Tillman: My Brother is f–king dead?

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Does faith matter? At Pat Tillman’s memorial service yesterday his youngest brother Rich (foto right) said, “Pat was not religious, so he’s not with God, he’s just “f–king dead” An ineloquent sentiment among more inspiring attributions to the fallen Ranger and former NFL player. Chad Schwartz, a longtime friend, said of Tillman, “He always wanted to change people for the better. [His love of people was such that] if he were here right now, he’d thank all of us for coming, even if it took him till 4 in the morning. “ Journalist Marco delia Cava reported, “Tillman could be found goofing off just as easily as he might be seen reading the Koran, the Bible or The Communist Manifesto. One of his favorite poets was (Ralph Waldo) Emerson with a favorite quote from , “Self-Reliance:” “What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think” Steve White, a Navy SEAL who served in Iraq with Pat Tillman said, “He was one of the most remarkable human beings I’ve ever met. He wasn’t looking for the easy thing to do, just the right thing.”

It is not often that you find a person who only wants to do the right thing, and though his brother said he was not religious, Tillman’s life gives evidence of a moral code remarkably like that of Jesus. In pondering his fate, realizing not even his brother knew what was in the private thoughts of Pat Tillman, I am reassured by the OT phrase, “shall not the judge of all the earth do what is right.”

In a news column just next to Tillman’s, one newspaper said folks in his hometown insist the escape of Thomas Hammill was an act of God in response to their prayers. They even commented on seeing blacks and whites praying together, a seemingly small matter until you compare it to allegations that The Cracker Barrel Restaurant systematically discriminated against blacks.

Today the NYT’s carried a story of not one, not two¢â‚¬¦but five siblings accepted at Julliard, who together have signed a contract to record for BMG Classics. The clean-cut quintet view it is an opportunity to share their Mormon faith with others.

Thursday is the National Day of Prayer and even arch-conservative Lou Sheldon acknowledges the pervasiveness of popular culture saying, “This coming Thursday (May 6, 2004), has special meaning to many Americans. To some, it means saying farewell to the cast of “Friends” and watching tearful goodbyes on two-hour specials and Jay Leno interviews. To millions of Christians, however, it is the National Day of Prayer, a yearly event that occurs on the first Thursday of each May.” (Does this mean Sheldon thinks there are no Christians for whom Thursday is also a sad farewell to “Friends?” or that other Americans who are not Christian should not participate in the Day of Prayer?)

Finally, another faithful friend just informed me he has cancer. That makes three guys I care about who are fighting a battle and need prayer. All three are followers of Jesus and each has given evidence of that pursuit in the fruit produced by their life. I am comforted to know that when they die (now or in the distant future) we will rejoice that not one of them is “f king dead” but each and together will live eternally with the God they know and love.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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