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RELIGION: Scotty McLennan, the Pope, etc...

The posting about Scotty McLellan, Stanford's new Dean of Religious Life, elicited this comment by WAIS WAISer Rodney Beard, who writes this:

"I grew up a religious innocent, the son of a Mason and a Catholic. Upon coming to Stanford, my enthusiasm for music led me to join the church choir, and I learned much from David Charles Gardner's practice of alternating Protestant, Catholic and Judaic preachers.I was a regular attendant for three years, then concentrated on the study of medicine at Stanford Medical School, then in San Francisco. In 1948, or thereabout, my wife and three children moved with me to a San Francisco neighborhood known as "the Irish Alps" (otherwise Mt. Olympus).We became concerned with the ideas our kids were picking up from the neighbor children. A Jewish colleague suggested the Unitarian Church as a source of religious education, and we found it satisfactory.We became active in the congregation, and close friends of the minister and his family. I became Moderator of the congregation. Alas, the minister strayed from his wife and left town. Not long afterward, Stanford moved the medical school to Palo Alto. I found the intellectual climate of the Palo Alto church unattractive, and fell away from organized religion. I still think of myself as a Unitarian."

For those unfamiliar with the history of Stanford, Rodney was a student at Stanford when Gardner was still chaplain , the first I believe (?); the job was elevated to Deanship much later, while the title of Dean of Religious Life is much more recent. Many of the founders of Stanford were unitarian, but Gardner wasan Episcopalian. I hoped Rodney spelled Gardner right; I have two good friends called Gardiner, so I am always confused. Too bad the Unitarian Minister became a polytarian. I have decided to send postings about Stanford history to University Archivist Margaret Kimball for conservation and if necessary correction (I will accept corrections with my usual humility).

I can sympathize with Rodney. Raised an Anglican, I used to attend Stanford Memorial Church regularly, but then dropped out when it was taken over my militants, including feminists, who overwhelmed the poor cleric running (?) the church and simply used it for their ends. I am now that oxymoron, a Trniitarian Unitarian, a paradox far too long to explain here.

Now Stanford Church is very broad. It has a series of lectures "This I believe", where Stanford's wind of freedom still blows. One humanist said he had nothing against religion, thus damning it with the faintest praise. I suggest Scotty McLennan invite Rodney to speak in the series. They were destined to meet. I suggest also that he be invited to speak in the conference panel which Scotty will lead.

Ronald Hilton - 3/23/01