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Showing posts from December 7, 2012

A brief reminiscence of Union Theological Seminary

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I entered Union Theological Seminary in 1958 and graduated in 1961. My time there was mixed. While it was the top seminary around, I felt its courses were high schoolish with emphasis on memorizing and a lack of intellectual rigor. I think I was beginning to feel the same resistance to the suppositional and speculative nature of Christianity that I now feel explicitly. I was not impressed by its being the end of the Tillich-Niebuhr era at Union. I edited the seminary paper and closed out with a piece on the lack of community there that set the then-President on a bit of a tear. I made good friends. Notably Al Carmines who was a close friend all his life. Bob Helm became more of a friend when I later joined the church he and Al were pastors of - Trinity Presbyterian in NYC. The most important intellectual moment was hearing a lecture from H. Richard Niebuhr in which he skewered both neo-orthodoxy and liberalism and said he has no idea what was coming. With that I heartily agr…

James H. Robinson's Influence on Me and Many Others

I met Jim Robinson in 1955 as a Williams College student. I went to work camps at the two camps he ran in Winchester, NH, and worked at Camp Rabbit Hollow during the summer of 1956. The experience was more major for me than anything previous. It made me fully committed to the inherent universalism I now believe we all possess. It made me color-blind. I never went through any liberal guilt or political correctness phase. I simply accepted people as people and that truth was validated by my relationships then and since then. The experience meant that, by a process of elimination, I was unable to avoid the conclusion that I should go on to Union Theological Seminary. I did not know Jim as pastor of the Church of the Master but as a man who had become one of the most influential persons ever on the college circuit, having the same effect on countless others as he had on me. I believe Jim did more for the civil rights movement than many who are properly celebrated today. He was a bridge fi…