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Funeral update October 20, 2016

Posted by Ubi Dubium in Events, Rants, Responses.
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Well, I went to the funeral for my friend.  And it was pretty much like I expected.

First, I want to give all due credit for the good stuff, the thoughtful stuff, the stuff that helped us all remember:

  • There was a display of some of his favorite things, and favorite T-shirts in the lobby.
  • There was a slideshow of years worth of family pictures playing on several screens for about an hour prior to the service.
  • There was a terrific reception with tons of food provided, so that all the people there could have a chance to talk afterwards.
  • There was a crowd of more than 600 people.  The seats were filled and there was overflow seating set up in the lobby.
  • My chorus had almost 50 people show up, and we did a really good job singing the piece we were performing.
  • There were several people who spoke about my friend, and his life, and his influence on them, and especially his sense of humor. Some of his family spoke, and some of them wrote their thoughts down and had somebody else read them, which I think is great for when someone is too emotional to speak, or just too terrified of public speaking to speak.

But.

The service was maybe 1/4 about my friend’s life, and how much we will miss him.  The other 3/4 was about how religious he was, how important religion is, god, grace, god, heaven, god, bible, Jesus, and more god.  Yes, he was a religious man, yes he was active in religious groups, and yes his wife’s a pastor.  I’m not saying that their church shouldn’t focus so much on that, it’s their church and they should do their thing, it’s what the congregation expects.

But wow was it awkward for me as a non-believer to sit through all that.

The thing that maybe bothered me the most was the sermon.  It was actually a sermon, not a eulogy.  Instead of talking about the deceased, the preacher talked mostly about the biblical story of Lazarus.   OK, I guess this is appropriate for a funeral, given that it’s about Jesus bringing a dead man back to life.  But the pastor really focused for a bit on this sentence:

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

And what I’m thinking is, if their benevolent god actually existed, one that cared about people’s beliefs, and wanted people to be righteous and religiously observant, and to serve their fellow man, then there wasn’t a better example of a faithful follower of that ideal than my friend.  My friend who died in a pointless accident.  My friend who should have had at least another 20 good years.  I’m thinking “If their Lord was real, and cared, this man should not have died.” But no, then he went on to talk at length about Jesus bringing Lazarus back, a thing that in our modern experience never actually happens.  You know, if their god existed and actually wanted to me to believe that he existed, at that point all he needed to do was to have my friend walk into that room, in perfect health, and I’d probably change my mind.

But alas, all we get is talk about grace, and the “arms of god” and “we’ll see him again” and the happy fairy tales people tell themselves to make us feel better.  On the outside I was not showing my annoyance, but on the inside here’s the version of the sermon that was going through my head:

I think my presence there was helpful for my chorus, and I think the chorus’s presence there was helpful for the family.  So I’m glad that I was there for them, even if I hated most of the actual service.

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Comments»

1. Godless Cranium - October 20, 2016

Sorry you had to go through that. I’m glad your chorus went well though.

Liked by 2 people

2. thehappyagnostic - October 20, 2016

I have already given my family directions to donate me or plant me as one of those tree grave things. Then I want them all to laugh and celebrate all the funny and crazy things they remembered about me! THAT…is a funeral.

Liked by 1 person

3. Quixie - October 21, 2016

Funerals are hard enough without having to listen to the religious crap. I’m very sorry for your loss.

Pink fluffy unicorns dancing on rainbows! 😍I think I’m going to sing that song to myself from now on whenever I get annoyed.

Liked by 2 people

Ubi Dubium - October 21, 2016

I’ve had that song stuck in my head for more than a week!

Liked by 1 person

Quixie - October 21, 2016

😂 I shouldn’t laugh – I probably now won’t be able to get it out of my head.

Liked by 2 people

Quixie - October 28, 2016

Crap! I got the song out of my head then came back here to see what the “like” was for and now it’s in my head again. Doh! Lol

Liked by 1 person

Ubi Dubium - October 28, 2016

I know, right? And the video is Flufflepuff, too, and you don’t get much cuter than that. “Pink fluffy unicorns…” AAAAAAAGH!

Liked by 1 person

Quixie - October 28, 2016

Ubi, WP reader REALLY wants me to read your old posts. They keep showing up at the top! I’m not complaining, but it’s quite odd.

Liked by 1 person

Ubi Dubium - October 29, 2016

That’s odd. I just went to my WP reader, and it’s not bringing up anything except the most recent posts from blogs I follow. No old stuff.

Like

4. Nan - October 21, 2016

Religion can really spoil things …

Liked by 2 people

thehappyagnostic - October 28, 2016

That’s an understatement!😂

Liked by 1 person

5. HH - October 22, 2016

I think you would enjoy this poem I wrote after a similar funeral experience.

https://halnh.wordpress.com/2015/09/19/un-91915/

Liked by 2 people

Ubi Dubium - October 23, 2016

Yes, very good!

I must give this funeral credit, there was no trash talking about non-believers. Being Methodists, that’s not usually their thing, anyway. There was also a large contingent from the community there, so they were maybe a little sensitive that their might be non-christians there, and it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to beat up on them.

Liked by 2 people

Nan - October 23, 2016

I also thought it was quite good and left a comment related to publishing it on my “creative” website: Where Are We Going Today?

Liked by 1 person

6. treeoftalking - October 27, 2016

I am sorry about your loss. I had a similar funeral experience after my father-in-law died. He went to church, and even helped found a local congregation, but we never talked religion. He was one of those people who was genuinely welcoming and always had a refrigerator filled with beer. But his funeral was much less about the person he was and much more about Jesus. And even though he probably wanted something like that, I still felt that I was at the funeral of a stranger. Now the wake we held–that was a different story.

Liked by 3 people

7. thehappyagnostic - October 28, 2016

I am hoping the wake was a celebration of his life!

Liked by 1 person

Ubi Dubium - October 28, 2016

I don’t recall being invited to a wake. There was a “visitation” at the church the night before, where about a thousand people showed up to offer condolences to the family. The Methodist tradition doesn’t really include “wakes” I don’t think. Their church was originally founded on a basis of no drinking or whooping it up in any way, and big noisy parties are usually replaced with potluck receptions.

Liked by 1 person

8. R.E - November 2, 2016

Sorry to hear this 😦 I have always found funerals (I’ve sadly been to a few) a great place for the church to advertise God. It does seem only a portion of the service is dedicated the the deceased person everyone has attended to pay respects to.

Liked by 1 person


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