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ED 076 096 

HE 003 986 




Harshbarger, Luther H. 

The Role of Professional Religious Leadership in 
Colleges and Universities. 

Association of American Colleges, Washington, D.C. 



MF-$0.65 HC-$3.29 

♦Administrator Role; ♦Clergymen; ♦Higher Education; 
♦Religion; ♦Religious Agencies; ♦Religious 


In determining the role of professional religious 
leadership On the college or university campus, it is first necessary 
to ascertain and accept the theory that there is and ought to be a 
symbiotic relationship between religion and higher education. The 
religious professional, then, herein referred to as the campus 
chaplain, has a responsibility to the entire university community; 
that having such responsibility he should in informal ways establish 
such relationships as are desirable with other officers and 
departments of the university, including student affairs. In 
particular, his function is: (1) to provide stimulation, leadership, 
and coordination of extra-curricular activities and efforts pointed 
toward such general education; (2) to help develop an atmosphere for 
attitudes, understandings and ideals among administration, faculty 
and students as will provide optimum conditions for the achievement 
of its objectives; and (3) to maintain an active liaison betweoi the 
university and religious institutions. (Author/HS) 

AK Association of 
^ American Colleg'es 

an occasional paper . . . 








Luther. H. Harshbarger* Z.:^T^^s%T:i^^Z%Ts 


Systemic Approach 

Since both higher education and religion deal with 
questions which are at the very center of human society and 
culture, the problem with which this paper is concerned is 
at the very heart of educational policy formulation. It 
must, therefore, be approached systemically. Before a uni- 
versity can define the role of its officially appointed 
professional religious leadership, its appropriate place 
^ in the academic structures, it must first define what it 
conceives to be the proper responsibility of the university 
for religious life and experience. That responsibility 
can be discussed intelligently and usefully only in pro- 
gram policy terms, and in the context of overall educa- 
tional policy. In brief, what a university decides to do 
in this area will and ought to reflect its goals and 
objectives, its understanding of its own situation, its 
analysis of the religious situation, the propriety or im- 
propriety of certain forms of religious expression, and 
its relationship to the university's philosophy and 
program. Then a university is in a position to decide upon 
the best means for achievement of its goals in this area 
from among alternative possibilities, with eppropriate 
estimates of the cc^straints likely td be faced, the re- 
sources required, and an evaluation of the countervailing 
V interests of religious institutions, the general public 

N and the academic community. This way of looking at 

% institutions permits perception of their totality and 

^ fosters cooperation among specialized disciplines and 

(Vjj institutional responsibilities. 

♦Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies, Head 
of the Department of Religious Studies, Program Director of 
the Center for the Study of Religion and Human Resources, 
The Pennsylvania State University. 

1818 R STREET, N.W. • WASHINGTON, D.C. 20009 


This may appear gratuitous in the extreme to many 
able administrators, perhaps deservedly so. Hov/ever, it 
should be seen as a way of indicating simply how one could 
respond to a given task of setting up a procedure for de- 
cision making. This procedure at least has the merit of 
avoiding two temptations: Religiosity, so thoroughly per-* 
vasive and invidious in American Culture, tempts one to 
deal with religion either in terms of public relations and 
ao give it short shrift, or confine it to that "agglcxneration 
of functions" for which there are no clear administrative 
lines but v^ich are, nonetheless, marginally valuable for 
keeping an institution going in order to do its really 
significant work. 

Such an approach, though understandable, is entirely 
too cavalier for dealing with these two primary forces 
shaping contemporary man. Nor will a simplistic decision 
for or against the appointment of a chaplain or a coordinator 
of religious affairs define the proper responsibility of the 
university for religious life and experience. The appropri- 
ate forms of religious involvement will be shaped by the 
changing character and role of each universi.ty per se, and 
without these forms being cast in a single tnold. A systemic 
approach is not only a way to avoid trouble, but much more 
significantly, provides means for defining the role of 
religion in such ways as serve the university's vocation 
in the modern world. 


