As a child, Marty Loman often traveled along with his grandfather, a tent revivalist whose fiery sermons typically ran an hour or more. At Asbury College as an undergraduate, Loman expected he’d eventually become a minister. But then he began to question the evangelical faith he grew up in and its convictions of biblical inerrancy. For a time, he walked away from faith.
Loman earned a master’s degree at Virginia Tech, joined the corporate world and started a family. Eventually, he returned to church, joining Preston Hollow Presbyterian (PCUSA) in Dallas, and began teaching adult education and youth Sunday school classes. A lifelong desire to pursue a seminary education persisted. Now, he’s a second year M.T.S student, attending Perkins part-time while working full-time in tech planning with AT&T.
“I’ve had a number of people tell me they weren’t surprised I ended up here,” he said. “I’ve always felt a gentle nudge to attend seminary for the learning aspect.”
In his studies, Loman is particularly interested in the intersection of first and second century rabbinical literature and the teachings of Jesus.
“I’ve always had a fascination for Judaica, and I have a number of members of my family who converted to Judaism,” he said.
Loman is attending Perkins largely for personal enrichment but says he may eventually explore a second career after retiring from AT&T, likely in the next few years. He has been a volunteer teacher at Preston Hollow Presbyterian for 16 years and hopes he might continue teaching as part of his career.
Perkins was a good fit because of its proximity to home and because the school’s more affirming approach to Scripture is compatible with Loman’s personal beliefs.
“I looked at a number of online schools, but I wanted to be part of a local community at seminary,” he said. “Plus, I’ve had a number of friends who went through Perkins. I was impressed with the level of education they’ve gotten.”
Loman is married and has four adult daughters and two grandchildren, ages 4 and 1. Despite his busy schedule, he manages to squeeze in some extracurricular activity, serving as a student representative on one of the curriculum committees. He enjoys seeing other part-time students who, like him, work full-time, but he’s also appreciative of the overall diversity of Perkins’ student body.
To decompress, Loman walks often – perhaps listening to a podcast from Richard Rohr as he treks along Katy Trail — and meditates 20-30 minutes daily with Buddhist mala beads, a practice he credits to the class he took with Dr. Ruben Habito.
When asked to share a favorite quote or wisdom saying, Loman refers to a concept he learned from his studies of rabbinical teachings – one that has guided his teaching as well as his own education.
“In religion and theology, we’re typically looking for answers, he said. “But in the rabbinical tradition, the goal is to ask a better question. Whenever I’ve taught, I’ve told my students, ‘You won’t come out of this class with the answer. Instead, look for ways to ask better questions.’ I’m always trying to ask a better question.”