Pastoral Report Articles 

  • 15 Apr 2013 12:03 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Chaplain on Demand!
    What Non-Pastoral Care Colleagues 
    Want & Believe They Need
    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD

    When is the last time you, the chaplain, asked your non-chaplain colleagues when they most wanted – 
    or believed they needed – 
    a chaplain on their unit?

    Recently a clinical pastoral chaplain friend and I stumbled into a situation where asking what I like to call “the right stupid question” provoked some startling answers. We asked the nurse/ managers in a number of intensive care areas at one medical center the following question:

    “If you had $500,000 to spend on pastoral care and counseling services – 
    and you did not have to answer to anyone about your decision – 
    when would you like to have your ‘own personal chaplain’ on the premises?”

    First let me provide some minor details about the medical center. This tertiary care facility – built around a clustering of 8 intensive care programs – functions as the regional referral and teaching center for a 6-campus system. The 70,000 emergency room visits, 20,000 admissions, and 69,000 pastoral care contacts per year keep 440 out of 560 beds full and 8 certified chaplains plus chaplain trainees busy.

    More formal research by trainees of the medical center’s pastoral care department, two years earlier, produced objective information that more chaplaincy coverage was needed on weekend afternoons as well as on Mondays and especially on Tuesdays. What distinguishes the informal inquiry reported in this short essay is that staff members of NON-pastoral-care departments were asked to produce – on the spot – subjective information about their wants and perceived needs.

    At the first intensive care area where staff members were queried, specifically and individually, about their professional perceptions of chaplaincy coverage needs, one informant wanted more chaplains available from 7 pm to 3 am, while another wanted more chaplains available from 2 pm to 2 am. Both informants began their comments by noting that no one before had ever asked their opinion. The spontaneously specific nature of their requests startled us – but this phenomenon repeated itself as we wandered around to other units.

    At the second intensive care area visited, an informant noted that expanding the availability of pastoral care staff around 2 am would help considerably. At the third intensive care area visited, one informant wanted more chaplains available between 7 pm and 7 am – perhaps including for group work nearby – when family members are staying for hours and hours in the waiting room, while another informant wanted more chaplains available between 3 pm and 3 am – perhaps including a “midnight lunch with the chaplain” – again as a means of helping to “take care” of those family members who are essentially living in the waiting room. Other intensive care areas had requests more specific – for example, around the times when their patients tended to be removed from life-support.

    Glancing over this ad hoc unscientific sample, the hours from 7 pm to 3 am stand out as the period when non-pastoral care clinical staff most wanted to have their “own personal chaplain” available. All intensive care areas were able to use the regular chaplaincy staff available in the medical center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When given the chance to fantasize about having total control over chaplaincy services in their intensive care area, however, the nurse/ managers in this busy medical center wanted and perceived they needed extra chaplaincy services in the hours around midnight.

    So, when was the last time you, the chaplain, asked your non-chaplain colleagues when they most wanted – or believed they needed – a chaplain around? It would be easy to ignore this essay as relating only to large medical center situations – but the fact is that this question probably applies to all settings where clinical pastoral chaplains work.

    As the saying goes, 
    “You can't always 
    get what you want, 
    but if you try sometimes, well, 
    you just might find you 
    get what you need”

    Who is the pastoral care department to serve? The chaplains and the chaplain trainees? Or the patients, their families, and the non-pastoral care staff?

    Endnote:

    The song lyric at the very end of this article is from “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” lyrics by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards of “The Rolling Stones”. Recording released December 1969.

    _________________

    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD is the leading historian of the clinical pastoral movement. Many of his published writings are posted on the Pastoral Report. Readers can use the PR's search engine found on the left side-bar to locate his articles. As a practicing psychiatrist, his writings reflect his daily investment in his clinical practice of providing psychotherapy and care to his patients. Contact Dr. Powell by clicking here


  • 02 Apr 2013 12:06 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Shedding Light on the Unknown –
    Without Presuming to Exhaust Its Meaning

    – Comments Honoring
    the Rev. Dr. Donald Eric Capps –
    delivered in Las Vegas, NV, 
    on 19 March 2013, at the Plenary of the 
    College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy
    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD

    Can each of us be 
    engaged and attentive enough to
    see and hear and understand 
    truths beyond the supposedly obvious?

    – on the 90th anniversary of The Joint Committee on Religion & Medicine’s beginning (1923) of focusing resources from the New York Academy of Medicine & the Federal Council of Churches on “the religious healing problem”.

    – on the 90th anniversary of [Helen] Flanders Dunbar’s beginning (1923) of the philosophical studies of “insight symbolism” that later would shape her holistic studies of supposed medical disorders that contained unappreciated layers of meaning.

    – on the 90th anniversary of Anton Theophilus Boisen’s beginning (1923) of the “dynamic psychology” studies of souls in the midst of their communities – research that paralleled his earlier (1908) “religious sociology” studies of individual worshipers in the midst of their contexts, as well as his still earlier (1903) “social ecology” studies of individual trees in the midst of their forests.

    – on the 80th anniversary of Dunbar’s de facto merging of Anton Boisen’s professional chaplaincy movement with her own “mind and body” psychosomatic movement – the one program being focused on education & the other being focused on medical research – but with both focused on healing & wholeness.

    – on the 70th anniversary of Dunbar’s Psychosomatic Diagnosis (1943), that focused on appreciating the tenuous equilibriums stirring around & within the body, mind, world & world-view – of both the person providing care & the person receiving care.

    – on the 65th anniversary of Boisen’s "The Minister as Counselor” (1948) an excellent summary about the need (1) to avoid “treatment without diagnosis” & (2) to appreciate “the symbols by means of which … [a person] seeks to reveal his [or her] difficulties to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear”.

    It might be hard to imagine either Flanders Dunbar (1902-1959) or Anton Boisen (1876-1965) writing a joke book – yet Sigmund Freud wrote a treatise on jokes – as did our newest recipient of the “Helen Flanders Dunbar Award for Significant Contributions to Clinical Pastoral Training”. All four – Dunbar, Boisen, Freud, and our newest awardee – were intrigued by the layers and layers of meaning lying within and around symptoms and complaints – the layers and layers of meaning frequently under-appreciated either by those who are suffering, bewildered, or vulnerable – or by those who are trying to work with these souls in distress – or by both. A main lesson from the writings of our newest awardee is that although you might think you have exhausted the meanings, you probably have not. Look more closely. Listen more closely.

    Frequently those who have studied jokes also have studied parables – as both types of storytelling tend toward at least double entendre and both aim to make an impact on the reader or listener – those who theoretically have “eyes to see” or “ears to hear”. Good parables are somewhat like good jokes in that they lead readers or listeners down a darkening, narrowing path, so to speak, then, unexpectedly, into an expansive world of light. Both good parables and good jokes are designed to produce a sudden “Ah hah!” – an enlightenmenta jolt in thinking. A difference is that a good parable perhaps more easily than a good joke encourages a multitude of interpretations – according to the degree to which the teller or writer really is trying to engage – trying to provoke attention – and the degree to which the listener or reader really is engaged – is paying attention.

    Just as a parabola – the path when, for example, a ball is thrown a long distance– is a path that is curved rather than straight, so, too, a parable takes a path that is “curved” – or indirect – not one that is “straight” – or direct – when connecting one person to another. Both words – “parabola” and “parable” – indeed are derived from the Greek for “throwing alongside”. This indirectnessunexpectednessis the whole point. A “direct” line is what it is – straight to the target – without much room for interpretation. A somewhat “indirect” line has room for several interpretations, and a notably “indirect” line has room for many interpretations.

    Dunbar elucidated this indirectness and potential expansiveness of interpretations long ago in her classic analysis of how symbols work – which she clearly believed provided guidance regarding how symptoms work. Dunbar gave the example of a “rock” – which I will quote: 

    A geologist … will note on the map the conventional sign [for a rock],
    thus using an
    arbitrary[-extrinsic] association …
    [a metaphor or analog–
    this stands – directly – for that –]
    as a shorthand representation of the datum.

    The artist on the other hand may sketch the rock, or write a poem 
    describing it in terms of other sense experience 
    [that is, as a metonymy or simile – a part representing the whole – 
    this is – somewhat indirectly – sort of like that –], 
    which then becomes a descriptive[-intrinsic comparison] … of the rock.

    Finally, the philosopher … may look through the object to … deeper meanings [–
    this is – notably indirectly – reminiscent and prescient of many thats ],
    such as the stability of eternal law, and so use the rock itself as [
    a symbol proper,
    that is, as]
    an [interpretive, semblance or] insight symbol. 

    Dunbar went on to suggest some additional possible deeper meanings in a specifically Christian context: 
    It [, the rock, as an “insight symbol,”] may stand for Christ,
    as in the familiar hymn Rock of Ages;
    or it may exemplify that which each soul should be to its fellows,
    as Christ himself used the symbol with reference to Peter;
    or finally, the rock may mean the foundation of the heavenly kingdom.

    In other words, an insight symbol invites layers and layers of interpretation, and once something is viewed as an insight symbol one is prompted to pursue layers and layers of understanding.

    Thus, apparently to quote Freud, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”. Sometimes, however, it is somewhat or notably much, much more. As Jesus explained, 

    This is why I speak to them in parables:
    because seeing they do not see
    and hearing they do not hear … .
    [He or she who has eyes,
    let him or her see.]
    He [or she] who has ears,
    let him [or her] hear. 

    That is, Jesus hoped to be quite clear to those who made the effort to engage, to pay attention, and to understand – but not necessarily otherwise. Boisen echoed this when he suggested that those who are suffering, bewildered, or vulnerable behave much the same way. He asked us to appreciate 

    the symbols by means of which [a person]
    seeks to reveal his [or her] difficulties to
    those who have eyes to see and ears to hear

    That is, those in need hope to be quite clear to those who make the effort to engage, to pay attention, and to understand – but not necessarily otherwise.

    Taking a fresh, in-depth look at the Biblical descriptions of Jesus’ healing ministry, our newest awardee noted that

    … Jesus’ cures … could be read as parables,
    as expressing symbolic as well as literal truth. 

    The patients’ neighbors and Jesus’ disciples saw and heard one thing, while Jesus, very engaged and very attentive, saw and heard something else – a lot else – and acted accordingly. Extending this to our current and daily work, the question concerns the extent to which those presenting with symptoms and complaints might be speaking in parables – might be knowingly – or unknowingly – telling us something more profound than is conveyed by the literal words.

    The lesson here is that Dunbar, Boisen, Jesus, our newest awardee – and certainly many others – have asked us to appreciate both the expansive nature of certain stories and the complexity of what we call healing. Dunbar certainly had a talent for recognizing what lay beneath, beside, and beyond the supposedly “obvious”. For example, patients with fractures were being used as controls for study patients who had conditions considered more likely to have psychological aspects. “Obviously” – so went the argument – “patients’ minds couldn’t cause bones to break”. Getting to know these patients more deeply than the average surgeon, Dunbar soon recognized that those with fractures were as “crazy” as anyone else – and thus was born her concept of “the accident prone personality”. “Obviously” – so went the argument – “babies can’t read nearby adults’ minds”. Getting to know these babies more deeply than the average pediatrician, she soon recognized that this just wasn’t the case – and thus were born Dunbar’s three books on children’s and adolescents’ minds and bodies. Can each of us be engaged and attentive enough to see and hear and understand truths beyond the supposedly obvious?

    Let me give but one simple – perhaps too simple – personal example. Many years ago a colleague described me as “someone who has a knack for subscribing to magazines that go out of business.” If I presented to one of you with that as a self-description – “I’m someone who has a knack for subscribing to magazines that go out of business” – what might you make of it? There is literal truth in it, of course: that the report, as an extrinsic association, stands exactly for what has happened. 

    There is an implied truth in it, also – that the example, as an intrinsic comparison, represents an array of problems. There are deeper, broader truths in it, too – that the expansive image, as fertile insight symbol, suggests a variety of views, including a negative one: that I make questionable judgments, as well as a positive one: that I’m “marching to my own drummer – that I hold fast to my own judgment, regardless of how others decide. That I “subscribe to magazines” probably fits comfortably with conventional myth about how quite conservative I am. That these are failing magazines probably jolts many a bit – especially since the story, as self-defining parable, shows how radical I might be. If you focused literally on me and my magazines you would be missing the point – missing the notably indirect message being conveyed – the story considered most important – consciously or unconsciously – by me.

