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Higher education institutions are encountering an unprecedented confluence of short- and long-term challenges. Despite the turbulent context, institutionally and individually we must perpetually work to sustain our liminal essence, while refusing to be defined by excesses. Because on these campuses, students are transformed into “whole and holy persons,” and equipped to engage in “God’s work of restoring and transforming the world.” Jessica Daniels is the Program Director and Professor in Bethel University’s Ed.D. in Leadership in Higher Education.

Theoretically and practically applied in his ministry, Jesus embodied sacred liminal space. From this “betwixt and between”1 position, he transformed individuals and the world. This incarnational conceptualization is the underpinning for faith-based higher education. At our best, the Christian college or university, with the missional synergy of faith and reason, is sacred liminal space that results in a particularly effective educational philosophy. On these campuses, students are transformed into “whole and holy persons,”2 and equipped to engage in “God’s work of restoring and transforming the world.”3

Liminality as a Framework

In his study of saints, angels, and ancient gods, Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest, author, and spiritual leader, identified a pattern around doorkeepers and boundaries, and the existence of three spaces: inside, outside, and the “edge of the inside.”4 According to Rohr, “Ancients knew that you need guidance, patronage and protection as you move from one place or state to another, whenever you cross a bridge.”5 Rohr posited that the “edge of the inside,” or thresholds, represent a sacred and liminal space.

The concept of liminality (derived from the Latin word limen, meaning “a threshold”) originated from research conducted by anthropologist Van Gennep on the evolving human identity status within the three phases of a rite of passage: preliminal, liminal, and postliminal.6 The preliminal phase is comprised of separation or detachment from a previous fixed position in a social structure. The liminal phase represents transition, as the “threshold people” are ambiguously between states. The final phase is consummated by aggregation and re-incorporation into the social structure but with a new position or identity. 

Turner extended the research on the middle phase of liminality, on “interstructural” individuals or groups that are “betwixt or between,” at a threshold between a previous structure of their identity, community, or season, and a future order which is yet to be established upon full completion of the rite.7 According to Turner, within this irresolution, or uncertain state or space of the liminal phase, societal values, norms, and expectations are suspended.

Literature on liminality has expanded beyond the anthropological confines to include contexts related to race,8 gender,9 occupation,10 theology,11 community,12 and organization.13 Initial research conceptualizations suggested liminal spaces were temporal and unsettling, isolating, and even dangerous contexts, in which individual and social identities were challenged, loyalties shifted, and communities changed.14 However, although occupants of liminal space may feel “temporarily undefined, beyond the normative social structure” and hypothetically weakened, “since they have no rights over others,” Turner also acknowledged that liberation from social and structural obligations potentially co-existed within that ambiguity.15

Similarly, more recent research suggests alternative interpretations of the concept of liminality, including reimagined longevity, in that liminal spaces could be prolonged and/or perpetual, and also the potential for positive outcomes, such as the fostering of humility, curiosity, goodwill, creativity, and capaciousness.16 Thus, liminality findings seem to indicate that the threshold is powerful and tender space, with ambiguous potential and transformative capacity. Rohr’s reflection supported this paradoxical interpretation of liminal space summarizing, “This is the sacred space where the old world is able to fall apart, and a bigger world is revealed.”17

Rohr labeled those who are at the edge of the inside “doorkeepers,” “who steward the doorway in both directions,” who love both the inside and the outside of his or her group, and know how to move between these two loves. This rejection of a belonging system, or abdication from a fixed position and paradigm within a social structure or grouping that provides membership and a sense of belonging, results in living “precariously with two perspectives held tightly together — the faithful insider and the critical outsider at the same time.”18

According to Rohr, because of their liminality, doorkeepers, or those “at the edge of the inside,” are uniquely positioned to lead.19 Rohr stated, “When you live on the edge of anything with respect and honor, you are in a very auspicious position. You are free from its central seductions, but also free to hear its core message in very new and creative ways.”20 A doorkeeper with a dedication to both the inside and outside understands and honors the values, laws, systems, and norms – and is most effectively able to critique and initiate transformation through rediscovering and reclaiming their true purpose, “not rebellious or antisocial, but prophetic,” and “not to abolish the law but to complete it.”21

