Chapter XXIV from
"Normative Psychology of Religion"
by Henry and Regina Wieman
Thomas Y. Crowell Company, New York, 1935
Contents of this document:
The Relationship Called Leadership
The Right to Religious Leadership
Changing Conceptions of Religious Leadership
Varieties of Religious Leadership
Needed Developments in Training for Religious Leadership
The Emerging Significance of Modern Religious Leadership
THE RELATIONSHIP CALLED LEADERSHIP
When society is in a state of flux, the conscious need of leadership is much more urgent than in a tranquil state. At a time of transition, individuals are aware that changes are under way and that new arrangements and processes must be developed. They are acutely aware of many of their needs and problems. They desire leadership, ask for it expressly, and are more open to guidance by leaders.
Contrariwise, in times of stabilized order, there is a dulling of sensitivities to the implications and problems being bred by the established order. If, as individuals, they sense no problems which threaten or demand change, they are apt to feel that there are no problems. In such circumstances, those whom they recognize as their leaders with the most enthusiasm, are so acclaimed because they do not disturb peace of mind or because they pander to the self-sufficient complacency of the group. Clearly, then, as much leadership and as strong leadership is required under these latter complacent conditions as under the anxious conditions of transition. There is more resistance to leadership which truly leads. Further, it is actually so that it is almost impossible to lead individuals to see lurking dangers, however great, when, on the surface, things are running smoothly. A people thoroughly convinced through experiencing the advantages and values of a long, stabilized period, is likely to be panicky and impulsively notionate when their order goes into flux. Consequently, the task of the leader during a time of transition is enormously increased because of the indifference to the silent but amassing growth of repressed and conflicting forces during the preceding, stagnating period. In fact, the critical difficulty of transition would not have occurred, had individuals been awake to the implicit problems during the period of stability.
The distinctive culture designated as religious, is an integral part of the total social culture, and is, perforce, conditioned and affected by it. It basks and suffers, vaunts itself and grows anxious, along with general culture. Religious culture has experienced a long, relatively stabilized period. Its leadership, for the most part, has become standardized in type and mission. Now that a period of deeply disturbing transition has come, religion feels the need of leadership in ways and degrees not recognized before. This means, of course, that there are few leaders, regularly trained, who can meet these emerging, acute needs, for most of the present leaders in religion were trained for the stabilized order. The realization of these matters is now sufficiently strong to begin to show in the curricula of training schools and the programs of professional conferences.
Leadership has too often been thought of as a vocation where an individual who had "the traits of leadership" secured a position where the work to be done required a person "in charge". Unbelievable as it may seem to those who have some understanding of human nature and behavior, there are still set forth in current writing actual lists of traits considered essential to leadership, a single blanket formula of qualification for a very diversified and complex process!
Leadership is not a job nor a position. These are merely the locations for leadership. But leadership is a relationship between a person and a group based upon, and validated by, the probabilities and possibilities of contribution and benefit which this particular person's specific qualifications can yield in the promotion of the specific interests of a particular group.
The qualifications of Jane Addams, of Julius Caesar, of Florence Nightingale, of Mazzini, of Carrie Nation, of Hitler, of Catherine de Medici, of St. Augustine, of Madame Curie, of John Dillinger, of Noguchi, of "Aimee", of Confucius, of Louisa M. Alcott, of "Billy Sunday", of Queen Elizabeth, and of Aristotle are so markedly varied as to make vivid the fact that it is not a set of qualifications which is pre-requisite to leadership, but the reciprocally satisfying relationship between the qualifications of the leader and the interests to be promoted by the group. Obviously, there are enormous differences in the group-interests involved in such situations as those of pioneering, of homemaking, of authorship, of statesmanship, of war, of engineering, of scientific investigation, of philosophic thought, of counseling, and of strikes and other attempts toward social reconstruction. Each of these situations and the myriad others which are concerned with the direction of human development and expression, requires its own particular combination of qualifications in the leader. Not only so, but each specific example in each of these situations is different from every other and so requires its own certain variance in the combination of qualifications in the leader. Some recent social developments are recognitions of these facts, as for example, the increasing number of personnel workers in institutions, of placement bureaus and of premarital clinics.