    Our newest awardee’s early career included serious pondering about these so-called “parabolic events” – these parable-like episodes in peoples’ lives that seem archetypal – that seem like they might encompass layers and layers of meaning. Recognizing parabolic events is a kind of unique diagnostic exercise. Similarly, both Dunbar and Boisen championed really seeing those who were suffering, bewildered, or vulnerable as unique individuals and really listening to their stories. Like our newest awardee’s, theirs was a creative curiosity. Both Dunbar and Boisen actually SAW the obvious that others could not see, and they actually HEARD the obvious that others could not hear. They also had a way of allowing others to display their real selves and to convey their real views. Much of the Dunbaresque/ Boisenesque diagnostic approach begins in “being with” – until one finally sees and hears and understands what specifically is bothersome in a specific person’s mind, body, world, or world-view.

    Our awardee has suggested that Jesus employed a similar approach – “being with” so that He could, with greater depth, see and hear and understand – and heal. Jesus did not focus on the complaint or symptom as what Dunbar would call an arbitrary-extrinsic association or as what she would call a descriptive-intrinsic comparison. Rather, in His healing ministry, more usefully Jesus focused on the symptom or complaint as an interpretive-semblance insight symbol – as expansive and complex, with layers and layers of meaning. As Dunbar noted in regard to her work, 

    Therapeutic results [often] were noted as a consequence of the mere process of examination. 

    Apparently it was much the same, our newest awardee has suggested, in Jesus’ healing ministry – that therapy followed from an engaged, attentive diagnostic approach and that it might well in your ministry, too.

    So, on this, the 30th anniversary of his “The Parabolic Event in Religious Autobiography” (1983), which foreshadowed both his Jesus the Village Psychiatrist (2008) and his Laughter Ever After … (2008), grasping that healing can be effected by appreciating the complex worlds of meaning in supposedly “obvious” complaints & symptoms, please join me in congratulating the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy’s 12th recipient of “The Helen Flanders Dunbar (1902-1959) Award for Significant Contributions to the Field of Clinical Pastoral Training”: The Rev. Dr. Donald Eric Capps.


    Endnotes:

    The title is a paraphrasing of a sentence in Donald E. Capps. “The Parabolic Event in Religious Autobiography.” The Princeton Seminary Bulletin. 1983;4(1):26-38, p.27.

    This award is being bestowed on the 50th anniversary of our honoree’s graduation from divinity school & on the 30th anniversary of his 5-year stint as editor for the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

    Some additional relevant anniversaries are:

    – on the 105th anniversary of Religion and Medicine (1908), by professional chaplaincy’s 

    conceptual forebear, Elwood Worcester (1862-1940), an elder colleague of both Dunbar 

    & Boisen.

    – on the 85th anniversary of Boisen’s “The Sense of Isolation in Mental Disorder: Its Religious 

    Significance.” (1928) [Am J Sociol. 33:555-567] & his "The Psychiatric Approach to the Study of Religion” (1928) [Relig Ed. 23(3):201-207].

    – on the 80th anniversary of Dunbar’s “The Faith and the New Psychology” (1933), in Frank Gavin, 

    ed. Liberal Catholicism and the Modern World. Milwaukee: Morehouse Publishing, 1933; reprinted: Living Church. 1934;13:333-336; available on-line at http://anglicanhistory.org/usa/fgavin/liberal/13.html , that called for further “development of the age-old techniques of religion in the light of the new understanding”.

    – on the 55th anniversary of Seward Hiltner’s Preface to Pastoral Theology … (1958), affirming that 

    a clinical pastoral task “begins with theological questions and concludes with theological answers” [p.24] regardless of the intervening “practical” steps.

    – on the 50th anniversary of Hiltner’s Constructive Aspects of Anxiety (1963), a small volume co-

    edited with Karl Menninger, emphasizing, as did Boisen, the possible value of crises.

    – on the 30th anniversary of Caroll A. Wise’s Pastoral Psychotherapy: Theory and Practice (1983).

    The following are the bibliographic details of the cited items:

    In the opening list of anniversaries: Boisen. "The Minister as Counselor.” J Pastoral Care. 1948;2(1):1-10, pp.4,9.

    In the 4th paragraph: Dunbar, Symbolism in Medieval Thought and Its Consummation in the Divine Comedy. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1929; equals her PhD dissertation, NY: Columbia University, 1929; reprinted, NY: Russell and Russell, 1961; reprinted again, Atlanta: SOLINET, 1994; pp.4, 8-9,11, 14, 19-20. Dunbar, "The Sun Symbol in Medieval Thought," Master's Thesis, NY: Columbia University (1924), p.65; the italicized and bracketed items are here added so that the passage may serve as a summary statement of Dunbar's comments on symbolism.

    In the 5th paragraph: Jesus, as cited in The Bible, “Matthew,” 13:13,43.

    In the 6th paragraph: Capps, Jesus the Village Psychiatrist. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008; pp.54-55. See also, Capps, The Poet's Gift: Toward the Renewal of Pastoral Care. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1993; p.1: “acts of pastoral care … are very similar to Jesus’ parables: these acts usually involve brief, time-compressed encounters and often occur in the context of a life crisis … ”; p.2 re parables: “they challenge our usual and routine ways of perceiving and construing our life experiences, enticing us into viewing them from a different angle or slant.”

    In the 10th paragraph: Dunbar, Psychosomatic Diagnosis. NY: Paul B. Hoeber/ Harper & Brothers, 1943, p.689.

    In the 11th paragraph: Capps, Laughter Ever After … Ministry of Good Humor. Atlanta: Chalice Press, 2008.

    Additional Note #1: While it now is easy enough to find general information on Dunbar’s life and work, as my writings on these topics have been available for some forty years, comments about Dunbar’s parents – that is, about her family context – currently can be found almost exclusively at the CPSP Pastoral Report. See, 

    “ ‘Be Strong! Take Courage! All Ye Who Hope in the Lord!’ ”
    [has passage & footnote re Edith Vaughn Flanders Dunbar (1871-1963)]

    “Clinical Pastoral Psychology of Religion: A ‘Peculiar and Dynamic Play between the Mundane and the Sublime’.” [has passage & footnote re Francis William Dunbar (1868-1939)]

    Additional Note #2: Toward better drawing the parallel between parables and jokes – a parallel clearly suggested by the newest Dunbar awardee – let me repeat a joke with which many years ago I felt an immediate connection. 

    A little boy stood on the front porch of his home crying and energetically ringing the door bell. Finally his mother answered the door and the little boy exclaimed somewhat confusingly, “The Dog! The Dog!” Toward clarifying the problem, the mother asked, “Did the dog bite you?” “No,” explained the little boy, “but he tasted me!” 

    The joke works because it joltingly provides a new view about the meaning of a dog’s licking of someone with its tongue – which generally is interpreted as a friendly gesture. When very young I was somewhat socially anxious, and the joke captured my issue precisely: that anyone who got close enough to be nice also was close enough for another motive – to be not so nice.

    Additional Note # 3: For the record, please let it be clarified that Professor Capps is not receiving the same honor twice. The centennial celebration he graced in 2002 at Columbia Presbyterian Center of the New York Presbyterian Hospital was “The Helen Flanders Dunbar (1902-59) Memorial Lecture,” published as, “John Nash: Three Phases in the Career of a Beautiful Mind.” J Relig & Health. Dec 2005;44(4):363-376.

    Additional Note #4: CPSP’s “Helen Flanders Dunbar Award for Significant Contributions to Clinical Pastoral Training” is bestowed only upon the living and only upon non-members of CPSP. Past recipients of the award include G. Allison Stokes (2nd; 2003), Myron C. Madden (3rd; 2004), Robert C. Dykstra (4th; 2005), A. Patrick L. Prest (5th; 2006), Henry G. Heffernan (6th; 2007), Edward E Thornton (7th; 2008), Rodney J. Hunter (8th; 2009), John E. Harris (9th; 2010), Orlo C. Strunk, Jr (10th; 2011), and Kenneth H. Pohly (11th; 2012).

    Additional Note #5: Any boldings occurring with quoted passages are by this author.

    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD is the leading historian of the clinical pastoral movement. Many of his published writings are posted on the Pastoral Report. Readers can use the PR's search engine found on the left side-bar to locate his articles. As a practicing psychiatrist, his writings reflect his daily investment in his clinical practice of providing psychotherapy and care to his patients. Contact Dr. Powell by clicking here.

    Editors Note: The limits of the Pastoral Report's publishing platform do not afford the ability to fully duplicate the page layout of Dr. Powell's scholarly paper. The reader is encouraged to down the document.

    ___________

    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD is the leading historian of the clinical pastoral movement. Many of his published writings are posted on the Pastoral Report. Readers can use the PR's search engine found on the left side-bar to locate his articles. As a practicing psychiatrist, his writings reflect his daily investment in his clinical practice of providing psychotherapy and care to his patients. Contact Dr. Powell by clicking here.


  • 24 Jan 2013 11:57 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Report from India and South Africa: “Devotional Care”: Rethinking Clinical Pastoral Chaplaincy Training Sites
    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD

    Centers for Devotional Care: Places to Take Shelter at Times of Profound Transition “providing even one more hour, one more person, and one more dollar to the caring can make all the difference.” 

    Blessed be the Lord, the rock wherein I take shelter – my shield and champion,  my fortress and refuge!
    II Samuel 22:3.

    Seek refuge in the Lord with all your being! 
    By the Lord’s Grace will you attain … the Imperishable Abode! 
    Bhagavad-gītā 18:62.


    Departure from this material world is the major transition facing all of us. Perhaps more than most, however, those within the Hindu or Vedic faith traditions tend to view this life as preparation for the next, for the new. Thus, when thinking about the upcoming founding of the first fully-accredited North American Hindu seminary, sustained thought has been given to founding simultaneously the first distinctively Hindu North American hospice – as an initial protective and supportive clinical pastoral supervision site for the novice pujaris (“priests”) – some of whom might later pursue elsewhere full clinical pastoral chaplaincy training, education, and transformation. This idea of pairing of seminary and hospice arose out of recognition that students from non-Judeo-Christian faith traditions faced extra challenges in consolidating their theological identities while serving under Judeo-Christian supervision in Judeo-Christian clinical settings. The idea was that after three to six months of faith-specific mentoring, these novice pujaris would be better equipped for making good use of non-faith-specific mentoring of their non-faith-specific service.

    Looking more closely at the actual rather than the theoretical aspects of so-called “hospice” or “palliative” care, it appeared that much of the care that was needed and valued occurred “in the vicinity of” but not necessarily “at” the supposedly definitive “end of life”. It also appeared that the kind of care provided by the best of such non-curative settings was exactly what was needed by the suffering, bewildered, or vulnerable – regardless of whether they were at the end of life.

    In a previous “Report from India” I quoted Henry T. Dom, regarding that “palliative care … should form part of the care of all who are ill, mentally or physically.” While departure from this material world may be the major transition facing all of us, overwhelming grief and other emotional disturbances – including pain and demoralization – are transitions almost as major facing some of us at some times. Having just returned from visiting and studying a Hindu “care center/ hospice” at Durban, South Africa, a Hindu “palliative care program” at Thane, India, and a Hindu “hospice” at Vrindavan, India, I now better appreciate the wisdom of Dom’s comment.

    “Devotional care” – as I will define further below – may well be important for more than just those who are soon to be leaving this life – and may well be important for conceptualizing the most ideal training sites – Hindu or otherwise.

    The following discussion of “devotional care” came together when one of my Hindu hosts asked me to try to explain what I thought I was observing about the best of Hindu approaches to non-curative care – how it differed from what I had experienced elsewhere.

    In thinking about “devotional care,” the word “sharing” comes immediately to mind – plus the notion that caring – every bit of it – is permeated by the moral principles of self-discipline, purity, compassion, and integrity. This might seem obvious, but a visit to many average care centers would reveal that it is not. In devotional palliative care the patient, the family, the fellow staff member does not have to want, need, formulate, and request caring; rather, caring just happens – an effort has been made to think out in advance what would constitute caring for this patient, this family, this fellow staff member so that each can be freed to do what needs to be done. This might seem too easy, too natural, but it is not the norm in many care settings.

    “Sharing” in devotional care encompasses “wisdom sharing,” “inspiration sharing,” and “devotion sharing”. Each staff member functions as an integral part of an organic unity. Each staff member teaches, encourages, and models a standard of caring – of the patients, of the families, of other staff members – and these lived values flow smoothly in all directions. One enters the sphere of devotional care and knows this is not “the outside world”. The devotional care center functions, so to speak, as a kind of temple.

