Graduation Year

Spring 2010

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Religious Studies

Reader 1

Andrew Jacobs

Reader 2

Kenneth Miller

Reader 3

Jerry Irish

Rights Information

© 2010 Emily R. Luttrull


In this thesis, I seek to engage with broad questions regarding religion and its interaction with the secular political world by examining a specific historical trend and a particular case study example of that phenomenon. In the American Christian tradition, religion and social justice have become inseparable entities; indeed, the Christian tradition has a long-standing relationship with justice initiatives in the United States. This relationship has taken many forms over the past two centuries. A current trend in Christian civic engagement in the United States is involvement with community organizing – which itself is a relatively new method of pursuing the cause of justice. Since the onset of community organizing, its relationship to religion in general and to Christianity in particular has been a defining characteristic of the movement. Over time, tensions have arisen within both the theory and practice of organizing that have inevitably had an impact on the religious groups and individuals participating in it. Those tensions include the question of why individuals should organize, and issues with the extremely delicate nature of the organizer-community relationship. This thesis examines how Christian theologies have addressed those tensions using the example of the First Presbyterian Church of Pomona, California. In short, I will argue that certain Christian theological values serve to answer those tensions effectively enough to motivate long-term organizing, particularly though scripture-based religious education.

Included in

Urban Studies Commons