For five years I was a student under Dallas’s direction at USC. Having been so deeply impacted by his written work, I was pleasantly surprised to find that he, himself, was far more compelling than anything he had written. To be with him was to draw near to the Kingdom of God. He seemed effortlessly to communicate the peace, security, love and acceptance of God by his mere presence. I found it nearly impossible to remain anxious about anything while with him. And it was my repeated experience to witness the disarming of anger, contempt, fear, and countless other inner ailments with a simple look, a gentle word, a touch.
Dallas is the best teacher I’ve ever met. His work in philosophy always penetrates to the perennial problem ”“ that issue of central importance to the human condition ”“ in whatever discussion he’s a part of. During his time with us, he loved to think, write, and talk about a philosopher by the name of Edmund Husserl. He saw in Husserl a few crucial insights required to make sense of our ability to have knowledge of the world. But he didn’t allow the world of Husserl scholarship (and it is a real world unto itself) to define his research agenda. Rather, he brought the insights of Husserl to bear upon urgent questions about life, meaning, and the Kingdom of God.