    Devotion” in devotional care implies a consistent, act“ively focused, empathic form of caring. Each staff member behaves toward patients, families, and other staff members as if he or she were caring for the Deity – and how he or she believes the Deity would behave – and how he or she would want to be cared for by the Deity. Again, one enters the sphere of devotional care and one knows this is not “the outside world”. The caring is a kind of idealism made real – open from all sides to ideas about improvement. 

    “We don’t have time for that” is irrelevant; “We don’t have the staff for that” is irrelevant; “We don’t have the funds for that” is irrelevant. Individualized, personal caring of patients, families, and other staff members is limited only by the staff’s collective imagination and creativity. This may sound too simple – or too hard – but the devotional care model is to find the time, the staff, and the funds to do whatever needs to be done. This is not to advocate extravagance but to advocate active devotion; providing even one more hour, one more person, and one more dollar to the caring can make all the difference.

    Peace, quiet, and tranquility – with subtle invigoration – comprise the context of devotional caring. Each patient, each family, each staff member participates in sacred eating, sacred reading/ listening, and sacred ritual at least once per day – and, actually, there is no arbitrary limit on the provision of any of these. An effort is made to anticipate emergency and challenge – and to handle these as proactively and as smoothly as possible. It might at first sound counterintuitive, but the devotional care model is to meet emergency and challenge indeed with deliberate peace, quiet, and tranquility.

    Somewhere in her book, The Final Journey …, Sangita dasi casually comments that the experienced devotional care worker always has a supply of dark red sheets and towels on hand if bleeding is anticipated to be an issue. She also speaks of using conscious breath control – for the patient’s sake, for the family’s sake, and for the staff member’s sake – that each must be helped to maintain equanimity so that each can do what must be done. Again, this might sound counterintuitive, but the quiet chanting of the holy names – an integral part of devotional care – functions as a kind of encouragement to abide long enough to accomplish the task at hand – whether it be to live through some acute difficulty – or to let go of this material world.

    In regard to conceptualizing the most ideal clinical pastoral chaplaincy training sites, a key consideration is how best to integrate devotional care centers – places for the suffering, bewildered, or vulnerable to take shelter at times of profound transition – into the faith groups’ places of worship – or even the extent to which this can be done. Does one bring those needing care into the sanctuary – or bring the congregation into the care center? Perhaps both might be attempted. Two of the Hindu centers visited had altars in the devotional care area; all three were equipped to bring in members of the congregation – and one seemed to do this on a routine basis. All this being said, there appeared to be substantial room for further integration of a mandir’s daily activities into a devotional care setting – and vice versa. Certainly if, in support of North American Hindu clinical pastoral chaplaincy, a Hindu seminary and a distinctly Hindu hospice are to be developed simultaneously and contiguously, then efforts might be considered toward thoroughly integrating the two.

    Community outreach also needs to be an integral part of the devotional care program – whether by supervised theologs or by other staff. All three of the Hindu centers visited kept an intelligent eye and ear on their communities, but it was clear that more might be done in this area. One center adroitly side-stepped any suggestion that theological conversion might be a more potent motive than sincere devotional care by making it clear – repetitively, through concrete action – that it was prepared to assist any person in need in following his or her own religious customs. This reflects, of course, the requirement that clinical pastoral chaplains be well-grounded in their own specific faith traditions even while working with all who are in need.

    Obviously, this discussion applies to more than just Hindu communities and their beginning nourishment of clinical pastoral chaplaincy. I am eager to visit and study other hospice, palliative, or devotional care programs that might provoke further thought about what would constitute an ideal site for the training, education, and transformation of clinical pastoral chaplains.

    #

    Endnotes:

    While the author has consulted with Gujarati Vaishnava, Guadiya Vaishnava, and Shaivite leaders, he is not himself of the Hindu tradition and any misunderstandings noted in this essay should be considered his alone

    In paragraph 1, the reference is to the “Hindu Seminary of North America,” a joint project since September 2011 of the Hindu Mandir Executives’ Conference and the Hindu American Foundation, which, like its sponsoring organizations, would be cross-sampradaya (cross “disciplic succession traditions”), serving all North American Hindus. The legal steps needed for establishing a non-Judeo-Christian seminary are substantial. In August 2012 the “Hindu Accrediting Association of North America” and the “Hindu Religious Endorsing Body of North America” were established – the first entity to develop a program for evaluating institutions of higher education (parallel to the Association of Theological Schools of the United States and Canada, whose charter specifies focus on Judeo-Christian institutions), and the second to provide cross-sampradaya evaluation of who should or should not be authorized to function as a Hindu chaplain away from mandir (“temple”) grounds and to those not of this faith group. Over and above the chartering of these legally required institutions, decisions will need to be made about the ongoing support of those who make it through a clinical pastoral chaplaincy program. Because some sampradaya practice strict celibacy especially in their male leadership ranks, it is anticipated that about 80% of fully certified Hindu clinical pastoral chaplains will be women. The need is both immediate and great. Based on the patterns seen with other faith groups, it is estimated that the North American Hindu community needs twenty-five fully certified chaplains right now – and fifty as soon thereafter as possible, in order to serve rural as well as urban settings.

    In paragraph 3, the reference is to “Report from India: A Pastoral Care Department that Runs Its Own Hospital.” (July 18, 2011)

    In paragraph 6, in reference to “devotional caring,” the phrase “self-discipline, purity, compassion, and integrity” – “tapaḥ śaucam dayā satyam” – is taken from Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.17.24 – of which there are many, many translations. Another common translation of the phrase is as “austerity, cleanliness, mercy, and truthfulness”.

    In paragraph 11, the reference is to Pattinson, Susan [Sangita dasi]. The Final Journey: Complete Hospice Care for the Departing Vaisnava. 2nd revised edition. Badger, CA: Torchlight Publishing Co, 2011. For my review, please see http://news.iskcon.com/node/4750 .

    _____________

    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD is the leading historian of the clinical pastoral movement. Many of his published writings are posted on the Pastoral Report. Readers can use the PR's search engine found on the left side-bar to locate his articles. As a practicing psychiatrist, his writings reflect his daily investment in his clinical practice of providing psychotherapy and care to his patients. Contact Dr. Powell by clicking here




  • 24 Apr 2012 11:45 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    What about Pastoral Supervision of the Field of Clinical Pastoral Chaplaincy?”
    – Comments Honoring the Rev. Dr. Kenneth Holt Pohly –
    delivered in Pittsburgh, PA, on 28 March 2012 at the Plenary of
    the College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy
    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD

    – on the 110th anniversary of Helen Flanders Dunbar’s birth.

    – on the 150th anniversary of the birth of Dunbar’s & 
    the movement’s patroness, Ethel Phelps Stokes Hoyt (1877-1952)

    – on the 135th anniversary of the birth of Anton Theophilus Boisen’s & 
    the movement’s conceptual forbearer, Elwood Worcester (1862-1940).

    – on the 70th anniversary of Religion in Illness and Health, 
    written by Dunbar’s student & Boisen’s understudy, Chaplain Carroll A. Wise.

    – on the 65th anniversary of Dunbar’s best-seller, 
    Mind and Body: Psychosomatic Medicine.

    – on the 65th anniversary of The Journal of Pastoral Care & 
    The Journal of Clinical Pastoral Work 
    [these into the eventual Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling].

    – on the 35th anniversary of Pastoral Supervision: Inquiries into Pastoral Care,”
    written by Kenneth Holt Pohly.

    – on the 25th anniversary of the infamous “Underground Report” – 
    that was circulated among all North American clinical pastoral supervisors & 
    that lead directly to the founding of the CPSP.

    – on the 20th anniversary of the 1st CPSP Plenary 
    (& the 22nd anniversary of the founding of CPSP).

    – on the 10th anniversary of organization by Chaplain Foy Richey (1943-2011) of the 1st joint meeting of the CPSP & The American Association of Pastoral Counselors. 

    – on the 10th anniversary of the reaffirmation by the CPSP Governing Council that, when war is a consideration, vision must precede action [cf, Proverbs 29:18]


    The primary task of pastoral supervision is … 
    to help its participants be clear 
    about who they are, 
    so they can 
    become more [consciously] competent,
    confront crises more constructively, and
    do ministry more effectively.

    Dunbar considered becoming 
    "free to think and act” …
    as a basic goal. … [and 
    as] an accomplishment open to all.

    It is exactly the task of a … pastor
    inspired by prophetic thinking and acting 
    to keep the ideal and reality together.


    The Helen Flanders Dunbar (1902-1959) Award for 
    Significant Contributions to Clinical Pastoral Training 
    came into being in 2002 – 
    ten years ago – 
    on the 100th anniversary of 
    Dunbar’s birth.

    This year marks 
    the 85th anniversary of 
    her earning her Bachelor of Divinity degree from Union Theological 
    and of 
    her not being eligible for religious endorsement within her chosen faith group, 
    as she was a woman.

    Dunbar knew who she was. 
    She knew for what she stood. 
    She accepted that she would 
    never be a pastor – 
    let alone a chaplain – 
    yet she faithfully 
    supported Anton Theophilus Boisen’s notion of 
    a professional, clinical chaplaincy, and thus 
    had a tremendous impact on the field.

    Eighty years ago there was a crucial split 
    in the nascent field of clinical pastoral chaplaincy.

    One group of well-meaning chaplains chose to focus primarily on 
    skill development, problem solving, and the enablement of ministry.

    Another group of sound chaplains chose to focus primarily on 
    relationship, empathy, and transformations through mutual engagement.

    Yes, other words might better describe the two groups – the two factions –
    but the fact remains that they were different and are different.

    A certain productive tension enveloped the two groups for thirty-five years.

    Then they merged, forty-five years ago, 
    somewhat submerging the Boisenesque/ Dunbaresque values.

    Then they un-merged, going separate ways,
    with The College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy truly finding its feet
    twenty years ago.

    The field of clinical pastoral chaplaincy is prospering,
    but 
    it is hurting;
    it is struggling.

    Perhaps it is time to consider some variety of “pastoral supervision” for 
    the clinical pastoral field itself.

    Can we help the components of the field to become 
    clearer about who and what they are?

    The CPSP Covenant specifies that 
    “Our calling and commitments are … first and last theological. 

    We covenant to address one another 
    and to be addressed by one another 
    in a profound theological sense.”

    Do clinical pastoral chaplains – especially those in CPSP – have a responsibility to support and protect the institutions of ordination and religious endorsement from recent efforts to dispense with these – from recent efforts to remove faith group accountability?

    The CPSP Covenant specifies that “We believe we should make a space for one another and stand ready to midwife one another in our respective spiritual journeys” – as “we believe that life is best lived by grace ….”

    Do clinical pastoral chaplains – especially those in CPSP – have a responsibility to support and protect the efforts of so-called “non-main-stream” faith groups to enter the fold?

    The CPSP Covenant specifies that 
    “we believe it essential to guard against becoming 
    invasive, aggressive, or predatory toward each other”.

    Do clinical pastoral chaplains – especially those in CPSP – have a responsibility
    to re-double their efforts to nourish such hospitality among cognate groups, 
    to support and protect a standard of tolerance and encouragement within, 
    for example, the COMISS Network – 
    the former “Commission on Ministry in Specialized Settings”?

    The CPSP Covenant specifies that 
    “We value personal authority and creativity” – that 
    “We are invested in offering a living experience … 
    within a … supportive and challenging community of fellow pilgrims”.

    Do clinical pastoral chaplains – especially those in CPSP – have a responsibility
    to re-double their efforts to revive the productive – 
    rather than the destructive – 
    tensions that once enlivened the field?

    Indeed, “What about Pastoral Supervision of the Field of Clinical Pastoral Chaplaincy?” – 
    an application of “spiritual care and guidance” [Pohly, 2003, p.2] to the current complexities?

    Today’s Dunbar Awardee opened the whole constellation of these questions thirty-five years ago – 
    in a tentative volume titled, Pastoral Supervision: Inquiries into Pastoral Care.

    That book went through at least two revisions and expansions, exploring the “search for a sacred center out of which … 

    life as persons and [life] as … organization[s] must flow”. [Pohly, 2003, p.14]

    As today’s honoree phrased it, “Our own identify formation must be in place 
    if we are to be helpful in helping others find theirs”. [Pohly, 2003, p.14]

    CPSP invited today’s honoree to speak in 2003 – but he was unable to make the trip. 

    We honor him today, and, 
    in this era of expanded communication, 
    we need to consider making good use of his provocative wisdom 
    whether in person or otherwise.

