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Title: Homelessness : a Bonhoefferian practical theology of sociality with special reference to homelessness in the United States and the response of Dennis Culhane and the National Alliance to End Homelessness' "Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness "
Author: Odle, Andrew W.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2682 9394
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis presents a theological account of homelessness and applies it to the state’s and the church’s responses to the problem. This is accomplished in three parts. Part I traces sociological and governmental understandings of homelessness in the United States and shows that government and activists have difficulties coming together on a definition due to the differing political, fiscal and moral commitments that may be required from a particular definition. An analysis of the sociologist Kim Hopper’s approach to homelessness, which claims that homelessness is best understood in the context of extreme poverty that results in residential instability, is then undertaken. Part II elucidates a thematic reading of Bonhoeffer’s theology of sociality. This includes highlighting such concepts as person, community, vicarious representative action, and ultimate and penultimate to describe the world as ordered by the Word for the coming of Christ. This leads to a discussion of the concept of the mandates of preservation – church, government, family, work – that form the world through concrete response to the Word. Then a theological understanding of poverty is defined as persons who are marginalized in society due to their lack of basic sustenance and freedom to flourish. After establishing this theological account of poverty, Hopper’s understanding of homelessness is revisited to expound a theological description. This allows for an application of particular content to what it means to be extremely poor and in what ways access to basic sustenance and freedom are compromised. Extending Bonhoeffer’s account of the power of sin, the forces that thwart freedom in such a way that homelessness may result are then detailed. Part III applies this theological understanding to the NAEH’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness and to Church on the Street’s outreach ministry to the homeless.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: National Alliance to End Homelessness ; Homelessness ; Church and social problems