Logsdon Students Honor Departing Faculty
All Logsdon faculty deserve recognition for their teaching, research, writing, and mentoring, particularly those who are leaving Logsdon this year. Logsdon students shared special memories from their experiences with Dr. Lyle, Dr. Frampton, and Dr. Taylor.
Dr. Kenneth Lyle, Jr.
Dr. Lyle, Director of the MDiv program and Professor of New Testament and Greek, has been teaching at Logsdon since 2003.
“Dr. Lyle is such a jovial and light-hearted person,” said MDiv student Carlo Sosa-Ortiz.” He is convicted by what he’s teaching, but he’s also honest about what he personally struggles with. It made me feel better as a student that I have a professor who has the same struggles I do.”
MDiv student Zazanya Gaddam said Dr. Lyle helped him approach the Bible with new perspectives.
“He provokes our thoughts and our imaginations about any passage in the NT…He said that the kingdom of God is a party where everyone has an invitation…To me, he is the person who knows well to party and practice the kingdom of God. He is also a person who is compassionate to his students. He is one of the most supportive, encouraging, wise and understanding men that I know of,” he said.
Dr. Lyle is known for having his door open to students, whether for questions about a class or just to chat.
“The times I would go to his office to drop off a paper, we would talk business, but then he would say ‘how are you?’ You could tell when he asked that it wasn’t one of those generic questions. He really wanted to engage with me and see how I was handling seminary, how church and ministry were going. He is very genuine,” Sosa-Ortiz said.
Dr. Lyle’s care for students even extends to opening his home to them.
“I was a stranger in the foreign land and had no idea what to do over the Thanksgiving break and was kind of all my own,” said Gaddam, an international student from India. “He was so gracious and kind to invite me over for Thanksgiving with his family…That should speak volumes about his being.”
MDiv student Kisemei Kupe took New Testament and Greek with Dr. Lyle.
“The way he interacts with students and the material, it’s not just about grades, but also about how you can apply what you learn,” Kupe said. “He gives you space to think and try to decide if what you think is right. He lets you critique the material and even his own position. He’s not trying to build robot preachers, but thinkers who can express what they believe in.”
Dr. Lyle organizes and leads a trip to Greece every other year where students learn about Paul and the Aegean experience.
“He really helped me understand the New Testament from a historical side,” said Kupe. “He is so knowledgeable, and he allowed creative space for every student to feel comfortable on the trip.”
Biblical studies major, Zach Dean ’20, took two years of Greek with Dr. Lyle.
“Dr. Lyle did far more than teach us a biblical language,” he said. “He taught us how the science and art of translating the Bible relates to how we love God and others. He helped us see how there are so many more dimensions to any given text than simply the English translation one uses, and how these different aspects (such as voice, tense, semantics) affect how we choose to translate a text and also how we think theologically in relation to that text.”
Dr. Travis Frampton
Dr. Frampton has been teaching at HSU for 19 years and was appointed Vice President for University Mission and Strategic Vision in 2018. Last fall, Frampton shared “Finding the Prophetic Voice” at the 4th Annual Logsdon Forum.
“I feel that it helped me to keep my heart and mind open for modern prophets who may be pointing us toward the truth, and it has encouraged me to search for ways in which I myself can live into that truth,” said Biblical Studies major Madison Boboltz ’20.
In his new Vice President role, Dr. Frampton uncovered much of HSU’s history surrounding the life of James B. Simmons.
“He was really moved by the Simmons story,” Sosa-Ortiz said. “Whatever he learned, he taught to everyone else, and I think that gave us a part of our identity back.”
Sosa-Ortiz called Dr. Frampton’s Old Testament Prophets course the best class he ever had.
“Every single week, Dr. Frampton came in with this wonder and appreciation of the text, seeing the beauty and grace that’s in the Old Testament prophet literature…Dr. Frampton will challenge your interpretation, but he does it in a very caring and passionate way. It’s very prophetic and profound and done with this genuine spirit that encourages you to be someone who’s authentically reading the word and being influenced by it.”
In Methods of Biblical Interpretation, Dean asked Frampton, “What is the best question to ask of a biblical text?”
“[Frampton] thought for a brief moment and responded, ‘Who is this text serving?’ expressing the importance of not simply reading a text in order to empower oneself,” said Dean.
Dr. Frampton is known for his walks around campus, where he always takes the time to talk to students and other professors.
“Dr. Frampton was always outgoing and intentional; he was easy to talk to,” said Dean. “But even more than being social, I especially enjoyed his heart for people — not just fellow Christians, but humans in general. He was excellent at always considering one’s neighbor.”
Frampton does not just talk about loving his neighbors. He lives his belief out.
“He is someone who was always ready to help,” said Kupe. “He always told me, ‘if you need anything, let me know.’ As an international student, it is so beautiful when you find people in a new country who care about you.”
Dr. Rodney Taylor
Dr. Taylor, Associate Professor of Theology, came to HSU in 2007. In addition to his duties as a professor, he serves as the sponsor for The Brand student newspaper. Dr. Taylor is known for being a professor with high expectations and challenging course material, but most of his students walk away from his class with a deeper understanding of their faith.
“He encouraged me to know that academics, scripture, and the Christian walk aren’t easy, but we have to wrestle with those issues in order to become a better Christian,” said Sosa-Ortiz. “He was always there to encourage us and to let us know that we have each other. It’s a corporate struggle.”
As a theology professor, Dr. Taylor is known for his deep thoughts and quotable moments.
“Out of all the professors I’ve had, I end up quoting him the most,” said Sosa-Ortiz. “When we had a lesson on theodicy, he said ‘sometimes when someone’s suffering, a home-cooked meal goes farther than a theological explanation ever could.’”
One of Dean’s favorite Dr. Taylor quotes is “Good theology is not about finding a position and holding to it; instead, it’s about learning to move well with God as we find out better about who God is. Good theology is about moving, not positioning.” He also appreciated when Dr. Taylor said, “Theology is done, not just thought. Theology is not merely a job of the academy; it is a calling of the church.”
Dr. Taylor always ends class by saying, “Questions, comments, concerns, qualifications, alternative points of view?” When he taught Bible studies at his youth group, Sosa-Ortiz would mimic the same lin.
“I appreciated it because Dr. Taylor would open himself up and say, ‘even though you may think that I know all these things, I am still prone to error, and I’m fallible too.’ He would always allow us to challenge him in class and provide different points of view to the topic,” said Sosa-Ortiz.
Boboltz had Dr. Taylor for Intro to Christian Thought, Christians and War, and Modern Theology.
“Dr. Taylor’s classes challenged me more than any others, which really helped me grow,” she said. “I would go back and forth between feeling like I had learned so much to feeling like I knew barely anything, which always encouraged me to push myself.”
Boboltz enjoyed Taylor’s emphasis on how the doctrine of the Trinity counteracts with ideas of American individualism and how he described God in relationship with creation.
“I have already noticed that when I am in church or talking with friends, words or phrases will come out of my mouth which reflect the ways my theology has evolved as a result of taking his classes,” she said. “I think that speaks to how effective Dr. Taylor is at allowing the course material to stick with the students beyond the classroom, which is the entire point of teaching in the first place.”
Dean says Dr. Taylor is one of the smartest people he has ever met.
“But apart from his brains, I especially enjoy his heart for the church and how one does ministry. He is a professor of theology, but he never made it simply about ‘thinking theologically;’…he always made us consider how what we were learning or discussing in class impacted how we lived our lives and the way we did ministry.”
The loss of these three professors will be deeply felt at Logsdon Seminary and School of Theology, but students are grateful for the words of wisdom and kind acts they gave while at HSU.