New York: Oxford University Press. The success of the chapel program often demanded largely upon periodic religious revivals among the students lest chapel preaching fall upon hard hearts and deaf ears. Secularization and the Demise of Compulsory Chapel Programs As the most visible symbol of faith on campus the college chapel has often served as a lightning rod in the well-chronicled tension between the educational and spiritual missions of Christian colleges. Both sides of this debate recognize that the dualism inherent in post-Enlightenment conceptions of knowledge creates a nearly inevitable force against the life of the Spirit in colleges committed to the life of the mind.
Ideally, such an approach enhances the worship experience for all who take part and reduces the need to police student attendance and behavior. Practically, the threat of a conspicuously empty chapel often leads to tailoring worship to the tastes of the majority of undergraduate students and subsequently faculty and minority-student dissatisfaction.
The student services model is nearly always the first step towards to end of a vital college chapel program. Two Theological Poles of Worship While modern Christian colleges have yet to develop a widespread theology capable of managing these tensions at the level of the Puritan model, [xxx] both sides in the debate agree that chapel programs should be a time when at very least a sizable majority of the college community gathers to celebrate their common faith in Christ through meaningful expressions of corporate worship, rehearse the central narrative and tenants of the Christian faith, and consider together how to live out their faith throughout their campus community, scholarly pursuits, personal relationships, and vocational calling.
These twin poles guided the Puritans in their integration of liberal education in the classroom and revival in the college chapel precisely because the renewing power of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the chapel is the best defense against hard hearts and deaf ears and in the classroom. Notes [i] Widespread use word soul to describe the essence of uniquely Christian higher education was initiated by George M. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, , Stephen T. Marsden, Soul of the American University , Italics mine. Grand Rapids, MI: W.
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Eerdmans, , Michael L. Quality with Soul , Dockery is president of Union University, an educational-essential chapel school. Quality with Soul , , Eerdmans, , Cary Balzer and Rod Reed.
Eerdmans Pub, , James C. Kennedy and Caroline Joyce Simon, Can hope endure? Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, , Lyle W. Dorsett Timothy K. Paul John Dovre, Balzer, Cary and Rod Reed. Beers, Stephen T. Bennie, Robert. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, Budde, Michael L. Burtchaell, James T.
Paul John Dovre. Dean, Kendra Kreasy. Nashville, TN: Broadman, Dorsett, Lyle W. Accounts of a Campus Revival: Wheaton, IL: Harold Shaw, Dovre, Paul J. Kennedy, James C.
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Liftin, Duane. Conceiving the Christian College. Marsden and Bradley Longfield. Jonathan Edwards: A Life. New Haven: Yale University Press, Joel Carpenter and Kenneth Shipps. Grand Rapids: Christian University Press, Reuben, Julie A. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Ringenberg, William C.
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Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, Smith, James K. Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works. It is the result of a carefully orchestrated public relations tour de force. Incredibly, Whitefield personally wrote or inspired thirty-percent of every work published in America in By the time he reaches Boston, all of New England is in a fever pitch.
One hundred miles to the west, fiery preacher Jonathan Edwards waits not with condemnation, but delight. He even invites the innovative young preacher to fill his famous pulpit in Northampton, Massachusetts. Edwards helped start this media sensation in the first place.
And capture it they did. Twenty-first-century culture-makers seeking to birth society-wide transformation on the level of the Great Awakening would be wise to pay careful attention to the lessons Edwards and Whitefield learned in using celebrity for the glory of God. Celebrity is perhaps the most coveted and least understood concept in contemporary culture.
While the billion-dollar celebrity industry seems to grind out a new subject for fifteen-minutes of fame nearly every fifteen minutes, the scholarly community and the church has scrambled just to stay current. The answer is, perhaps, yes and no. Before , the motion picture industry sold story. However, studio executives soon realized that what they were actually selling was stars —men and women who moviegoers liked and personally identified with beyond the quality of their performance. Media-generated personal identification evoked a public hunger for access to the private lives of stars.
