espousing a model that draws others in, helping them to discover their gifts and constantly expanding and sharing leadership. This strategic deinstitutionalized model of partnership offers the Established Church an opportunity to join with others and to show, through praxis and community engagement, God’s bias for the poor and his longing for their enablement.
    • Unspeakable things unspoken. Otherness and victimisation in Judges 19-21: An Irigarayan reading.

      Firth, David G.; Hamley, Isabelle Maryvonne (University of Chester, 2017-07)
      It is June 2001, in a small church in deepest Arkansas. ‘Brother John’ is speaking at a youth service. The text he has chosen: Judges 19. ‘This is the story of a woman who left her husband. She disrespected authority and leaders. She got what she deserved. This is what will happen to you if you disobey your leaders.’ This is by far the worst sermon I have ever heard, and it started my journey with Judges 19-21. It is the only time I have ever heard this text referred to in public worship. There was nothing in my Christian journey until then that could have given me the skills to deal with that text, or that sermon. At the same time, it is a text that burrowed its way into my consciousness, because I have consistently worked with women (and men) who have experienced sexual abuse over the years. How can they read this text? Why is it there? In what sense can it be Scripture? While the text has been used oppressively, can it be read differently, and redeemed from oppressive interpretations? Has it got anything to offer, beyond a reading in memoriam?
    • Beyond Dialogue - An exploration of the Musalaha: Curriculum of Reconciliation model of interfaith dialogue with relevance for the UK context.

      Baker, Christopher T. H.; Rawlings, Philip J. (University of Chester, 2017-07)
      Issues concerning the integration of migrant communities into United Kingdom society have once again become the subject of national debate, with the publication of the Casey Review in December 2016. In the aftermath of terrorist incidents in Manchester and London, as well as the 2016 Referendum vote for the United Kingdom to leave to the European Union, the reported rise in racially motivated hate crimes and an increase in both antisemitism and Islamophobia, the necessity of developing healthy relationships between communities is imperative. When considering the question of whether segregation is on the increase or not Cantle and Kaufman conclude that while minority ethnic communities are dispersing there is significantly less mixing with the ‘White British’ communities, who seem to be withdrawing from mixed areas. The need for integration is vital. This research starts with the premise that religion is part of the solution, not a part of the problem. This qualitative research explores ethnographically the process of interfaith dialogue, by participant observation of three different groups over a five-year period, with intense reflection over the last three years. These groups were made up of Muslims and Christians, and Hindus in one group, all of whom had a deep personal faith in their respective religions. Using Salim Munayer’s Musalaha Six-stage Cycle of Reconciliation, which was pioneered in the Israel-Palestine context of 25 years of dialogue practice among Messianic Jews and Palestinian Christians, the research adapts and builds on this model, for use in interfaith dialogue, developing a fresh definition of ‘interfaith dialogue’ and a method of interfaith dialogue appropriate for the UK context. The thesis makes three main contributions to academic knowledge. First, it presents a new definition and fresh approach to interfaith dialogue with relevance for the UK context, which is particularly relevant for devout believers in their respective religions, to stand alongside other models. Second, the results of the research identify a list of fourteen key themes, including identity, faith and reconciliation, which deserve further analysis. The research methods indicated that there are many more issues that, with further analysis, might be profitably explored. Third, that following the six-stage cycle the path to reconciliation, although remaining hard, is nevertheless achievable, especially for those whose faith provides the motivation and drive to engage at depth with the other.
    • An Examination of an Ongoing Process of Transition of an Older Generation Church to a Narrative Form of Preaching

      Wright, Stephen; Rich, Tony; Ford, Tim (University of Chester, 2017-06)
      Preaching remains central to the Evangelical Church tradition. This research examined whether the style of preaching in one such church could usefully be transitioned into another style which might be more widely helpful for congregants. Analysis of this church’s archives suggested a preaching pattern that tended towards a single style, often in ‘points’ and ‘sub-points’ irrespective of the literary genres of the biblical text preached upon. The style primarily conveyed information to the listeners and in varying degrees offered ‘application’ to their lives. The aim of the research was to examine whether a focus on the narrative of the Bible, from individual texts to the biblical meta-narrative, and setting this within the congregational life narratives, would offer a better and more varied style of preaching. The proposed preaching style emphasises engagement with the text rather than primarily offering information about it. Richard Osmer’s reflective cycle was adopted as the methodological framework for this thesis. The research was conducted within the church community and was largely a qualitative inquiry. Congregants reflected on past and present preaching, and on a series of sermons preached in a narrative style. The congregational research was then examined in the light of established homiletic literature. The main findings were a positive response to the new style, and unexpectedly that there was an interest in congregants being directly involved in sermons through interjections, particularly in offering life illustrations that relate to what the preacher is saying. This moves away from a preacher and hearer framework to that of the sermon being a shared event. As a result of the research a preaching model called ‘threefold narrativity’ is proposed in the thesis. This model allows for variations of the style of individual sermons within the model, and a means by which a preacher may monitor the balance of sermons is offered. Ways of implementing change in order to utilise this model were then considered, and a final meta-reflection of the process is made.
    • Poietic Hermeneutics: Making local paths