    We need to revisit the vision he supported of supervision as
    “reflection, empowerment, and transformation”. [Pohly, 1993, p.72]

    We need to revisit the appreciation he had of supervision as covenant, relationship, incarnation, plus 
    an optimal amalgam of judgment and grace. [Pohly, 1993, pp.102-8]

    Please join me in congratulating CPSP’s eleventh recipient of The Helen Flanders Dunbar Award, 

    The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Holt Pohly, 
    who greatly broadened and deepened our grasp of
    supervision – and what it can be.


    Chaplain Pohly is an enjoyable person to talk with on the phone, 
    but medical issues prevent him from being with us in person today. 

    The award and your good wishes will be conveyed to him 
    next Monday evening at his home in Dayton, OH.

    Let us be thankful to be alive, sustained, and enabled to celebrate our relationships this day.

    Shalom.


    Endnotes:

    In the opening list of anniversaries, the last item is a reference to http://www.cpspoffice.org/the_archives/2002/10/the_cpsp_govern.html

    In the opening quotations, the first is found in [Pohly, 2003, p.3]

    Kenneth Holt Pohly. “The Soul of Pastoral Supervision.” keynote address delivered before the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy, March 20, 2003. http://www.gbhem.org/atf/cf/%7B0bcef929-bdba-4aa0-968f-d1986a8eef80%7D/DS_SOULOFSUPERVISION.PDF

    The second is found in [Powell, Emotionally; citing Dunbar "What Happens at Lourdes?," p.226.]

    The third is found in [Annemie Dillen, Anne Vandenhoek. Prophetic Witness in World Christianities: Rethinking Pastoral Care and Counseling. Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2011. p.239

    The distinction may be academic, but the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy held its 1st plenary March 12-15, 1992]

    The main reference for this manuscript, of course, is 

    Kenneth Holt Pohly. Pastoral Supervision: Inquiries into Pastoral Care (Houston, TX: The Institute of Religion, 1977) [Transforming the Rough Places: The Ministry of Supervision, 1st edition (Dayton, OH: Whaleprints, 1993); 2nd edition (Franklin, TN: Providence House, 2001) [“This paper is a summary of this book”: “The Purpose and Function of Supervision in Ministry.” J Supervision & Training in Ministry. 1998;10 http://www.gbhem.org/atf/cf/%7B0bcef929-bdba-4aa0-968f-d1986a8eef80%7D/DS_SUPERVISIONINMINISTRY.PDF 

    -------------

    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD is the leading historian of the clinical pastoral movement. Many of his published writings are posted on the Pastoral Report. Readers can use the PR's search engine found on the left side-bar to locate his articles. As a practicing psychiatrist, his writings reflect his daily investment in his clinical practice of providing psychotherapy and care to his patients. Contact Dr. Powell by clicking here.


  • 23 Feb 2012 11:42 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Dear Editor:

    Thank you for publishing Al Heniger's essay on The Evolution of Palliative Care. I wholeheartedly believe that devoted care is the obvious ideal model upon which to focus.

    Please let me repeat the opening quotations in an article here last July -- along with the endnote explaining those quotations.

    Spiritual care comes from the heart after the head has done its homework.

    palliative care … should form part of the care of all who are ill, mentally or physically.

    The endnote was,

    "The opening quotations are from Henry T. Dom, Ph.D., as cited in

    Dom H. 'Vaisnava Hindu and Ayurvedic approaches to caring for the dying: An interview with Henry Dom.' by Romer AL, Heller KS. Innovations in

    End-of-Life Care, 1999 Nov;1(6); http://www2.edc.org/lastacts/archives/archivesNov99/intlpersp.asp ;

    '…he is helping to create a palliative care unit for the newly established Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mumbai, and is one of the founders of a

    planned hospice and residential home in Vrndavan, a small village in northeast India.' "

    The BhaktiVedanta Hospice in Vrindavan, India, opened in August 2010 -- followed by the similar BhaktiVedanta Care Center in Durban, South

    Africa in October 2011. Perhaps North America will be next to host a BhaktiVedanta Hospice.

    The next issue of the Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling will carry my review of the BhaktiVedanta palliative care training manual:

    The Final Journey: Complete Hospice Care for the Departing Vaisnava. 2nd revised edition. Susan Pattinson. (Badger, CA: Torchlight Publishing

    Co, 2011). xviii+252pp. $12.95. (paperback).

    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD

    "Report from India: A Pastoral Care Department that Runs Its Own Hospital." 18 July 2011.

    ______________

    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD is the leading historian of the clinical pastoral movement. Many of his published writings are posted on the Pastoral Report. Readers can use the PR's search engine found on the left side-bar to locate his articles. As a practicing psychiatrist, his writings reflect his daily investment in his clinical practice of providing psychotherapy and care to his patients. Contact Dr. Powell by clicking here. -Perry Miller, Editor


  • 01 Nov 2011 11:36 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Tolerance and Encouragement: Within a Covenant of Mutual Accountability---

    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD

    The College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy aspires to be “a supportive and challenging community,” “willing to speak the truth” with “a compassionate heart.”

    “A clinical pastoral chaplain must be someone who is 

    committed to continuing personal transformation.”

    “Our continuing vitality will be determined by our ability 

    to nurture a receptiveness to criticism … .”

    “We will have to be resolute and diligent if we want 

    to nurture a capacity for the self-critical in our midst … .”

    In 1975 I was invited to present a keynote address. I spoke on eight “Questions from the Past (on the Future of Clinical Pastoral Education)” – outlining how Anton Boisen might have critiqued what had become of clinical pastoral chaplaincy – asking “whatever happened to the development of a critical tradition?” I was not invited back.

    In 2005 I was invited to present a main opening address. I spoke on “religion in crisis” – on being keepers of our brother’s or sister’s religion – outlining how Boisen felt chaplains must promote “the finest potentialities of the human race” – across any and all supposed boundaries – while maintaining “a self-critical stance”. I was not invited back.

    This time I am invited to present views on what is wrong with CPSP. What did happen to the development of a critical tradition – a self-critical stance? Can the College admit that some members need patient, persistent collegial support toward further growth – and admit that some Chapters need clear rededication to providing that guidance? Are critics invited back?

    Boisen would ask: Can the College be frank about its shortcomings and failures? Can the College consider that some members may need to leave and some chapters may need to close? Can the College admit that not everything worth emulation lies within and that not everything worth scorn lies without? There is no substitute for facing the truth head-on. As Boisen would phrase it, Can the College repent “before it is too late”?

    The College spoke out against the world into which it was born. Now it must speak out against itself. The College that burst upon the scene twenty-some years ago was an improvement over professional chaplaincy’s past. The College that moves now into a new decade with new challenges must become an improvement over its own past – in order to fulfill the promise of its future. Chaplains joined because the College committed to a vision of a covenant community, in which members held themselves and their fellow members responsible. Chaplains will remain because the College can refine that vision and recommit to making mutual tolerance, encouragement, and accountability work.

    The College has struggled and accomplished much, trying to avoid mistakes made elsewhere. Witness “The Covenant,” that names specific areas known to be potential problems. Perhaps it was not considered consciously – or consciously enough – however, that there would be un-named, un-specified potential problems. Perhaps it was not considered consciously – or consciously enough – though, how to acknowledge any falling short of the College’s ideals, or how to embrace any inevitably needed change.

    Fortunately, many members and many chapters are doing well, progressing individually and collectively along their paths of spiritual growth. A member’s success – a chapter’s success – these are encouraging confirmation that the CPSP covenant community can work. None of this success is diminished one bit by acknowledgement that at times members and chapters fail.

    The College chose to pursue a model of local rule, through small-group “Chapters,” rather than central office rule. Championing local accountability, however, does not mean that well-considered monitoring by a central leadership team should be avoided. The goal was to expand the availability of clinical pastoral care, counseling, and psychotherapy services, but achievement of that goal becomes meaningless if the quality of such services is not maintained or enhanced.

    A personal, non-bureaucratic, non-parental approach only can work if significant amounts of time and energy are devoted to helping each other on a persistent, on-going basis. The College lives or dies according to how diligently each member accepts not only personal responsibility but also collegial responsibility – that each member indeed is – and must be – his or her brother’s or sister’s keeper. Yes, there are tensions inherent in this collegial accountability. No one “promised us a rose garden”.

    The College sought to break down arbitrary barriers that made it difficult for rural, non-mainstream, and otherwise marginalized clergy to enter the clinical pastoral field – and it succeeded in this regard. The College sought to assist non-North American clinical chaplains in forming their own indigenous national or regional associations – and it succeeded in this regard. However, breaking down arbitrary barriers does not mean that well-considered standards for initial and continued membership should be avoided – or that the serious consequences of chapters expanding, contracting, or disappearing should be down-played. The College is either a covenanted community or it is not. The College stands or falls according to the seriousness with which it takes The Covenant.

    Retrospectively one might recognize that focusing on covenant responsibility and on dispersed local governance was simple in theory but complex in lived actuality. One is hard-pressed to point to another professional organization that functions in this manner, so it would be a rare member who comes to the College already grasping intimately how it works. The simplicity is attractive to those who deal daily with impersonal, infantilizing bureaucracies. The complexity lies within all the joy and heartaches of working with brothers and sisters – growing up with brothers and sisters – truly as brothers and sisters, in the deepest meanings of those relationships. Retrospectively one might recognize that making this attractive organization work would be harder than it might at first sound. To continue reaping the many benefits will take dedication and re-dedication – perhaps even more dedication than had been expected.

    The College’s external struggles of the last two decades have discouraged any substantial amount of frank and open confession of its internal struggles. The College, understandably, had to “put its best foot forward” as it dealt with outside matters. Now it must take a look at its “dirty laundry” and deal with those inside matters that have been neglected too long. Concealment and avoidance out of concerns for external disparagement will not work as the College takes the next step forward. Abandoning all but the most perfect members and the most perfect chapters will not work either. Time and patience – a lot of time and patience – will be required to work with each other, toward helping each other and each chapter to become better than in the past. Let me repeat: abandonment of our brothers and sisters is not an option. While a struggling organization might have felt it had to avoid acknowledging any problems, a vibrant organization must be courageous enough both openly to acknowledge problems and openly to be dedicated to solving them.

    Among the barely mentionable items within the College has been the succession of leadership. A certain degree of responsible anarchy with a generally benign nominal leader plus a few “elders” on hand to arrange occasional “mid-course corrections” has worked well enough. Tension persists, however, as members contemplate the unknown – how the College will fare with a future nominal leader, who may or may not be generally benign, plus a younger leadership team, that may or may not appreciate the lessons learned through the histories of the College and its predecessor organizations. The College has been fortunate to have various members arise quite naturally into formal and informal guiding roles. It may be time – even past time – to begin the open conversation about how this ungoverned natural process relates to the need for a nominal leader plus a few “elders” at the top.

    In summary, the central problem facing the College is learning how to deal constructively with the understandable difficulties in living up to its ideals. Acknowledgement – and correction – of shortcomings makes ideals all that more real. Denial – and evasion – of shortcomings – as if they simply were not supposed to happen – undermines the whole notion of commitment to ideals. The College formulated a revolution in the field of clinical pastoral chaplaincy. The challenge is how to re-vitalize – re-empower – atmospheres of self-criticism and self-correction. The challenge, as Boisen phrased it, is how to mature in times both of crisis and of custom.


    Endnotes:

    See also 

    Powell RC. “Tolerance and Encouragement: Among the Roots of the Clinical Pastoral Tradition.” CPSP Pastoral Report. 06 June 2011.

    Powell RC. “Tolerance and Encouragement: At the Core of the Modern Clinical Pastoral Tradition.” CPSP Pastoral Report. 10 September 2011.

    The first opening comment is from “The Covenant” of The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy; and

    Lawrence RJ. “Eleventh CPSP Plenary Meeting Report to the Community: 15 March 2001.” CPSP Pastoral Report 03 June 2003.
    [a reprinting of the 2001 presentation];

    See also, Boisen A. Religion in Crisis and Custom: A Sociological and Psychological Study. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1955, p.237: “a living fellowship with a certain body of beliefs in which there is room for growth and for discovery.”

    The second opening comment is from Lawrence RJ. “General Secretary’s Report to Plenary: 21 March 2003.” CPSP Pastoral Report 03 June 2003.

    The third opening comment is from
    Lawrence RJ. 2001, op cit; in other words, re-reading this entire earlier article is highly recommended.

