##plugins.themes.bootstrap3.article.main##

Matthew Vos

Abstract

In Relational Being: Beyond Self and Community, American psychologist Kenneth Gergen explores the Western characterization of the self as autonomous, discrete, and separate from others, and identifies the pathological consequences and societal costs of such a view. Gergen’s intent is to open the reader to a more holistic understanding of the self as completely dependent on relationships, and to replace a “bounded being†conception of the self with the image of a confluence, or “self with others.†This essay examines traditional Christian thinking about standing before God to give an account of oneself in light of Gergen’s ideas, and concludes that standing before God “alone†is epistemologically problematic. Drawing primarily on ideas from Gergen, John Calvin, and theologian Bryan Stone, this essay promotes the view that the Church is the primary agent offering an account before God, and that the individual believer is inseparable from the confluence of the Saints and the testimony of the Church.   Keywords: bounded being, self, confluence, accounts, church, John Calvin, alone, identity

##plugins.themes.bootstrap3.article.details##

##article.references##
1993. The Holy Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments: New Revised Standard Version. Nashville: Catholic Bible Press.

Bunyan, John. 1949. The Pilgrim's Progress. New York: Rinehart.

Calvin, Jean and Henry Beveridge. 1979. Institutes of the Christian Religion. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Chodorow, Nancy. 1978. The Reproduction of Mothering : Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Gergen, Kenneth J. 2009. Relational Being : Beyond Self and Community. New York: Oxford University Press.

Henley, Don. 1982. I Can't Stand Still. New York: Asylum. Recording.

Mills, C. Wright. 1959. The Sociological Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press.

Pew Research Center. May 12, 2015. "America's Changing Religious Landscape: Christians Decline Sharply as Share of Population; Unaffiliated and Other Faiths Continue to Grow." Pew Research Center. (http://www.pewforum.org/files/2015/05/RLS-08-26- full-report.pdf).

Smith, Christian. 2010. What Is a Person? Rethinking Humanity, Social Life, and the Moral Good from the Person Up. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Stone, Bryan P. 2007. Evangelism after Christendom: The Theology and Practice of Christian Witness. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press.
Section
Articles