This course focuses on studying the various theories of leadership and, in particular, understanding what is behind the tremendous power and influence that religious leaders demonstrate. What makes religious leaders so powerful that people follow them—even die for them? How do religious leaders acknowledge and draw upon their divine source? What is the relationship between the disciplines that shape spiritual practices such as prayer, worship, fasting, study and effective leadership? To explore religious leadership, we will be using a sample of case studies from figures such as Moses, Jesus, Gandhi, Muhammad, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Dorothy Day, among others. Readings will include cutting-edge, practical theories of leadership.
Course Objective: To understand leadership as defined by and within the context of different religious traditions and communities and to enable students to identify, examine and understand their own gifts, goals and devotional practices for leadership within each student’s religious community in dialogue with other religious traditions.
Bond, Gilbert I. Paul and the Religious Experience of Reconciliation: Diasporic Community and Creole Consciousness (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2005).
Wills, Gary. Certain Trumpets: The Nature of Leadership (New York, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994).
June 11, 2007—Course Introduction
Religious Community and Context: Hinduism
a) Typologies of Leadership
b) Leadership vs. Management
c) Spiritual Practices and Leadership: Religious and Secular
“Hinduism,” Michael Molloy, Experiencing the World’s Religions: Tradition, Challenge, and Change, IV edition (Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008);
Leadership Case: Gandhi
Weber, Max. The Theory of Social and Economic Organization, translated by A. M. Henderson and Talcott Parsons (New York: The Free Press, 1947), pp. 328-349;
Will, Gary. Certain Trumpets, Chapter 14;
Assignment. Bring to class all of the following:
1) Critique of Weber, two (2) pages;
2) Analyze differences between leadership and management and provide three situational examples for each, two (2) pages;
3) Written description of your religious tradition and (current) religious community. Your description must include a) demographics: (composition of your community by age, gender, ethnicity, class, elderly, youth); b) origin: who is (are) the founder(s) of your community? How did it come into existence? c) purpose: what is the primary purpose of your community, e.g., social gathering, identity affirmation, survival, worship—if so, who is worshipped? Include a description of the deity (or deities). How is this deity (or are these deities) worshipped, i.e., with music, text, words, somatic, kinetic, contemplative, affective, noetic, ecstatic? Is the primary purpose of your community to provide service? Who are the primary recipients of your community’s service, members or outsiders? What is the nature of the service? d) presence: how does the divine presence (where applicable) make itself manifest, i.e., in power, in noise, in silence, in healing, catharsis, or does the deity remain remote, silent, hidden? e) leadership: describe the leadership of your community. What is the relationship between the composition of your community and its leadership, i.e., does the leadership reflect the community? If so, what is the content of the reflection? If not, what are the divergences between those who are in the community and those who are in the position or positions of leadership? f) relationship: between the deity or deities worshipped and the leadership of your community. How would you characterize this relationship? Do the leaders reflect attributes of the divinity or deity worshipped, or, in the examples of a-theistic religions, the founder of your religious community? g) telos: what is the end or goal of your community’s existence, e.g., Enlightenment or Nirvana, salvation, reincarnation, healing, paradise, prosperity, preservation, power, empowerment, liberation.
(5 to 6 pages)
Due: Monday, June 11, 2007 at the beginning of class.
Religious Community and Context: Buddhism
a) Personality and Leadership
b) Transformation vs. Transaction
c) The Praxis of Compassion
“Buddhism,” Michael Molloy, Experiencing the World’s Religions: Tradition, Challenge, and Change, IV edition (Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008);
Burns, James MacGregor. “Transactional and Transforming Leadership,” in Leadership (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1978);
Harvey, Peter. “Devotional Practices,” in Buddhism, Peter Harvey, editor (New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2001);
Leadership Case: Buddha
Wills, Gary. Certain Trumpets, Chapter 3.
1) Analysis and Critique of Burns, two (2) pages. Analyze the difference between transactional leadership and transformational leadership;
2) Describe a situation wherein you have exercised leadership. Your description should include the setting, description of the people involved (you may alter the names); the set of responsibilities you needed to fulfill; the roles which others had to perform; the method and manner you employed to accomplish the goals. What obstacles did you face? What resources did you use? Describe and evaluate the outcome of your leadership.
(4 pages minimum—5 maximum)
Due: Tuesday, June 12, 2007 at the beginning of class.
Religious Community and Context: Judaism
a) Leadership in transition
b) Identifying gifts, limits, and liabilities
c) Spiritual practices and leadership disciplines
I Samuel 8 – 16
Deuteronomy 32 – 34
Bennis, Warren. On Becoming a Leader (New York, New York: Perseus Books Group, 2003), selections;
Leadership Case: King David
Lerner, Michael. The Left Hand of God: Talking Back Our Country from the Religious Right (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2006), pp. 39-92; 128-159.
