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A Theological Examination of Stories of Individuals Who Have Experienced Job Loss Open Access


Other title
spiritual crisis
Job loss
theological analysis
Type of item
Degree grantor
St. Stephen's College
Author or creator
Terry Ann Louise Harrison
Supervisor and department
Dr. Harold Munn
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Heather Jamieson
Dr. Caryn Douglas
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Theological Studies
Degree level
This phenomenological research study looks at the experience of job loss and considers it through a theological lens as interpreted by the researcher. Specifically it examines the job loss experience of three individuals in British Columbia in the first decade of the 2000s. I interviewed two men and one women for this project – middle-aged knowledge workers, working in white collar, professional settings. The interviews were taped and notes were taken, the results of which I summarized in narrative form. These three individuals described their experiences and discussed how various aspects of the experience made them feel and what questions it raised for them. They also talked about how they made sense of their feelings and the things they learned through the process. All the participants were changed by the loss, and while it was a negative experience for each of them, to varying degrees, they all sought to make sense of the changes in positive ways as they reconciled themselves to their new realities. None of the participants explicitly discussed religious beliefs or affiliations as part of their process – nor were they prompted to do so. I used two sets of analytics – workplace analytics and theological analytics – to interpret the stories. The workplace data demonstrated that the rate of job loss for knowledge workers in Canada, such as those interviewed, is on the rise, and it confirmed that the experience of job loss is typically a painful one. The theological analysis provided a means for understanding job loss as a spiritual crisis. Recommendations focused on ways in which liberal, mainstream churches in Canada might better respond to the spiritual needs of people who have encountered the painful and increasingly common experience of losing a job.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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