"I read what you wrote about your dad. It was beautiful... Did it help you to write it?"
"Yes, I think so."
I haven't had the chance to share with you about Papa's funeral yet. Actually, I should tell you first that he wanted no funeral. He didn't want to inconvenience us or his friends. Luckily, we didn't have to go against his wishes - my mom convinced him that the service wouldn't be for him, it would be for us. We held the funeral at Bacon Heights Baptist Church in Lubbock (where he and my mom are members, and where my brother-in-law Mike is an associate pastor) on August 29th. I have to say, for as smart a man as Papa was, he really underestimated how many people would want to commemorate his life. I know that the number of attendees at your funeral is not a reliable measure of your life, but it was amazing to see just how many friends from different areas of his life came out.
Mike opened the service with some really great reminiscences, and then my brother and I each spoke. Although neither of us had compared notes with the other before the service, we each ended up sharing things that my dad had written as part of our memories. I'd like to share those things with you.
Mark spoke next, and painted such a wonderful picture of Papa as a man who valued integrity, faith, and fun. He told the story about the last out of the last inning of last year's World Series, and how Papa (who grew up near San Francisco and was a lifelong, die-hard, true-as-they-come Giants fan) sprinted around the house, screaming, until he plopped down on the living room floor, pumping his hands and feet in the air until he was exhausted. Then he stood up and simply said, "I can't believe I lived to see the Giants win the World Series again."
Mark also shared some excerpts from a beautiful, engaging essay that Papa wrote several years ago, titled "To Know and Believe," which both of us were also asked for, and which I've linked to here. He wrote this as his personal statement of faith as a man who believed both in the power of God and in the marvelous opportunities to understand God's creation through the discipline of science. He truly believed that these were two areas that don't have to exist in conflict with one another. I could pull quote after quote that I love from this essay, but really - just read it, and you'll know my dad.
OK, one quote, because I love it so much:
If truth is to be found at all, then it must be God’s truth. For this reason, Christians are not threatened by any scientific theory and should not look to science as an advocate with regard to matters that properly fall within the spiritual realm. Think about that for a minute. If the theory of evolution was proved to be correct, would your faith in God be endangered? Does your belief in the Bible rest upon the premise that the earth is very young? Is your relationship with God centered on the issue of whether the six days of Genesis 1 are literal days or not? I’m not saying that Christians should change their beliefs to accommodate popular scientific opinions. However, we must not discount scientific discoveries on the prejudiced thesis that only certain kinds of truth are acceptable to God.Three more things:
- My sister Kristen gives her own, very touching, perspective at her blog.
- Here is a link to my dad's memorial page. If you would like to leave a memory of him or a message for the family, we'd love to see it.
- I mentioned this on Facebook already, but last Friday the president and chancellor of Texas Tech ordered the school flag to be flown at half mast to honor Papa's 33 years of service to the school. Here's a picture taken by a friend of Mark's.