Seeking Bliss and Learning to Grieve: A Case for Theological Autoethnography Open Access

Harris, Durham (Spring 2018)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/g732d9021?locale=en
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Abstract

The use of autoethnography has expanded within social science and praxis-oriented fields. However, the fields of theology and ministry remain skeptical of the method. It is my contention that autoethnography is indeed compatible with practical, reflective, and introspective theological inquiry. That is, autoethnography systematically examines the state and condition of the soul in relation and subject to the Law of Being described by Paul the Apostle and St. Augustine of Hippo. I use personal autoethnographic narrative to supplement methodological and theological theory with example. By engaging and processing the event of my dad’s murder, I more critically begin to understand my condition as living under the Law of God and not yet under Grace. Existential wanderings have lead to a misuse of alcohol and state of despair in which I fail to live into the fullness of my purpose as a child of God. Autoethnography is a plea for revelation, an appeal for God to structure my being so that I might begin to live under Grace.

Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………………………………………1

CHAPTER ONE: AUGUSTINIAN THEOLOGY, PRACTICAL THEOLOGY, AND

AUTOETHNOGRAPHY………………………………………………………………………4

CHAPTER TWO: PRACTICAL THEOLOGY, QUALITATIVE RESEARCH, AND

RESEARCH DESIGN…………………………………………………………………….....21

CHAPTER THREE: AUTOETHNOGRAPHIC DATA, COLLECTION, AND

ANALYSIS……………………………………………………………………………………….34

CHAPTER FOUR: AUTOETHNOGRAPHY AS AN EMBRACE OF PATHOS…….55

CONCLUSION……………………………………………………………………………………………63

BIBLIOGRAPHY………………………………………………………………………………………..65

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