Embodied Worship for the American Protestant and Evangelical Church

Publication Date



The American Protestant and Evangelical church has primarily ascribed to a dualistic view of humanity (soul and body as two separate entities) leading to understanding spiritual formation as a cultivation of a non-physical soul through practices that are primarily internal, individualistic, and non-physical. This has led to less formative practices and may contribute to the movement from people classifying themselves as “spiritual and religious” to “just spiritual.” The slip from religion to just spirituality may, in part, be based on an outdated anthropology that lends itself to a less embodied spiritual formation. A more disembodied formation lacks the robustness to keep people in the church and to recognize the centrality of the church. An alternative anthropology, one that is intentionally embodied and embedded in relationship, will lead to deeper formation and solidify the importance of the church. In this paper I argue that one place to start is in the congregational worshipping moment. I integrate literature on monism, neuroscience, religiousness, embodied cognition, and relationality with literature on American protestant and evangelical worship practices. The goal is to integrate these two groups to create a framework for intentional formative embodied and relational worship, which will include suggestions for interventions, practices, and ideas in applying these new understandings and concepts to worship.

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (PsyD)

First Advisor

Strawn, Brad D.

Document Type





Christian worship, Worship, Psychology, Embodiment, Embeddedness, Monism, Embodied cognition, Protestant churches, Evangelical churches


Liturgy and Worship | Practical Theology | Theory and Philosophy


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