Title

The Metanoia Project: College students' experiences of liminality during the transformation of faith

Date of Award

January 2003

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

DMin

Abstract

This dissertation seeks to add to our understanding of the faith development of college students by focusing on the transitional phases. The purpose of this study is to provide a comprehensive and detailed description of the effects of liminality on the perceived faith development of twelve students attending a southern United Methodist Church-related college. Qualitative data analysis through the Faith Development Interview Guide (FDIG) was used to gather and compose the data in a desirable format.

The primary data were generated through interviews with each of twelve respondents (six males and six females). Secondary data from document analysis provided information about the context of the study (e.g., institutional setting, personal reflections from respondents, etc.). Findings from the research study identified how the respondents described their faith development and how liminality helped them to experience and better understand the transformation of their faith.

The source of this study included primary information from oral interviews, secondary literature, including theories of development, and scholarly work from the fields of cultural anthropology, psychology, and theology. The author's analysis of the various sources resulted in a thesis that conveys as fully as possible the dynamic nature that liminality has on the faith development of college students.

The research question that provided direction for the study was: 'How can liminality help students to explain and understand the transformation of their worldviews (faith expressions) at a small liberal arts United Methodist Church-related college?' James Fowler's theory of faith development and his FDIG were used as practical instruments to collect and analyze the data.