Now showing items 21-40 of 11234

    • A Story to Tell: A Study on the Impact of Peaceful Storytelling Within Liturgical Worship

      Wolf, Garrett David; McAfee School of Theology
      The contemporary American Christian setting is often described as a secular age, where the religious is often sequestered to specific places, people, and times. The sacred is regularly thought to be secluded to sanctuaries as opposed to something present and accessible everywhere. To counter the secular liturgies in which people are regularly immersed, the church must discover ways to help move people towards envisioning a different story. Our public worship gatherings are the primary places liturgy can be used to practice, rehearse, and envision our entire lives as being wrapped up into God’s story of reconciliation, redemption, and restoration of all things. By reimagining the liturgical element of passing the peace, this project explores how the story of God conveyed in liturgical public worship connects with the lives of parishioners. The research involves a qualitative method and uses a focus group consisting of eight laity from King of Kings Lutheran Church, who might be moved to seeing the sacred more in their daily lives. This project analyzes how liturgy can be reimagined to act as a tool within our public worship gatherings and church to shape and orient people towards the movement of God in bringing shalom to earth. Over a two-month period, interviews were used to evaluate the impact on the participants before and after each shared their testimony of experiencing the peace of Christ in their life during the passing the peace portion of a weekly public worship gathering. The conclusion of the project is that the focus group members who participated in the project were able to envision the sacred more in their daily lives because of their participation. While this research project did not enable them to define liturgy as the work of the people, their participation did immerse them more discernably into the story that public worship conveys. Finally, for future church development, this research project encourages exploring how liturgy in a variety of forms can help guide people to envision themselves in the rich story and sacredness of God’s presence everywhere.
    • Ministers on the Move: Coaching for Spiritual Discovery for Ministers in Vocational Transition in the Baptist General Association of Virginia

      Peppler, David; McAfee School of Theology
      ABSTRACT (Under the direction of Denise Massey, Ph.D.) Eight ministry leaders from the Baptist General Association of Virginia participated in a six-session spirituality coaching relationship. All of these leaders were anticipating vocational transitions within the next six months of their ministry. The purpose was to evaluate the effectiveness of coaching for spiritual discovery in their transition discernment process. The model used for these coaching conversations was Dr. Denise Massey’s CARING model, designed to ensure the spiritual nature of pastoral conversations. Participants were given written and oral exit interviews upon concluding their six coaching sessions. Qualitative questions were used to determine the effectiveness of the coaching experience as subject matter varied with each participant. The study shows the promising effects of coaching for spiritual discovery for ministers anticipating vocational transition. Participants explored their connectedness with the Holy Spirit throughout the process. The confidential and subjective topical approach provided participants with needed space to process God’s leadership in light of the external circumstances encountered in their discernment process.
    • A Comparison Study to Investigate Coping Skills of Mental Health Counselors who are Adult Children of Alcoholics and Mental Health Counselors who are Adult Children of Non-Alcoholics

      Morse, Andrew; College of Professional Advancement
      Adult children of alcoholics (ACOAs) often prioritize the needs of others ahead of their own. As this characteristic can lead individuals into maladaptive behavior patterns that involve helping others at their own expense, it may also lead them to careers in counseling or other helping professions. If these counseling professionals have not effectively processed or learned to cope with the potential maladaptive cognitive or behavioral patterns resulting from being raised in alcoholic families, ethical problems concerning potential harm to clients due to counselor effectiveness or impairment may arise (American Counseling Association, 2014). The purpose of this study was to examine if the coping skills of counseling professionals who were raised in a home with at least one alcoholic parent were different from those raised in a home without an alcoholic parent. This quantitative research study of 131 counseling professionals included the Children of Alcoholics Screening Test (CAST) to determine if they are ACOAs or adult children of non-alcoholics (non-ACOAs) and the COPE Inventory to determine their use of 15 different coping skills. Using a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) to analyze the data collected, this study found there to be significant differences between the two groups in both overall coping and dysfunctional coping. The results indicated that counseling professionals that are ACOAs utilized less functional coping skills than their non-ACOA counterparts, leaving them susceptible to potential negative outcomes for themselves and their clients. Continued research is needed to better understand how family-of-origin dynamics can impact counselor well-being and client outcomes.
    • Self-Efficacy of K-12 Mathematics Teachers in Teaching Math

