Scott Ross: a teacher tribute

Scott Ross -- the 1970s

Scott Ross — the 1970s

I went to Cornell University in 1972 to study electrical engineering. After the death of my best friend, Steve Clarke, I became a committed Christian but I was a new Christian with only a year’s worth a Bible training under my belt. Though new, I was diligent. During the prior year I had been in Baptist circles studying authors from Dallas Theological Seminary — fundamentalism.

But leaving my hometown to college live at Cornell, I had no Christian “family”. I don’t know how it happened, but I found “Love Inn” — a Jesus Freak commune run by Scott Ross. They were essentially Charismatic Christians — condemned by the cessationist dispensationalism of the fundamentalists that I had studied before.  But I loved these guys.  Deep emotions, heart felt prayers and cool music abounded.  And they were young!  Half the crowd have given up drug and free sex of the 60s.   I had escaped the grey-headed, pew-sitting, 200-year-old hymn singing stiff Baptists.  This crowd was hip and they loved Jesus and they countered the stupid secular values I found at Cornell.  I put a big poster on my dorm window declaring my love for Jesus.

“Love Inn”, Scott Ross and other teachers would be great support for those first two years of college. During my second year at Cornell, I moved out of the dorms and into a house with 7 other Christian guys who also attended Love Inn.

"Love Inn" - Freeville, NY

“Love Inn” – Freeville, NY

Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton where converts under the influence of Scott Ross during those days. Ross hung with the Beatles and others. Here are some links about this amazing fellow:

New Song Documentary (1975) part 1, part 2 — 2 years after I was there. At the end it shows the barn we worshiped in, just outside of Ithaca NY where Cornell is.

Scott Ross was incredibly charismatic, smart and a fantastic leader. In his later years, we worked with the deplorable 700 club. Scott Ross taught me about charismatic power, certainty and love. Only later in my life would I untangle those.

This will be part of my “tributes to influential teachers” series.  These teachers changed my life in one way or another. Link coming as more posts evolve.

Question to Readers: Tell me about an influential teacher you had, who you’d disagree with today but are thankful for your time with them.


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

4 responses to “Scott Ross: a teacher tribute

  1. Hello Sabio,

    From my understanding, Dillon was dating a girl who attended my alma mater (CFNI) for two years and that’s how he came into what he now calls his “Christian phase”. She was enrolled from 1980 to 1981 and he had visited her while she was a student there.

    My parents were Jesus People in the early 1970s when I was a baby. They traveled back and forth between Detroit and Pontiac to attend meetings and coffee houses. I’ve got a picture of them when I was one year old. I was sitting on one of their laps and I promise you, they looked like John and Yoko!

    Not a big fan of the whole movement myself. It was to break away from traditionalism, but the renegade men ended up being exactly like their predecessors that they had once despised! Any baby boomer man that I have known personally from the whole Jesus People movement are like that. My dad and the pastor from the Hawai’i church I was more less kicked out of were the worst ones. That pastor came from California and was heavily involved before moving to Hawai’i.

  2. Interesting story, Charity. I try to tell these stories pretty objectively and not fill them with post-hoc judgement. My years at Love Inn were great. It is fascinating how people harden up into old people.

  3. Hello Sabio,

    I’m sure that there were free loving hippies in that movement who honestly wanted the best for people. I just think that the two men I gave examples of were the kind who always wanted to be in control. That’s what drew them into the whole Jesus People movement, they saw it as an opportunity to lead a spiritual/revival revolution.

    I think that by the time it turned into the Charismatic zeal of the early 80s many people began to “sell their souls”. I remember that’s about when Robert Tilton, Marilyn Hickey and others really got caught up in the whole prosperity message. It just went along with the whole materialism trend of the era.

  4. I agree that people use theology and movements to support their temperaments — perverse and otherwise.

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