      Baker, Christopher T. H.; Watson, Derrick L. (University of Chester, 2017-06)
      This thesis argues for poietic hermeneutics as a work of gathering and re-siting which intervenes in the local material-discursive site. This is an interruptive tactic of the local church, seeking the flourishing of here through transitory, non-hegemonic acts of re-making. In developing this tactic I draw a critique of a practical theology discourse which, I argue, masks acts of making, with a consequent loss of attentiveness to materiality and a normative commitment to the development of practices internal to the church and the practitioner.
    • A study of Matthew 8.16-17 seeing Jesus' healing as the fulfilment of Isaiah 53.4a through narrative analysis

      Clark, Mathew; Clay, Martin; Kwak, Woosong (University of Chester, 2017-05)
      The aim of this study is to explore the issue, whether or not Matthew in 8.16- 17 quotes Isaiah 53.4a as a proof-text without considering its context. This issue of the quotation has a great significance for two areas: hermeneutics and theology. First, the hermeneutical significance of the quotation is concerned with the issue, whether the intention and method of Matthew’s quotations of the Old Testament is a contextual approach or a non-contextual approach. Second, the theological significance of the quotation is connected to theoretical (dogmatic) and practical theology. Firstly, the significance for theoretical theology is concerned with the discussion of Matthean Christology: the identity of Jesus, the nature of his healing ministry; the provenance of his understanding of atonement. Particularly, the last one is crucial, for the whole Christian doctrine of Atonement depends on the answer to this problem. Secondly, the significance for practical theology is related to the discussion of “healing in the atonement” in Charismatic circles. This discussion can be progressed, only when it is shown that Matthew quotes Isaiah 53.4a in Matthew 8.16-17 with regard to its context, because this at least provides the basis for such a discussion. This study has attempted to treat the issue of the quotation by applying narrative analysis to Matthew 8.16-17 and the necessary part of Isaiah 52.13-53.12. This analysis includes semantic, linguistic philosophical, literary and theological explorations. With this analysis, this study has discovered an answer to the issue and some important findings, which are significant in terms of methodology, hermeneutics and theology. The answer provided by this study is that Matthew does not quote Isaiah 53.4a as a proof-text without considering the context. Rather, he, familiar with the context, quotes it in Matthew 8.16-17 in order to strategically affect the implied reader’s recognition of Jesus as, firstly, the suffering servant who is finally to offer himself as a guilt offering or a ransom, and secondly, as the Messiah. The findings are the significance of “prolepsis” in Matthew; the relationship between “ransom” lu,trον and “guilt offering” םשָ אָ ; complementary parallelism (the relationship between structure and meaning); the complementary structure of the “we” and “they” in the unfolding narrative of Isaiah 52.13-53.12; the death of the servant; and the relationship of “diseases” and “sufferings/sorrows” in 53.4a. All of these findings have enabled this study to trace the events of Jesus’ ministry and their underlying causes as far as possible to the depiction of the servant in Isaiah 52.13-53.12.
    • The divine warrior and cosmic catastrophe: the impact of the sibylline oracles on interpretation of Mark 13:24-25