      Sillah, Omar; Tift College of Education
      The need to understand the differences in the self-efficacy of K-12 mathematics teachers based on teachers’ characteristics and school factors is imperative because research has shown teachers’ self-efficacy to be a mediating factor on students’ academic achievement. As such, education policymakers and school administrators need to understand variances in teachers’ self-efficacy so that they could better implement programs to enhance and support the self-efficacy of teachers. This quantitative research used an exploratory cross-sectional design. The study consisted of 50 K-12 inservice teachers from two rural districts in a southeastern state in the United States. The study examined differences in teachers’ sense of self-efficacy (TSES) for teaching mathematics at the K-12 level based on teachers’ gender, teaching experience, education level, and school type (elementary school, middle school, and high school). Findings suggest that teachers’ overall sense of self-efficacy and subscales efficacies (student engagement, instructional strategies, and classroom management) based on school factors and demographic variables were comparable in the context of rural teachers in the southeast United States. The findings of insignificant differences in teachers’ sense of self-efficacy that were discovered in this research might be due to the positive working environment among staff and the dual role of principals as teachers and school leaders that are characteristic of schools in rural settings. Based on the findings of this research, future studies might want to examine the influence of suburban and urban environments on teachers’ sense of efficacy for teaching mathematics in K-12 settings, for the experiences of teachers in rural settings might be unique when compared to teachers in other school environments.
    • Sensing the Presence of God Through Online Worship at Heritage Fellowship in Canton, Georgia

      Bishop, Justin Dwight; McAfee School of Theology
      Can sensory experiences enhance online worship? In an era when church attendance is in cultural decline and online or hybrid worship is becoming the new normal, one wonders how to make the most of this limited time in worship, especially for online worshipers. This thesis examines the biblical and historical use of sensory elements in worship, and it seeks to reimagine them for an online presentation in order to examine the effect of these sensory elements on the online worshipers’ experiences. Ten participants volunteered to take part in four video worship experiences during the Lenten season of 2021, beginning with a survey and semi-structured interview prior to the actual worship experiences and ending with a similar survey and interview. The questions were designed to determine if the sensory elements “enhanced” the overall online worship experience without using the word “enhance.” The themes that emerged from the surveys and interviews indicated that sensory elements were disruptive enough to call attention to the act of worship, enhancing it by making it less of an event to attend and more of an act in which to participate. Finally, in conclusion, this thesis offers ideas for how worship leadership might incorporate more sensory elements in both in-person and online worship that might enhance the divine encounter.
    • "I Just Can't Give Up Now": An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis Of The Role Of Spirituality In The Persistence To Graduation Of African American Male Students At Four-Year Institutions

      Wright, Brandon Joseph; Tift College of Education
      African American males have had the lowest baccalaureate graduation rates compared to all other races/ethnicities and genders in higher education (NCES, 2019). Researchers have identified salient factors that contribute to or impede this population’s persistence to graduation to mitigate this problem. One factor contributing significantly to African American males’ college persistence is spirituality (Herndon, 2003; Riggins et al., 2008; Salinas et al., 2018; Walker & Dixon, 2002; Watson, 2006; Wood & Hilton, 2012b). Thus, the purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the role of spirituality in the persistence to graduation of African American male students at four-year institutions. Smith et al.’s (2009) interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was chosen as the research methodology for the study. Using criterion, homogenous, and snowball sampling techniques, the researcher recruited 14 participants. All participants were African American males who had graduated from a four-year institution in the 2018-2021 year span. The researcher employed one-on-one, semi-structured interviews (12 participants) or an electronic, open-ended questionnaire (2 participants) as data collection methods. The researcher used an audit trail, a reflexivity journal, triangulation, member checking, and rich, thick descriptions to ensure trustworthiness. The researcher used Smith et al.’s (2009) six-steps of data analysis and NVivo to analyze the data presented. The seven superordinate themes that emerged were (1) Spiritual Beginnings, (2) Embracing Identity, (3) Interconnectedness, (4) Oppositional Stimuli, (5) Spiritual Coping Practices, (6) The Spiritual Resolutions, and (7) Spiritual Enrichment. The results of this study suggest that spirituality functioned as a transcendent source of support that provided connection, operated as a coping mechanism, and enriched the lives of African American male college students. In sum, these three auxiliary functions of spirituality supported the participants’ persistence to graduation. Based upon the findings, the researcher recommends a future mixed-methods longitudinal study utilizing the College Students Beliefs and Values (CSBV) survey to track Black males from admission to degree completion. The spiritual and religious measures of the CSBV are comparable to the findings of this study. The researcher also recommends studies to focus on the intersectionality of spirituality, sexuality, and Black identity development of Black queer college males; African American spirituality in Black male college persistence; and spirituality and academic disidentification of Black college males.
    • How A Philosophical Assessment of the Text of Mark 4:34-41 Illuminates an Understanding of Divine Authority in the Person of Jesus