    The 1975 reference is to Powell RC. "Questions from the Past (on the Future of Clinical Pastoral Education)" invited keynote address, presented before the “50th Anniversary of Clinical Pastoral Education” conference, Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Minneapolis, 16-19 October 1975. 1975 Conference Proceedings: 1-21, 1976.

    The 2005 reference is to Powell RC. ““Religion in Crisis and Custom: Formation and Transformation – Discovery and Recovery – of Spirit and Soul.” opening address delivered August 2005 at the 8th Asia Pacific Congress on Pastoral Care and Counseling, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong, China. on the internet at http://www.icpcc.net

    The reference to Boisen and “before it is too late” is to 

    Boisen AT “Evangelism in the Light of Psychiatry,” Journal of Religion. 1927; 7(1):76-80; pp 79,76.

    __________

    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD is the leading historian of the clinical pastoral movement. Many of his published writings are posted on the Pastoral Report. Readers can use the PR's search engine found on the left side-bar to locate his articles. As a practicing psychiatrist, his writings reflect his daily investment in his clinical practice of providing psychotherapy and care to his patients. Contact Dr. Powell by clicking here


  • 10 Sep 2011 11:33 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Tolerance and Encouragement:
    At the Core of the Modern Clinical Pastoral Tradition

    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD

    "The idea of an organized church ... marks the close of a living spiritual movement. The great ecclesiastical establishments are the dikes and the dams to retain the current that cannot be held by any such contrivances.”

    “Things which matter most must never be
    at the mercy of things which matter least.”

    Among the first things a scientist might expect out of others at a large gathering of colleagues would be an attempt to change his or her mind. Nonetheless, each clinical research scientist speaks openly, collegially about the tenets of his or her research team – and expects that others will articulate more or less clearly the tenets of their own research teams. While openness to others’ views is expected, only tenuous clarity and only tenuous certainty about one’s own views also are expected. Truths are assumed to have been almost found and almost understood. Scientists gather hoping for some productive challenging of their beliefs, and they certainly anticipate challenging others’.

    Among the last things a chaplain might expect out of others at a large gathering of colleagues would be an attempt to change his or her mind. That being said, certainly each clinical pastoral chaplain may speak openly, collegially about the tenets of his or her faith community – and certainly each would expect that others could articulate more or less clearly the tenets of their own faith communities. Notice that I said, “more or less clearly”. Such equivocation about tenets was fine for the scientists but it might be a problem for the chaplains. While openness to others’ views is expected, clarity and some degree of certainty about one’s own views also are expected. Notice that I said, “some degree of certainty”. Again, such hedging about views was fine for the scientists, but it might be a problem – or just the same problem stated another way – for the chaplains. Truths are assumed to have been found and understood. Chaplains gather hoping for – it is not clear for what they are hoping.

    Are gathered chaplains hoping for a challenging of their beliefs? for a confirmation of their beliefs? for an ignoring of their beliefs? or for what? Is it really “OK” for chaplains of diverse faith traditions to be meeting together, especially in intense, intimate soul-searching small-group settings, including “Chapter” meetings? Is there a religious endorsing body that would take a “Presby-gationalist” under its wing? Can we openly appreciate that many clergy change nuances of faith across the years?

    Clinical research scientists in general and clinical pastoral chaplains in general are very different. The scientists may or may not care if they are endorsed, while the chaplains certainly do. Not being endorsed, scientists are free to wonder openly about gravity or germs or whatever; being endorsed, chaplains are somewhat less free to wonder openly about G-d or the soul or the hereafter. Perhaps this difference in public freedom needs to be acknowledged – and consciously appreciated. That being said, perhaps there is some space in between the two broad conceptions of “the truth” – between “the truth that is being found” and “the truth that is found” – where both types of professionals can spend part if not all of their time. Stated differently, a recurring question has been whether scientists are allowed to dabble with certainty and whether chaplains are allowed to dabble with uncertainty – whether scientists are allowed to dabble with clarity and whether chaplains are allowed to dabble with doubt.

    In a way, “The Covenant” of the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy addresses, at least for clinical pastoral chaplains, these questions head-on.


    We believe we should

    make a space for one another and

    stand ready to midwife one another in

    our respective spiritual journeys.

    “The Covenant” appears to imply – and to accept – that there will be certain productive tensions between clarity and doubt, between certainty and uncertainty – that there will be “journeys” within one’s faith – what Anton Theophilus Boisen appeared to view as “becomings”.

    Both supporting and questioning feedback came to this author about the short essay, “Tolerance and Encouragement: Among the Roots of the Clinical Pastoral Tradition”. That essay noted how at the time of ordination Boisen and three of his fellow seminarians were considered “agnostic and undecided in their faith” – neither “affirming” nor “denying” certain theological touchstones. All four seminarians, nevertheless, went on to become energetic and creative leaders on behalf of religion. Which faith group would ordain or endorse them today is a question well-taken. An even thornier question is how to welcome into clinical pastoral chaplaincy those clergy whose faith groups do not have seminaries, let alone ordination.

    Most faith groups have become comfortable with at least some degree of ecumenicalism, granting that other faiths might have discovered at least some aspects of “the truth”. The “deep ecumenism,” as it has been called, has envisioned the possibility of “a common truth” underlying the varying emphases of differing religious traditions. The question is the extent to which some degree of variation can be accepted within a faith group – the extent to which one can both be a believer and be becoming a believer all at the same time – the extent to which one’s faith can be both mature and maturing all at the same time. This decision, of course, can be made only by an individual faith group itself.

    It might be worthwhile considering the seriousness with which Boisen, for example, approached some of the most important theological issues of his time – questions that his generation especially understood as “the things which matter most”. He did not just say, “I believe in the Virgin Birth”; Boisen thought about why Jesus came when He did and how this symbolized uniquely the coming of something totally new into the world. He did not just say, “I believe in the crucifixion”; Boisen thought about how sin demanded atonement and how Jesus courageously, knowingly accepted sacrifice for others. He did not just say, “I believe in the resurrection”; Boisen thought about Jesus’ understanding of it and how it held out hope for those fallen souls trying to enter a new path in life. He did not just say, “I believe the Bible is inerrant”; Boisen thought about how the scriptures old and new plus various interpreters were trying to capture the essence of spiritual wisdom; he thought about how various people – for example, those bewildered or suffering – might be understanding the scriptures that they read. If Boisen were up for ordination today, no doubt once again there would be “an earnest discussion” for “more than two hours” and much would be “said on both sides of the case”. Possibly some could be persistent enough and patient enough to work with him. Possibly some could have sufficient tolerance and encouragement about his continuing spiritual growth.

    Boisen’s paternal great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather were bishops, while his maternal grandfather and great-uncle were learned ministers. He knew the Judeo-Christian scriptures inside and out from an early age – which may have been why he viewed their message as complex. It might be worthwhile to consider how, possibly, his having been “agnostic and undecided” – yet theologically serious – allowed him to embrace and develop the notion of a clinical pastoral ministry to believers, non-believers, and those unable to believe alike. As both a clinical research scientist – we forget that, don’t we? – and as a clinical pastoral chaplain, Boisen lived emotionally and intellectually in and between both worlds, always focusing upon both G-d and everyday people. One can envision several religious endorsing bodies debating about which one would claim him. Imagine the questions he would ask if he served on a certifying committee himself. Very likely, of those who joined him in plenary and chapter life, as many would be challenged as would be confirmed in their faith. Perhaps that is why some appreciate Boisen as a valuable gadfly.


    Endnotes:

    The first opening comment is by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura (1874-1937), in the The Harmonist, January 1929; quoted by B. V. Tripurari , 11-18-2004, Vaishnava News Network; http://www.indiadivine.org/audarya/spiritual-discussions/39302-there-institutionalization-gaudiya-vaisnavism-before-srila-prabhupada-became.html Compare this to Boisen’s distinguishing “between the ‘church,’ which he views as orderly, perhaps even by necessity boring, and the ‘sect,’ which he views as disorderly yet life-giving to religious practice”; “one could say that the church is ‘custom,’ that the sect is ‘crisis,’ and that they together account for the development of religion” [ Powell Robert C. “‘Chapter Life’: ‘Thinking and Feeling Together about the Things that Matter Most’ – ‘A New and Vitalizing Experience’. A Response to the Rev. Dr. Gebhart’s Call for an ‘Order of Pastoral Care’.” J Pastoral Care & Counseling. 2005;59(suppl), ftn.1; referring to Boisen’s Religion in Crisis and Custom: A Sociological and Psychological Study (NY: Harper & Brothers, 1955), pp.19, 66, 232, 239].

    The second opening comment is said to be by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749?-1832), but, thus far, a diligent search has not found the exact citation. Part of the phrase also formed the title of a widely-read book of the late nineteenth century, Things That Matter Most: Devotional Papers (NY: Fleming H. Revell Co, 1913), by John Henry Jowett (1864-1923), a British Congregationalist minister who served the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York City, from 1911 until 1917. (Like Boisen, Jowett must have been a “Presby-gationalist”.) The phrase was one of Boisen’s favorites. In his Religion in Crisis and Custom … he used both variants, “the things that matter most” (p.xiii) and “the things which matter most” (p.5). During an exploration of this phrase, it was noted that in earlier citations the phrase clearly refers to spiritual matters, while in later citations it could refer to almost anything. The older uses almost always end the sentence with the phrase – or occasionally add “to G-d”, while the newer uses almost always either add a few more words – generally mundane words – onto the end of the phrase – eg, “to me,” “to us,” etc – or insert a comment about what these “things” should be – instead of assuming that the phrase, “the things that/ which matter most,” has a definite and universal meaning. Boisen frequently used the phrase specifically to refer to “the ultimate realities of life and death” [Religion in Crisis and Custom … , p.3].

    Speaking to both the first and second opening comments, consider one of Boisen’s comments: “And even the Church … becomes overparticular about creedal conformity or ritualistic niceties and in other ways tends to substitute minor for major virtues and loyalties” [“The Problem of Values in the Light of Psychopathology.” Am J Sociol. 1932;38(1):251-268, p.158][obviously this is a reference to The Bible, Matthew 23:23].

    At the end of the second paragraph, “Presby-gationalist” refers to a common “inside joke” about the fact that Boisen served both denominations within Protestant Christianity. Actually, Boisen’s theology does not fit cleanly into any camp. He has been called an “evangelical liberal” and a “progressive empiricist” – both tags trying to capture his standing in the midst of many theological arguments during the first half of the twentieth century. Quite significantly, in 1925 Boisen helped to awaken the liberal wing of the Protestant churches to the possibility that their theology might be losing them adherents. A somewhat liberal journal commented as follows on one of Boisen’s first theological essays, published (unsigned) in asomewhat conservative review. “The author states that, as a result of rather extensive investigations, ‘I have been forced to the disturbing conclusion that wherever the liberal influence is strongest, there the influence of the church tends to be weakest’.” [“Current Events and Discussions.” J of Religion. 1925;5(4):419-423. p.419; “In Defense of Mr. [William Jennings] Bryan: A Personal Confession of a Liberal Clergyman.” The American Review. 1925;3:323-324.]

    The reference in the fifth paragraph is to this article: Powell, Robert Charles. “Tolerance and Encouragement: Among the Roots of the Clinical Pastoral Tradition” CPSP Pastoral Report. June 6, 2011. http://www.cpspoffice.org/the_archives/2011/06/tolerance_and_e.html#

    The reference in the sixth paragraph, about “deep ecumenism,” is to this book: Fox, Matthew. The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance (NY: HarperCollins, 1988).

    The references in the seventh paragraph regarding Boisen’s views are mostly to his autobiography: Out of the Depths: An Autobiographical Study of Mental Disorder and Religious Experience (NY: Harper & Brothers, 1960), pp.106, 59, 79, 101, 105, 135, 141. Clearly Boisen believed strongly in the reality of both sin and salvation. See especially the following of his articles: “Evangelism in the Light of Psychiatry.” J Religion. 1927;7(1):76-80; “The Sense of Isolation in Mental Disorder: Its Religious Significance.” Am J Sociol. 1928;33(4):555-567; “Theology in the Light of Psychiatric Experience.” Crozer Q. 1941;18(1):47-61; “The Problem of Sin and Salvation in the Light of Psychopathology.” J Religion. 1942;22(3):288-301; "What Did Jesus Think of Himself?" J Bible Religion. 1952;20(1): 7-12; and “Inspiration in the Light of Psychopathology,” Pastoral Psychol. 1960;11(7): 10-18.