Jesus and Liminality

Jesus Christ is the center of the Christian faith, and according to scripture, the center of the universe: “He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). Therefore, this incarnational conceptualization is our grounding, as we “build our house on rock” (Matthew 7:24). A historical and pastoral charge to remember, renew, and revitalize Jesus as the center is summarized by Gehrz and Pattie:

Again and again through the centuries there have been fresh movements of the Holy Spirit to bring new life to the church and new hope to the world. For all their complexities, at the heart of every one of those movements has been this simple call to come back to Jesus: to center our lives, relationships, ministries, and mission clearly and consistently on him who alone is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).22

Further, I posit that Jesus, in this centric positioning, represented liminal space in both his theoretical role in God’s grand scriptural narrative and through his “at the edge of the inside” ministry, in which he functioned as a doorkeeper.

Liminality and Jesus’ Role in God’s Drama of Divine Redemption

In the scriptures, Jesus represented a new beginning, the inbreaking of God’s sovereignty that characterized the birth of Jesus.23 Jesus came in fulfillment of the Old Testament law and ancient prophesies (Matthew 5:17-20), and proclaimed that his arrival as the “bridegroom” concluded the time of mourning (Matthew 9: 14-15; Mark 2:19; Luke 5:34). According to Fee, Jesus was unique and shocking in his assertions that through his coming, God’s reign was “actually in process of realization,”24 that a new kingdom (the kingdom of God) was at hand (Matthew 3:2; 4:12; Mark 1:2-3, 14-15; Luke 4:14-21-43) and thus the kingdom of heaven was now “near” (Matthew 3:2).

Stassen and Gushee suggested that Jesus inaugurated God’s reign, but the ultimate realization remains in the future.25 Thus, “there is reason both for exultant celebration at the initiation of God’s long-promised salvation and for earnest hope for its final consummation, when ‘mourning and crying and pain will be no more’ (Revelation 21:4).”26 Jesus’ role on earth was simultaneously a culmination of a previous space and an inauguration of a new space.

Jesus was born to live and die and be resurrected, to literally embody, the liminal space between what was and what will be. In the grand redemptive narrative, Jesus functioned as the transition between the separation and aggregation phases of a rite of passage.27 Stassen and Gushee acknowledged the liminality of this space as “living in the time between the times – the eon (of uncertain duration) between the inauguration and consummation of the reign of God.”28 Thus Jesus exemplified a liminal space in that he represented a new beginning before an overcoming or final victory in the future, physically living and ministering within God’s redeemed but not yet perfected Kingdom.

Liminality and Jesus’ Ministry

In addition to the liminal space that Jesus represented theoretically in God’s grand redemptive narrative, Jesus also embodied liminality in his humanity. Jesus was born, ministered, died, and was resurrected – all “at the edge of inside.”

In contrast with Jesus’ sovereignty, he was born and “laid in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7). According to Lucado, “A more lowly place of birth could not exist.”29 Jesus was fully Jewish in his upbringing, his culture, and theological formation. He cherished Jewish religious tradition and the Hebrew Scripture was clearly central to his teaching and his ministry,30 and yet he critiqued, extended, and changed the faith forever.

The Sermon on the Mount, perhaps the most seminal teachings of Jesus, is an interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures.31 However, according to Vermes, although Jesus was faithful to the Torah, his approach differed from mainstream Judaism and instead evoked previous great prophets of Israel.32 This contrast resulted in direct confrontation with Jewish leaders of the day. Jesus taught “the praxis of the kingdom” that required continual practice and performance, founded “in the twin commandments to love.”33

The ministry of Jesus reflected his teaching emphasis of an expanded understanding of faith transformation. Jesus “embraced the social and religious outcasts”34 and his fellowship included “tax collectors and sinners” (Mark 2:15). Further, his ministry demonstrated that “words” were insufficient, and that action was required (I John 3:17). According to Chilton and McDonald, this radical inclusion and orientation, “totally ignoring the strictly drawn conventions of religiosity, represented a theme of Jesus’ ministry which became an issue in society.”35

In the teaching and ministry of Jesus, he embodied space “at the edge of the inside,” demonstrating relentless love to the insiders and the outsiders and engaging in continuous reform in order to fulfill the law and reclaim the heart of God.36 In his death and resurrection, Jesus served as the definitive doorkeeper (John 10:18). As summarized by Lucado, “Jesus was born crucified.”37 Jesus resurrection represented the “first fruits” (I Corinthians 15:20, 23) and foretells a future harvest and fulfillment of God’s long-promised and desperately awaited aggregation phase. Jesus was a repudiation of a belonging system and in his birth, life, death, and resurrection epitomized liminality.