Institutionalized religion has suffered untold loss from the assumption that either the theological beliefs, or the zeal, or the personality, or the eloquence of religious leaders was the paramount qualification. This has meant that a leader, able to do certain stunts well, has been set up over the people. As a consequence, many choices of institutional affiliation have been based upon personal like or dislike for the leader. The people say, "We must wait to see what the new minister is like, and what he is going to do".
Instead of this, there should be
an analysis of the needs to be met, the problems to be worked out and the interests
to be promoted, and then leaders tentatively selected whose qualifications seem
such as to be contributive to the situation. This analysis must be deep enough
to uncover the hidden implications and the developing currents in the situation,
and not dwindle out in concern merely for numbers in membership or size of the
Sunday morning congregation. It is the ongoing process which must determine
the sorts of leadership needed. And it is the ongoing process which the religious
leaders are to lead, and which the communicants are to serve. The attention
of all should be upon the problems, not upon the personality or upon maintenance
of the organization. However, this does not belittle the importance of a winning
personality. Unavoidably, many people will continue to follow an appealing leader
regardless of his unfitness for leading in the basic issues at hand. But an
attractive, interesting personality is a considerable asset when combined with
ability to promote some certain worthy enterprise. If there is no vital process
with its problems and important needs, there should be no institution. It is
indefensible social waste to support an organization and hold a leader in futile
squirrel-cage activity where there is no social contribution in the form of
promotion of growth of meaning.
THE RIGHT TO RELIGIOUS LEADERSHIP
Who has the right to enter into the relationship of religious leadership ?
For centuries the leaders of many religious groups were held to have divine right. Sometimes they were believed to have peculiar access to the mind of God or the particular divinity worshipped. Again they were held to be custodians of a divine tradition or myth or revelation. Frequently they were regarded as mediators of the revealed word or of the wisdom of the god or gods. Occasionally they have claimed to have the power of God to work miracles. They were thought to be "called of God" or otherwise divinely designated.
Today there are a decreasing few who advance, or who recognize, the right to religious leadership upon these bases. Much less mystery and much more intelligence enters into the determination, and must do so increasingly if religion is to have its appropriate place in the growth of culture. The need for far--and clear--sighted, wise and strong religious leadership is crucial. The great increase in the number of books and articles in the field, and of incipient religious movements indicates the general awakening to the challenges and hazards of the present religious situation. Those who have a right to leadership have a large and complexly difficult task on their hands. What gives a person the right to religious leadership?
First, he must be, characteristically, a religious person. Through his own devoted living, he must be discovering the meanings of that way of life. There are opportunists who are commercializing their particular services in the name of religion, though it is plain to see that they have no deep religious understanding or devotion. They leave their intended followers cold, unfired with loyalty to the great cause. They often hide under the words, "intellectual" and "objective" which, to be sure, are terms rightly connected with religion. But these are not the only terms that are essential to effective religious living; others are devotion and loyalty. Sharing, selective and intelligent, is a prime process in leadership.
A second requirement in the right to religious leadership is relative maturity. A considerable apprenticeship under other leaders who are working on religious or allied interests should precede the taking over of responsible leadership. The enthusiasm and vigor and radical viewpoint of youth are an everlasting need in religious work, but they could be interjected at points and under conditions where they do not incur responsibilities which demand other qualifications which only the wisdom of maturity in experience brings. The present practice in much of organized religion of putting these relatively immature individuals into leadership is one important cause for the lack of religious vitality in the churches. It is also the cause for the stunted development and ineffectual ministrations of officers, old in service, who took responsibility too young, and so got set into established forms.
A third requirement is a type of training which will help the leader to so organize his intimately personal interests that he will not seek to enhance his own status by diverting the allegiance of those whom he is leading from the cause to himself. Numerous are the examples of the disaster that ensues in the lives of persons and in the undertakings of institutions when such training is neglected.