    ______________________

    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD is the leading historian of the clinical pastoral movement. Many of his published writings are posted on the Pastoral Report. Readers can use the PR's search engine found on the left side-bar to locate his articles. As a practicing psychiatrist, his writings reflect his daily investment in his clinical practice of providing psychotherapy and care to his patients. Contact Dr. Powell by clicking here.

    The limits of the Pastoral Report's publishing platform does not allow for accurate formatting of this scholarly manuscript. Below is a PDF version of Tolerance and Encouragement: At the Core of the Modern Clinical Pastoral Tradition.

    Tolerance and Encouragement: At the Core of the Modern Clinical Pastoral Tradition

    -Perry Miller, Editor


  • 18 Jul 2011 11:21 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Spiritual care comes from the heart after the head has done its homework.

    palliative care … should form part of the care of all who are ill, mentally or physically. 

    How many clinical chaplains of the Hindu faith are there in India? I know of three. How many are there anywhere else in the entire world? I know of five more. There may well be more, but the most probable answer to both questions still would be “very few”. Might the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy have something here to offer?

    How likely is it that a spiritual pilgrim – from North America, no less – would envision (1986), then develop in western India a 100-bed hospital (1998) followed by a 25-bed free-standing hospice (2008)? Might CPSP have something here to learn?

    On June 1st and 2nd 2011 the BhaktiVedanta Hospital, Thane, Maharashtra, hosted me for two 4-hour sessions. I had no special expectations for this spur-of-the-moment experience. I was both startled and fascinated by a hospital that appeared truly to live its motto of “Service with Devotion” – and to be shaped, top to bottom, by its chaplaincy program.

    This visit to an area just north of Mumbai (Bombay), India, came about somewhat by accident. During the 1980s I had wandered India for a total of 15 weeks – ending up being one of the last to travel the Asian Overland Trail – so I had been eager for some time to return. Then this last March I was invited to attend an Arya Vysya wedding in late May in Bengaluru (Bangalore), India – so I jumped at the chance to get back on the road. Scheduled to fly in and out of Mumbai, I had chosen a well-regarded guest-house near the airport -- for convenience more than anything else. I repeat: the resulting visit to a nearby “pastoral care hospital” came about unexpectedly.

    Around 2001 I had come across on the internet a taped lecture series (1996) on “The Cure of Souls in Vaisnava Communities” – an eight-session seminar that had been presented in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India – the home town of Krishna (c. 3100 BCE) – about 670 miles northeast of Mumbai. The seminar was based, curiously enough, on The Exploration of the Inner World: A Study of Mental Disorder and Religious Experience (1936), the classic study written by Anton Theophilus Boisen (1876-1965), the founder of the movement for clinical pastoral chaplaincy. When I noticed on the internet that the seminar was being given again six months ago in Hilo, Hawaii – 14 years after the first time it was given – my interest revived. In mid-April I wrote to the Philadelphia-based author of the lectures, asking more about the seminar, the timings of its two presentations, the apparent Hindu interest in Boisen’s work, and a possibly correlated indication of Hindu interest in the clinical pastoral field.

    One thing led to another. Upon hearing that I was headed to India to attend a wedding and upon noting my many writings about the clinical pastoral movement, the seminar author’s secretary worked with a colleague in Santa Barbara, California, to prepare dossiers on me as well as on CPSP and the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, forwarding these to the community where I would be staying. Six days before my arrival for a rest before the flight home – and while I was still traveling around South India – my simple reservation at a guest-house near the Mumbai airport got converted into an invitation for a comprehensive tour – totaling 8 hours over 2 days – of the clinical chaplaincy service at BhaktiVedanta Hospital, which served that area.

    I quickly realized, as hinted above, that an intriguing, Hindu-organized pastoral care program – open to assisting patients, families, and staff of all faiths – literally ran the hospital. Where should I begin? At first I was just amazed at how a warm, personal, caring focus permeated all aspects of the hospital’s functioning. Later I realized that the clinical chaplaincy staff had merely – but notably – placed a somewhat common Eastern pattern of temple life – “Satsang/ Simran/ Seva” – “wisdom sharing/ inspiration sharing/ devotion sharing” – on top of a meticulously created health care community.

    At the beginning of each of four daily work shifts, almost the entire hospital staff – about 45 people – meets quite publicly in the hospital lobby to hear a short sermon, to reflect on that and the day’s named challenges, then to participate together in a communal religious ritual. I experienced one of these sessions personally on the second day of my visit. The goal is that every staff member feel guided, inspired, and embraced, before embarking upon work with the patients. At the beginning of each meeting of the management team, one department head per week, in rotation, presents on a relevant clinical, spiritual, or management topic. That teaching is then discussed collegially before the management team addresses how together they are going to tackle the week’s specific issues. With facilitation by pastoral care staff, the senior physicians similarly meet together once a week, as do, separately, the junior physicians and the nurses. A staff member’s birthday merits an individual lunch with senior pastoral care and management personnel. Nineteen times per year hospital staff members and their families gather to enjoy a festive meal. Groups of staff members and their families take short and long spiritual pilgrimages together that have been organized by the hospital.

    The goal is that staff members feel as taken care of by the hospital community as they are expected to take care of the patients and their families. Management tries hard to model “service with devotion” toward the broader staff, so that clinicians can provide “service with devotion” toward those suffering, and so that there might be ripple effects into the larger community. “Bhakti” implies “sharing active devotion”. “Vedanta” implies “sharing respect for all in their spiritual growth, as equal children of the divine”. The hospital tries to live up its name.

    The specific pastoral care staff includes a director, an assistant director, a spiritual counselor, 5 assistants, and 2 trainees. The specific mental health staff includes four psychiatrists and two psychologists, with each of these two professional groups providing about 36 hours of service across the week. There appears to be easy referral back and forth between the pastoral care and mental health staffs. Medical and surgical specialty staff appear to be well-integrated into the community’s pastoral atmosphere.

    Peace and quiet – consciously aimed toward maintaining an air of tranquility – are hospital norms. Despite necessary scurrying in the intensive care areas, low voices and an avoidance of alarms are encouraged. The overhead speakers provide rhythmic chants and songs at a very low, non-intrusive, almost subliminal level.

    Pastoral care staff help patients and their families, in a hands-on way, to negotiate registration, admission, financial, discharge, and aftercare issues. On the inpatient wards – and to the extent possible in the outpatient clinics – pastoral care staff visit each patient a minimum of three times per day: once for the sharing of a small amount of blessed food, once for the reading from a holy scripture of the patient’s choice, and once for participation in a religious ritual. The hospital kitchen comes equipped with the needed altar and attendant staff. The hospital library stocks Hindu, Islamic, Christian, and other sacred texts. The chaplaincy office maintains a “mobile temple” or “shrine cart” that is taken to each bedside.

    Pastoral care staff personally attend to the global needs of all patients going to and returning from surgery. Considerable emphasis is placed upon helping patients at the end of life – and their families – toward attaining some degree of spiritual closure, according to the relevant religious customs. The pastoral care office maintains supplies of the specific holy waters used by the individual faith groups. If regular pastoral care staff are unable best to meet a patient’s needs, volunteers from the local university community are called upon to assist. Apparently it is not unusual for pastoral care staff or volunteers to remain for hours and hours with a patient and/or family if that seems the best thing to do. A “Grief Room” and home visits provide extra amenities for the families of those dying or deceased. Group and individual teaching sessions on religious topics are made available to patients, families, and members of the local community – with special attention being paid to the needs of the pregnant, the adolescent, and the elderly.

    Undoubtedly I have left out much about BhaktiVedanta Hospital. I am speaking about what I heard, saw, and personally experienced during two 4-hour sessions across two days. The pastoral care staff recognizes the need for more clinical chaplains and more assistants within the Hindu faith community – in India and elsewhere – for example, North America. They also recognize that their model – of literally running the facility – cannot be replicated entirely in most settings. They do believe, however, that their vision of a more encompassing pastoral approach can be realized to a greater extent than many would have thought. The clinical chaplains I met would fit easily into most North American health care settings. The question is whether North American – and other Indian – health care settings can ponder what it truly might be like to stay focused on body, mind, AND spirit. #



    Endnotes:

    The opening quotations are from Henry T. Dom, Ph.D., as cited in

    Dom H. “Vaisnava Hindu and Ayurvedic approaches to caring for the dying: An interview with Henry Dom.” by Romer AL, Heller KS. Innovations in End-of-Life Care, 1999 Nov;1(6); http://www2.edc.org/lastacts/archives/archivesNov99/intlpersp.asp ;

    “…he is helping to create a palliative care unit for the newly established Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mumbai, and is one of the founders of a planned hospice and residential home in Vrndavan, a small village in northeast India.

    Regarding BhaktiVedanta Hospital also see

    http://www.bhaktivedantahospital.com/Spiritual%20care

    http://www.socialfront.in/radhanath-swami-making-better-lives/spiritual-care.html

    Regarding the hospital’s pastoral orientation as within the Bengali Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition of Hinduism see: http://www.icsahome.com/infoserv_articles/flood_gavin_hinduismvaisismandiskcon.htm

    Regarding the magnitude of the potential need for chaplains within the North American Hindu faith community see

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-briggs/first-hindu-census-reveal_b_853758.html ; The Huffington Post; 28 April 2011.

    David Briggs: “Hindu Americans: The Surprising, Hidden Population Trends of Hinduism in the U.S.” “… In what it calls the first effort to conduct a Hindu census in the United States, the Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Institute of American Religion discovered some 1,600 temples and centers with an estimated 600,000 practicing Hindus. That number could easily rise up to the estimated 1.2 million who self-identify as Hindus in national studies by adding in the mostly Indian Americans who limit their involvement to private spiritual practices or celebrations of semi-secularized holydays such as Diwali, said J. Gordon Melton, the institute executive director. Melton announced the results of the census at the recent annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Religion, Economics and Culture in Washington. … In its census, the Institute of American Religion found 258 traditional Hindu temples with an estimated 268,000 adherents. The study estimated there are also 400 temples and centers from Hindu sub-traditions that have an estimated 282,000 participants and some 940 centers with an estimated 55,000 members associated with smaller movements across the country. …”

    The author and his hosts are aware that some degree of controversy still surrounds one of the original inspirational mentors of BhaktiVendanta Hospital. An investigation by the United States government cleared this person’s name twenty-one years ago, but in this age of internet files a controversy can take on a life of its own. This unique hospital seemingly run by a pastoral care department can only do as it has been doing: keep building a solid reputation of service and innovation independent of whatever did or did not occur twenty-five years ago and 7,874 miles away. 

    ____________________

    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD is the leading historian of the clinical pastoral movement. Many of his published writings are posted on the Pastoral Report. Readers can use the PR's search engine found on the left side-bar to locate his articles. As a practicing psychiatrist, his writings reflect his daily investment in his clinical practice of providing psychotherapy and care to his patients. Contact Dr. Powell by clicking here. -Perry Miller, Editor



  • 06 Jun 2011 11:18 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)


    “We believe we should 
    make a space for one another and 
    stand ready to midwife one another 
    in our respective spiritual journeys.”

    “We commit to being mutually responsible to one another 
    for our professional work and direction.” 
    [from the CPSP Covenant]

    ^^^^^^^^^^

    23 May 1911 - The Brooklyn Daily Eagle [NY]
    PRESBYTERY ARGUES LONG OVER SEVEN CANDIDATES:
    Four of the Applicants for Ordination Had Agnostic Views.
    ALL WERE FINALLY PASSED.

    … 

    It was one of the longest drawn-out meetings of the Presbytery ever held, and two hours of it or more were in executive session, it being nearly midnight when the ministers and elders decided to ordain and license seven young men, four of whom came from … [one] Seminary. It is known that there was decidedly divided opinion in the matter of making ministers of these four men, for a number of the ministers found it convenient to leave the room before it was finally decided to vote for the ordination of the young men … .[:] Robert A. Watson, Elmer Fred Eastman, Anton T. Boisen, and Herman N. Morse. …

    Four Young Men Were Agnostics and Undecided in Their Faith

    It was ascertained that the four … young men did not absolutely “deny” anything, but they were agnostic – did not know – or were undecided enough in their faith not to affirm certain fundamentals … . As has been said, for more than two hours there was an earnest discussion and much was said on both sides of the case, and it is known that there were quite a good many of the presbyters who thought it would be a good idea for the … young men to take a little more time and get straightened out, but the argument on the side of ordaining them prevailed, and arrangements were made to make them licentiates and fully ordained preachers … .

