Sis. Melody Mahan reports that Bro. Bill Minor has passed away, at his home in Oklahoma City. Bill was 68.
Bill had contracted mercury poisoning some time ago. And ever since his heart attack a year or so ago, he had been in somewhat failing health. The family last heard from him on Friday, December 15. After telephone calls went unanswered, friends and family investigated, and discovered his body on Monday, December 18. Seemingly he had “fallen asleep” quietly and without discomfort.
He was in his usual pose, sitting in his chair near his keyboard and computer — where he spent countless hours doing research on the internet; checking up on political news; discussing Bible prophecy and “signs of the times” with vari- ous brothers and sisters; and writing long, rambling letters of exhortation and encouragement to Christadelphians and others, near and far.
I’ll think fondly of him there, like an Old Testament prophet, or a watchman on the city walls, looking out upon the world in a spirit of concern and eager expectancy — marking the signs that pointed to the return of his Lord and Saviour. Bill died at his “post”, doing his duty as best he could until the very end.
Bill talked, and wrote, in a charming, folksy, and totally unpretentious manner. He told stories, he reminisced, he talked about old cars and football and hunting dogs, he quoted and paraphrased countless Bible passages, and he always looked for something positive and supportive and uplifting to give others. For years he wrote regularly on an ecclesial discussion group, in which — at some times — his seemed almost to be the only voice for love and kindness and courtesy, no mat- ter what “issues” were under consideration. For this reason alone, if there were nothing else, I would love him.
When I knew that I was to become the editor of The Christadelphian Tidings, I asked Bill if I might occasionally use some of his (what shall I call them?) thoughts… articles… letters… commentaries in the magazine? He said, “Yes, of course.” But he asked that I use a pseudonym, as he had also used on the discussion group.
And so, in the December issue, he was “Uncle Jay” for the first (but perhaps not for the last) time — writing out of his own personal experiences, and directing his correspondent to consider that a believer’s tribulations ought to be a cause for rejoicing. Why? “Because we have learned that there is a purpose in all things that happen to a believer.”
“How can we be bitter? How can we complain? How can we kick against the goads? How can we turn away, no matter how intense the purifying flames of our fiery trials? We are living sacrifices on God’s altar.
“We belong to God, and He belongs to us.
“You ask, How do I know this? I’ll tell you. Because I learned this lesson myself; it’s not ‘theory’. I profited by my painful experiences, by my loneliness, when I called out to my God from a place of desperate need, where it seemed no one else could know what I was going through. And in that place I learned about the truly ‘deep things’ — God’s goodness, His love, and His grace. ‘Springs whose blessings never fail. A sea without a shore.’
“I would not, willingly, undergo the sufferings of that time again, no, not for many millions of dollars! But, as I look back on it now, I consider that time the greatest gift our Heavenly Father could ever have given me. I know now that it did more for me than a ‘good, comfortable, happy life’ alone could ever have done.
“It brought me closer to Him. “And it will do the same for you. “Trust me. I know.
“With love in Christ, Uncle Jay.”
Sis. Rachel Black writes: “Bill was always ‘there’ with a comforting word (or a thousand!) when it was needed. More than a watchman, he was a trusted friend in Christ — someone ‘safe’ to carry concerns to. Many will remember Bill’s often humorous, homey, wise and loving e-mails, but what really won me over was his ability to listen, really listen — and respond with understanding. Truly understand- ing and relating to difficulties others may be facing seems a rarity these days.”
Bro. Kyle Tucker writes: “It was not unusual for [Bill’s] e-mails to be ten pages long. The thing that really struck me about his e-mails is just how much they were full of genuine praise for God. Bill was head-over-heels in love with God and with Christ and truly thankful for what they had done for him. Bill was probably the most praiseful person of God that I have ever known.
“I can honestly and embarrassingly say that I found his e-mails in most instances painful to read because of their length. This was somehow justified in my mind because he didn’t net things out. In this world of time management and deadlines, there just wasn’t time to read a Bill Minor e-mail. He would pour out his heart about love, mercy, grace, forgiveness and so forth; things which apparently I didn’t have time for, to my loss. In April of this year, sensing his demise due to his failing health, Bill wrote to me and said, ‘It’s just too bad you have to cash in your chips about the time you finally develop a modicum of “wisdom!” No problem though, if eternal life lies ahead.’
Bill closed that e-mail with these words: ‘Press on! By His Majestic Grace, Love, Bill’.”
Bro. Dwight Kindred writes: “The writer to the Hebrews, referring to faithful dis- ciples, says that the world was not worthy of them. The world did not even blink on the day Bill Minor breathed his last breath in this age, which is to its shame — for he was a man who understood its ills and knew the Source for its healing. Yet I do not say these things to condemn the world, but to remember Bill.
“I greatly respected Bill for his sterling character that made him so memorable. He had a wry, self-deprecating sense of humor which I thoroughly enjoyed. Sometimes he would poke fun at what he called ‘his towering intellect’ (he was truly a humble man), and then again express amusement (tinged with sadness) at the world situation.
“Bill was also an honest student. Despite his self-deprecation, it was clear the Cre- ator blessed him with a superior intellect. He followed his explorations honestly regardless of where they took him, and he stood with quiet courage and spoke the truth with love to any who would listen.
“Bill was a kind man, loving and merciful. I don’t recall in all he wrote or said that he was ever unkind to anyone, even to those who disagreed with him. One of his greatest desires was to serve those who were in trouble or in pain, and to give them hope in the glad tidings of the Kingdom of God and in His endless mercies. One of the things that grieved him most was the tendency of some to take the ‘sword’ that is the Word of God and turn it against men and women of faith. Bill always tried to use the Scriptures for the healing and encouragement of the faithful, always striving to love his neighbor as himself.
“Most of all, though, Bill’s life was governed by a tireless hope in God’s coming kingdom — and by a determined effort to learn to love Yahweh his God with all his heart, soul, and mind. He always seemed in awe, but absolutely grateful, of the fact that God in His mercy had chosen him a fellow-heir of the promises to Abraham.
“I will miss Bill. He had a lot to say, and he will surely be grateful for the resur- rection and a body with stamina, and for a thousand years so that he can get it all said at last. I hope we will all see him again very soon.”
“The Bible in a man’s life is God in a man’s life. Where people place the Bible, they place God. The place it demands is the heart – the throne. With nothing less will God be satisfied. Do you neglect it? You neglect God. Do you allow the affairs of house, or business, or friends… to put it in the comer? Then is God cast behind your back, and great is your danger… You say you have no time to read. The plea is absolutely inad- missible. You take time to eat and drink, and this is the most important kind of eating and drinking… Death will rap at the door, and he won’t ask you if you have time to attend to him. Christ will stand in the earth one of these days, and what about your family, your house, your busi- ness then?” (Robert Roberts).