      Middleton, Paul; Angel, Andy; McBay, Susannah E. (University of Chester, 2017-04)
      The meaning of cosmic catastrophe language (CCL) in Mark 13:24-25 is widely contested: both in regards to what type of language is used and to what event it refers, namely the fall of temple at Jerusalem in 70CE or the Parousia of Christ. Recent contributions from Marcus, Shively and Angel have identified the mythological background behind the language, but still interpret this mythology in different ways. In this thesis I elucidate the tradition behind CCL, specifically that of the Jewish Divine Warrior Tradition (DWT), to assess further its development in the Second Temple period and inform interpretations of Mark 13:24-25. Using a historical-critical, criterion-based approach, I demonstrate that the DWT is used in thirteen texts in the Sibylline Oracles and that this use expresses divine opinion and judgement upon political entities and spiritual powers that oppose God and his heavenly host. I also show that the DWT in Sib. Or. 3-5 incorporates elements from Stoic cosmological imagery, which was separated from the Stoic doctrine of ἐκπύρωσις with the advent and rise of Roman Stoicism. The result of this has various implications for navigating the interpretations of Mark 13:24-27 and I conclude that the cosmic catastrophe of vv.24-25 is best understood as describing the cosmic upheaval and demise of spiritual powers that relate to the temple and its leaders at the coming of the Divine Warrior.
    • Cornelius Van Til’s Doctrine of God and Its Relevance for Contemporary Hermeneutics

      Morris, Wayne; Hunt, Jason B. (University of Chester, 2017-03)
      Cornelius Van Til is known for his work in the field of apologetics. His distinctive approach emphasized consistency between methodology and theology in order to defend the Christian faith. Though often neglected, his doctrine of God provided the foundation for his methodology. The nature of who God is informs how we know him and how we interpret his word. The three most prominent contours of his doctrine were: the Creator-creature distinction, incomprehensibility, and the ontological Trinity. The value of these particular emphases is that they are key touchpoints for diagnosing apologetic methods and affirming the Christian system of truth. The nature of his assessment of methodology at the worldview level along these contours has wide-ranging implications for other disciplines, including hermeneutics. The following study explores the relevance of Van Til’s doctrine of God for contemporary biblical hermeneutics in terms of consistency between method and theology proper as revealed in the Bible. Van Til’s doctrine of God is relevant for contemporary hermeneutics both, in how ‘hermeneutics’ has come to be defined and in terms of how its relationship to metaphysics has been understood. In the former, there has been movement toward a more explicitly holistic definition, one that provides a general theory of understanding involving worldview assumptions. In the latter, the relationship between hermeneutics and metaphysics has been unavoidable. It has also been unstable and inconsistent. Van Til speaks to each of these trends from a self-conscious, Christian worldview. His work focused on worldview considerations and presuppositions, including metaphysical and epistemological concerns. It is argued that Van Til’s contributions are not only relevant for evaluating hermeneutical methods, but also contribute to some concerns of recent developments in the field. Two such developments which have influenced evangelical hermeneutics are Speech Act Theory (SAT) and Theological Interpretation of Scripture (TIS). Van Til’s contributions strengthen the effort to give due consideration to the divine author in discussions of meaning and method, but also serve to help critically evaluate and round out both. Lastly, the relevance of his theology proper is seen regarding the contemporary hermeneutical issue of the NT use of the OT. This provides a brief case study concerning a prominent contemporary issue in evangelical hermeneutics. Van Til’s contribution asks deeper questions regarding method and meaning which further the discussion, and detects flaws in some attempts to make sense of how the NT uses the OT.
    • Forming Ministers or Training Leaders? An Exploration of Practice and the Pastoral Imagination

      Wright, Nigel; Clarke, Anthony J. (University of Chester, 2017-02)
      This thesis is a piece of practitioner research located in the context of the author’s practice as Tutor in Pastoral Studies at Regent’s Park College. It is written from the context of change, both from denominational reviews, university restructuring and government funding and from wider changes in theological education and arises from a sense of dissatisfaction that recent debates have tended to separate out a discussion about the preparation for ministry from an understanding of ministry itself. The thesis explores ideas of ministry and leadership, arguing that, in the face of the challenge posed by leadership language and thought, a historic and contemporary Baptist understanding of ministry is best understood through a dialectical model of ministry, a habitus, rather than through a habitus of leadership. It then charts the history of preparation for ministry among Baptists and explores the contemporary developments in language and suggests that formation is the most appropriate and helpful description of the process.
    • Theology in a Local Church: An Ordinary Ecclesiology