    ^^^^^^^^^^

    The argument back in 1911 – 100 hundred years ago – concerned “vital piety” versus “literal orthodoxy” – 

    but a lot of other terms could be plugged into the “this” versus “that” equation.

    The question is, can we indeed accept that different people are in different places on their spiritual journeys- 

    and that different people need different supports in their growth?

    We can be blunt about “making space” – and serious about “standing ready to midwife”.

    The question is, can we be persistent enough and patient enough to 

    work with each other on what constitutes really good clinical pastoral work?

    Can we be tolerant and encouraging while together becoming better?

    Thus, perhaps it is worth noting that Anton Theophilus – “Lover of G-d” – Boisen (1876-1965) wandered a bit, almost not making it through ordination – yet we benefit greatly from his religious contributions. Likewise, perhaps it is worth noting that Flanders Dunbar (1902-59), as a woman at a certain point in time in a certain faith group did not even have the option of ordination – yet we benefit greatly from her religious contributions. Either could have been told, “Go away”.

    Boisen’s ministry came alive through accepting Dunbar’s guidance, offered with persistence and patience.

    Dunbar’s ministry came alive though providing Boisen’s guidance, offered with tolerance and encouragement

    Both benefited from their working together – from their becoming better versions of themselves. The world benefited, too.

    Each found greater spiritual fulfillment and contribution within an atmosphere of 

    mutual respect and cooperative striving toward achieving a higher standard.

    They expected much of each other – and, together, they delivered.

    Endnotes:

    The newspaper story can be found on-line.


    Many who have read Boisen’s autobiography may recall that Fred Eastman became one of Boisen’s lifelong closest friends, Many, however, may not be aware of the important role Eastman played in changing the nature of congregational religious study and worship. Boisen encouraged clergy to study “living human documents” – living people in all their complexity. Eastman encouraged clergy and their parishioners to contemplate carefully chosen biographies and carefully staged plays that presented human dilemmas in all their complexity. Each tried to add something simultaneously more “down to earth” and more introspective to the worship life of the average church. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,751419,00.html

    Hermann N. Morse was no slouch either. He championed nationwide missionary work within the United States and is considered a diplomatic architect of what became the National Council of Churches. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,857235,00.html

    Whatever became of Robert A. Watson could not be determined, except that he ministered in North Carolina.

    ______________________

    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD is the leading historian of the clinical pastoral movement. Many of his published writings are posted on the Pastoral Report. Readers can use the PR's search engine found on the left side-bar to locate his articles. As a practicing psychiatrist, his writings reflect his daily investment in his clinical practice of providing psychotherapy and care to his patients. Contact Dr. Powell by clicking here. -Perry Miller, Editor


  • 29 Apr 2011 11:14 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    "Clinical Pastoral Psychology of Religion:
    A ‘Peculiar and Dynamic Play between the Mundane and the Sublime’.” 1

    – Comments Honoring the Rev. Dr. Orlo Christopher Strunk, Jr –

    delivered in Virginia Beach, VA, on 30 March 2011 at the Plenary of the College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy

    – on the 135th anniversary of Anton Theophilus Boisen’s birth –

    [out of respect for the first generation of our elders, let us note that we are gathering]

    – on the 110th anniversary of William James’ popularization for the English-speaking world of the established French phrase “documents humaines ” [“human documents”] (1901) 2;

    – on the 80th anniversary of H[elen] Flanders Dunbar’s assuming supervision of the Joint Committee on Religion and Medicine’s “Study Project in Religious Healing.” (1931);

    – on the 80th anniversary of Boisen’s Hymns of Hope and Courage … . (1931);

    – on the 75th anniversary of Boisen’s The Exploration of the Inner World … . (1936);

    – on the 75th anniversary of Dunbar’s “Problems of Convalescence and Chronic Illness … .” (1936) 

    [Dunbar & Boisen both believed clergy were uniquely situated to serve those not yet ill & those not yet well];

    – on the 70th anniversary of Boisen’s “Theology in the Light of Psychiatric Experience.” (1941);

    – on the 65th anniversary of Dunbar’s Emotions and Bodily Changes … , 3rd edition. (1946);

    – on the 65th anniversary of Boisen’s Problems of Religion and Life … . (1946).

    [giving a nod to the second generation of our elders, let us also note that we are gathering]

    – on the 60th anniversary of Carroll A. Wise’s Pastoral Counseling: Its Theory and Practice. (1951);

    – on the 50th anniversary of Seward Hiltner’s The Context of Pastoral Counseling. (1961);

    – on the 40th anniversary of Orlo C. Strunk’s 

    “Relationships of Psychology of Religion & Clinical Pastoral Education.” (1971);

    – on the 35th anniversary of Paul Pruyser’s The Minister as Diagnostician … . (1976).

    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD

    Helen Flanders Dunbar (1902-1959), as I have phrased it [2010], was the one who translated the “thought-provoking ponderings” of Anton Theophilus Boisen (1876-1965) “about an intimate relationship between religion and medicine into a movement – a now world-wide movement – that has forever changed the definition of ‘chaplaincy’ and of what constitutes ‘pastoral care,’ ‘pastoral counseling,’ and ‘pastoral psychotherapy’.” 3 About 5 years after first meeting and working with Boisen, Dunbar asked how it was that “the various forms of worship -- liturgy and hymnody, the exercise of private devotions and the contemplation of religious symbols and architecture" seemed to have “therapeutic value” – essentially, how it was that religion seemed clinically to work. 4

    While Dunbar is remembered primarily for her pioneering work in psychosomatic medicine, and Boisen is remembered primarily for his invention of the clinical pastoral field, we may need to be reminded that both of their paths began with a focus on the psychology of religion. Similarly, today’s honoree explored and still explores broadly but first made a mark in the psychology of religion. Several central, nagging questions remain. “Where does rigorous research on the clinical pastoral psychology of religion fit into our world today? Surely there are active creations and re-creations – discoveries and recoveries – of faith and faiths currently occurring world-wide – but what does all this mean? Do chaplains have sufficient scientific background and scientific curiosity to ask useful, focused questions? – or to provide thoughtful guidance toward answers? Dunbar repeatedly called for “the development of the … techniques of religion in the light of … new understanding.” 5 That is, she asked for a clinical pastoral practice informed by new, basic research on how religion works.

    Last year we considered how the preadolescent or adolescent Dunbar might have been shaped somewhat by her mother’s translation of a French novel in which the heroine demonstrated “extreme individuality,” “extreme originality,” and “freshness” – as well as being “very unlike the rest of the world”. 6 Focusing on those who have made “significant contributions” to the clinical pastoral movement, the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy, now entering its third decade, has accumulated quite a list of honorees who share Helen Flanders Dunbar’s maternally inherited gift of “persistent creativity”. 7

    This year let us consider, at least in passing, how the young Dunbar might have been shaped somewhat by her father’s insistence on standing up for what he thought was right when his employer was less able so to do. The body of law built around “Dunbar v AT&T” (1906) and “Dunbar v AT&T” (1909), as I understand it, ultimately limited corporations’ predatory control over other corporations and reaffirmed the right of one man or woman to file suit on behalf of more powerful others. 8 Francis William Dunbar (1868-1939), an electrical engineer and patent attorney, ended up saving his employer’s company, just because standing up seemed the honorable thing to do. A 1909 article described “Frank” as “courageously” “persistent”. 9 Helen would have just turned 7 years old at that time, but surely she must have “caught the drift” of her father’s six years of involvement with the courts. Frank Dunbar won for his employer in the state supreme court, but all was lost when the adversary “waited out the clock,” rendering the victories moot. When Helen was age 12 her father, at age 46, abandoned “the rat race” wherein one can win but lose, moving his family to a not necessarily modest “cottage” in Manchester, Vermont. Today’s honoree abandoned the full-time “rat race” at a more modest age 60, but, specifically in regard to upholding the right to explore unpopular ideas, might be said to share Helen Flanders Dunbar’s paternally inherited gift of quiet “courageous persistence”.

    Focusing on those who have made “significant contributions” to the clinical pastoral movement, the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy, now a known leader in the field, might want to consider seeking out more honorees who share Helen Flanders Dunbar’s paternally inherited gift of “courageous persistence”. At least two previous plenary speakers [Susan McDougal and Henry Heffernan] could be said to have insisted on standing up for what each thought was right, but this year’s Dunbar honoree may be the first chosen primarily for demonstrated “courageous persistence”. 10

    On a previous occasion I spoke about the correlation of longevity – for individuals and organizations – with, in Dunbar’s words, a “continued ability to create and invent” – that is, with “persistent creativity”. On another past occasion I spoke about the important, mature capacity for holding strong convictions without becoming self-righteous. One could well argue for an analogous correlation of longevity – for individuals and organizations – with such judicious standing up for one’s values – that is, with “courageous persistence”. 11

    Sixty years ago, in 1951, after three years in the Army Air Corps and three years in the newspaper business, today’s honoree decided to enter the ministry, thus beginning a journey from West Virginia Wesleyan College (BA, 1953), to Boston University School of Theology (STB, 1955), and then to Boston University Graduate School (PhD/ psychology, 1957). 12 Fifty years ago, in 1961, today’s honoree was described as “One of the rising young leaders in pastoral psychology” – a person of “versatile talents”. 13 Across the decades our honoree served two years as part-time executive secretary (1955-57) of The Institute of Pastoral Care, devoted years and years as a professor of psychology, and crafted 15 books as well as almost 90 articles, firming up the phenomenologic/ perceptual approach to the psychology of religion, among other things, while married and raising two children. 14 Twenty-five years ago, in 1986, today’s honoree left academia to lay back a bit, continuing on as a psychotherapy supervisor and managing editor of a major journal. About ten years ago our honoree, a lifelong poet, began allowing more time for creative writing, eventually publishing about one novel per year. 15 Though ordained within the Methodist church, the Wider Quaker Fellowship has fit well today’s honoree’s studied and accepted preference for solitude. 16

    To say that our honoree has been open to new ideas – and new ways of knowing – about a great number of things – would be an understatement. A “comprehensive and authentic understanding of religious experience and behavior requires a broad and inclusive kind of perspective.” 17 Specifically, today’s honoree has discussed, with courageous persistence, open-mindedness versus closed-mindedness within the fields of religion and psychology, as well as concern about an uncritical/ unexamined acceptance of the Zeitgeist and various “isms”. 18 Complexity, in this view, should be embraced, not avoided or rejected. “After all, there is no such thing as a unified psychology; and certainly to think of religion generically strains credibility. What we have, of course, are psychologies of religions.” 19 Thus the newest Dunbar honoree, with courageous persistence, promoted and defended the formulation of new views, even if these were not popular. An episode ten years ago especially stands out, but there were others: an early book [1982], for example, was dedicated to “those adversaries who unwittingly reminded” today’s honoree of a core value – privacy. 20

    Several years ago our honoree went on record [2009] hoping “that clinical ministry … will not abandon the original notion … that the critical acceptance of authentic science and authentic religion could form the basis for an intellectually sound and compassionate expression of care.” – that “those who practice clinical ministry ought to be well educated in both psychosocial studies and religious/ theological studies” as “a life-long commitment”. 21 Our honoree has maintained a courageous persistence in embracing the complex, the controversial, the unknown – suggesting that “our theology must become our psychology” – comprehending each individual’s “unique,” “peculiar,” “variable,” characteristics in a “flexible” manner. 22

    On the 35th anniversary of his book praising quiet introspection, The Secret Self, please congratulate the tenth recipient of The Helen Flanders Dunbar (1902-1959) Award for Significant Contributions to the Field of Clinical Pastoral Training, a man who tried to ground clinical pastoral practice in considerations of how religion works, The Rev. Dr. Orlo Christopher Strunk, Jr. 23

    Dr. Strunk’s body is 86 years old, while the rest of him is not. I will be delivering the Dunbar Award and your good wishes to him tomorrow in Calabash, North Carolina.

    Please let me make just a few more comments. For forty years Dr. Strunk has served as the Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling’s Book Review Editor, over and above serving much of that time as its managing editor. For five years I have served as CPSP’s chronicler of the Dunbar Award. 24 Both tasks appear a bit daunting at first glance – which is probably why we were assigned these jobs. Dr. Strunk has had the opportunity to experience more of the chaplaincy literature than he would have otherwise. I have had the opportunity to experience at least 5 chaplains’ work in more depth than I would have otherwise. Thank you for trusting me with this task.


    Endnotes

    1 Strunk, Orlo C., Jr. “The Role of Visioning in the Pastoral Counseling Movement”. Pastoral Psychol. 1982; 311):7-18, p.7.