A thorough grounding, through training and experience, in the understanding of human nature and behavior is a fourth requirement. The leader's work is always with persons and groups of persons. He has no right to leadership unless he has reasonable appreciation and understanding of the essential media of his profession. These are human nature and behavior.
A fifth requirement has already been dwelt upon when leadership was being defined. It is the combination of qualifications of the leader--personal, academic and experimental--such as equips him fittingly for the particular relationship with its specific needs and interests. This does not mean that the leader himself shall be able to do all the various things which the ongoing process requires done. But he must understand and must cherish the objectives, distinguish the social and material conditions necessary for their fulfilment, and guide relationships and processes set up for the fulfilment. This forces a more creative inter-functioning and focuses attention upon the ongoing process rather than upon the leader.
Most important of all as a claim
to the right to religious leadership is the possession of religious insights
which have developed from maturing thought and study in the religious way of
living. Whatever other rights there are which should be included are items worthy
of study, but these few are basic.
CHANGING CONCEPTIONS OF RELIGIOUS LEADERSHIP
Great jars of gorgeously colored liquids used to make the errand of finding a drug store a delightful and a distinctively symbolic search. So the wildly decorated, full figure of an Indian gave symbolic evidence of the cigar stand, three gilded balls of the pawn shop, and a realistic portrait of a fiery-eyed bull of the butcher shop. But now one looks just anywhere for the boot-black, the post-office, the grocery store, and the barber. He is apt to come across them in hotel, or department store or other place. So the chimes playing sacred music may be in a university campanile, a church or a moving picture theatre, and vice versa, a moving picture may be in church or theatre or college hall. A gothic spire may pierce the sky from a concession in the world's fair, a skyscraper or a chapel. Groups of persons in their best clothes walking on Sunday morning, may be going to a resort or a church.
Perhaps this breaking down of the distinctions of outward symbols of the different interests of our culture will force greater attention to the basic inner distinctions. When religion can no longer give constant reminder of its meanings to people through distinctive objective symbols which are encountered many times a day in the course of everyday living, it will have to find more forceful ways of entering into the consciousness of individuals whose social inheritance does not include religious culture, or who have not found religion a vital interest.
This means new conceptions of leadership in religion, for until a culture is expressed in the everyday habits, ideas, sentiments and ideals of persons, it is not established. Amidst all the conglomeration of external propulsions and stimuli and patterns, the effectiveness of the traditional outward reminders and symbols is lost except upon those whose inner selves already are sensitive to the rich meaning implicit in these symbols. Religion is no longer recognized by the mass as an authorized interest. It receives little subsidy and less cooperation from the state. There is no one of the other great social institutions, aside from the church itself, which is dependably concerned with perpetuating religious culture. For the most part, religion must fend for itself among other interests, some of which have much more immediate and tangible ways of evidencing their values. All these elements affecting the status of religion posit a leadership which can see the present position of religion among the other great human interests; can find, face and judge the causes, and then reconstruct religion effectively yet loyally.
Corollary to this, must be an enlargement of the conception of religious leadership to include fields outside the church. It can no longer be confined to the church in the degree once required or assumed, any more than leadership in promotion of physical health can be confined as formerly to physician and nurse, or mental health to a psychiatrist or psychologist. The interest in each of these cases will find its fountain head in the institutions and agents specializing in promoting the particular interest in question, but many other persons, not official agents, though with some preparation, must promote it also. Religious leadership can be exercised in all walks of life. A novelist, working quite independently of the auspices of the church, may present some human experiences in such a way that others will discern that growth of meaning in life which is God. A teacher in school who keeps pointing out meaning and values, and forcing sound evaluation, is fostering an important aspect of religious living. A leader in social reconstruction whose loyalty is dominated by the belief that he is serving the highest cause of human living that he knows, is a religious leader whether he recognizes it or not. How much more effective religious leadership will be when all these leaders outside the auspices of the church are given recognition, even when not members.
