A Grammar of Transformation

Lucy Forster-Smith

What is the language non-religiously affiliated Macalester College students use to describe life changing/turning point experiences they have had? Use of essays written by students in preparation for an unstructured interview, conducted by the researcher, answered this research question. This thesis discusses the grammar, both words and phrases and the underlying structure of transformational experiences of twelve non-religiously affiliated college students. Conducting interviews with students and then examining the interview transcriptions led the author to identify five languages that fit closely with James Loders transformational dynamics. The five languages include: the language of shipwreck, the language of gladness, the language of amazement, the language of gratitude, and the language of testimony and confirmation. These identifiers draw heavily on Loders work as well as Sharon Daloz Parks material on theology and faith development in the young adult years. The thesis includes full transcriptions of the interviews with the twelve students.