      Robleto, Moises; McAfee School of Theology
      ABSTRACT (Under the direction of JEFFREY WILLETS, Ph.D.) Explicitly or implicitly and whether we like it or not, there are problems which arise when modern Christians read the Bible as a Christian text, as part of their religious practice. The focus of this study will be on the philosophical problems caused by the historical distance between the Biblical world and ours. Those problems arise when a modern lens is applied to an ancient religious text. In this thesis, I will give particular focus to the ways that conceptual confusions arise in understanding the text by providing a philosophical analysis of the concept of miracles in Mark 4:35-41 and how this Biblical account in the life of Jesus and his disciples illuminates the concept of divine authority. I will show how modern assumptions can distort readings and meanings of the text. I will also show how the reading of the text may be freed from these confused assumptions by making a philosophical assessment of the concept of miracles to support the claim of Jesus’ divinity. There are many philosophical questions to be asked about what we find in the text of Mark 4:35-41 regarding a miracle performed by Jesus and how we can ascribe sense to it as twenty-first century readers of the Bible. The stated purpose for undertaking this inquiry was to study the concept of “Divine Authority” this was accomplished by means of a thorough study of leading postmodern scholars own published writings, and lectures, giving special consideration to the work in Philosophy of Christianity by Gareth Moore. How are we to understand the story of Jesus calming a storm? Such writings tended and clarified what we find in the story of a Storm Stilled. The story is not told in causal terms, it is not a matter of cause and effect, in fact, the story is told as one simple command and nature obeys. And so in this essay I respond to the disciples question, not “How did he do it” but, the real question, “What sort of a man is this, that even the winds and sea obey him?”
    • Haunted By Faith: An Ethnographic Study of Signals of Transcendence in Nones

      Napier, Nathaniel James; McAfee School of Theology
      Study after study demonstrates that Christendom is no longer the dominant regulative force it once was. Faith, specifically faith in the Christian story, can no longer be presumed as the dominant narrative in West. According to Pew Research, 1/5 of the US public and 1/3 of adults under 30 years of age, are now no longer religiously affiliated. To press the point further, Nones (persons who claim no religious affiliation) now comprise 20% of the total adult population and it is estimated only 15-20% of the US population regularly attends Sunday worship. The cultural landscape of American religiosity has shifted. This new culture, dubbed by philosopher Charles Taylor as A Secular Age, is milieu in which the church now finds itself. Given the rise of the Nones, the church now has a mandate not only to label them, but to understand them so that it can better understand how to communicate the Gospel in a changing world. While data demonstrates a lack of devotion to institutional religion, one may wonder if there are expressions of something more than immanence in the lives of those that claim to be Nones? Is there a non-reducible experience to which their lives attest, expressions that are regular occurrences but not empirically justified? If so, what are they and might these expressions be a means of connecting people of faith to people who are non-religious? To this end, this thesis ethnographically explores the sociological phenomena of signals of transcendence in Nones as a means of discerning where the old world of the gods may still be operative experientially for those that have never been a part of organized faith. As a point of further novelty, this thesis does not interview former Christians, but focuses on those who have been raised in this Secular Age and never had a personal confession of faith. To accomplish this goal, this thesis has three primary large movements: theory (chapter 2), method (chapter 3), and research (chapter 4). After introducing the parameters of the thesis in chapter 1, chapter 2, explores the philosophical, biblical, and theological foundations within which to understand this problem and engage it. Charles Taylor sets the stage of our problem, providing a history of ideas that lead to our context. Pierre Bourdieu’s sociological theory then provides a frame for understanding human behavior from within his concepts of habitus and field. The Book of Acts and the Psalter provide biblical engagement. Finally, phenomenology as theological method is introduced, and an anthropological model of contextual missions issued. In chapter 3, method is specifically framed, with special attention to the various sorts of transcendence at work in persons. The project goes into greater statistical depth about the church’s cultural challenges, and then turns its attention to the qualitative approach at work in this thesis and the reflexive interviewing method employed. This chapter ends with a brief description of the participants and a pastoral understanding of the role of ethnography within the missional enterprise of the church. Chapter 4 is the main body of the reflexive interview process with human subjects and the application of ethnographic technique. This chapter uses five registers of Peter Berger and Edward Farley that occur across all interviews as a means of interpreting participant data. The categories of Tradition, Obligation, Play, Damnation, and Hope are explored in detail as viable transcendent signals in Nones. This chapter ends by framing these findings. Lastly, the thesis concludes by offering a summation of the research and offering a taxonomy of deep symbols that are embodied in Nones. It presents the novel findings of the research, including the new root metaphor of Home for all signals. Finally, it argues that ethnography must be included in any new missiological mandate of the church.
    • Using Facial Features to Produce an Augmented Reality System