Then there must also be an enlargement of the conception of what are the legitimate resources upon which religious leadership can draw. There are still many who feel that, unless the holy word or record or bible is read as the chief source of all thought and guidance upon each and every occasion, the source is not religious. Conscious ignoring of any resources whatsoever which would increase the meaning of life, is an irreligious act in itself, for it is devotion to our cause of less than the whole of what we are and have.
A closer working relationship between religious leadership and the leadership in other cultural interests as found in school, social work, family and neighborhood, is no longer a matter of choice. The increasing complication of living requires it.
A more tolerant attitude toward all religious thought, beliefs and practices must mark the coming religious leadership increasingly. With a recognition of the many-sidedness of The Reality and hence of the many possibilities of approach to Him, dogmatism is seen as disloyalty rather than as loyalty. Religious leadership must hold itself open to discover and declare whatever value is present in other religious ways of living. It means that the leader is more faithful to truth than he is to his own particular version of what he believes to be true.
Leadership is growing far more sensitive and alert to social change. It is becoming clear that religious leadership is going to be expected more and more to interpret social change to the mass of people. Many of the other community institutions are under the control of interests which dictate what they shall say or not say. Most current interpretations are prejudiced by the influence of vested interests. Yet many immanent and future changes are deeply vital to the people. They desperately need interpretations they can trust.
The majority of religious groups in the past have been reasonably homogeneous in regard to their community life and their beliefs. Today a church group is likely to be composed of individuals of diverse interests, background and viewpoint. While most churches still have the family as the unity, there are an increasing number which have some particular emphasis in membership, such as unmarried business and professional people, college students, employees of some industrial plant, or old people. Leadership of a homogeneous group is quite a different matter from that of a diversified group. Coming religious leadership must be capable of bringing the members of their groups, however different, into creative interaction.
One of the most marked changes for which the need is already felt, is the diversification of religious leadership. The pastor, with possibly an assistant, a director of religious education and a staff of voluntary teachers and officers has been a frequent set-up for leadership. But when there is a thorough thinking through of the essential nature of religion and the nature and needs of individuals and society as these exist today, there will eventuate new concepts of the whole field of religious leadership. The next section of this chapter will point out some of the probabilities in regard to appropriate diversification.
Less of authoritative control and pronouncement and more of human guidance is an emphasis in religious leadership already widely accepted. Wise, honest and loyal employment of the processes of suggestion in its varied forms, of counseling, and of group control, are three major directions of this new emphasis.
In situations where there are unknowns, the approach must be experimental. In religious work today, there are more unknowns than knowns. This posits an inquiring attitude instead of a dogmatic one. It requires an evaluation of underlying philosophy, of goals, of organization, methods and programs. Not only must the leader use the experimental approach himself, but he must keep in touch with the experiments of others, for the field is too great to be worked out either by a few, or in a short time.
Organization, where sound and effective, depends upon the purpose underlying it. A different purpose always posits a different organization. No two groups of individuals have identical purposes and conditions for realizing these purposes. Therefore no two groups of thinking individuals will have identical organization. The whole church needs a new organization based upon devoted, thoughtful analysis. The local governing bodies are autocratic, far from representative of all elements in the church. The floor plan of the church is not designed to foster the basic values in religion nor of its vital functions. The organization and plan of the church school needs thorough re-thinking. These are but suggestions to illustrate the statement that organization is wasteful or evil unless it is continually dependent upon purpose. The moment organization itself becomes greatly important, something is wrong.
The religious leader of the future must put his own house in order and keep it reasonably so. His need for a balanced, vibrant, well-integrated personality is greater than that of the average individual. No longer is he considered to be under special dispensation when his self-organization and qualifications are being observed. He must stand on his own two feet, and be one among men. His work carries him into all possible interrelationships in constructive social endeavor.
Since the religious leader must understand and interpret to the people the social movements and changes of the day, he must develop the implications of his own religious loyalty to the point where they reveal the direction of value in the issues of the day. Otherwise he lives in a fog. He is to some extent characterless, without direction. He must not force the developments of his thinking nor the findings of his evaluations upon others. But religion cannot be lived other than in the social culture of which one is a part. The way one lives is his vote for the values he cherishes in that culture.