      Morris, Wayne; Hoyland, John G. (University of Chester, 2017-01)
      Contemporary studies in ecclesiology cover a range of issues and contexts. Studies in ordinary theology also deal with a diversity of doctrines. There is, however, no substantial study of ordinary ecclesiology, that is, the understanding of church by ordinary members individually and by local churches congregationally. My personal and professional context is that of an ordained Anglican. In the light of this the study addresses this gap in knowledge by exploring the ordinary ecclesiology of a Church of England congregation. It is an example of an ordinary ecclesiology contributing a thick description (Geertz 1973) of a particular congregation to studies of church. The focus on ecclesiology is driven by issues raised in the literature review which demonstrate that the mainstream denominations in Britain face particular challenges such as numerical and influential decline. The study is based on a two year ethnographic study of a commuter village church in a united benefice of four churches. The ethnographic study, based on participation in and observation of the church on a weekly basis, includes interviews, conversations, a focus group and an examination of the written data generated in the church (web-site; publicity; church newsletters; magazines; documentation). This qualitative data is analysed using a form of interpretive dualism (Soja 1996) which emerged as an appropriate method during the research. Three binary pairings describing ways of thinking about church are used: instrumental – ontological; temporal – transcendent; patron – subscriber. The research demonstrates how this local church goes about theological thinking on the idea of church and reveals the content of that thinking. The study concludes that ordinary theology is present in the local church but that it is largely unacknowledged as such and is mainly a personal or individual enterprise. The implications of this are discussed. That discussion concludes that ordinary theology needs to be seen as the task of the whole λαός of God rather than the task of the laity and that in order to do this the local church needs to be re-imagined as a theological community where theological thinking is encouraged and resourced. This discussion centres on the importance of ecclesiology as a key doctrine in the Church of England’s contemporary context. The study therefore makes a contribution to knowledge by identifying and articulating what the ecclesiology of a local church looks like. It contributes to and challenges current practice by proposing rethinking the nature and purpose of the local church.
    • A New Creation in Christ: A Historical-Theological Investigation into Walter Marshall’s Theology of Sanctification in Union with Christ in the Context of the Seventeenth-Century Antinomian and Neonomian Controversy

      Christ, Timothy M. (University of Chester, 2016-12)
      This thesis attempts to understand Marshall in a similar vein but on a much larger scale. Our work will progress in four remaining chapters. In chapter II we will explore Marshall’s diachronic context, explaining how Protestant theology wrestled with correlating free justification and the need for a renewed life. We will look at Luther, Trent, and Calvin because they were highly influential in shaping the theological context in the seventeenth century and because they offer clear examples of theologians struggling to formulate their doctrine of Sanctification. In chapter III we will look at Marshall’s synchronic context. Our main task is to trace the development of Antinomianism and Neonomianism. Both systems were significant factors in Marshall’s context. We will also study those who influenced them, including Perkins, the English Arminians, and Owen. We will conclude this section with several tensions that were present in English Reformed theology in the middle of the seventeenth century. Chapter IV accounts for about half of this thesis. This is where we will explore Marshall’s theology. We will analyze Marshall’s book The Gospel Mystery rhetorically and systematically, examining how Marshall constructed his argument and the system of theology on which his argument was based. Our goal is to reconstruct his theological system. This chapter is subdivided into chapter length sections, which include the nature of sin and depravity, union with Christ, the new nature, justification, faith, assurance, and practical sanctification. Finally we will conclude in chapter V by showing that although Marshall is not unique in his theological construction, Marshall’s work demonstrates several factors that make it uniquely helpful in countering the twin errors of Antinomianism and Neonomianism, which are perennial dangers for Reformed churches. To bolster this conclusion, we will briefly explore how Marshall was used in the generations immediately following him.
    • Reading more than Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis

      Scharbrodt, Oliver; Dad Mohammadi, Mersedeh (University of Chester, 2016-11-19)
      This thesis reclaims the analysis of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. It is mindful of analysis of the stereotypical, and partial tendencies of orientalist representations of Satrapi’s work by both Iranian officials and “Western” media and readership. Themes are detected from this analysis and pertain to the message and intention of the author to create her work. The intentio lectoris1 (i.e. what audiences believe or led to believe) proposed that orientalist paradigms present the meaning of the work or Satrapi’s agenda, i.e. the intentio auctoris. Persepolis has been enthusiastically received all around the world, except in Iran. It has been described and interpreted as the critique of a courageous girl against the foundations of the Iranian Islamic Republic. Notwithstanding the success, the graphic novel and the animated movie derived from it in 2007 have been banned by the Iranian government, and subsequently Marjane Satrapi has been refused entry into the country. The polarised reception of Satrapi’s work in Iran and worldwide, is contextualised within (neo) orientalist critique. I detect in these receptions both potentials and problems. Reclaiming aspects of Persepolis’ analysis that have been excluded from and therefore devalued by external agencies is affirmed as a necessary and important contribution. However, I note that the overwhelming reluctance amongst “Western” media and news reporters to speak of Satrapi’s dual and neutral position, or to grasp at specificity her intentio auctoris, prevents us from a thorough discussion of their analysis. Satrapi’s work is ultimately left in the hands of clichés. I attempt to analyse Persepolis in such a way that it not only affirms rationality, fluidity, and duality, but also offers new and beneficial ways to argue Satrapi’s position and intention. My thesis is thus partly rooted in a feminist standpoint perspective to give voice to Satrapi’s agenda. What is more, it converses with similar restrictive regulations and contextualises them within an analysis of selected post-revolutionary autobiographical literature. My ultimate goal is to analyse the Iranian position towards Persepolis by making sense of the theological and political thought of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Revolution, and the concept of velayat-e faqih (guardianship of the jurists) and the national and international responses to it in a way in which to take and transform the representation of Persepolis and Iranian culture consequently. This is done by explaining the current Iranian situation and Iranian responses to internal and external threats. Theological analyses and the explication of some of the historical complexities affecting modern Iran (especially after the revolution) would be beneficial along the way.
    • Conservative Evangelicalism and the Environment: An Ethnographic Study

