Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)



First Advisor

Steve Mentz

Second Advisor

Stephen Sicari

Third Advisor

Nicole Rice


In this project, I seek to use models of thought by seventeenth century metaphysical poets to propose solutions to twenty-first century issues facing Christian faith communities. Biblical scholars, pastors, and theologians indicate pressing topics that affect people within faith communities and the perceptions that secular communities hold of faith communities: the perspective people of faith hold about science, the ways in which vulnerability, expression, and doubt are handled in the church, and the effects of misusing authority. Because of the scientific skepticism held by some believers, many assume faith communities are anti-science. Because people have been pushed away from faith communities because of expressing doubts, questions, and other vulnerabilities, many assume faith communities are inherently closed-off and leave no room for personal expression. And, because of religious leaders who use their position to manipulate scripture and to oppress congregants and seekers, many assume faith communities are inherently oppressive spaces that seek to diminish people rather than helping them to build and grow. These anti-scriptural practices must be remedied. Each of these issues and the assumptions they enable are results of scriptural misinterpretation/manipulation, abuse of power, and a lack of discourse that could promote finding answers and remedying issues. For these reasons, I turn to the metaphysical poets, literary scholars, pastors/theologians, and, most importantly, scripture itself for answers, clarity, and solutions. Scholars like Malcolm Guite, Stephen Sicari, and T.S. Eliot pose frameworks for applying a religious lens to texts. Pastors/theologians like David Kinnaman, Francis Chan, David Johnson, and Jeff VanVonderen describe issues pertaining to my topics of choice about current Christian faith communities. Poets Hester Pulter, George Herbert, and John Donne provide brilliant models of thought on science, vulnerability, and power respectively in the context of faith. In conversation with these thinkers and scripture, I propose methods of thinking more inclusively about science, vulnerability, expression, and appropriate use of power in context of the Christian faith and communities thereof, pointing to how readers can consider how scripture promotes this inclusive thinking and how the metaphysical poets provide innovative and relevant frames of thought on these ideas.

Available for download on Thursday, June 26, 2025