Program Policy Assumptions 

If it is agreed that there is and ought to be a 
symbiotic relationship ^between religion and higher educa*- 
tion, then the first task in this approach is an attempt 
PROGRAM POLICY TERMS, somet^at as follows: 

(1) There is an integral and mutually beneficial 
relationship between religion and learning, and this should 
be reflected in t^.e administrative structure and procedures 
of the university. 

(2) The university qua university has responsi- 
bility for encouraging and supporting such activities as 
are designed to relate religion properly to its function 
as an educational institution. 

(3) The university's obligations in this field 
can be discharged most easily if dynamic and mutually help- 
ful relationships are maintained between the university and 
the various religious traditions and organizations. 

(4) While the university should respect the in- 
tegrity of religious traditions and allow for the fullest 
and freest expression of the richness of each of the tradi- 
tions, the university has also the right to expect the 
religious traditions to respect the integrity and function 
of the university. 

(5) Within the university the religious tradi- 
tions have responsibility for the highest degree of ecu- 
menical and inter-religious practice consistent with the 
integrity of each and the best educational policy. 

Religion as Pervasive 

These statements clearly presuppose the possibility 
and desirability of a dynamic religious and cultural plural- 
ism as a dimension of educational policy. They also call 
for the maximum expression of relatedness to and common 
responsibility within the university, and provide great 
latitude in freedom of expression for the peculiar symbols 
and ethos of each sub-culture and tradition. The last 
statement rightly lays stress on the importance of the 
specific religious community — that community which cannot 
be understood without reference to religious experience. But 
in stressing the specifically religious element we must also 
carefully note the religious element in all types of communities ^ 
including the university gua university. Religious experience 
is related to the moral, aesthetic, sociological and technical 
dimensions of culture, and takes on other dimensions of human 
consciousness, and thereby expresses itself within the context 
and under other cultural forms. Any description of religious 
phenomena must include the relational character of religious 
experience and expression, and delineate the religious element 
in history and culture, i.e., in the university. The religious 
question is as germaine to the university gua university as it 
is to religious institutions and their relationship to the 


The New Religiosity 

The second task is to ANALYZE THE CC»TEMPORARY RE- 
LIGICXJS SITUATION in American society with special reference 
to the csunpus situation. There are four "happenings" in the 
current religious scene which require analysis: (1) the new 
religiosity; (2) development in Religious Studies; (3) the 
malaise of the profess ioa; and (4) the cultural significance 
of these happenings. 

This is a generation of students who are clamoring 
after meaning in myriads of modern quests for salvation, 
in search for adequate standards of action, personal maturity 
and social relevance which range from guru fascination to 
the "Jesus freaks'' • This new religiosity can be and has 
been described in a gr^at variety of ways as faddish in quality, 
traditional in its literalism, restorationist in character and 
promethean in its alienation. These attitudes and movements 
show many of the characteristics of the American tradition of 
revivalism, especially of the second Great Awakening in the 
nineteenth century, but it is especially important to note 
that by and large they operate outside of traditional religious 
structures and appear to have no relationship to the established 
campus leadership. 

Religious Studies 

Secondly, a radical shift is taking place in the scholarly 
enterprise in religion. Religious Studies until recently have 
represented a rapidly expanding field, a remarksU^le event in 
the history of American education which scarcely could hav3 
been anticipated. Religious Studies could bring new dimensions 
of learning to the university, but it is still too early to 
say whether or not they will have any significant effect, for 
the study of religion could be just one more discipline or 
department added to the pantheon. In the context of the uni- 
versity. Religious Studies could be understood as a public 
and cultural enterprise with a mission ^.o attempt the develop- 
ment of new theories of learning in this socio-technical age. 
While they have yet to develop a professional competence with 
central disciplines, the greatec the concern a university has 
for the "total" man, his intellectual powers, the health of 
society, etc., the more Religious Studies ought to have to say. 


Professional Malaise 

Third, the rise of the "professional' man is one of 
the dramatic developments of this century. Yet nothing is 
so striking as the sense of obsolescence of the professions 
in American society. This malaise is expressed in confusion, 
criticism, strain and ambiguity and marks dramatic sh^fts in 
professional roles and institutions. Among scholars an^ re- 
ligious professionals, for example, there are those who have 
selious doubts about the efficacy of their own work. Because 
of the uncertainty and bafflement which engulf their calling, 
there are no clear notions of the shape of the offices, what 
they represent, nor how much representation occurs. Dissatis- 
faction with the church, synagogue, or university naturally 
produces the frustrating experience of people who have no 
clear sense of duty, no special standards by which to Dudge 
themselves, or to be judged. 

