Facebook, friendship and faith : connecting practices of young adult Christians
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This research is about practising friendship as a Christian in contemporary contexts. The thesis uses methods of practical theology, explained in the first chapter, to explore three practices that are important to many young adult Christians: Facebook, friendship and faith. In Chapter 2 we attend to descriptions of Facebook and friendship practices of young adult Christians based on qualitative research conducted through fieldwork. Models are developed to organize assumptions and values of the participants and provide a framework for analysis. In Chapter 3 the practices are placed in the context of wider social/cultural dimensions in order to recognize ways the young people involved in the fieldwork are following culture and where they are being counter-cultural. In Chapter 4 we view what are interpreted as value-laden practices alongside various theologies of friendship. In the fifth chapter the social/cultural aspects of friendship practices encounter and engage with the theological perspectives. The analysis is based on an understanding of the relationship between faith practices and the ‘wider culture’ that has been established by the preceding chapters. The final stage of an initial iteration of the practical theology cycle is implementation of reformed practices, illustrated by examples and conclusions in Chapter 6. This application of the practical theology cycle raises consciousness of the need for connection of personal practices and becomes a catalyst for a continuous cycle of examining and reflecting on experiences, contexts, and faith perspectives. The theological voice of young adult Christians is heard and valued in realizing friendship as a means of fulfilling a call in Christ.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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