Christian Higher Education

Traditional Christian colleges and universities in America are also spaces of liminality, with institutional missions dedicated to cultivating for students the state between what was and what will be, and with campuses created to function physically as the liminal phase between separation (from childhood, a previous state) and aggregation (adulthood, a new state) phases of a rite of passage. These colleges and universities are not only missionally and functionally committed to liminality, but also perpetually exist in that state, as their very institutional essence and relevance is found in their continual navigation of the tensions of aspiring to a desirable middle or balancing “at the edge of the inside” of education, faith, and society. Further, professors serve as doorkeepers, providing “guidance, patronage, and protection” to students as they “move from one place or state to another”38 and, through this work with students and engagement and service to the university, facilitate and sustain the liminality of the space.

Liminality and the Christian College or University

The American higher education landscape is massive, varied, and multi-functioned, with scopes, spectrums, and amalgamations that include approximately 7,000 community, technical, and vocational colleges, public, private, and for-profit institutions, undergraduate teaching and graduate research-focused universities, liberal arts and professional orientations, and small residential campuses and large fully-online programs.39 Antecedent to this diverse and complex landscape, the purpose of higher education was and continues to be similarly multi-functioned, contested, and representative of the political, economic, social, and cultural needs of the local, regional, and national stakeholders of the time. Although the variation among system-level commissions, institutional originations, and individual missions result in significantly different commitments and purposes, the comprehensive higher education framework typically extends beyond merely transmission of knowledge or vocational skills.40 As Wendell Berry suggested, “the thing being made in a university is humanity…[W]hat universities…are mandated to make or help to make is human beings in the fullest sense of the word – not just trained workers or knowledgeable citizens, but responsible heirs and members of human culture.”41

For the past three centuries, American Christian colleges and universities have represented an essential subsection within this complex higher education landscape.42 Many of the earliest institutions originated for the purpose of providing ministerial training, including premier universities such as Harvard, Princeton, and Yale.43 Subsequently, various religious, cultural, and ethnic sponsors have established higher education institutions to increase access for their constituents and reinforce the religious and cultural distinctives of their founding faith traditions.44

In contrast to secular higher education institutions, Christian colleges and universities are governed by missions founded in and motivated by their faith commitments.45 These faith-based institutions foster distinct theological and cultural ideologies and aspirations through the practical pursuit of their missions. For example, according to Anderson, Philosophy Professor Emeritus at Bethel University and also the author of a series of essays on the character and history of the institution, the University “is a community characterized as being Christian with learning as its essential purpose,” which indicates “both what Bethel is and what it strives to be. It is both an actuality and a model or ideal.”46 This uncompromising faith commitment functions as a “control belief”47 (a foundation upon which subsequent theories or knowledge is devised or weighed) or “interpretive lens”48that unifies and provides direction to the learning.

However, in contrast to a church, within which the purpose is to proclaim the truth of the gospels and evangelize accordingly, but in alignment with the mission of these faith-based institutions of higher education, the purpose of Christian colleges and universities is to facilitate a search for truth “with the educational philosophy that the key to understanding the human condition is the incarnational idea that God has come to us in Christ.”49 According to Holmes, the fulfillment of an education-centric mission, an institutional commitment to academic excellence, requires an unfettered fostering of “open ended exploration…not a closed system, worked out once and for all, but an endless undertaking that is still but the vision of a possibility.”50 This authentic engagement in a process of discovery, in contrast to indoctrination, necessitates the absence of a foregone conclusion.51 Confidant in God’s absolute sovereignty (made concise in the Reformed apothegm that “all truth is God’s truth”), faith-based higher education is a sacred space for the rigorous pursuit of truth and iterative process of “becoming whole and holy persons.”52 With freedom in Christ (John 3:36; II Corinthians 3:17) and without fear (I John 4:18), students are transformed as they encounter God, themselves, and their neighbor through learning in community.