Cultural Significance 

Fourth, these three factors symbolize the erosion of 
confidence in established institutions of religion and learn- 
ing and represent an attitude of considerable cultural 
significance. The new religiosity and professional malaise 
represent antagonism to the character of contemporary learning, 
religious life and social settings. The fact that Religious 
Studies have developed completely beyond the influence of ec- 
clesiastical institutions and have been sparked to a great 
extent by the interests of a generation whose attitudes are 
anti-institutional, but nonetheless have great concern for the 
study of religious phenomena, alters the circumstances in 
which belief is learned, expressed and lived. There is a 
poignancy to this sense of isolation and an JPP^l^i^^ ^ 
of context for action and judgment, a context which lacks a 
sense of place, a sanse of meaning P"^P°»f ' 
identity for the person and his societies. What is at stake 
here is some comprehensive vision of new ways to relate 
factors, forces and courses of events where religious, aca- 
demic, ethical and technological concerns impinge upon one 
another. This is of great importance to changing ^"ftitutions 
and emerging styles of professional leadership, and leaas 
d?re??ly in?o a discussion of models for religious leadership. 

The third task of a systemic approach to decision making 
model requires now and will continue to require systemic 
attempts to rethink the implication for men's beliefs, values 
and life styles; to develop abilities to think creatively and 
critically about professional and scholarly styles and in- 
stitutional modes in the context of some comprehensive edu- 
cational vision. In short, there is need to develop patterns^ 
discover "shared paradigms" for understanding the changing 

The most nearly adequate model available is the re- 
search done by the lata Kenneth Undervood and published in 
two volumes under the title of Church , University and Social 
Policy .^ After three years of intensive research. Underwood 
developed the notion of the precursor profession which he 
described in historical and theological categories. The pre- 
cursor profession expresses itself in four historic modes — 
priest, pastor, prophet and king as parts of a unified action. 
Unfortunately these modalities tend to have a homilectical 
effect, and so have by now become slogans among religious 
professionals, and slogans invariably oversimplify complex 
relationships and modes. Professional, as understood by 
Underwood, is related critically and positively to a very 
broad context; the churches, their views of the ministry and 
ideologies; the universities and the structures of learning; 
teaching and research, students and their aspirations and 
anxieties; and American culture, its basic trends and the 
policies and values of professional, technical and popular 
cultures. None of the four modes of the profession can be 
separated from each other, nor from this wider context 
without grave distortion. 

For Underwood, all professional modes converge in his 
symbol of king or governor. Governance is the place where 
concerns of the university come to the fore. Governance 
involves changing patterns of institutions and models of 
leadership. For institutions it means a moving away from 
pyramidal bureaucracies to collaborative synergetic societies. 
The leadership model emphasizes the understanding and pos- 
session c: skills which enable him to coordinate, transact, 
motivate and integrate people, ideals and resources for 
optimum effectiveness. The religious professional is, to 
use Kierkegaard's metaphor, a maleutic — one who assists 
others to give birth to new creations. 

^(Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 1969), 
2 volumes . 

structures involve classical mechanisms, myth- 
ologies and institutionalization. They also have a 
cognitive quality, a model for thinking about culture 
and nature and ways of ordering one's public life. 
Community is the result of a generic bond between men 
and institutions which incite them to action as well as 
to thought by cultural forms — myths, symbols, rituals, 
philosophical systems, works of art — which provide 
templates for periodic reclassification of reality, and 
the re-ordering of man's relationships to social cultures 
and nature. It is a dialetic without which no society 
could function. 

The implications of this notion for cognition and 
community are apparent also in problems of personal 
identity and motivation. However, community can be both 
the means for self-discovery and the determination of the 
direction of one's life; but it can also appear as a 
threat when identity becomes an acute problem in an un- 
mediated existence. It is discovering that there is a 
kind of "throwness" to existence, a faili:^e of connection 
and human experience, as though man were a stranger in a 
world in which he has no place. 