Last of all, leadership must be
both more practical and more mystical. All the many matters already spoken of--the
underlying philosophy, psychology, purposes, objectives, programs and organization--must
be developed more clearly and more practically. Enough has been said to make
it unnecessary to dwell upon these. But also, both for himself and for those
with whom he works, there must be a more vivid realization of the wholeness
of God, a more stirring appreciation of the transcendental objective of the
loyalty he and his fellow-leaders claim. The true source of the dynamic potency
of loyalty is the vivid and
clarified realization of the worthfulness of the object of that loyalty.
VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS LEADERSHIP
There are urgent factors working toward the diversification of types of religious leadership. Some of the chief among these are: the critical position of religion as an old and great social interest; the loss by institutionalized religion of the distinctiveness of many of its outer reminders and symbols; the great diversification of interests, backgrounds, viewpoints, schedules for daily living, and motives, which characterize many religious groups today; the decline of potency in preaching and class recitation; the need to set up conditions where individuals may have genuine religious experience and participation in the culture of religious growth; the loss of meaning of many of the practices and much of the cultus of the past, for modern individuals; and the keen competition of certain other elements of culture for the attention and investment of individuals.
Religion to live and grow must function as a vital part of the culture of which it is one aspect. It cannot function today by the patterns which it built up for functioning in a culture now long past. In due loyalty to its essential nature, it must throb dynamically in the life of the here and now. The vocation of educator in secular schools is no longer limited to the classroom teacher and principal. There are psychometrists, counselors, school nurses and physicians, visiting teachers, room mothers, subject advisers, and a host of other leaders in education. The same is true for engineering, with its "contactmen", designers, surveyors, publicity agents, real-estate appraisers, draughtsmen, ditch-diggers, chemists, and the many more. Religion is a great and complex interest involving great and complex processes. It needs diversification of leadership. Some of the probable avenues of leadership most likely to develop are here suggested:
In philosophical thought. Since there can be no final pronouncement of truth in this world, emerging concepts continually need clarifying and validating, values need distinguishing and testing, and principles formulating. A reasonably well-formulated and sound philosophy of religion must underlay all the work of religion which seeks to be significant.
In administrative direction. National, state and district boards, and other bodies with responsibility for religious direction need more careful preparation for office than do local leaders. They can so easily suffocate or cripple religion, or make it anemic or ghostly. The qualifications and the training of administrators in religion should be courageously and intelligently delineated, even if this means coming to arms with those who are selfish or bigoted among the vested interests of the various church bodies, and with those who are petrified in dogmatic cement.
Through art. Persons with religious motivation, though not at all necessarily with institutional authorization, are to be encouraged to present the Reality of God as found in all walks of life, each through his own art. The writing of fiction or poetry, or of drama, the production of music or works in graphic art, sculpture, architecture, and the interpretive presentation of all forms of art, are potent avenues of religious leadership.
In appreciation and worship. The scope of needed leadership here extends beyond our present horizon. Some of the vistas that need exploring under adequate leadership seem full of promise. There is the understanding treatment of experience so that movements toward the crises, problems and dedications of life are protected and fostered. There is the making available of beautiful things when these promise augmentation of meaning in experience. There is the whole area of the religious cultus and the growth of potent symbols. Many, many persons express in private a hunger for genuine experiences in appreciation and worship which they do not know how to achieve.
In journalism. There is much going on in the religious enterprise, and more to go on. Also, there is much in general living of vital interest to religious persons. This needs forceful presentation by leaders who understand both religion and people, and so do not have blind spots where certain aspects or developments are concerned. There are some worthy examples of religious leadership in journalism, but only a comparatively few.
