2017-2018 Grant in Aid of Research

Toward Engaging Secular Society: A Multidimensional Theological Remodeling of Charles Taylor’s Social Imaginary

Jenifer Daley

The increasing divide between the church and contemporary secular society continues to stymie the church’s efforts in fulfilling the gospel commission. On the view of Charles Taylor’s social imaginary, the locus of the church’s challenge to engage secular society with the Christian gospel message lies in the peculiar philosophical underpinnings that shape society’s outlooks and attitudes. Undoubtedly, economics is of central import in Taylor’s thesis—not only is it the primary impetus to exclusive humanism, but it is also the replacement telos of humanity. A model is needed for ecclesiastical engagement with society—to address the problem of the impasse between the church and secular society—that addresses the critical dimensions of the social imaginary, particularly the economic. This project will address the problem of the impasse between the church and secular society by sketching a multidimensional model to improve ecclesiastical engagement. In addressing the current lack of multidimensionality, the proposed model will incorporate an evaluation of the most significant dimensions of Taylor’s conceptualization of the social imaginary via biblical insights drawn from the encounter between Jesus and the rich young man in Matthew 19.