In discussing "the spirit of place", D, H. Lawrence 
said: "Men are free when they are living in their home- 
land, not when they are stirring and breaking away. Men 
are free when they are obeying some deep, inward voice 
of religious belief. Obeying from within. Men are free 
when they belong to a living, organic, believing community, 
active in fulfilling some unfulfilled, perhaps unrealized 
purpose. Not when they are escaping to somewhere west."^ 
This striking description of freedom and community is the 
key notion in a proposed model of leadership. 

Tradition and innovation as processes of breakdown 
and recreation are both possible and necessary. Chal- 
lenges to the university's integrity and to ecclesiastical 
autonomy focus on governance of these institutions and 
make certain that an almost continuous institutional 
adaptation will occur either by external general pressures 
or by effective administrative practices. Nor will the 

Studies in Classic American Literature ^ (New York, Viking 
Press, 1971), p. 6. 


"academic counter revolution" which challenges their 
professional authority in dec is ion -making and policy 
formation. Governance is essentially a process of power. 
The questions of power, prerogatives, policies and who 
participates, whether by external pressure or internal 
politicization, could well change the basic character of 
both the university and religious institutions in the next 

There is almost tragic irony, however, in the fact 
that "church and university are two institutions in Ameri- 
i:an society which understand themselves as eODOve power, 
beyond power, or without power. "-^ The self images of the 
church as one of humility and suffering and of the uni- 
versity as a community of scholars have made them marginal 
to social purposes. Thus they overlook the obvious fact 
that by their very existence they have an impact on the 
general structure of society and at the very least con- 
stitute a social problem. As Jacobson and Palmer suggest, 
they must learn how to "generate, organize, and direct" 
their inherent powers to move from marginal ity to the 
center. That means, I take it, that they must become 
synergetic and collaborative societies blending their 
skills and perspectives. The university is a multiplex 
society where tasks must be performed in a correlated 
manner. But as Warren Benni^ sees the university, it is 
highly sophisticated in strategies of isolation, living 
an "anomic" existence, without interaction or the trust 
necessary to develop meaningful collaboration. Academi- 
cians and campus ministers see themselves as "loners" 
wanting "to be independent together." "The separate 
disciplines go their crazy-quilt way and rely more and 
more on dubious internal standards of validity and 
competence. "4 This is a context for any model of 
professional religious leadership. 

Quality of Disciplined Style 

An adequate cognitive model requires a quality of 
disciplined style which eschews the polarization of 
scientia and technique, and has both academic and ad- 
ministrative focus. Both the scholar and the adminls-* 
trator should underst^^nd the equal importance of basic 

'see Parker J. Palmer and Elden Jacobson, The Church , Tri^ 
University , and Urban Society , Paper #1, p. 3. A series 
of 7 papers produced for the Department of Higher Education 
of the National Council of the Churches of Christ. 

cf . Warren G.Bennis and Philip E. Slater, The Temporary 
Society ^ (New York: Harper and Row, 1968) Chapter 5. 

scholarship and expertise or artistry ..n its application. 
They should be able to me^h a theoretical framework with 
the raw events of reality, knowing how to apply the power 
of the mind to complex problems and thereby influence 
public action and change. In brief, the competent scholar 
and leader has developed knowledge, skills and the art of 
decision making to the point that he has the ability to call 
upon knowledge directly applic2d)le to particular situations. 
He deals with complexities simultaneously, not sequentially. 
He iias the competence to meet the challenge of the culture 
by -he integration of thought and action, inquiry and social 
policy. Of course, one can legitimately question whether 
or not such skills can be developed or indeed whether or not 
such artistry is possible for a single person in the modern 
world. Nonetheless such a description is one of the ways 
to get at the parsuneters of our leadership dilemmas. 

