Prophets for an Authentic Existential Christianity
Date of Award
Restricted Access Thesis
College of Theology, Arts, & Sciences
Dr. Norman Metzler
It should be of little surprise to anyone associated with Christianity that the perception of Christianity by “outsiders” is not favorable. The Christian message is seen as being void of meaning because Christendom fails to demonstrate the truth of the message; North American Christendom can say the right words, but apart from any action these words of worthless. Yet, throughout history Christendom has been reminded of its failures by prophets, specifically existentialist prophets who call people embrace their lived experience.
We will consider the critiques and solutions of four prophets: Søren Kierkegaard, Martin Buber, Annie Dillard, and Gustavo Gutierrez. Each has a specific purpose for which they write, but each calls us, today, away from the status quo of Christendom to a reality that is engaged and tuned into the beauty of existential experience. These critiques will be considered in light of postmodernism, which provides many challenges to Christendom. Yet, the challenges that postmodernity provides are ones that should allow us to embrace prophets such as Kierkegaard, Buber, Dillard, and Gutierrez because they are not concerned with objective truth that postmodernity denies, but they are concerned with the subjective truths that postmodernity affirms.