Changing Habits: Unlearning Burnout in the Context of Theological Education of Clergy Under the Guidance of the Cistercian Monastic Tradition translation missing: zh.hyrax.visibility.files_restricted.text

Shulgina, Natalia Alekseyevna (2017)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/7m01bm380?locale=zh
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Abstract

Burnout, due to lack of rest and violence of overwork, is a growing problem in contemporary western society. While Christian clergy belong to a population of care-giving professionals particularly vulnerable to burnout, the lack of rest and overwork among clergy is a genuinely perplexing occurrence. Why is it that clergy remain "rest-less," even though their bodies cry out from neglect, their minds understand the importance of self-care, and scripture clearly commands Sabbath rest?

Broad consensus exists in the clergy burnout literature about the important role that seminaries and other institutions of theological education must play in the work of prevention. However, actual proposals that imagine theological education as an avenue for preventing clergy burnout are scarce.

In this dissertation, the author conducts an in-depth autoethnographic study of the phenomena of rest and burnout in the context of her encounter with the Cistercian monasticism, uncovering the rarely acknowledged complexity in their nature: the existence of a profound negative dimension in what seems to be an unambiguously positive experience of "rest," and the existence of a powerful positive potential for personal transformation hidden in what is frequently perceived to be an utterly negative experience of "burnout." Based on the insights gained in the course of the investigation, a proposal is made for teaching rest and forming restful ministers in the context of theological education.

In addition to its unique approach to the problem of clergy rest and burnout, this research is distinguished by its uncommon interdenominational foundations and a highly unusual methodological design. As a work that comes from a researcher who is a lay associate at a Cistercian monastery and a prospective United Methodist theological educator, this dissertation draws on the resources of a Roman Catholic contemplative monastic tradition in order to re-imagine the praxis of liberal, mainline Protestant theological education. As a work that comes from a researcher who is an interdisciplinary practical theologian and an ordained minister with firsthand experience of burnout, this dissertation makes the experience of the researcher a focal point of the scholarly investigation and develops a qualitative case-study method for practical theological reflection.

Table of Contents

PART I. CLERGY BURNOUT: IN SEARCH FOR SOLUTION

Chapter 1. Introduction: Overview of Research.......................................... 1

Chapter 2. Personal Narrative: Journeying through Burnout................. 27

Chapter 3. Literature Review: Understanding Proposals for Clergy Burnout........................................................................................................................ 80

PART II METHODOLOGY: A FIRST-PERSON CASE-STUDY BASED

PRACTICAL THEOLOGICAL REFLECTION

Chapter 4. Case Study as Comprehensive Research Strategy:

Definition, Strengths, and Vulnerabilities............................. 197

Chapter 5. Prospective Presentation of Method:

Normative, Epistemological, and Interdisciplinary Issues 255

Chapter 6. Retrospective Description of Method:

Actuality of Research Practice................................................. 351

Interlude: Father Matthew Kelty, O.C.S.O.

"Come Away by Yourselves to a Lonely Place and Rest"........................................................................................................................... 445

PART III CHANGING HABITS: A CASE STUDY OF RECOVERY

FROM BURNOUT UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF

THE CISTERCIAN MONASTIC TRADITION

Chapter 7. One Day at the Abbey: Coming Aside Awhile..................... 448

Chapter 8. The Making of Retreat: Entering Peace................................. 476

Chapter 9. Return to The World: Becoming Restful............................... 585

Chapter 10. Case Study Lessons and Conclusions:

Monastery Peace for Seminary Students............................... 722

Epilogue..................................................................................................................... 808

APPENDIXES...................................................................................................... 811

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY..................................................................... 829

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