A model with the quality of disciplined style, we have 
said, has two foci: academic and administrative , each em- 
bracing the four modalities, although it is quite evident 
that the academic should symbolize prophetic inquiry and 
the administrative, governance. It is important both to 
keep these "offices" distinct and related at the same time. 
The classroom is not the chapel any more than science is 
nature; the faculty office is not "Old Main." The professor 
can preach and the ehajplain can teach, but they wear different 
symbolic hats, and they ought never to be confused. Yet the 
common subject of concern is the homo reliqiosus whose in- 
terests and needs are conjoined in religious pursuit and the 
scientific spirit for the puifpoae of theoretical and practi-* 
cal activity alike. Understood this way, these symbolic 
modes constitute a common cause for both, although the shape 
and function of these offices are quite distinct, but for 
both the mode of governance means the exercise of power within 
the structures and loyalties of the university, rooted in the 
status, functions and authority of university organizations « 
Governance is the effort to channel, to persuade, and to 
serve vi2Q)le and just programs, and empower persons for free 
expression in the development of their talents. Here both 
the professor and the chaplain exercise a mediating role 
in the interstices and abrasive interfaces where both should 
have something of technical competence as well as generalized 


The Academic Professional 

For the academic professional these modalities con- 
stitute the elements of a theory of learning and provide a 
basis for developing educational policy. In this context 
Religious Studies would be a program of systemic thought 
which would understand the critically needed context for 
a life of learning, net divorced from a life of feeling, 
relationships and human accomplishments; which would under- 
stand the importance of a discipline that opens the aca- 
demic process to the realms of experience. As my friend 
and colleague. Professor Harold K. Schilling, puts it: 
"Much of knowledge in reality is such that an understanding 
of its true nature, content and significance, requires the 
right contact and experience ~ not only discursive thought 
and analytical investigation." There is a connection be- 
tween texts and the world of work and reality, as Emerson 
said. Typically the academici£ui will be legitimately con- 
cerned eibout rigor and specialization. Specialization? 
Yes, but meaning the use of specialized experience for the 
interpretation of all experience. Prophetic inquiry is 
carried on in a holistic context, exploring all pertinent 
connections and at the same time is deeply concerned about 
the interrelatedness of the methods of acquisition and of 
application. The rigorous art of reflection? Yes, but 
now recognizing that a quality of disciplined style requxres 
far more rigor than does the pursuit of one's narrow specialty. 
New and imaginative intellectual disciplines are emerging, 
combinations of knowledge and approaches, which i>er mi t both 
depths of amotion, free flowing boundaries, and which en- 
courage within a single mind a dialetic of versatility and 
specialization appropriate to our time. Religious Studies 
comes from a tradition old enough and yet are still young 
enough in their emerging forms to develop some such meta- 
discipline. " 

The Chaplain 

For the chaplain, the role of governance is the 
natural context for his mediating role and involvement on 
a university-wide basis, in this^mediating role he should 
recognize that mythical structures and rituals have a cogni- 
tive quality which provides models for thinking about meaning, 
motivation in a culture, and, therefore,' represent a means 
for ordering one's public life, especially in the iconoclastic 


atmosphere of most university communities. He should 
recognize the power of religious myth and ritn^l torms 
to incite persons to action as well as to reeling and 
thought; how symbols and liturgies can help all members 
of the university to understand the vastness and com- 
plexity of the society of which they are a part. 

In his mediating role he can discover, and help 
others to discover, a new nexus of relationships based 
upon the bond between the other's experience and the 
fulfillment of necessary tasks; that counseling and care 
are applicable not only to a limited range of interper- 
sonal, private, moral and religious problems, focused 
mainly on sex, personal despair, anguish and sacramental 
acts; but also must bring the kind of insight and nurture 
in which varying points of view are brought to bear on the 
issues raised by technical wisdom and the concrete struc- 
tures of the community. 

In his mediating role he should seek to discover how 
a morality of knowledge can become operative in every as- 
pect of university life; how members of the university com- 
munity can become educators of conscience to whom inquiry 
means diffusion of knowledge into patterns of coherence, 
meaning and loyalty. 

In the chaplain, pastor and prophet must come together 
in close relationship to the administrator, or each becomes 
just another component part holding the most tenuous con- 
nection with the general life of the university. But the 
four modalities carriad on in the context of a community 
of shared belief could galvanize a community into action to 
implement and give shape to the social good. 