In teaching. This is an old avenue, of course, but continuingly important. The methods and quality of teaching are being improved, but need a vast advance yet. Not until religious teachers of church schools receive pay as do pastors and singers and janitors will they be able to invest in the thorough training necessary for their important work. There is increasing need for well-trained teachers of religion in colleges and universities. A teacher is an agent of society through whom there comes to the student, the selection of the best from the total social inheritance. This makes every teacher of religion a very significant leader in religion.
In adjustment of behavior. This form of leadership where suggestion, counseling and group guidance are the methods, has been discussed at some length. It needs, however, to be located in its place in this list of avenues of leadership.
In missionary enterprises. This also has received attention already.
Through preaching. Theological dissertation and invective have small part to carry in the church in these days. There certainly are occasions where discussion of the intellectual approach to religion is appropriate and constructive, but what the great mass of people need on the part of the preacher is the personal dramatization of the realities of life which concern religion and the religious objectives.
In conservation of the religious heritage. The historians, archeologists, recorders and others who seek to put into authentic, permanent form the facts and developments in religion, together with those who bring out revealing comparisons or commentaries or other materials which vivify religion, are all contributing signally to religious leadership.
In experimentation and other avenues of research in the field of religion. There is no aspect of the field of religion which does not offer opportunity to the leader who seeks to lead through research, though there are some areas which are more pertinent at any one time than are others.
In cooperative analysis. Forums, discussions, conferences going over a period of days or weeks, are increasingly effective forms of religious activity. Leadership in such forms has its own particular skills and arts. Many times through one or more of these forms of cooperative analysis, leadership is enabled to work with groups of sub-leaders, making the process potentially a highly influential one. All of the issues and aspects of religion can benefit by this avenue of leadership.
In the application of psychological findings to religious work. Leaders in this area can make contributions of import to the body of principles and methods of work, to the carrying on of the process of religious education, to the conduct of worship, to experiments being tried, to demonstration and training schools, indeed, to all other avenues of leadership. It is one of the most important avenues of religious leadership today, but it should be approached only by those who are willing to prepare adequately and to labor hard. Smatterings, gathered catch-as-catch-can, are more hazardous than beneficial.
In appraising the processes of religious behavior, growth and education. This branch of leadership is closely connected with several others, notably the psychology of religious work, religious research and administrative direction. It has been discussed in Chapter XIX.
In particular areas of religious interest. Every great process has its particular areas which must depend upon specialists for adequate leadership. These may be specialists in education who are equipped to go from place to place to appraise aspects of religious work and make constructive suggestions. Or they may be persons who are able to render simple but illuminating explanation of the sacred literature. Or they may be experts in church financing, or in developing the work of young people, or in adult education. There needs to be extension of expert service all through the field according to some adequate plan.
In providing appropriate but practical materials and equipment both for religious work and for religious living. Whatever can aid in the organization of the conditions of living toward the furthering of dominant loyalties, and whatever can provide the settings or tools which promote growth of meaning and value, has religious significance. One firm furnishes a fine example. It is doing an admirable piece of work in regard to recreational interests of church groups. On the whole, however, there has not been as much investment of creative imagination and good workmanship in the materials and equipment to be used in religious interests as there has been for sports, housekeeping, business management and most other interests. The sorts and types of equipment needed must be discovered through studying the religious processes in connection with the social groups where these function.
In social reconstruction.
The part of religion in social reconstruction has already been discussed and
will be considered still further in a chapter to follow. It is essential here
only to note that there are possibilities of truly great service through this
avenue. There are already names on the honor roll of leadership here, both past
NEEDED DEVELOPMENTS IN TRAINING FOR RELIGIOUS LEADERSHIP
From the point of view of training, religious leadership, generally speaking, is in a bad state. While it has drawn somewhat upon the departments of colleges and universities, the major work is done in theological seminaries and divinity schools. Here the content of instruction has yielded less to the requirements of changing culture than almost any other professional school. Most of the training centers, although frequently located in cities, are insulated f rom the actual thinking and practices of modern life. There have been efforts to associate religion with the other vital issues, but these have not been of any great significance. Perhaps the basic difficulty is that these efforts to meet the life of the modern world are undertaken as mere annexations to an unmodernized system of thought. This means that such efforts cannot find real connection, and so, after some sparks and fizzles, prove to be more or less passing fads.
