Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Sarah Feldner

Second Advisor

Lynn Turner

Third Advisor

Susan Mountin

Abstract

Recent studies indicate that Christian membership numbers have declined in the last few decades. At the same time, polls record that Americans are becoming more religiously diverse. Some scholars suggest that these changes in American society are also leading to changes in the ways that Christians talk about their faith. Since Christian theology and tradition demands that Christians continue to share their faith with others, it is necessary to understand the ways that Christians talk about their faith today. Of interest to this study are faith narratives: stories about one's faith journey and experiences. Through sharing stories about their faith experiences, it follows that these narratives possibly help Christian individuals construct and communicate a sense of identity to their audiences. Furthermore, in sharing their faith through storytelling, Christians arguably indirectly engage others to listen, understand, and possibly accept the underlying message of their stories without creating an argument or incivility in their audiences. While faith narratives hold historical longevity in the Christian community, research on the topic is outdated, and somewhat narrowly focused. This study broadens the ways that faith narratives are thought about and researched by viewing these stories through an identity constructionist perspective.