Millennial identities as emerging ecumenical missional paradigm : a critical study of culture as a crisis and opportunity for mission

Counted, Agina Victor (2015-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Over the past few decades, discussions around youth identity crisis and missio Dei have become one of the most challenging issues of our time. Given that staying true to self and God is complicated. We seldom come to terms with what our identity should look like in relation to the character and image of God. Just like any experience, a self-discovery experience with the ‘self’ and an attachment relationship with God, is like a rollercoaster ride. The researcher engages the reader in an empirical study that zooms in on the identity crisis of Stellenbosch Christian Millennials in relation to the subcultures of self and God images. Hence, attempting the all-important question: How can a Christian life, lived within the restorative and prophetic context of imago Dei become the milieu in which the youth-in-mission finds an enduring and satisfying identity in a time of crisis? The research is an exhaustive study that draws from the theories of attachment to God, authenticity, and theological anthropology in its exploratory navigations to bring to bear the identity crisis of Christian Millennials who participated in the study. Using a qualitative case study design, the researcher exhaustively gave account to the experiences of the respondents in the study by providing the reader with a robust narrative that explains the identity crisis of Christian Millennials in relation to their self and God images. The hallmark of the study was the observation of a common coping mechanism by way of splitting or self-fragmentation, used by the respondents to deal with their identity crisis as they struggled to remain authentic to self and maintain a positive God image. They dealt with their identity crisis by self-creating a prophetic future within the structural qualities of the self to engage in a relationship between its divine given purpose in an eschatological future and the mission of God. It was this identity crisis that led to an opportunity that enabled the youth-in-mission to interpret their experience in God’s terms. The researcher introduced this opportunity as a coping missional hermeneutic, which is a theological model that allows us to change the frame of our identity crisis to the pattern of the imago Dei in order to tell our stories from the perspective of missio Dei.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Tydens afgelope paar dekades het die bespreking rondom die identiteitskrisis van jongmense en missio Dei een van die mees uitdagende aspekte in die hedendaagse lewe geword. Om voortdurend opreg te wees aan die self en God is ingewikkeld. Mense kom nie altyd tot ‘n vergelyk oor die identiteit wat behoort te wees wanneer verwys word na die verhouding tussen die karakter en beeld van God. Soos dit die geval is met enige ander ervaring, kan die ontdekking van die ‘self’ en ‘n persoonlike verhouding met God vergelyk word met ‘n mallemeule. Die navorser betrek die leser by ‘n empiriese studie. Hierdie studie fokus op die identiteitskrisis van Christen jongemense in verhouding tot die subkultuur van die self- en Godsbeelde. Hiermee saam poog die studie om lig te werp op die volgende aspek: Hoe kan die Christen lewe binne die konteks van die imago Dei, ’n kanaal wees vir ‘n voortdurende en genotvolle identiteit tydens ‘n identiteitskrisis? Die studie is komprehensief en is gebasseer op die teorieë van “attachment to God”, “authenticity” en teologiese antropologie. Die teorieë was gebruik deur die navorser om die identitietskrisis van Christen jongmense (Millennials), wie deelgeneem het aan hierdie studie, te beskryf. Die navorser maak gebruik van ‘n kwalitatiewe gevalle studie om te rapporteer oor die ervaringe van die deelnemers aan die studie, deur die leser te voorsien van betroubare stories oor die identiteitskrisis van jong christene in verhouding met die subkultuur van die self- en Godsbeelde. ‘n Uitstaande kenmerk van die studie is die waarneming van die algemene hanterings meganisme van verdeling (splitting) en godsdienstige taal waartydens deelnemers hul identiteitskrisis hanteer en sodoende die ware self te wees en ‘n positiewe Godsbeeld te hê. ‘n Identiteitskrisis het die geleentheid geskep vir jongmense om hul ervaringe van God in Gods terme te interpreteer. Die navorser het deur middel van die geleentheid die coping missional hermeneutic bekendgestel. Dié teologiese model stel ons in staat om die raamwerk waarbinne ons, ons identiteitskrisis beskou, na ‘n imago Dei te verander. Hierdie verandering sal ons help om ons stories uit die perspektief van missio Dei te vertel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97026
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