We’re always struck here at the GFG by the vilification which the unchurched can heap upon those in holy orders. It never seems to happen the other way round. Almost all secular funerals are notably inclusive and hospitable towards believers.
Now that we are living in a multifaith society where any funeral audience is likely to span the spectrum of beliefs, do faith groups have a duty to take cognizance and adjust?
Here’s some vilification. The writer is describing her grandfather’s funeral:
Let me start by saying that I understand the role of religion at a funeral. I understand that the idea that death isn’t real and permanent is a comfort to a great many people. I’m not one of them, but I won’t begrudge solace to those who are.
That said, I despise, with all I am, the time at a funeral that is spent on advertising Jesus instead of on the dead and the survivors.
The pastor was perfunctory in those bits of service that are actually service to the mourners. He read the bits of Revelations that deal with heaven without much attempt to string them into coherence. He did not, thankfully, try to pretend that he knew anything about my grandfather.
For whatever reason, the pastor wasn’t content to simply reassure those of us who believed that my grandfather and grandmother were together again in heaven–or would be together after the resurrection. He was clearly up on his theology but uncomfortable getting that specific with us; he hinted instead. No, the pastor poured his energy into exhorting us all to believe as he did.
There were bits and bobs throughout the service, but the worst of it came as a sermon after the eulogies. It was very much an “Enough about the dead; let’s talk about Jesus” moment.
Me? I had to sit there and bite my tongue… And I had to do it at my grandfather’s funeral because selling Jesus to us all was more important than focusing on those of us who were mourning.
It was the single most selfish moment I’ve seen at a funeral, and the pastor didn’t have the excuse of being distraught.
Full text here.