    2 In his 2005 presentation before CPSP, Robert C. Dykstra, MDiv, PhD, drew attention to James’ use of the phrase, generally identified with Boisen’s work, in The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature, being the Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion delivered at Edinburgh in 1901-1902 (New York: Longmans, Green & co, 1902). http://www.cpspoffice.org/the_archives/2005/05/who_we_shall_be.html In fact, the phrase appears in the fourth paragraph of James’ “Lecture I – Religion and Neurology” – so even those audience member who barely listened to the lecture or those readers who barely cracked the published volume would have encountered “documents humaines” very quickly. The original French phrase was “documents sur la nature humaine” [“documents on human nature”], used as a “battle cry” of the “Realists” versus the “Romanticists” in French literature. “Les documents humaines' was the title of a chapter in Emile Zola's study, Le Roman expérimental (1880), and served as the title of a book by Jean-Louis Debut de laforest, Documents Humaines (1888). Beginning in 1893 an American illustrated monthly magazine, McClure’s, ran a series of character sketches of famous people that it called "Human Documents," attributing the phrase to [Alphonse] Daudet while admitting that an exact citation could not be supplied. 

    [http://www.public.coe.edu/~theller/soj/una/human.htm] These sketches were pulled together into a book titled, of course, Human Documents, in 1895. One year later James began drafting the Gifford Lectures. In other words, while someone who, like Boisen, taught French literature might have been more likely to have encountered the phrase, “documents humaines” / “human documents” it was already definitely in the American domain by 1893. Significantly, Boisen added the prefatory word “living” – as in “living human documents” – because the original concept included non-living artifacts.

    3 Powell, Robert Charles. “Be Strong! Take Courage! All Ye Who Hope in the Lord: Comments Honoring the Rev. Dr. John Edwin Harris.” delivered in Columbus, OH, on 11 April 2010 at the Plenary of the College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy; http://www.cpspoffice.org/Be%20Strong%21%20Take%20Courage%21%20-%20plenary%20comments%20%2011-apr-%202010%20-%20final%20-%20PR%20version-.pdf

    4 Powell, Robert Charles. ““Emotionally, Soulfully, Spiritually ‘Free to Think and Act’: The Helen Flanders Dunbar (1902–59) Memorial Lecture on Psychosomatic Medicine and Pastoral Care.” J Relig Health. 40(1):97-114, PAGE X, quoting originally from: "Trinity Dean [Percy Kammerer] Seen as Faith Clinic Head: Academy of Medicine, Federal Church Council Unite in New York Project: Pittsburgh Divine Talked as Leader: Scientific Religious Center to Result from Study of Mind-Body Kinship," The Pittsburgh Press, clipping attached to telegram dated 3 March 1930, in Box 34, Federal Council Archives; as best can be ascertained, this and related items now are held as following: Religion and Medicine Committee, March 1923-March 1939, n.d. Folder 28, Part L. Research and Education Department, Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America Records, 1894-1952, Record Group 18, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA http://www.history.pcusa.org/collections/findingaids/inventory/ncc18.pdf

    5 Dunbar, H. Flanders. “The Faith and the New Psychology.” Living Church. 13: 333-336, 1934; reprinted [preprinted] in Liberal Catholicism and the Modern World. Frank Gavin, editor. Milwaukee: Morehouse Publishing Company, 1933; available on-line at http://anglicanhistory.org/usa/fgavin/liberal/13.html .

    6 Powell, 2010, op cit, quoting from Schultz, Jeanne. Colette. translated from the French by Edith V[aughn]. Flanders [1871-1963]. New York/ Boston: T.Y. Crowell, 1898, pp. 201, 220, 223. [print-on-demand paperback exact reproduction of this specific translation: Colette. Charleston, SC: BiblioBazaar/ BiblioLife, 2008.] [Jeanne Schultz is also listed under the pseudonym “Saint Hilaire Philippe”.] [uniform title per the US Library of Congress: Saint Joseph, or, The Nine Days’ Devotions of Colette].

    7 G. Allison Stokes (2nd; 2003), Myron C. Madden (3rd; 2004), Robert C. Dykstra (4th; 2005), A. Patrick L. Prest (5th; 2006), Henry G. Heffernan (6th; 2007), Edward Everett Thornton (7th; 2008), Rodney J. Hunter (8th; 2009), John Edwin Harris (9th; 2010).

    8 Dunbar v American Telephone and Telegraph (1906) and Dunbar v American Telephone and Telegraph (1909) are referred to frequently in legal proceedings – but that does not mean that such proceedings neatly summarize the meaning of these precedents; see, Cook, William Wilson. A Treatise on the Law of Corporations Having a Capital Stock, Volume 1, 7th edition. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co, 1913), p.934; full text available on the web; this citation is provided merely because the author briefly notes both court cases on the same page.

    9 McMeal, Henry B. Telephony. 1909; 17:526 “The Kellogg Switchboard and Supply Company, as a result of the persistent fight so courageously carried on by Mr. Francis W. Dunbar and his associates, is now finally and legally restored to the position of a prominent independent manufacturer of telephone equipment and supplies.” See also page 242, re that the case began in June 1903.

    Francis William Dunbar (1868-1939) was an exact contemporary of Richard Clarke Cabot (1868-1939), who worked closely with Flanders Dunbar and Anton Boisen in the earliest years of clinical pastoral education. There is no known biography of Frank Dunbar. He was employed initially by AT&T but later, more importantly, by the Kellogg Switchboard and Supply Company [initially at the corner of Congress Street & Green Street, then 8 blocks away at 1066 West Adams Street, Chicago]. In 1905 Frank Dunbar is known to have lived at 5210 Jefferson Avenue, Chicago, with his wife, Edith Vaughn Flanders Dunbar (1871-1963), as well as their two children, Helen Flanders Dunbar (1902-1959) and Francis Flanders Dunbar (1906-19??). Francis William Dunbar achieved recognition quite early. An article dated 1901 listed fourteen of the top names in the history of telephony, and Dunbar’s name is seventh on the list. [Miller, Kempster B.“Telephony.” The Electrical world &Engineer. 05 Jan.1901;37(1):33; full text available on the web.

    10 Susan McDougal, a central figure in the so-called “Whitewater controversy,” spoke on “Why I Refused to Testify and What I Learned in Jail,” at the CPSP Plenary in March 2004; she quite specifically stood up for the right to remain silent when she believed she would be charged with perjury when her sworn testimony would not match what she considered to be falsehoods told by two previous sworn witnesses. Chaplain Henry G. Heffernan, chosen to receive the Dunbar Award in 2007, had to miss the presentation because at the last moment he was called to testify regarding discrimination against chaplains of certain faith traditions; he quite specifically stood up for the right of a Roman Catholic chaplain to administer sacraments outside the constraints of a secular forty-hour work week.

    11 Powell, Robert Charles. “The ‘Continued Ability to Create and Invent’: Going for One Hundred Years of Clinical Pastoral Transformation.” delivered at the CPSP Plenary in March 2002; on the internet at http://www.cpspoffice.org/the_archives/2002/03/the_continued_a_2.html .

    Powell, Robert Charles. ““Religion IN Crisis / Religion AND Crisis: ‘Having Strong Feelings without Being Self-Righteous’. delivered at the CPSP Plenary in 30 March 2006; some passages quoted on the internet at http://www.cpspoffice.org/the_archives/2010/04/be_strong_take.html .

    12 “Orlo Strunk, Jr.[:] Major Biographical Events and Information.” in Rector, Lallene J. and Santaniello, Weaver, editors. Psychological Perspectives and the Religious Quest [:] Essays in Honor of Orlo Strunk, Jr. (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1999). pp.181-184. [note the similarity in title to, Cattell, Raymond B. Psychology and the Religious Quest: An Account of the Psychology of Religion and a Defense of Individualism. London: Thomas Nelson, 1938]

    13 [Johnson, Paul E.] “The Man of the Month: Orlo Strunk, Jr.” Pastoral Psychology. 1961;12(6):6,66.

    14 re pheonomenological/ perceptual, see Strunk’s dissertation, A Redefinition of the Psychology of Religion: With Special Reference to Certain Psychological Theories of Gordon W. Alllport; Boston: Boston University, 1957, which, obviously concerned the work of Allport (1897-1967), including his Personality: A Psychological Interpretation. (New York: Holt, 1937) and The Individual and His Religion: A Psychological Interpretation. (New York: Macmillan, 1950). Strunk later published a study with a title similar to the latter, Religion: A Psychological Interpretation. (New York: Abingdon Press, 1962). Allport raised the notion that a person’s religious views might mature with age – a notion further explored in Strunk’s Mature Religion: A Psychological Study. (Nashville: Abingdon Press,1965) and again, with revised views, in Strunk’s “Mature Reflections on Mature Religion.” J Pastoral Theol. 1997; 7(1):149-154]. See also, Allport’s (1944). The Roots of Religion: A Dialogue between a Psychologist and His Student. (Boston: Church of the Advent, 1944), and his Waiting for the Lord. New York: Macmillan, 1978).

    15 Dr. Strunk’s novels are published under the name “O. C. Strunk”.

    Strunk, O. C. Three-Two Count. (Frederick, MD: PublishAmerica, 2005).

    Strunk, O. C. An Ever-Fixed Mark. (Frederick, MD; PublishAmerica, 2007).

    Strunk, O. C. Satan's Angels. (Frederick, MD: PublishAmerica, 2009).

    Strunk, O. C. The Geriatric Murders. (PublishAmerica, 2010).

    Strunk, O. C. The Forerun Winter. (Frederick, MD: PublishAmerica, 2010).

    Strunk, O. C. The Intelligentsia Connection. (March 2011, “under consideration” for publication).

    16 Henderson, Robert S. “With the Head but also the Heart: An Enterview [sic] with Orlo Strunk.” Sacred Spaces: The e-Journal of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (2009), vol.1, pp132-144; p.138; http://aapc.org/webfm_send/25 ]

    17 Reuder Mary E. “A History of Division 36 (Psychology of Religion).” in Dewsbury, D.A., editor, Unification through Division: Histories of the Divisions of the American Psychological Association. 4:91-108. (Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 1999). http://www.division36.org/Reuder-Div36History.pdf ; Strunk, personal communication, November 21, 1997.

    18 Henderson, 2009, op cit, p.135.


    19 Strunk, Orlo C., Jr. The Choice Called Atheism. (Nashville: Abingdon, 1968), p.136.

    20 Dr. Strunk accepted for publication in the Spring 2001 issue of the Journal of Pastoral Care an article which generated a significant amount of controversy – which some believed was sufficient reason for the well-written article not to be published, or at least not to be published without being paired with an article conveying an opposing point of view.

    Strunk, Orlo C. Privacy: Experience, Understanding, Expression. (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1982).

    Interestingly enough, each of his dedications appear to concern those whose existence taught him something: Religion: A Psychological Interpretation [1962] to his wife “A Mary With Just Enough Martha Traits” [an apparent reference to Luke 10:40-42 – which appears to have been common sermon material for pastors across the ages – contrasting Martha’s focus on work needing to be done and Mary’s on relationships needing to be experienced. Mature Religion: A Psychological Study [1965] to his mother – “A strange woman whose sadness always has made me sober in the midst of foolishness and foolish in the midst of sobriety” [an apparent reference to 1 Peter 5:8 and Proverbs 24:9; compare Barnes' Notes on the Bible – re Romans 12:3: “Those who over-estimate themselves are proud, haughty, foolish in their deportment. Those who think of themselves as they ought, are modest, sober, prudent.” The Secret Self [1976] to “The Fathers and Brothers of the Province of St. Paul of the Cross (Passionists)”. The Choice Called Atheism [1968] to his two children – “… Only two of the millions of children on this earth who make the search for a more understanding world an absolute necessity.”

    21 Henderson, 2009, op cit, p.143.

    22 Strunk, 1968, op cit, pp.140, 142, 143.

    23 Strunk, Orlo C., Jr. The Secret Self. (Nashville: Abingdon, 1976).

    24 I have had the honor of introducing Henry G. Heffernan, Edward E. Thornton, Rodney J. Hunter, John E. Harris, and now Orlo C. Strunk, Jr. I guess you could say that I partially “introduced” myself in 2002.

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    EDITOR's NOTE: The application used to publish the Pastoral Report lacks the ability to properly format Dr. Powell's scholarly article with endnotes. The reader is encouraged to download the PDF file listed below that contain the informative endnotes that add depth and richness to the article.