However, the pursuit of truth is insufficient, if the result is inadequate to respond to the ills of society. A Christian higher education uniquely elucidates the problem of evil and suffering, the depth of human deprivation and despair, and the brokenness of our world. Precisely because of this pained awareness, an elevated obligation exists to respond to “the wounds of humanity.”53 Thus, a Christian higher education is inimitably positioned to teach students to care about and attend to the problems of our day. Through a pursuit of truth, motivated by faith convictions, Christian colleges and universities are educating students, regardless of their major or degree, toward abatement of human suffering in our world. This institutional mandate is documented in the numerous mission statements of faith-based colleges and universities, committed to world-changing, difference-making, problem-solving, leading, and serving of our local and global neighbors.

In both mission and praxis, Christian higher education’s inextricably interconnected commitment to faith and reason forms a powerful synergy that is atypically effective in the pursuit of truth (education), values (faith), and service (society). However, this liminal intersection of faith, education, and society also results in a precarious positioning. The history of Christian higher education has been defined by fear, accusations, and management of the internal and external stakeholder tensions inherent in this “at the edge of the inside” placement, summarized by Marsden in the “slippery slope” of secularization.54 As stated in Noll’s seminal introduction written over a decade ago, 

In an age when secularism tugs at Christian thinking from one side and long-entrenched denominational shibboleths tug at it from the other, evangelical higher education retains the distinct college and seminary tiers of its heritage and the barriers to cohesive Christian thinking that this structure perpetuates. In an age when scholars (sometimes even Christian scholars) have called into question almost every settled intellectual tradition in the West, evangelicals remain surprisingly content with the intellectual synthesis of the early nineteenth century. In an age when sophisticated secular intellectuals set the tone for considerations of politics, economics, and secular values, evangelicals continue to set their course by popular preachers who are not reluctant to pronounce judgement on every facet of modern learning.55

Although the history of Christian higher education has been defined by the navigation of the tensions inherent in this “at the edge of the inside” position, the full precarity is illuminated in Noll’s closing thought,

In an age, finally, demanding Christian probing of complex intellectual issues, and creative Christian initiatives for pressing contemporary problems, much of evangelism still retains a stultifying nineteenth-century suspicion of all thinking that does not rest on mythic views of America’s past, egalitarian common sense, or popular interpretations of the Bible.56

These challenges directly reflect the distinct tensions inherent in the various histories, cultures, and convictions within faith, education, and society, but are epitomized in the application of the mission and functioning of Christian colleges and universities.

Therefore, at our best, faith based higher education represents the liminal space between academic freedom and denominational and/or theological commitments and between secularism and sectarianism. According to Aristotle, moral virtue is moderated by “the Golden Mean” or the “mean between two vices, one of excess and one of deficiency.”57 At the interstice of education, faith, and society, Christian colleges and universities retain relevancy and remain potent by refusing to conflate the excesses with the essence, and perpetually navigate the tension of aspiring to a “Golden Mean.” In this liminal space, intellectual curiosity and Christian conviction are reframed as complimentary values that when combined foster the most faithful pursuit of truth and potential for responding to the “wounds of humanity.” The purpose of a Christian college or university is for students to encounter God and follow the example of Jesus through the fearless and faithful process of discovery, service, and transformation. This model develops searchers, not settlers, committed to “God’s glory and our neighbor’s good.”58

Liminality and Faculty

According to Rohr, “Ancients knew that you need guidance, patronage and protection as you move from one place or state to another, whenever you cross a bridge.”59 At Christian colleges and universities, professors serve as doorkeepers for students who navigate the liminal space of pursuing truth and “becoming whole and holy persons.”60

In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus called his followers to “make disciples” or in the original translations to make learners.61 This exhort was to multiply followers who devoted their lives to learning from Jesus, developing new “habits of mind and heart.”62 Similarly, professors are vocationally called to make learners of their students, also developing new “habits of mind and heart.” As liminal leaders, faculty are both modeling and teaching students the perpetual and transformative process of learning, unlearning, and relearning.