The Administrator As Prophet 

This description of roles may sound strange or even 
bizarre to the harclheaded administrator who has a very 
different image of academic and religious professionals. 
But there is confusion and uncertainty among both faculty 
and religious professionals about this kind of prophetic 
authority. Studies by Underwood, Niebuhr, Hadden and many 
others show that, almost without exception, the religious 
and academic professions abhor the role of governance; and 
faculties tend to confuse sapiential authority with ad- 
ministrative authority. In their mood runs undercurrents 
of deep alienation from structures or bureaucracies. Indeed, 
many have tended to perpetuate, even among students, a 

view of alienation which very often c<xnes to regard the 
legitimate use of power as demonic. They have not seen 
the importance of informing policy decisions, or of doing 
what Kierkegaard once described as "reintroducing Christian- 
ity into Christendom." Too often the idol is the word, 
speaking out on every issue whether one has anything to say 
or not, in a kind of pediatric social prpphetism which sees 
expressions and naive convictions evaporate under mature 
intellectual analysis and evolutionary, change. Unfortunately, 
because they have confused prophetic proclamation and charis- 
matic utterance with powers effecting change, they have 
created images in the society of ones who have no expertise 
or understanding of the dynamics of public planning and policy. 
If prophetic activity is the attempt to change and transform 
the community or the culture, then the mode of governance is 

In the university climate, which is a public domain, 
there is an unavoidable professional responsibility to 
demonstrate that beliefs can be passionately held and ex- 
amined at the same time. The professional role is no longer 
legitimated by any sectarian community. He must, therefore, 
express candidly and with conviction, but also with openness, 
his faith and knowledge, without deriding or destroying the 
faith of other persons. This principle of openness under- 
stands that every statement of belief and concern has a con- 
tent and a vision of society, of man's relationships to his 
gods and destiny — an encyclopedic vision of human life and 
destiny which forms the context for belief. Religion is 
properly the sum of these concerns, and politics or governance, 
the conduct that promotes these values, and professional 
responsibility should incarnate them. 



The fourth task of a systemic approach involves a 
number of ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS with reference to lines 
of authority and charts of organization. The description 
of the model strongly suggests that the chaplain should Le 
the officer who symbolizes the university's concern and 
responsibility for religion in the context of its educa- 
tional policy. The definition of the task and the lines 
of authority should reflect his responsibility to the 
entire university community? that having such responsi- 
bility he should in informal ways establish such relation- 
ships as are desirable with other officers and departments 
of the university, including student affairs, in particular, 
his function is: (1) to provide stimulation^ leadership 
and coordination of extra-curricular activities and efforts 
pointed toward such general education; (2) to help develop 
an atmosphere for attitudes, understandings and ideals 
among administration, faculty and students as will provide 
optimum conditions for the achievement of its objectives; 
and (3) to maintain an active liaison between the university 
and religious institutions. The stress on his university- 
wide responsibilities helps to answer some other questions. 


What should his title be? we have deliberately 
translated the term "religious professional" as "chaplain", 
and this for several reasons. On the whole, the term 
"chaplain" is preferable, both because of its traditional 
symbolic significance and also also because it is a broad 
enough title to embrace the several functions to be performed. 
It is a symbol generally accepted In the public domain and 
carries with it a specification of responsibilities that 
other titles lack. 

The trend towards the appointment of directors or 
Coordinators of Religious Affairs is a strange development, 
particularly for public institutions of higher learning, 
considering the status and prestige of th-a :erm "chaplain" 
in state and federal institutions, governmental bodies and 
the military. This trend has developed, ore suspects, 
largely because of the tendency of administrations to lump 
together under various rubrics of Student Affairs, Student 
Personnel or Deans of Students, that agglomeration of func*- 
tions which do not easily fit into other administrative niches. 


This is a matter for considerable concern Inasmuch as 
these roles tend to be defined in categories developed 
by the American College Personnel Association, where 
professional competence is determined basically by be- 
havorial rather than substantive norms. These program- 
matic concerns seriously distort the function of the 
religious professional. In any case, these titles lack 
the effulgence of the model we have been trying to describe. 


