William Hull, noted Baptist pastor, author and scholar, died at 83 in December 2013 after battling Lou Gehrig’s disease since 2008.
A posthumous book by Hull, who wrote or contributed to dozens of books, awaits publication by Samford University Press.
Titled “The Quest for a Good Death,” it chronicles Hull’s experience with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and reflects his thinking on death and dying.
Hull’s son, David Hull, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama, talks in a new Skype interview with EthicsDaily.com about his father’s journey.
“I’m afraid we’re still afraid of death,” said Hull, addressing why there is a reticence in many churches and among many Christians to discuss death. “I think the word is fear.”
“Although when we do talk about it, folks find that very helpful,” Hull added.
Hull said he taught a Wednesday night class, about the journey to a good death, at his church during Lent. For six weeks, death was the topic.
“I encourage pastors and ministers to do this,” Hull said. “It is so important.”
In giving advice for how churches can improve their discussion of death, Hull cites a close friend of his father’s: Kentucky poet Wendell Berry. Berry once wrote that we should “practice resurrection.”
“I think the irony is we believe in the resurrection, as Christians,” Hull said. “I’m not sure we’re good at practicing. And there’s a difference.” Our ability to practice resurrection impacts how we live life and face death.
What did Hull notice as his father practiced resurrection?
“I learned the power and the impact and the importance of a church family,” Hull said. “We talk about the community of faith, we talk about the meaning of the church. You experience that more greatly in a time like this.”
Hull also said he understood more intimately the truths of two particular Scriptures. One was 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for you.”
The other was Romans 8:28: “God works for the good of those who love him.”
“Dad saw it,” Hull said. “We talked about it.”
Watch the interview with Hull at vimeo.com/ethicsdaily/skype-hullpart2
Watch the first interview with Hull at vimeo.com/ethicsdaily/skype-hullpart1
Learn more about David Hull at fbchsv.org/796678
Watch other EthicsDaily.com Skype interviews at vimeo.com/ethicsdaily