Christian faculty understand our participation in the pursuit of truth as a quest for increased knowledge of our Savior and service to his creation. We take seriously that God commanded followers to love Him with our minds (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Matthew 22:34-40) and rigorously engage in research and scholarship for the simultaneous purposes of a deeper understanding of the ordered creation of God and, subsequently, the opportunity to positively impact that creation. Through engagement with the process of learning, unlearning, and relearning, faculty model a disposition toward discovery for students.

As teachers, faculty are embodied doorkeepers and facilitate and curate a process of faithful “open ended exploration”63 for students. Although faculty are shaped by academic disciplines and teach in a variety of majors, at different degree levels, and through multiple delivery modalities, the new “habits of mind and heart” being developed in students are universal practices of evaluation of the veracity of sources and inputs, the convergence and divergence between the concrete and conceptual, classification and reclassification of information, application of theological, moral, and social frameworks, and ultimately – learning how to think, deeply and empathetically. We foster faith-content integration through our confidence that “all truth is God’s truth” and celebration of the opportunity to learn more about our sovereign God through learning more about his creation. 

Finally, in the doorkeeper function, faculty are serious about engaging and nourishing the sacred liminal space of Christian colleges and universities. Through active participation and authentic investment in shared governance and the systems of the university, faculty support these institutions in sustaining a golden mean, managing the tensions of education, faith, and society, and continuously reclaiming the true institutional mission and purpose. In order to be most effective in our institutional responsibilities, faculty function “at the edge of the inside,” refusing to be disingenuous, assuming goodwill toward administration, and striving to avoid erroring in the excess, instead living into the essence in our research, teaching, and service.

As doorkeepers, the utmost purpose of faculty ought to be to develop and sustain a safe, supported, and sacred liminal space for students to engage in an intimate search for (God’s) truth – to be transformed. Faculty can be encouraged in this work by the belief that “every journey, honestly undertaken, stands a chance of taking us toward the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”64


Higher education institutions are encountering an unprecedented confluence of short- and long-term challenges, including declining enrollment, changing demographics, technological disruption, increased competition, escalating overhead, and public skepticism as to the value of a college degree65This increased complexity has negatively impacted the higher education landscape, and the sub-section of Christian colleges and universities in particular. Further, the current social and political polarization has resulted in a collective inclination toward tribal retreat, eroding confidence in the open-ended exploration of our educational philosophy and triggering a suspension of goodwill among the factions involved.

Despite, or perhaps precisely because of, the viability crises that are disrupting the higher education landscape, and the existential anxiety that is roiling faith-based higher education institutions, I continue to believe in the “Golden Mean” approach to Christian higher education and faith-discipline integration. The Christian college and university, with the missional synergy of faith and reason, is sacred liminal space that results in a particularly effective educational philosophy, but also an inherently messy one. No universal golden mean exists, so institutionally and individually we must perpetually work to sustain the balance, the essence, while refusing to be defined by excesses.

We are experiencing the challenges identified in all of the anthological, developmental, spiritual, and organizational research conducted on liminality. As recognized by Rohr, the threshold is a tender, tenuous, and powerful space. Those “at the edge of the inside” lack the comfort and convenience of epistemological certainty, ideological purity, and in-group solidarity. According to Palmer, “Our culture prefers the ease of either-or thinking over the complexities of paradox, we have a hard time holding opposites together…we want light without darkness, the glories of spring and summer without the demands of autumn and winter.”66 

However, as educators, our hope for students is that as future citizens, leaders, and Christ-followers, they would “stop thinking the world into pieces and start thinking the world together again.”67 Liminal leaders occupy a paradoxical identity, dedicated to both the inside and outside, understanding and honoring the values, systems, and norms – and also most effectively able to initiate transformation through rediscovering and reclaiming their true purpose. Through this repudiation of a belonging system, liminal leaders are uniquely positioned to participate in the work of restoring and transforming God’s redeemed yet not perfected Kingdom. Although we continue in irresolution, we have the hope of aggregation, the final phase of Van Gennep’s three phases in a rite of passage,68 due to Jesus as the ultimate doorkeeper.

