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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Friday, March 9 2001

Seminary teachers (eleventh in a series on teachers)

After Pitt, I went to the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Episcopal Church, in Philadelphia. Though I was no Episcopalian, I was reformed fundamentalist and the seminary described itself as "more reformed than Episcopal" and it was at the time the most fundamentalist seminary using the Anglican Book of Common Prayer as the basis of its liturgical teaching and worship. Though RES, as it is known, gives a graduate degree, it had a policy of accommodating students without college degrees for reasons too complicated to go into, so it fit my needs well. It was almost free, which was a major factor in my choosing it.

There were two memorable teachers at RES, the one most unforgettable being the Rev. Robert Rudolph, who reads like a character from a Dickens novel. He was a short, squat man of about 60, with the most beaked nose I've ever seen. He was very lively, strongly opinionated (fundamentalists lap that up, if the opinions are "sound"!), and had great flair in his teaching style. Often, even in cold weather, he would pace into the classroom, throw up the window closest his lectern, and break into a boisterous rendition of "Praise God from whom all blessings flow," expecting us to join in. The student body was 95 percent male as, at that time, even the "liberal" Episcopalians didn't ordain women, so the voices were strong and deep. The few women students we had were planning to be missionaries, Christian education directors, teachers, or educated pastors' wives.

Robert Rudolph will be remembered as carrying a big stick but wielding it gently. As the students were generally younger than other graduate students (I was by then, in my mid-20s, an "old timer"), they got into lots of behavioral scrapes, and Mr. Rudolph chided them vociferously...while defending them just as strongly to a seminary administration bent on punishing them strictly. Ironically, there was a tavern a few steps from the seminary entrance, across an alley, and it was there that I learned to...eat Philadelphia cheesesteaks.

The seminary dean was also very memorable, Dr. ___ , (well, I forget his name, but he was memorable!)* who was as tall as Mr. Rudolph was short. He impressed us as a brilliant man, who also taught with much flair, making the Hebrew language zing to life, if you can imagine that. I'll never forget how he tried to impress on our grey matter the importance of she-wahs (Hebrew vowel points). And in the controversies, he was as stern as Mr. Rudolph was gracious. (My first exposure to "good cop/bad cop"!)

Again, as at Pitt-Johnstown, this small school was endowed with an exceptional faculty. The seminary could afford only a part-time librarian, for example, so it shared one with another evangelical school, in New York City. He would commute between the two cities, a two-and-half-hour train ride, each way every week, spending a couple of days at each school. And he was a man who never wore a garment heavier than a suit jacket, even in 20-below-zero temperatures, his most memorable trait to my mind at least. Jay Adams, a faculty member of a nearby Presbyterian seminary, also taught us part-time. He later became famous for his best-selling book on Christian counseling, Competent to Counsel. He never, however, impressed me as competent to teach, making one of the easiest subjects, pulpit speech, into a gruelling gauntlet (really, no speech course should be harder than New Testament Greek!). I never trusted him after seeing him in his teaching role, and passed on ever reading his books.

Procedural note: yesterday's entry was apprehended by at least two instances of my residual stroke symptoms. I let "without no" and "uphazard" slip into the text, where "without any" and "haphazard" were intended. In such cases, my mind and typing fingers are faster than my eyes, reading what it should be rather than what it is...a condition that can be fraught with danger for someone making a living in publications. I redact ("edit back") the online version of pages with such slips, but can't "recall" the email ones you received. Just be advised that I'm not reduced to subliteracy. Yet....

*Via Internet research, I found the email address of Reformed Episcopal Bishop George Fincke. A few days after this was posted, his wife graciously supplied the missing name: Dr. Fred Carl Keenher.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Fair warning

Finding one of her students making faces at others on the playground, Ms Smith stopped to gently reprove the child. Smiling sweetly, the Sunday school teacher said, "Bobby, when I was a child, I was told that if I made ugly faces, it would freeze and I would stay like that."

Bobby looked up and replied, "Well, Ms Smith, you can't say you weren't warned!"

Sent by Trudy Myers

Fast food

But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Gospel by Jesus, Matthew 5:17-18

Sent by John Stamps
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