Masters Theses

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  • Publication
    Metaphors for “church” and “mission” in the Lutheran Church of Australia
    (2023) Mueller, Dan
    Multiple metaphors combine and cohere to define “church” and “mission.” This project discovers and critiques dominant metaphors used in the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA). It asks: What are the prevalent metaphors? Why are these dominant? Are they helpful? Are there other more helpful metaphors? The project has three parts. First is a literature review of Australian Lutheran theological writings. Eight LCA public statements and fifty-one journal articles are identified and analysed. The discovered metaphors include: Mission is work, Mission is witnessing, Mission is motion, and Mission is war. These are predominantly adversarial, drawn from work-related and social behaviour semantic domains. Their causation can be understood in terms of LCA history including struggles during the Reformation, migration to Australia, the lived experience of Lutheran farmers, and factors leading to the union of LCA synods in 1966. Next, three qualitative focus groups explore metaphors across six LCA congregations. Although adversarial metaphors feature heavily in literature, they do not resonate with participants. Instead “constructive” and “welcoming” pictures are preferred. Analysis of transcripts reveal multiple metaphors are needed, while particular ones are favoured. Some metaphors have more intuitive mappings than others, with metaphorical meaning made in community where the pastor plays a key role. Finally, four metaphors are recommended for congregations: Mission is growing deep roots and wild branches, Mission is sharing a meal together, Mission is childbirth, and Mission is providing a safe harbour for weary sailors. These build on existing LCA metaphorical preferences, balance Lutheran emphasises, and speak to our times. Congregations are challenged to explore, critique, and change their metaphors for “mission” by: (1) discovering dominant metaphors, (2) analysing causation of dominant metaphors, (3) choosing new or existing metaphors to feature, and (4) employing these metaphors often and everywhere. New metaphors ignite the imagination and can powerfully shape future LCA identity and practice.
  • Publication
    The Known Spirit in Religious Pluralism: Christian Theology of the Holy Spirit in Islam
    (2013) Hutagalung, Toar
    This thesis constructs a pneumatological approach on theology of religions, specifically between Christianity and Islam. This work is an alternative discussion to a Christological mindset in order to have a common ground of an interreligious dialogue. At the same time, this thesis also specifies the importance of maintaining the singularity or particularity of a set of religious belief. In this area of discussion, it should not replace the further explorations on the Christological dimension. Redefining the term of embodiment, I offer an in depth way of accepting the possibility of knowing the Holy Spirit in various forms. The embodiment of God is usually known in the Incarnated Christ and a church is understood as the embodiment of Christ. Nevertheless, the embodiment of the Holy Spirit can also take place in other religions, because the Holy Spirit is free and does not belong to any religious belief. This way of thinking is endorsed through the discussions on symbols. A symbol is human language to communicate with something beyond the object that is symbolized. For instance, using symbols that are taken from contexts, human beings will be able to reach the unreachable God. The Spirit can be found through symbolization that human beings make within their own religious context. Pneumatological contributions on theology of religions, specifically from Gavin D’Costa and Amos Yong will help Christian theologians to say that there is the Holy Spirit in other religions. I will extend this thinking by using a specific case of finding the Spirit in Islam. In the end, there might be a better chance to develop a discussion that the Spirit who dwells in Christianity is actually presents in Islam.
  • Publication
    The Contemplative Heart: A Contemplative Spirituality for Daily Life
    (2005) Morris, Christopher
    The thesis explores the recent growth in interest in the contemplative dimension of Christianity. The term Contemplative Spirituality will be used to encapsulate this growing movement. The central notion of contemplative spirituality is that the living of a contemplative life is available to all Christians living in any state of life. This is a significant change from the past, when a contemplative life was considered the reserve of those living a contemplative lifestyle, usually in a monastery. The thesis examines first the contemporary context in which contemplative spirituality has emerged, a context characterised by a spiritual search emphasising personal experience and choice. It argues that the growing interest and new expression of the Christian contemplative tradition has emerged within this context and has also been influenced by it. Some dimensions of contemplative spirituality are explored, and theological foundations developed. The thesis then suggests contemplative practice as the heart of contemplative spirituality, the most central being the intention to live life with a receptive and attentive attitude to God’s presence in daily life. It then examines a number of contemplative practices before exploring meditation and the spiritual journey in detail. The thesis concludes by arguing that the living of the contemplative life in the world requires significant support to ensure it continues to grow, and it suggests a number of these supports.
  • Publication
    Emancipatory education: Pipe dream or possibility? A critical and contemporary re-imagining of Paulo Freire’s dialogical pedagogy for Catholic educators, informed by Parker Palmer’s epistemic ontology.
    (2022) Leydon, Thomas
    The thesis argues that authentically emancipatory pedagogy, in a twenty-first century context of what Pope Francis calls the “omnipresent technocratic paradigm”, invites a re-imagining of Paulo Freire’s idealism. Critically examining Freire’s pedagogy in retrospect, it applies his spirit of critical dialogue to the times. Via fresh insights from Catholic Social Teaching, we engage Parker Palmer’s educational spirituality for this purpose. Palmer re-integrates the “knowing and “being” essential for contemporary educators yearning to “re-humanise” the vocation.
  • Publication
    St Cyprian’s Understanding of Synodality as Inclusive of the Laity
    (2021) Macharaga, Kenneth
    Synodality is an old concept in the Church, but has recently, with the papacy of Pope Francis (2013-), taken center stage. This thesis approaches the dialogue on synodality from a historical point of view. By exploring the letters of St Cyprian of Carthage the thesis highlights and examines the role(s) that Cyprian gave to the laity in matters of Church governance.