      Clough, David; Baker, Christopher T. H.; Morris, Wayne; Crosby, Christopher James (University of Chester, 2016-11)
      While there has been a long running debate concerning the relationship between the Christian faith and environmental attitudes and behaviours, the topic has been neglected empirically, especially in relation to qualitative research. This thesis addresses this gap and presents the results of fieldwork that included participant observation and forty in-depth qualitative interviews. The goal of this thesis is to present findings about the environmental attitudes and behaviours of four conservative evangelical congregations in North Wales, U.K., to further understanding about how Christian beliefs and interpretation of the Bible are formative in this process. To aid in this a modified ‘four voices of theology’ of Cameron et al. (2010) is used as an analytical template and to conceptualise results.
    • Transforming practical theological education in the changing context of non-confessional higher education

      Graham, Elaine L.; Stuerzenhofecker, Katja (University of Chester, 2016-10)
      This thesis is concerned with practical theological education in non-confessional higher education. If non-confessional Practical Theology is to take seriously its mandate to shape all of its students’ orientation and future actions regardless of their position vis-à-vis religion, it needs to respond to the increasingly diverse character of younger generations’ religiosity and the presence of non-Christian students. However, available studies of learning and teaching in Practical Theology, especially those originating in North America, predominantly focus on a Christian and clerical paradigm that is inappropriate for students of all faiths and none. Instead, I propose a reflexive process of formation in critical conversation with external norms and values. The development of this pedagogical reorientation requires an inductive study of participants’ positionalities. I welcome this as an exciting opportunity to move on from the Christian and clerical heritage with its concomitant process of formation through integration of external norms and values. My conceptual framework for this thesis is made up of four elements. The value of ‘prefiguring flourishing’ shapes my praxis in research and education. This leads me to adopt ‘Transforming Practice’ as the theoretical model for the design of my critical action research process. The hybrid positionality of ‘insider-outsider’ instead of a binary emerges from the research as a key concept that captures contemporary developments in religious identities, and affirms plurality and contingency in identity construction and group dynamics. This links to ‘rhizomatic fragments’ as conceptualisation of the ordering process in human life story construction, and in the research process and its presentation in the thesis. Based on this framework, I show how critical, reciprocal conversation between theological scholarship and alumni perceptions of long-term learning outcomes of my teaching practice can generate normative pedagogical principles for non-confessional PT while also prompting revision of theological concepts. The normative principles inform my student-focused reorientation of the model and aim of non-confessional PT, relevant curriculum, and appropriate learning, teaching and assessment. Secondly, I demonstrate how triangulation between these alumni-based normative principles, theological scholarship and autoethnography can contribute to the educator’s personal and professional development to realise their values more fully in their practice. This involves first deconstructing my past identity in theological education and vis-à-vis religion, and second reconstructing a confident future-oriented identity as theological educator.
    • The Significance of Crucible Experiences in the Development of a Selection of Northern Irish and Other Evangelical Christian Leaders

