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Blog

Filtering by Tag: Dr- Goodman

A Year Ago Today

Thomas Whitley

Thee following is a letter that I wrote on January 15, 2009, two days after my friend and mentor, Daniel Goodman, died. Today I am remebering him, as I do regularly. I am a bit less selfish a year later, though, and realize how many people Dr. Goodman had touched. Each of you are in my thoughts and prayers today. I hope that somehow sharing my letter will somehow make this day a bit easier and meaningful for you. -----------------

Dr. Goodman,

This is not easy, you know? Going on without you. In the countless e-mail conversations between me, you and Sam you always complained about Sam and I being able to shoot back one-liners while you were writing novelettes. Today, I fear, I am the one who cannot be succinct. For, you have touched me in too many ways. It is tough, though, to remember. I think you knew that this was particularly difficult for me, but you taught me the importance of it. You taught me that memory is sacred; that remembering is a sacred act. For the past 48 hours now I have been actively engaged in remembering. Partly because I will always remember; mostly because I can never forget.

To be sure, I have memories of our time together. I have more of those than I can recall. I remember the time we spent together in October traveling from Boiling Springs to D.C. to Charleston and to Savannah, you and I trading time behind the wheel. I remember worshiping with you in the National Cathedral. I remember calling you at your home early on in our friendship about an issue that had arisen at school and how caring and supporting you were of whatever my decision would have been. I remember going to the Conor Oberst concert in Asheville, your bush league attempt to mosh with me and Sam and not getting back to Boiling Springs until 2am. The conversation we had on the way back is one I hope I never forget. I remember you telling a few of us that your middle name wasn’t really pronounced Eugene, but was actually pronounced Ew-jean.

Your readings before class were always thoughtful. One of my favorites was before a hermeneutics class one night when you quoted lyrics from The Shins:

“And if the old guard still offend, They’ve got nothing left on which you depend. So enlist every ounce of your bright blood, and off with their heads! Jump from the hook! You’re not obliged to swallow anything you despise!”

Those lyrics are so you. You pushed me to think for myself more than ever.

So, to be sure, I have memories of our time together, but I also have more. I have your legacy that so many others around me recognize as well.

It is your legacy that I hope most to carry on. Your passion for Jewish-Christian dialogue was not lost on me. It has been my passion for some while now, but is even more so now. You told us one day that our theology has got to be in response to reality. Since that day I have taken my theology more seriously. I have looked, as you pushed me to, for places where God is working among groups that we typically see as “others,” such as Jews and homosexuals. Your legacy will not die with me, Dr. Goodman. I will teach and preach what you taught and preached: equality, love, healing and reconciliation. I will remember the Holocaust, especially the shoes. I will carry your banner high and I will sing Leonard Cohen, Led Zeppelin, Prince and Abba songs loud.

The heart of it really, though, Danny, is that you inspire me. I saw myself in you and I have never been as honored as when you said your saw similarities between us. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a hero, but that’s what you are. I am a better person for having known you. I am a better person because you are my friend.

Peace and Blessings,

Thomas

In Case You're Interested...

Thomas Whitley



In case you’re interested, here is a screen shot of my desktop currently. I love the clean look and feel, especially once I figured out how to get the humongous shortcut arrows to go away and to get the text off of the icons, since I know what the icons are for anyway.

The Shins quote was inspired by Dr. Goodman, my friend and mentor who died recently. (You can read more about Dr. Goodman, his death and my response here, here, and here.

Update: If you can’t read The Shins quote it says:

“And if the old guard still offend,
They’ve got nothing left on which you depend.
So enlist every ounce of your bright blood, and off with their heads!
Jump from the hook! You’re not obliged to swallow anything you despise!”

Lonely Society

Thomas Whitley

Dr. Goodman loved the movie Into the Wild. I loved it too, mostly because it is a great move, but also because Dr. Goodman thought so highly of it. Eddie Vedder did all of the music for the soundtrack (which is fantastic, by the way, and can/should be picked up here). One of the songs on the soundtrack is called “Society.” The best line is certainly:

“Society, you’re a crazy breed. Hope you’re not lonely without me.”

Every time I hear this song or hear the lyrics in my head I can hear Dr. Goodman singing it.

Danny, you are right, society is certainly a crazy breed, but as to the rest of it: I am; we are.

Opportunity

Thomas Whitley

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Tonight, the discussion that I will be leading my youth in has as its central image the Opportunity Statue (pictured above). This statue has long, flowing hair in front of its face, but is completely bald in the back. It is an odd picture, to be sure, but it does serve as a good teaching too…for me anyway. The idea that I get from this statue is the fleeting nature of opportunity. We must seize it when we can and not hesitate. The Romans said it like this: Carpe Diem. Seize the day. There is no ambiguity.

Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days, O Lord, that we may apply our hearts with wisdom.”

Since Dr. Goodman’s death last week (press release can be found here, my thoughts/reflections can be found here), I have thought about a lot of things. In all of those thoughts, feelings, emotions, reactions I kind of resolved to myself that I was going to be a better student, using my time more wisely. The lesson that I am teaching tonight hits me in that spot again.

Dr. Goodman made the most of the time he had. He wisely had put off working hard at writing books to spend more time with his family. How can I make the most of the time I have?

Today I pray with the Psalmist.

Teach me to number my days, O Lord, that I may apply my heart with wisdom.

Letter to Dr. Goodman

Thomas Whitley

Dr. Goodman,

This is not easy, you know? Going on without you. In the countless e-mail conversations between me, you and Sam you always complained about Sam and I being able to shoot back one-liners while you were writing novelettes. Today, I fear, I am the one who cannot be succinct. For, you have touched me in too many ways. It is tough, though, to remember. I think you knew that this was particularly difficult for me, but you taught me the importance of it. You taught me that memory is sacred; that remembering is a sacred act. For the past 48 hours now I have been actively engaged in remembering. Partly because I will always remember; mostly because I can never forget.