Will, Gary. Certain Trumpets, Chapter 6
Critique of The Left Hand of God (2 pages. Due class time.)
Spiritual gifts discernment
Religious Community and Context: Islam
a) Submission as leadership
b) Self examination and self confrontation
c) Relationship between spiritual praxis and leadership
Ahmed, Akbar S. Living Islam: From Samarkand to Stornoway (London: U.K.: BBC Books Limited, 1994);
Armstrong, Karen. Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet (New York, New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1993), selections;
Beekun, Rafik Issa and Jamal A. Badawi. Leadership: An Islamic Perspective (Beltsville, Md.: Amana Publications, 1999), selections;
Holy Qur’an, selected Suraw;
Wadud, Amina. Qur’an and Women: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective (New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), selections;
Leadership Case: Muhammad
Will, Gary. Certain Trumpets, Chapter 9.
Aporia and transformation
Final Paper or Project Proposals Due. Two pages, plus bibliography.
Religious Community and Context: Christianity
a) Leadership in the face of the “other”
b) Leadership and love of enemies
c) Servant leadership for Christian Reconciliation
Bond, Gilbert I. Paul and the Religious Experience of Reconciliation: Diasporic Community and Creole Consciousness (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2005), selections;
Gospel of Mark, selections;
Gospel of Luke, selections;
Epistles of Paul, selections;
Leadership Case: Jesus
Will, Gary. Certain Trumpets, Chapter 16.
Reconciliation and Impasse
Final Paper or Project
Students will be able to choose between a final paper or a final project.
Final Paper: A major paper on the subject of religious leadership must identify a specific religious tradition, a historical or contemporary leader who is a member of the specific religious tradition; a documented description of the particular form of leadership this figure embodied; a careful description of the leader’s followers; description of the specific accomplishments of the leader; analysis of the type of leadership characteristic of the leader’s accomplishments; analysis of why the leader was effective or ineffective; careful analysis of the relationship between the religious practices, piety, devotion, and spiritual disciplines and the type of leadership practiced; analysis of the limitations and shortcomings of this particular leader and style of leadership; evaluation of the leader’s legacy (if historical), or ongoing accomplishments (if contemporary); application of theories of leadership acquired from the course; a religious or theological interpretation of this particular leader and leadership. 15-20 pages of written text, plus bibliography and sources.
Final Project: Acceptable projects include development of a religious leadership project wherein you design and develop the necessary elements for teaching or training specific aspects of leadership for the members of the religious community to which you belong. This may take the form of curriculum, training exercises, intensive workshop. The project will be developed for the purpose of actual implementation. You will, therefore, have to develop an instrument of evaluation. If possible, you may want to include an outside evaluator who will submit an assessment of your project. This aspect can be decided upon before we agree upon your final project. What is nonnegotiable, however, is the indispensable project evaluation which Participants in your leadership project/exercise will need to complete and submit.
You must receive the approval of the instructor BEFORE you embark upon either the Final Paper or Final Project.
I am willing to help students develop final papers and projects.
Project and Paper Proposals (not the Final Project or Paper!!!) are due June 14. I strongly encourage you to speak with me as early as possible about your project or paper, since there is a mysterious relationship between student/professor conversations regarding this assignment and the quality of the final project or paper.
Final Project and Papers are due August 15, 2007.
Guidelines for written work:
All written work must be typographically prepared. I will not accept electronically submitted work. Please adhere to the following guidelines:
1) Use double space.
2) Justified left margins, only; right margins unjustified.
3) Type font size no smaller than 12 pt.
4) Choose a type face with serifs. Serifs are the extensions on the print which facilitate the flow of the readers eye from letter to letter, word to word. For example, the following type font is sans serif: Chicago - This type face is unacceptable. Note that there are no feet or phalanges at the beginning or end of each letter. The following type font has serifs:
New York -
These two type faces are acceptable for your assignment. (note: these type faces aren't available on this web site. Please view type faces in Microsoft Word)
5) Please use only black ink.
6) Leave two spaces between sentences; one line space between paragraphs and use proper punctuation.
7) Include a bibliography of your sources if you use any.
8) Please use the library, preferably books, articles, and essays.
9) DO NOT USE INTERNET SOURCES UNLESS YOU FIRST RECEIVE PERMISSION FROM THE INSTRUCTOR. All internet sources are not created equal. There is a great deal of mis-information on the web. Scholarly journals and books have the advantage of being peer reviewed and evaluated, and while not flawless, they are more reliable than ephemeral sources.
10) If you have questions, contact me.