Date of Award
Dr. Stephen Johnson
Dr. David Kneip
Dr. Melinda Thompson
This doctor of ministry thesis presents the results of a project that explores the potential for extending a practice of story listening as a way of forming community across social circles at the Lake Orion Church of Christ in Lake Orion, Michigan. The intervention involved guiding a group of six participant-researchers, each of whom had previous experience in story listening, through six sessions in the fall of 2011. Each phase of the project was informed by a participatory social Trinitarian theology. The first three sessions were designed to empower participant-researcher pairs to facilitate story listening groups of four to five people from different social levels in the congregation. After the first three sessions, the pairs facilitated three weekly meetings of their own story listening groups. The final three sessions were designed for reflection, employing insights from grounded theory and hermeneutic phenomenology to assess the week’s experiences within each story listening group and to discover the emerging theory regarding the potential of story listening at the Lake Orion Church. Evaluation of the project revealed three key insights: (1) story listening leads to solidarity, both by connecting individuals to others and by shattering the judgmental assumptions and preconceptions listeners have about others; 2) listening is vital to communal formation; 3) story listening levels the social playing field in the group and exposes the myth of closeness that persists in congregations.
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Magnusson, Eric R., "Extending Story Listening as a Practice of Communal Formation at the Lake Orion Church of Christ" (2012). Doctor of Ministry Theses. 4.
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