To be sure, I have memories of our time together. I have more of those than I can recall. I remember the time we spent together in October traveling from Boiling Springs to D.C. to Charleston and to Savannah, you and I trading time behind the wheel. I remember worshiping with you in the National Cathedral. I remember calling you at your home early on in our friendship about an issue that had arisen at school and how caring and supporting you were of whatever my decision would have been. I remember going to the Conor Oberst concert in Asheville, your bush league attempt to mosh with me and Sam and not getting back to Boiling Springs until 2am. The conversation we had on the way back is one I hope I never forget. I remember you telling a few of us that your middle name wasn’t really pronounced Eugene, but was actually pronounced Ew-jean.

Your readings before class were always thoughtful. One of my favorites was before a hermeneutics class one night when you quoted lyrics from The Shins:

“And if the old guard still offend,
They’ve got nothing left on which you depend.
So enlist every ounce of your bright blood, and off with their heads!
Jump from the hook! You’re not obliged to swallow anything you despise!”

Those lyrics are so you. You pushed me to think for myself more than ever.

So, to be sure, I have memories of our time together, but I also have more. I have your legacy that so many others around me recognize as well.

It is your legacy that I hope most to carry on. Your passion for Jewish-Christian dialogue was not lost on me. It has been my passion for some while now, but is even more so now. You told us one day that our theology has got to be in response to reality. Since that day I have taken my theology more seriously. I have looked, as you pushed me to, for places where God is working among groups that we typically see as “others,” such as Jews and homosexuals. Your legacy will not die with me, Dr. Goodman. I will teach and preach what you taught and preached: equality, love, healing and reconciliation. I will remember the Holocaust, especially the shoes. I will carry your banner high and I will sing Leonard Cohen, Led Zeppelin, Prince and Abba songs loud.

The heart of it really, though, Danny, is that you inspire me. I saw myself in you and I have never been as honored as when you said your saw similarities between us. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a hero, but that’s what you are. I am a better person for having known you. I am a better person because you are my friend.

Peace and Blessings,

Thomas

Now comes the nightFeel it fading awayAnd the soul underneathIs it all that remains?So just slide over hereLeave your fear in the frayLet us hold to each other‘Til the end of our days.

Thomas Whitley

Now comes the night
Feel it fading away
And the soul underneath
Is it all that remains?
So just slide over here
Leave your fear in the fray
Let us hold to each other
‘Til the end of our days.
“Now Comes the Night” by Rob Thomas.

Loss of a Great Mentor and Friend

Thomas Whitley

Below is my university’s press release following the sudden and tragic death of my dear friend and mentor Dr. Daniel Goodman.

Dr. Dan Goodman of the School of Divinity Died Unexpectedly Today

BOILING SPRINGS, N. C. - Dr. Daniel E. Goodman of the Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity died unexpectedly on January 13, 2009 at the age of 40. Goodman was professor and Bob D. Shepherd Chair of New Testament Interpretation. “We are deeply saddened by the devastating news of Dan’s passing and we will be in prayer for his family during this time of grief. We are genuinely grateful for the time that we had with Dan and for the commitment and selflessness with which he served Gardner-Webb,” said Noel T. Manning, II, director of University and Media Relations at GWU.

Goodman joined the faculty of The Divinity School at Gardner-Webb in the fall of 2003 as Associate Professor of New Testament. Prior to coming to North Carolina, Goodman served as Associate Professor of New Testament Studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, where he was twice named Professor of the Year, and was awarded the Charles and Hazel Corts Award for Outstanding Teaching. In 2004, Goodman was one of only ten theological school professors nationwide to be awarded the Theological Scholars Grant (by the Association of Theological Schools and the Lilly Foundation) for his project on the history of Baptist-Jewish relations. Goodman had presented academic papers at regional, national, and international meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature. Goodman regularly contributed to book reviews and journals, including Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Biblical Theology Bulletin, Review & Expositor, and Review of Biblical Literature. In 2006, Goodman was issue editor (and author of two articles) for Review & Expositor’s issue on Jewish-Christian Dialogue. Goodman’s primary research interests included Christian origins, Jesus and the gospels, hermeneutics, and Jewish-Christian dialogue. Although Goodman’s ministry took place first in the classroom, he was equally devoted to serving the church. He had served as an interim pastor in Baptist churches in New York, New Jersey, Florida and North Carolina. Goodman also preached and taught in numerous churches across North Carolina.

In August 2006, the Gardner-Webb Board of Trustees awarded Goodman the distinction of the Bob D. Shepherd Chair of New Testament Interpretation. Upon receiving this honor, Goodman said, “I’m especially thankful to my colleagues on the faculty, and for the students who make Gardner-Webb such a wonderful place to live and to learn.”

Goodman was described by Rabbi Irving Greenberg, former chairman of the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC and a national leader in Jewish-Christian dialogue in America, as “an up-and-coming scholar…a leader in the new vision of interpretation and learning. In using wisdom and talent, he [Goodman] has reached the profound level of reconciling scholarship with faith while deepening each one,” said Greenberg.

The cause of death is unknown and funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time. A wife and two sons survive Goodman.



As I continue to process this loss more will likely come. As for now please especially be in prayer for Barbara, his wife, and Daniel and Dylan, his two sons.

To further his legacy the first thing I can think of is continuing in Jewish-Christian dialogue, as that was where a bulk of his passion lay.