Cite this article
Jessica Daniels, “Christian Higher Education as Sacred Liminal Space”, Christian Scholar’s Review, 51:2 , 189-200


  1. Victor Turner, The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure (Chicago, IL: Aldine, 1969), 95.
  2. Stan Anderson, Becoming Whole and Holy Persons: A Few of Christian Liberal Arts education at Bethel University (St. Paul, MN: The History Center, Bethel University, 2018).
  3. Douglas Jacobsen and Rhonda Jacobsen, Scholarship & Christian faith: Enlarging the Conversation (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2004), 10.
  4. Richard Rohr, “Life on the Edge: Understanding the Prophetic Position,” Huffpost, May 25, 2011,
  5. Ibid.
  6. Arnold Van Gennep, The Rites of Passage (London, England: Routledge, 1960).
  7. Turner, The Ritual Process, 95.
  8. Mignonne Breier, Chaya Herman, and Lorraine Towers, “Doctoral Rites and Liminal Spaces: Academics Without PhDs in South Africa and Australia,” Studies in Higher Education (2019): DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2019.1583727.
  9. Lynn Bosetti, Colleen Kawalilak, and Peggy Patterson, “Betwixt and Between: Academic Women in Transition,” Canadian Journal of Higher Education 38.2 (2008): 95-115.
  10. Breier, Herman, and Towers, “Doctoral Rites and Liminal Spaces”; Barbara Czarniawska and Carmello Mazza, “Consulting as a Liminal Space,” Human Relations 56.3 (2003).
  11. 11Anne Franks and John Meteyard, “Liminality: the Transforming Grace of In-between Places,” J Pastoral Care Counsel 61.3 (2007): 215-222; Timothy Carson, Rosy Fairhurst, Nigel Rooms, and Lisa Withrow, Crossing Thresholds: A Practical Theology of Liminality (Cambridge, England: The Lutterworth Press, 2021).
  12. Mike Lucas, “Nomadic’ Organization and the Experience of Journeying: Through Liminal Spaces and Organizing Places,” Culture and Organization 20.3 (2014): 196-214.
  13. Nick Ellis and Sierk Ybema, “Marketing Identities: Shifting Circles of Identification in Inter-organizational Relationships,” Organizational Studies 31.3 (2013): 1-27; Andrew Sturdy, Mirella Schwarz, and Andre Spicer, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Structures and Uses of Liminality in Strategic Management Consultancy” Human Relations 59.7 (2006): 920-960; Sue Tempest and Ken Starkey, “The Effects of liminality on Individual and Organizational Learning,” Organizational Studies 25.7 (2004): 507-527.
  14. Nic Beech, “Liminality and the Practices of Identity Reconstruction,” Human Relations 64.2 (2011): 285–302; Ellis and Ybema, “Marketing Identities”; Sue Tempest and Ken Starkey, “The Effects of Liminality on Individual and Organizational Learning.”
  15. Victor Turner, From Ritual to Theatre: The Human Seriousness of Play (New York, NY: PAG Press, 1982): 27.
  16. Breier, Herman, and Towers, “Doctoral Rites and Liminal Spaces”; Christina Garsten, “Betwixt and Between – Temporary Employees as Liminal Subjects in Flexible Organizations,” Organizational Studies 20.4 (1999): 601-617; Rohr, “Life on the Edge”; Ruth Simpson, Jane Sturges, and Pauline Weight, “Transient, Unsettling and Creative Space: Experiences of Liminality Through the Accounts of Chinese Students on a UK-based MBA,” Management Learning 41.1 (2010): 53-70; Andrew Sturdy, Mirella Schwarz, and Andre Spicer, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Structures and Uses of Liminality in Strategic Management Consultancy,” Human Relations 59.7 (2006): 920-960.
  17. Richard Rohr, “Liminal Space,” Daily Meditations, July 7, 2016, (para 2).
  18. Rohr, “Life on the Edge.”
  19. Ibid.
  20. Ibid.
  21. Ibid.
  22. Christopher Gehrz, and Mark Pattie, The Pietist Option: Hope for the Renewal of Christianity (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press: 2017), 2.
  23. Nicholas Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress: 1996).
  24. Gordon Fee, “The Kingdom of God,” in Called and Empowered: Pentecostal Perspectives on Global Mission, eds. Murray Dempster, Byron D. Klause, and Douglas Petersen (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson: 1992), 8.
  25. Glenn Stassen and David Gushee, Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press: 2003).
