Liminal Reality and Transformational Power: Revised Edition: Transition, Renewal and Hope

By Timothy Carson

An important study of the varieties of liminality, illuminating in particular the liminal aspects of pastoral leadership.

ISBN: 9780718894016


Liminal Reality and Transformational Power explores, draws together, and integrates the many facets of liminality, and informs our understanding of liminal phenomena in the world. Through anthropology, sociology, theology, neurology and psychology, Carson correlates exterior transitions with their corresponding intra-psychic movements and points toward useful methods that contribute to personal and social transformation.

In this revised edition, Carson has recognised the resurgence of liminality, and addresses the social transitions that are prevalent today in communities around the world. He examines the identity of the ‘liminal’ person and highlights the role of ritual leaders and religious professionals as they guide people through liminal time and space.

Carson’s work greatly contributes to an expanded understanding of the complex dimensions of religious leadership and provides useful insight into our intra-psychic processes during the significant transitional stages in life.

Additional information

Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Pages 110

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Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Timothy Carson is Senior Minister at the Broadway Christian Church in Columbia, Missouri, and holds the Doctor of Ministry, Master of Divinity and Bachelor of Education degrees. He is the author of several works that explore the intersection between Christian faith and culture such as Your Calling as a Christian, The Square Root of God: Mathematical Metaphors and Spiritual Tangents and Six Doors to the Seventh Dimension. He is the Curator of the website, which includes basic information about liminality, an extensive bibliography, a blog, and a multiplicity of current resources.


Foreword by Dr. Peggy Brainard Way

Part I
1. Anthropology and the Rites of Passage
2. Life, Death and Rebirth
3. On Being There all the Time
4. The Inside of the Outside
5. In Our Stars or in Our Genes
6. Continuity and Context
7. Present-Day Passage
8. More Than Madness

Part II
9. The Liminal Locale of Hospitalization
10. Higher Education as Liminal Domain
11. In Season and Out of Season
12. Liturgy Betwixt and Between
13. Caring through the Passage
14. The Transforming Tribe
15. The Liminal Domain of War

Epilogue: The Minister as Liminal Being

Appendix 1: Biblical References in which the Number Forty Serves as Symbol of Liminal Reality
Appendix 2: The Rites of Passage Model
Appendix 3: The Cyclical Rites of Passage Model
Appendix 4: Scriptural Resources



Endorsements and Reviews

This text models how the pursuit of knowledge may be explored and enhanced as the history of scholarship intersects with present human narratives. Academics and pastors alike will find this study a definitive source for the depth issues surrounding liminality. It opens up new vistas as it discloses everything that pastoral epistemology can be.
Dr Peggy Way, Emeritus Professor of Pastoral Theology, Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri

Liminal Reality is insightful and thought-provoking. It helps us to deepen our understanding of the many liminal realities in our lives, and to think how such spaces can lead us to heal and transform ourselves and our world. I highly recommend it.
Gabriella Lettini, Aurelia Henry Reinhardt Professor of Theological Ethics, Starr King School for the Ministry, Berkeley, CA

In recent years, and for very good reasons, the concept of liminality has come to the fore in the wider social sciences. Scholars are today revitalising the original insights of Arnold van Gennep concerning the centrality of rites of passage toward a deeper understanding of both continuity and change. Equipped with liminality, this book takes the reader on a voyage into the heart of theology, and into the human search for meaning. It is worth a read for scholars and non-scholars alike.
Bjørn Thomassen, Associate Professor, Department of Society and Globalisation, Roskilde University, Denmark

Both those working in ministry and students of ritual will enjoy the variety of topics covered in relation to liminality as well as Carsons many stimulating discussions.
Armand Leon van Ommen, in Theological Book Review, Vol 28, No 1