Saturday, March 26, 2016

Pastor-Professor William "Bill" F. Kerr (1915-2003), a centennial tribute . . . "Tail of the Dragon," a motorcyclist's dream

Dr. William "Bill" F. Kerr
While attending the “Carl F. H. Henry: A Centennial Celebration” at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, in September 2013, I was reminded of my first learning about the evangelical stalwart from William"Bill" Fulton Kerr.

As Henry (1913–2003) was departing Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1947 in order to help form Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, my new friend and mentor, Dr. Kerr (1915–2003), informed me—nearly a half-century later, at age 78 (and me a one-year-old Christian convert of 22 years of age) in 1993 in Port Angeles, Washington—that he was arriving at the Lombard, Illinois, campus in order to serve as the school’s new Associate Professor of Old Testament (but later changed to Professor of Theology).

That spring (1947), Kerr had just graduated with his Doctor of Theology degree from Northern Seminary. During his doctoral studies, he served as the seminary’s instructor in history and Old Testament (1944–47). Before the Old Testament teaching post was assumed, however, Northern Seminary instead appointed Kerr as Professor of Theology, thereby filling the post left vacant by the California-bound Henry.

With the centennial anniversary of Kerr’s birth in 2015 (September 6), a tribute to the beloved pastor-professor-author seemed in order. So I researched, wrote and delivered a paper/lecture on Dr. Kerr at the annual southeast regional meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina, served as host to the March 18-19, 2016, meeting. Dr. Kerr was a member of ETS, as well as the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature.

My paper/lecture was one of 42 presented along with three plenary sessions by professor, author and Christian apologist Paul Copan. Dr. Copan spoke on "God, Evil, and the New Atheism, "God, Evil, and the Old Testament" and "God, Evil, and Civilization."

For a copy of the paper entitled "In the Shadow of Carl F. H. Henry: The Life and Ministry of William F. Kerr," please contact Uncommon Christian Ministries.

Dr. Francis Kyle.
Lecture on friend and mentor Dr. W. F. Kerr (1915-2003). March 18, 2016.
Columbia International University. Columbia, SC.

"Tail of the Dragon"

While on the same, 12-day, 1,900-mile road trip to the American Southeast (Lebanon, TN; Asheville and Cherokee, NC; and Charleston, Columbia and Coosawhatchie, SC), I was able to finally ride the "Tail of the Dragon" on March 12, 2016. On my 2004 Suzuki V-Strom DL650 (a middleweight sport touring bike that I've owned since 2007), this was my first and long-awaited motorcycle trip to this historic and scenic region of the country. 

With 318 curves in 11 miles on the North Carolina/Tennessee border--and situated along the borders of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cherokee National Forest--this short stretch of the 582-mile U.S. Route 129 is popular with motorcycle and sports car enthusiasts. The Dragon has no cross roads, no driveways and trucks are banned. Sadly, and mostly due to rider/driver error, deaths occur on The Dragon--see stats here.

For a 27-minute "Tennessee Life" (production of the PBS-TV station in East Tennessee) feature story on The Tail of the Dragon that aired in May 2015 (episode 14), see here.

Deals Gap, North Carolina, the tiny community that lies at the mountain pass (2000' elevation) along the North Carolina/Tennessee border, is a must visit when beginning or ending one's ride on The Dragon.

Francis Kyle on the "Tail of the Dragon." March 12, 2016.
Photo courtesy of Powerhead Productions, Robbinsville, NC.

Francis Kyle on the "Tail of the Dragon." March 12, 2016.
Photo courtesy of Powerhead Productions, Robbinsville, NC.

Francis Kyle on the "Tail of the Dragon." March 12, 2016.
Photo courtesy of Powerhead Productions, Robbinsville, NC.

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