Beyond engaging and resisting reclaiming the city's moral vision and reimagining the church's politics

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Theological Studies


Department of Religious Studies


Advisor: Kelly S. Johnson


This thesis examines the story of Englewood Christian Church (ECC) to provide a counternarrative for the ways in which Christians engage in politics. Challenging the false choice of engagement versus resistance, it first proposes that within the Christian tradition, the city is a moral good, functioning as biblical image, theological guide, and support for a common good. It also argues that the move out of cities - or suburbanization - is a moral story, both in its results and in the desires that produced it. The claim is then explored that the church is and should be a politics itself - indeed, the primary politics for Christians. Finally, it narrates the story of ECC and its unique practice of congregational conversation, its theological self-understanding as the Body of Christ, and its convictions about a shared life, examining the ways it meets the definition of a politics proposed above. This thesis concludes by articulating what meaning the singular example of ECC should have for Christians and for churches in other places.


Englewood Christian Church (Indianapolis, Ind.), City churches Political activity, Christianity and politics, Church and social problems, Group decision making Religious aspects Christianity

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