In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

The Religion–Education Intersection Transformed   the decade of the 1960s significantly transformed the role of religion at Macalester. Two events, one at the beginning of the decade, the other at the end, serve as bookends of this transformation. The first came in 1960, when the MacalesterBoardof Trusteesvotedtoeliminatetherequirementthattwo-thirds of their members be practicing Presbyterians. The second came in 1969, when the college dedicated a new chapel, the first building on campus devoted fully toreligiouswork.Whilethefirstraisesquestionsaboutwhetherthecollegewas moving away from the church and becoming more secular, the second implies almost the opposite—a strong connection to the church. Taken together, these events point to a distinct ambiguity, evenambivalence, in the evolving religious identity of the college during the period. Of course,thereligiousidentityof thecollegehadchangedseveraltimesduringitsrelativelybrief history:by1960,MacalesterCollegehadcreated,embraced, and then moved on from several understandings of how religion and education intersect. Edward Neill had championed the idea of a unifying Protestant education based on the belief that Christianity undergirded all knowledge; for him, such education was a cornerstone for all professions. Thomas McCurdy, his successor as the college opened, believed more strongly in the unique perspective of Presbyterianism and the responsibility of the college to provide the region with educated young men prepared to go on to seminary. By the late 1890s,missionaryzealandastrongerevangelicaltoneshiftedthecollegetoward preparingstudentsforreligiousvocationsof varioussorts,spurringthedevelopment of the religious education program. By the 1920s, the college adopted a  | nature & revelation middle-of-the-road approach to reconciling different views of religion’s proper impact on education. Charles Turck translated Christian ideals into an activist focusonservice,redefiningChristianeducationasthatwhichservedthebroader society (read democracy) and world in the 1940s. The1950swouldbringfurthertransformationsinhowthecollegeadministrationandstudentsconceivedof therelationshipbetweenreligionandeducation, settingthestageforthemoreradicalshiftsof the1960s.Aswiththeearlierchanges in the prevailing models, the transformations that occurred during this period affectedmanyaspectsof campuslife,fromtheinstitution’srelationshipwiththe Presbyterian synod to curriculum requirements and student religious life. Traditional and New Institutional Structures to Instill Religion in the Postwar Period The decade following World War II had brought a few new features to religious life at Macalester, the most important of which was the creation of the position of chaplain of the college. The college hired its first chaplain, Dr. John Maxwell Adams, in 1947. This fact may strike readers as somewhat strange. Would not a Christian college have employed a chaplain from the start to look after the spiritual well-being of the students? The answer to this question hints at how the college viewed itself vis-à-vis the Presbyterian Church prior to the creation of the office of chaplain. As the office of chaplain had historically been conceived , Christian colleges were not in need of such a position precisely because of their denominational affiliation. Chaplains, like missionaries, were assigned to constituencies distant from the structures of the church: institutions such as prisons or hospitals or military units, for instance. Denominational colleges, closely tied to the church itself, were not in need of special clergy. Inthe1920s,however,denominationsgrewincreasinglyconcernedaboutthe roleof religiononcampuses,asChristiancollegeanduniversitystudentsbegan tocritiquetheineffectivenessof thechurchduringWorldWarIandparticipatein parachurchactivitiesoutsidethecontrolof specificdenominations.Studentsat bothdenominationalcollegesandsecularstateuniversitiesweredeeplyinvolved inavarietyof religiousorganizations,manyof whichwelcomedabroadrangeof evangelicalparticipationandfunctionedoutsideof denominationalpurview.The YMCAandYWCA,theStudentVolunteerMovement,ChristianEndeavor,and later a host of organizations, such as the Macalester Christian Alliance, shared atleastanimplicitcritiqueof theterritorialcharacterof denominationsandthe inability of Christians to unite. These student organizations also tended to be The Religion–Education Intersection Transformed |  informedbysocialconcernsandastrongservice(sometimesmissionary)ethic, andformanystudentsthetheologicalconundrumsof thedenominationspaled in comparison to the need for Christian activism in the world. Such ideas challenged denominations. By the 1920s, several denominations had created chaplaincies at universities, in large measure to provide a denominationallyeducatedandordainedclergymantooverseethesestudentorganiza tions and activities. Asserting denominational identity as well as attempting to consolidate this diffusion of religious activity,collegesbegancreating chaplaincies and often erected impressive chapels on their campuses to house the new college clergy. Carleton, for instance, erected its Gothic Revival–style Skinner Memorial Chapel in 1916 for its new chaplaincy. Macalester, waiting until after the war to hire a chaplain, was slow in followingthistrend ,whichsuggeststhattherewaslittleanxietyaboutthePresbyterian characterof thecollegeoritsstudents.Thereligiousneedsof Macalesterstudents hadfordecadesbeenaddressedbytheclergyatthevariouschurchesthatstudents attended; by their parents, as many lived at home; by the faculty in the religion department, most of whom were ordained; by other Christian faculty; and by the president. Most students attended a local church, with many Presbyterian students attending Macalester Presbyterian Church, which had been founded in 1887, two years after the college opened its doors. In 1925 that congregation, in cooperation with the college, erected a new church at the corner of Lincoln and Macalester avenues that was used for college assemblies, including daily chapelservices.In1929,PresidentJohnAchesonrecommendedthatthecollege create an office of the chaplain, but this recommendation, along with the rest of his curricular plan, was put on hold by the Great Depression. By the postwar period, however, with...


Additional Information

Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.