I am an emerging scholar. In other words, I still don’t know exactly what I’m doing and I get really happy when something works and seems scholarly. Something like that happened to me last night.

I am working on my dissertation proposal right now. The first part of the proposal lays out the theoretical lenses that frame my research. One of my lenses is Robert Kegan’s theory of the five orders of consciousness. In the proposal I wrote

“Kegan’s theory intertwines well with other important theoretical and theological frames for my research, namely communicative action, Trinitarian relational ontology, and Social Trinity.”

As I looked at that statement I realized that this is a bold claim. Kegan never says that about his work, so I am making the scholarly move to connect these dots. I thought to myself, “you might want to search around and see if anyone else is making that claim so you aren’t just hanging out there on your own little novice limb.”

So I did. The scholarly journals didn’t produce any fruit. I broadened the scope and searched on Google for “social trinity and Robert Kegan.”

Two interesting things happened. First, numbers three through seven of the first ten hits were links to my websites! Obviously I’m not walking in well trodden territory (or at least people aren’t using this terminology). Second, the top hit was to a book Worship and Christian Identity by E. Byron Anderson. One of the chapters in this book is titled “Trinitarian Grammar and the Christian Self.” I read that chapter and there it was, a beam of glorious scholarly light shining down upon it. Anderson connected the work of Mead (see my notes on Mead) with Kegan, and then…wait for it…connected their work to LaCugna and Moltmann and the social Trinity. Let the Hallelujah chorus begin. Download to Endnote. Insert citation into proposal. Happy little scholar moment ends.


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