One of the factors which retards progress in institutions for training religious leaders is the lag and drag of the great mass of religious people who do not or will not think, who prefer blind faith to intelligent loyalty, and who resist growth in religion. Sometimes these training institutions depend upon endowments, part of which may be subscribed by the religiously benighted or bigoted. Again, some of them are under boards of control which watch that developments do not get out of prescribed bounds. Whatever the reasons, much of the training is overweighted with traditional lore of various sorts.
Some specific examples of these facts can be cited for illustration. Although a relatively clarified and tested philosophy of religion must underlie all worthy religious endeavor, training in philosophic thought in the field of religion is not usually a regular requirement of students. Again, although the medium with which religious leaders must work is a group of human beings, and although the success of religious leaders depends upon the respondings of these human beings, there is very little preparation in psychological studies. The understanding of human nature, of currents of human thought and drive, and of social development are of crucial importance. Yet hardly any of the training schools have departments which give adequate preparation in psychology, physical and mental hygiene, philosophy and sociology.
Closely associated with this last, is the imperative need that religious leaders be sent out as well-adjusted persons equipped to work skilfully with others. Yet many of them during the training period itself flounder through temptations and problems and continued confusions which prevent them from progressive integration of their own impulses, habits and interests. In the end they are not sure of their own way in life, much less ready to work with others upon their ways of living. If the headquarters for the training of religious leaders do not or cannot provide the conditions for the vital and effective functioning of religion in the lives of their students while in their charge, what can be expected of these students when they have become leaders in situations less efficiently organized?
There is not nearly enough practical training in varied fields of social work. Most of the practice training comes through having charge of a small church or assisting a pastor or other religious worker. This serves a purpose, certainly. But there needs to be an orienting experience in other human situations: neighborhood clubs, Americanization work, institutes of family relation, juvenile court and state schools for re-education, nursery schools, habit clinics, child guidance clinics, jails, hospitals, schools, playgrounds, and so on and on. The workers need practice work with individuals who have situations and problems in the general areas which they will meet when they are in positions of leadership.
Then there are areas of special training which are often slighted or neglected. Some of these areas are: the organization and direction of group activities, group therapy, counseling, acquaintance with the sources available in modern life for the enrichment and understanding of the different religious processes, and social practice. This last may seem trivial, yet a leader who hopes to bring a diversified group of human beings into creative interaction and to cooperate with other community leaders, needs to develop such habits of human approach and contact as will facilitate his work and leave his mind clear of self -embarrassment over social clumsiness, offensiveness or futile conflicts.
A perusal of the list of avenues
for the diversification of religious leadership will indicate other areas of
special training, certain of which will be valuable for some workers, others
for others. One group of the experts mentioned in the list will focus upon professional
religious training, enriching their study program with some preparation in other
special areas. The other experts will focus their training in their particular
fields, including enough religious training to qualify them as religious leaders
through their own fields. Diversification in leadership posits diversification
THE EMERGING SIGNIFICANCE OF MODERN RELIGIOUS LEADERSHIP
The function of religious leadership peculiar to today is that of keeping religion in the process of reconstruction which this age requires. Leadership must search out and develop the changing form of religion in the light of the changing views and changing culture of the world. Much is dependent upon the emergence of a type of religious leadership which will stay the present tendencies to turn back to vaguely conceived objectives embalmed in rigidly formulated beliefs and practices. And it must not only stay this degenerative movement, but it must promote the reconstruction of religion so that mankind can have access to its ancient, enduring values through concepts and processes available to modern living and worthy of intellectual respect. The integrity and courage of the leader in this matter of reconstruction must be above reproach. And with it all, he must be able to help individuals and groups sense the worthfulness, the wholeness and the limitlessness of The Reality in a degree to challenge their deepest and most dynamic loyalty. Having done this, he must help these individuals to find and serve the social causes which best promote the values which have claimed their common loyalty.