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THE SPIRIT IS WILLING BUT THE FLESH IS WEAK: UNDERSTANDING RACIAL DIVERSITY ON A CHRISTIAN COLLEGE CAMPUS

by Sanders, Alvin Edward

Abstract (Summary)
This dissertation is required by the Ph.D. program in Educational Leadership at Miami University. It consists of five chapters that discuss how racial diversity is understood among faculty and staff at an evangelical Christian college. Hunter (1991) defines contemporary evangelical Christians as people who adhere to the belief that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God; the belief in the divinity of Christ; and the belief in the efficacy of Christ’s life, death, and physical resurrection of the salvation of the human soul. Emerson and Smith (2000) describe evangelical Christians as a mosaic socially, politically, economically, and regionally who share the defining feature that the final ultimate authority for truth is the Bible. The primary research question of the study was how do evangelicals in Christian institutions of higher learning understand racial diversity? There were two subquestions: (1) What prevents a Christian from taking the moral action of embracing racial diversity within their institution of higher learning; and (2) What social identity is primary when evangelical Christians think about the subject of racial diversity on campus? Chapter one provides a statement of the problem and other introductory information. Chapter two provides a review of relevant literature as well as describes the conceptual framework of the study, which is the social construction of the evangelical Christian. In Chapter three the site of study, which is fictionally named Evangelical Christian College (ECC), is introduced. There is also a discussion concerning the methodology, which is a combination of case study/phenomenology research. In chapter four the main focus is on a critical hermeneutical analysis of the interviews which serves as the main source of research data. The interview texts produced were analyzed utilizing critical theory in the tradition of Jurgen Habermas (1999). In chapter five implications of the study are presented and a theoretical framework for implementing racial diversity in evangelical Christian colleges is discussed.
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Advisor:

School:Miami University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:01/01/2006

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