      Sharma, Pragya; School of Engineering
      Under the direction of Anthony Choi, Ph.D. In the following work, an augmented reality system is proposed that takes the gaze of the eye, along with facial movements for assistance, as an input to allow the user to interact with a sample menu from a restaurant. Currently, the only way for a customer to order food at a restaurant is by touching a menu in person or by having the customer touch a screen. In either instance, the customer is having to interact with surfaces that are shared by many individuals, with the risk of contracting any number of illnesses. Such is a bigger problem when it comes to living through a pandemic, for instance, where interaction between shared surfaces poses a higher risk of exposure to the virus. Using an already trained neural network that incorporates pre-identified facial landmarks that every user possesses, the program can keep track of the user’s gaze and show the positions of both the left and right pupils, respectively. Along with this, the program begins with the user opening their mouth to pass a certain threshold and starts to read input. The user guides the cursor with the movement of their face within the green box shown on screen. By stopping facial movement, the user can select a menu item with the wink of their left eye. While conducting tests to see if the program was displaying correct coordinates, user testing took place and it was found that nine times out of ten, the program was displaying the correct coordinates. With more practice, the user was able to get used to using their facial movements to guide the cursor, although the cursor control speed could be better adjusted for future testing. Along with this, such exaggeration of facial movements could be adjusted so that the user does not feel awkward utilizing the system.
    • The Influence of Sexual Frequency on Marital Satisfaction Across Ethnic Groups

      Bayonne, Latessa Hill; College of Professional Advancement
      Despite the vast research dedicated to sexual frequency, it is typically researched in an insular fashion. Examination of sexual patterns have been linked to sexual satisfaction and relationship or marital satisfaction or utilized from a biological perspective to define sexual functioning terms. Very little research has connected sexual frequency to marital satisfaction from a multicultural perspective. Even less researched is the correlation between sexual frequency, marital satisfaction, and ethnicity. Specifically, how various ethnic groups view the influence sexual fluency has on marital satisfaction? This study examined the influence of sexual fluency on marital satisfaction across several ethnic groups. A comprehensive survey was created to examine the relationship between the aforementioned variables. The population proposed for the study were students enrolled at Mercer University, Atlanta Campus, and subscribers to the Counselor Education and Supervision Network (CESNET) Listserv with instructions that only married individuals should complete the measures. The full Marital Satisfaction Inventory-R (MSI-R) and one specific subtest and singular question from the Derogatis Sexual Functioning Inventory (DSFI), along with a demographic questionnaire, were distributed electronically to both populations and the responses created the sample. Demographic information such as frequency of sexual intercourse, race, gender, age, and religious affiliations will be analyzed. It was hypothesized that the majority of the participants would represent the ethnicities with the largest rates of enrollment at Mercer University, Atlanta Campus: conveniently the institutional data was selected for this prediction since the Counselor Education and Supervision Network (CESNET) Listserv does not publish any demographic data. It was also hypothesized that minority students, regardless of specific ethnicity, will report similar views on the relationship between sexual frequency and marital satisfaction than compared with their Caucasian peers. A Chi Square test for independence was selected to explore the relationship between two categorical independent variables (i.e., ethnicity, sexual frequency) and categorical dependent variable (i.e., marital satisfaction). This statistical technique compares the observed frequency of cases that occur in each of the categories (Pallant, 2020). Keywords: marital satisfaction, sexual frequency
    • Diary, June-December 1868

      Bacon, Augustus O. (1868)
    • Diary, August-November 1861

      Bacon, Augustus O. (1861)
    • Letter from A.O. Bacon to Mother

      Bacon, Augustus O. (1864-03-20)
    • Faculty Minutes, 1924

      Mercer University (1924)
    • Board of Trustees Minutes, 1924

      Mercer University (1924)
    • Weaver Box 5, Folder 225

      Weaver, Rufus Washington (1925-1927)
      Biology Applications
    • Weaver Box 4, Folder 144

      Weaver, Rufus Washington (1926-1927)
      Financial Campaigns (Fundraising)