Where should he fit on the organizational chart? 
Because of his responsibilities to the entire university 
community, it is better if he appears nowhere on the 
chart of organization. This keeps his authority informal 
with nobody responsible directly to him, except his im- 
mediate staff, should he have such. This lack of formal 
authority allows him a mediating role which is essentially 
different from any other role in the university and which 
enables him to serve all factions of the university community 
without prejudice. Typically, the religious professional 
should be truly marginal to the chart of organization, identi 
fied with no particular faction of the university whether 
faculty, administration, student organizations, and above 
all, as we have indicated, not with student affairs where 
concerns are limited to one element of the university 

Further, this officer may and probably should have 
deep roots in one of the religious traditions, but he ought 
not to have any institutional responsibility to any ecclesi- 
astical organization. However, he may and ought to find 
that inter-institutional boundaries are permeable. It is 
too little recognized that the parish or synagogue can be 
a natural reserve of power for the college and university 
and a dynamic source of moral judgement, theological in- 
sight, institutional legitimacy, and perhaps even financial 

To repeat: the university chaplain in the field of 
governance performs a prophetic role, moving in the arenas 
of decision-making, piercing the "fronts" of factionalisms 
and misuses of knowledge and power. In order to perform 
this role, he must maintain a theological openness, a 
critical distance,' and what Paul Tillich called synthesis 
and diastasis (involvement and detachment) . This job is 
possible only with the full support of both the academic 
and religious communities. He is in the university but in 




some ways not entirely of it; he is in some ways of the 
the religious institution but not in it. He must, there- 
fore maintain open conversations constantly trying to 
explain each to the other. When he is able to do this, he 
is exercising h^ls. powers creatively. In sum, the profes- 
sional percuraot I envisage, however dimly, is one who will 
be able to carry out these integrative functions in his own 
person or with a staff competent in these four modalities. 
The definition of his task will symbolize his integrative 
role within the university. His task will be so defined 
that he will be able to speak for the university's interest 
in the religious traditions and their values, as well as 
defend the freedom of the dissenters, and be in a position 
to influence the development of policy for the university 
community. He will see the essential relationship between 
faith and technology, between theory, doctrine and practical 

"Obviously, the professional scholar-teacher and the 
university chaplain have much in common. The relation- 
ships between these two groups on most campuses have been 
much like Schopenhauer's porcupines who learned how to 
huddle close enough for warmth but not too close to prick 
each otherl We know the historical reasons for this develop- 
ment as Departments of Religious Studies have sought academic 
respectability; and sometimes the religious professionals 
were jealous of their disciples who were to be protected 
from the corrosions of the faculty and administration. 
Nonetheless each has much to contribute to the other. 

Pluralistic scholarship in Religious Studies, however, 
can be an intellectual center where students and faculty 
examine and change their own commitments and formulate be- 
liefs on the basis of learning about other religions as 
well as their own, while at the same time they are testing 
their ethical insights and beliefs in relationship to 
specific policies in the institutions in which they are 
located. This experience can at the same time create a 
cycle of learning and feedback which would richly infuse 
the teaching and research departments. The time is ripe 
for both to seek out the real feelings and thoughts of parti- 
cipants in situations, and if the traditional modes of acting 
have no relevance or meaning, abandon them. There are just 
too many important things to be done in this world to permit 
outmoded forms of scholarship, accretions of ritual piety 
and organization which have lost their meaning, to impede 
discernment of the real occasions in the modern world for 
thought and action. 



The religious professional oither as professor or 
chaplain can be an artist in the sense defined by Marshall 
McLuhan: "The artist is the man in many fields, science 
or humanities, who grasps the implications of his actions 
and the new knowledge in his own time. He is the man of 
integral awareness. 

All of this may seem like a very wide net in which 
to cast the modest inquiry with which we started. But 
it is the mandate of universities and religious institu- 
tions to be explorers, imaginers and builders of models 
for human life together, if that happens it will occur 
within some such environment as we describe. For the 
religion of the generations will be "intellectually sober, 
historically sophisticated, and culturally cosmopolitan. "6 
And religious institutions and universities who provide 
that will emerge as the cutting edge of the culture. 

^Understanding Media , (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965) p. 65. 

^Wilfred C. Smith, Questions of Religious Truth . (New York: 
Scribner's, 1967) p. 33.