But in the emerging global village, the most popular kids are found on the big screen. Within a few short years, the public relations and celebrity gossip industries were born. Since Edwards and Whitefield were dead for over a hundred years before the first Hollywood stars were born, it is hard to see how they are celebrities in this limited sense of the word.
However, other scholars adopt a broader understanding of celebrity, one that seems to better fit Edwards and Whitefield. Therefore, the desire to be great and the desire to be famous are not necessarily mutually exclusive. People wanted to know more. For over a century, it serves as a nearly canonical corpus for New England revivalism. Without his providing the story, there is no story, and therefore, no celebrity. People love Whitefield. They flock to hear him preach. They relish his willingness to take on the ancestral hierarchical establishment.
Newspapers normally committed to business and political news are filled with accounts of his success. He is able to network with the rich and powerful, target key social causes especially orphans and African American education , and take controversial anti-institutional stands on the issues of his day unconverted ministers. He certainly would have connected with people without it, but he could never have attracted such remarkable crowds without the tireless efforts of Seward and his network of advance men.
As Stout asserts:. Whitefield wrote best-selling journals and drew audiences that must be totaled in the millions. For comparison one must look to an electronic age and. Both Edwards and Whitefield appear to fit the criteria of heroic celebrities. Noll, arguably the most influential historian in our contemporary understanding of the First Great Awakening, notes that although revival can be viewed as the result of a movement of the Holy Spirit, it can also be interpreted as an effect of human agency and leadership:.
The leaders of the First Great Awakening were young men of great natural gifts who preached, wrote, promoted, and built institutions with unusual force. Their actions mattered, regardless of their motivations or by what power they were energized. Something truly remarkable occurred in this movement that no amount of human effort has ever been able to recreate although not for lack of trying. However, it does emphasize that the Holy Spirit worked though human leaders who made wise use of the means at their proposal, including their celebrity. Edwards himself came to embrace the importance of human leadership in the Awakening.
His first work in the midst of the Great Awakening, Some thoughts concerning the present revival of religion , was an urgent appeal for human leaders to promote the work of God by wise and strenuous efforts. Edwards and Whitefield were not leaders who shirked their human responsibility. However, before we can directly apply the principles they employed in the eighteenth century to our contemporary setting, we must first account for a factor with which Edwards and Whitefield never had to contend: contemporary pseudo celebrity culture.
The problem with the celebrity cycle is that it is essentially value neutral. The process that makes someone a heroic celebrity is essentially the same as the process that makes someone a pseudo celebrity. As the Hollywood school of thought contends, something went seriously awry with celebrity in the early twentieth century. This meme serves as a great example of how the four-stage cycle can be applied to the creation of pseudo celebrities. People were dying to connect with Jenny and know more of her life and future.
Thirty-six hours after the first posting, The Chive and Porterfield are hot properties. Could an acting role be far behind? She is so darn likable. In less than two twenty-four-hour news cycles a hoax is: 1 perpetrated, 2 debunked, and 3 milked for enough publicity to become national news and achieve celebrity status.
Notice, however, how the final stage of influence is still very much intact. In fact, the defining characteristic of the contemporary pseudo celebrity culture is the shallow but powerful nature of the identification it engenders. Pseudo celebrity endorsements are both effective and pervasive, because these superstars are integral parts of our lives and intimately tied to our greatest hopes and fears.
In a culture devoid of meaning and relationship, the pseudo celebrity system offers powerful images to direct our lives. Through pseudo celebrity culture, we perpetrate a new American mythology: not the maxim that strong character, hard work, and perseverance will eventually lead to success and happiness, but rather be in the right place at the right time, with the right YouTube video and you too can be famous.
The underlying story behind pseudo celebrity becomes: it could happen to me. Not everyone can be a hero, but anyone can be famous. Accomplishments might put someone in a position to be noticed by the media, but only the intentional courting of the public eye can produce an ongoing celebrity.