      Wilson, John S. A. (University of Chester, 2016-10)
      Among terms used to describe the events and experiences that contribute to the shaping of leaders is Warren Bennis’ and Robert Thomas’ ‘crucibles’. Their use of the term emerged from a series of interviews with leaders who had come of age in two distinct eras: all the leaders interviewed referred to a transformative experience that had contributed to their leadership. The aim of this research was to explore the significance of such experiences in the development of Christian leaders. A sample of fourteen evangelical leaders was selected and each leader participated in an in-depth qualitative interview. Their experiences were classified using Robert Thomas’ three types of crucible: new territory, reversals and suspension. Analysis of the experiences demonstrated how crucible experiences had a part to play in shaping both the character and calling of a leader: at times crucibles functioned as intensified learning experiences in which a leader’s beliefs took on an existential intensity. The emerging themes of character and calling are significant in both Old and New Testaments and the project reflected theologically on these. While crucibles may be significant features in the development of a leader, they do not tell the whole story: a range of factors and influences, some of which work in a more gradual way, are also part of a leadership journey.
    • The Perception and Impact of Countering Violent Extremism Programmes for Muslims in Sydney, Australia

      Scharbrodt, Oliver; McCaffrey, Claire (University of Chester, 2016-09)
      This thesis examines how the countering violent extremism initiatives implemented by the Australian government since 2011 have been received by Muslim communities in Sydney and the impact such measures have had, particularly, for those communities. Investigating the reception and impact of such initiatives both for and within Muslim communities, is vital in order to understand the scope of their reach and their efficiency. This thesis – addressing the lack of literature on this issue - will take the form of a case study of such programmes and their receipt by Muslim communities in Sydney, using primarily, qualitative research gathered through the use of semi-structured and unstructured interviews, as well as focus groups within Muslim communities in Sydney and policy reports gathered by both governmental and non-governmental bodies. Through an examination of the discourse adopted by the Howard government, in the period from 2001 to 2007, this study unearths and highlights the hostile, anti-Muslim environment in which the countering violent extremism measures were introduced. This environment was characterised by racism, negative stereotyping and vindication. Furthermore, through an analysis of this anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant narrative and discourse, the perceived threat posed by militant Islam to Australia and its interests constitutes both a process and discourse of securitisation by both the Howard government and the media. Data from fieldwork serves to evidence and reiterate the anti-Muslim undercurrent of Howard’s discourse maintaining the suspect community narrative and culminating in the securitisation of the Muslim population. The poor receipt of these measures by Muslim communities and the detrimental impact in terms of further marginalisation, alienation, and suspicion are testament to the counter-terror discourse and the growth in community based counter-terror measures.
    • The Structure of the Poetic Text: Structural Cohesion and Foregrounding as the Dual Rhetorical Discourse Function of Linguistic Parallelism in Biblical Hebrew Poetry

      Firth, David G.; Ayars, Matthew I. (University of Chester, 2016-07-31)
      The present project, by employing Roman Jakobson's conceptualisation of parallelism and literary linguistic analysis, argues that linguistic parallelism occurring at all levels of language (from phoneme to syntagmeme) in biblical Hebrew poetry has a dual rhetorical discourse function of foregrounding and structural cohesion. It is proposed that patterned grammatical-syntactic continuity and deviation at a colometric level creates poetic unity that harmonises the poem’s internal diversity and poetic variation across macrostructural levels that fosters foreground semantic components of the text. As the poetic text moves forward as a discourse, the diversity created by grammatical-syntactic deviation becomes patterned with a regular form of sequence that creates structural cohesion within the poem as discourse. After outlining the state of current research on biblical Hebrew poetry and exploring Jakobson’s poetics and their relevance to this project, the heart of the work is a detailed analysis of each poetic line in Psalms 113–118. These were chosen as a representative sample in order to test the validity of the model.
    • A practical theology of congregational song: Developing a wholesome “song of the people”.

      Morris, Wayne; Morris, Margaret A. (University of Chester, 2016-07-22)
      This thesis seeks to put in writing a practical theology of congregational song - the song of the people. Congregational song has been overlooked; studies of church music tend to focus on choral music and studies of hymns tend to look at words rather than music. This study seeks to tell the story of the song of the people, and to develop a practical theology of congregational song derived from the song itself and from a congregation’s reflections on that song.
    • Missional pastoral care: innovation in charismatic evangelical urban practice

      Llewellyn, Dawn; Graham, Elaine L.; Ruddick, Anna E. (University of Chester, 2016-06)
      A new model of mission is emerging among participants in the urban ministry of the Eden Network which reimagines evangelical identity and missiology. The Eden Network is a charismatic evangelical organisation which has engaged in incarnational urban ministry for the last nineteen years. In the course of my roles as a staff member and as a local participant observer, I identified tensions arising for Eden team members between their inherited evangelical theology and their experiences of mission in urban communities. This research aims to explore this dissonance, identifying the subcultural narratives of evangelicalism and the ways in which these narratives are complicated by lived experience.