Women--Religious life

A literary and historical analysis of Ephesians 5:18-6:9

Author
Shana Cress
Abstract
Within Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, there is a set of instructions termed the Haustafeln, or “household codes.” Paul turns his focus upon roles within the home. The question that inevitably arises from a text nearing 2,000 years of age is one of relevance. Do these instructions apply to those of a different time and culture? Several matters need to be examined. Previous research has linked this passage to Aristotle, to Roman culture, and to Stoic philosophy. Since the form of the Ephesians household codes is said to resemble Aristotle’s works, a reading of Aristotle’s code is necessary. Roman household characteristics that need to be explored include the pater familias, the goal of harmony, and the Roman conceptuality of adultery. Stoic philosophy will be examined through the writings of Epictetus. By closely examining his discourses, we can look for similarities or dissimilarities to Ephesians. If Paul’s goal was for Christians to blend in to the surrounding culture, then this will be evident as these subjects are investigated. In addition to this historical work, a literary analysis of Ephesians 5:18-6:9 will be performed. This thesis will argue that this passage on the household, Ephesians 5:18-6:9, is best understood against a Christian and not pagan philosophical background, situated within the epistle as a natural progression of Paul’s thought that is consistent with other Scriptural teaching.

Divine imagery in the spiritual lives of women lay ministers

Author
Esther H Sanborn
Abstract
Currently, the majority of lay ministers in the U.S. Catholic Church are women; wisdom can be gained from experience of women who have persisted long-term in lay ministry. Divine imagery in the spiritual lives of twelve women lay ministers from greater Chicago was explored through qualitative interviews. Using practical theology methods, findings of this ethnographic research was engaged with dialogue partners from Christian tradition and contemporary disciplines--Teresa of Avila's The Interior Castle, psychology-spiritual development theories, and feminist theological perspectives. From these mutually critical conversations emerged implications for the formation of lay minsters and proposals for ongoing praxis.

Women's Leadership in the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church

Author
Erin Reibel
Abstract
There continues to be significant differences in the level of success that women are able to achieve as the lead or solo pastors in United Methodist Churches. Through a grassroots effort, women can form small groups that offer teaching and practical assistance on many of the challenge/opportunities that women clergy face, including their role as adaptive leaders, prophets, and vulnerable leaders. While four months was not sufficient time to see significant results the groups offered women a model of support that could be replicated or modified to reach more female clergy leaders.

Walking Along the Breast Cancer Journey: A Pastoral Response to the Spiritual Needs of Breast Cancer Patients

Author
Catherine Susan Sims
Abstract
The author researched a theological reflection method of processing women's experience of breast cancer and its treatments through the image of pilgrimage. In addition to a supportive process the project sought to address the spiritual dimensions of the cancer experience. Three models for reflection were tested: Jesus' Paschal Mystery, the religious practice of pilgrimage and the stations of the cross. Using surveys, as well as discussion and observation over six weeks, data show an improvement in how the women saw their experience. This project enabled the women to choose how they would respond to the diagnosis of breast cancer.

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light: redeeming the language of submission for women survivors of abuse in a New England congregation

Author
Bonnie L Prizio
Abstract
This thesis addresses the attitude of submission and its relevance to Christian faith and sought to evaluate if views on this are different for women who have been abused. This pseudo experiment took place by use of a spiritual formation group that included both abused and non-abused women. This was a six-week group. Concepts of submission were explored. Pre and post assessments were utilized to assess changes in attitude around this concept. The research indicated that the women in the group who had been abused found a sense of freedom and healing through a renewed life of submission to God.

Evaluation of an intergenerational discipling workshop developed for the women's ministry at Irving Bible Church

Author
Jeanne R Ballard
Abstract
This study evaluated the effectiveness of a workshop designed to motivate mature Christian women to take personal initiative to disciple younger women by addressing five areas inhibiting the older women. The researcher collected quantitative and qualitative data from the participants' responses to identical pretest and posttest self-assessment surveys. Statistical analysis of the survey responses combined with anecdotal information gathered from comments on the final survey provided evidence that the participants began thinking differently about making disciples, felt more confident, and began taking initiative to engage in intergenerational discipling relationships with younger women.

Wilderness narratives of women leaders in faith communities as a reflection of spiritual formation

Author
Nina R Witnah
Abstract
Although connotations of wilderness elicit a sense of difficulty, harshness, and challenge, there is biblical, historical, and experiential support for the formative dimension of wilderness experiences. The author addresses how ministry leaders pursue spiritual formation when living in the context of wilderness experiences. The research follows a qualitative method of the semi-structured interview and is focused on women in leadership. The author learned that the quality of redemption in a wilderness time is enhanced by releasing expectations, choosing wisely in the midst of loss, noticing when God shows up, and embracing the opportunity for transformation.

Forgiving when the offense appears to be unforgivable: a narrative to help the hurt heal

Author
Patricia Murphy
Abstract
This dissertation explores forgiving offenses that appear to be unforgiveable. The participants in this study were Christian women from various denominations who had experienced an offense that they found so egregious that it impacted their ability to move forward. The project examines human and divine forgiveness. Using the Scriptures, workshops, movies, writings and one-on-one counseling sessions with these participants, the dissertation also defines some of these offenses as they relate to similar offenses in the Bible. The dissertation is written as a narrative to help inform the validity of the overall project findings.

Experiencing God in a retreat setting: nurturing spiritual transformation among women from Grand Tapids, Michigan

Author
Judie Colleen Childress
Abstract
This project discovered components of the Pursuit of Wholeness Retreats that nurtured spiritual transformation in a group of women participants from Grand Rapids, Michigan. A post-test evaluated participant experiences and the impact of seven different components on participant spiritual transformation. Results showed that prominent spiritual transformation occurred on the retreats. Of the seven components assessed, the Rime of Silence with God had the greatest impact. The second greatest impact on spiritual transformation was community.

Baptism and the perichoresis: an educational retreat for healing prayer ministers

Author
Andrea M Mueller
Abstract
A small group of mature Christian women, who serve as healing prayer ministers, participated in a daylong retreat designed to bridge a spiritual formation gap, which had not emphasized the benefits of baptism and its connection with healing. This gap revealed a lack of confidence arising from an inadequate understanding of the depths of connections between baptism and healing. After an examination of baptism -- the context of mission; God's image as "covenant-maker"; theology of the church (Justin Martyr, Martin Luther, perichoresis); and praxis (liturgy, St. Augustine) -- these women expressed increased confidence in prayers for healing, rooted in their baptism.
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