  26. Ibid., 20.
  27. Van Gennep, The Rites of Passage.
  28. Stassen and Gushee, Kingdom Ethics, 20.
  29. Max Lucado, God Came Near (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2004), 4.
  30. Stassen and Gushee, Kingdom Ethics.
  31. Willard Swartley, Israel’s Scripture Traditions and the Synoptic Gospels (Peabody, MA: Hen-drickson, 1994).
  32. Geza Vermes, The Religion of Jesus the Jew (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 1993).
  33. Bruce Chilton and J. I. H. McDonald, Jesus and the Ethics of the Kingdom (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 53.
  34. Stassen and Gushee, Kingdom Ethics, 39.
  35. Chilton and McDonald, 96.
  36. Ibid., 96; Stassen and Gushee, Kingdom Ethics; Vermes, The Religion of Jesus the Jew.
  37. Lucado, God Came Near, 49
  38. Rohr, “Life on the Edge,” (para 2).
  39. Kristina Powers and Patrick Schloss, Organization and Administration in Higher Education (New York, NY: Taylor & Francis, 2019); John Thelin, A History of American Higher Education (Baltimore, MD: The John Hopkins University Press, 2014).
  40. Lynn Pasquerella, “The Purpose of Higher Education and Its Future,” Association of American Colleges & Universities 105.3 (Summer/Fall 2019),
  41. Wendell Berry, “The Loss of the University,” Home Economics (San Francisco, CA: North Point Press, 1987), 77.
  42. George Marsden, The Soul of the American University: From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1996).
  43. Thomas Hunt and James Carper, Religious Higher Education in the United States: A Source Book; John Thelin, A History of American Higher Education.
  44. Jessica Daniels and Jacqueline Gustafson, “Faith-based Institutions and the Public Good: Missions of Service and Engagement,” Higher Learning Research Communications 6.2 (2016).
  45. Ibid.
  46. Anderson, Becoming Whole and Holy Persons, 39.
  47. Nicholas Wolterstorff, Reason Within the Bounds of Religion (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1984).
  48. Samuel Joeckel and Thomas Chesnes, The Christian College Phenomenon: Inside America’s Fastest Growing Institutions of Higher Learning (Abilene, TX: Abilene Christian University Press, 2012): 9.
  49. Mark Noll, foreword, in William Ringenberg, The Christian College: A History of Protestant Higher Education in America (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006), 9.
  50. Arthur Holmes, The Idea of the Christian College (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1987), 58.
  51. Anderson, Becoming Whole and Holy Persons; Arthur Holmes, The Idea of the Christian College; Nicholas Wolterstorff, Reason Within the Bounds of Religion.
  52. Anderson, Becoming Whole and Holy Persons.
  53. Nicholas Wolterstorff, Educating for Shalom (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publish-ing, 2004), 22.
  54. Marsden, The Soul of the American University.
  55. Noll, “foreword,” in Ringenberg, The Christian College, 34-35.
  56. Ibid.
  57. Aristotle, The Eudemian Ethics (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2011).
  58. Bethel University Website, Bethel University Vision Statement, (n.d.),
  59. Rohr, “Life on the Edge,” (para 2).
  60. Stan Anderson, Becoming Whole and Holy Persons: A Few of Christian Liberal Arts Education at Bethel University,
  61. Frederick Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature (3rd ed), (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000).
  62. Mark McCloskey, Learning Leadership in a Changing World: Virtue and Effective Leadership in the 21st Century (New York, NY: Palgrave McMillan, 2014).
  63. Arthur Holmes, The Idea of the Christian College, 58.
  64. Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC (San Francisco, CA: Harper One, 1993), 110.
  65. Clayton Christensen and Michael Horn, “Perilous Times,” Inside Higher Ed. (April 1, 2019),
  66. Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2000), 907.
  67. Ibid.
  68. Van Gennep, The Rites of Passage.

Jessica Daniels

Bethel University (MN)
Jessica Daniels is the Program Director and Professor in Bethel University’s Ed.D. in Leadership in Higher Education.