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Evangelical women negotiating faith in contemporary Scotland

Henderson, Gwen Deborah (2008) Evangelical women negotiating faith in contemporary Scotland. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.

Abstract

This thesis explores the experience of spiritual dissonance described in the spiritual life histories of twenty one Christian women associated with the evangelical Christian community in Scotland. It describes the symptoms of constriction, paralysis and impasse which some of these women report and explores the reasons for their interpretation of their symptoms as signs of spiritual sickness. It uses faith development theory to explain some aspects of these symptoms in the context of healthy transitional faithing change. It suggests however that women’s reluctance to speak publicly about their experience, their habitual repression of their deep emotions and questions, their tendency to use psychological ‘splitting’ to conform within their faith communities and resist the fragmentation of their spiritual identity, indicate that their development has been seriously damaged by spiritual restriction in some congregations. It argues that patriarchal church culture, androcentric educational approaches and the deliberate perpetuation of dependent faithing styles militate against women’s spiritual development. It demonstrates the extent to which some women’s interiorisation of the patriarchal structures and values of their communities has led them to separate themselves from aspects of their relationship to self, church and God in a manner resembling the behaviour of those who have been abused. This thesis calls the evangelical church in Scotland to acknowledge and respond to this phenomenon, recognising that while some of these women are at present ‘internal leavers’ in the church - physically present within but emotionally detached from their congregations - they may ultimately make the decision to leave.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Women,spirituality, evangelicalism, faith development theory, Christian education, church leaving.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BV Practical Theology
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: Walton, Dr. Heather E.
Date of Award: 2008
Embargo Date: 10 July 2014
Depositing User: Dr Gwen D Henderson
Unique ID: glathesis:2008-323
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2008
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:17
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/323

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