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Saturday Night is Alright!

Posted in Crazy Wisdom on Monday, January 29, 2007 at 1:26 pm by flerly.

Wow, today’s appointments are going smoothly and quickly. Knock on wood, since there are two more, but today we got an hour for lunch — which never happens! Since I packed lunch, I get some quality online goof-off time in.

So, Saturday night’s birthday party went well I think. Both gamesystems were a hit, with people I never thought I’d see playing video games seeming to enjoy it. That is certainly something we enjoyed doing, and even if we don’t do the whole cooking portion of the evening again, we’d be up for just having people over for a low-budget Dave & Buster’s night (Thanks Rob!) sometimes! If we don’t show up to anything you’ve been inviting us to, it’s probably because we’re at home gaming ourselves, so if you’re bored some weekend, give us a shout if you want to join in!

Even the sad timing of James’ great uncle’s passing didn’t manage to hamper our celebration for the evening, though we did have to get up and hit the road Sunday to Conyers for the funeral. I don’t really go into it much here, but I have long been fascinated with the whole process of funerals. JT and I recently listened to a great book called “Stiff” (by Mary Roach, I believe) which went into all sorts of great things that you can do with your body when you’re no longer using it, as opposed to preserving it, perfuming it, dressing it up, giving it a scenic bit of artwork to gaze upon if it were to ever open its eyes and a comfy pillow, then planting it in a vault to await some Baptist version of the rapture, where you will reinhabit it, find the emergency exit on that vault and …. well… and something which I just find silly. Whether I believe in God or not has no bearing on this for me, but I really can’t believe that God wants us to decorate and preserve all our bodies after death so we can reuse them “someday”. Again, that’s just silly.

I understand the process of having a funeral, though. A gathering of friends and loved-ones to share memories, deal with grief, and begin the healing process. It can help bond families together. I’m not sure how I feel about the necessity of an open casket and viewing, and as I said, the burial after, but the gathering can be good.

This gathering yesterday started out very good. I had never met this particular great-uncle of James’ before his accident of 9-ish months ago and subsequent coma state, though I was there to share my love and support for those of his family who were close with him. The loving eulogy given by his friend and neighbor and the moving memories and stories from his many children and grandchildren, even the few songs written and sang by loved ones on this occasion had me deeply moved, so that I wept for the loss of this man that, as I said, I never even got to meet. Then the typical annoying, and in my experience very Baptist, thing happened — the preacher announced he would read some scripture that was meaningful to the deceased, which proceeded to turn into a 40 minute sermon on how all the grandchildren were on their way to hell.

I went from moved, to so annoyed my gaze could have set that man on fire right there. Around me, many people were tossing in an “amen” every now and again, but really… I’ve heard sermons, and this was a lousy one. The funeral “they’re seeing death, so let’s scare them about heaven and hell” sermon is just so tacky. What might have needed to be said, was said… then said again, then again, then it just turned into a rambling-hypnotic jumble of religious “buzz words” that might have even been designed just to lull the attendees into some kind of hypnotic state. Me, I just get pissed off. Your ploy doesn’t work on me, mister, because when I get pissed off, I actually mutter obscenities under my breath… and I’m pretty sure if your God gets pissed when I take the lords name in vain, then he probably really doesn’t like me muttering “Jesus Christ” under my breath and rolling my eyes at you right there in church. But that preacher rambling-mode really gets to me. Those aren’t even complete sentences. You’re just saying “Christ on the Cross at Calvary” over and over so it’s sing-songy and not meaningful. This is you drilling buzzwords into our heads, and it’s stupid.

THEN when the preacher adds in the importance of preserving the body and placing it in the ground to lie safely waiting it’s moment to rise again… well, then I just really have to try not to laugh out loud. I told JamesT afterwards that I’m clearly going straight to hell because I don’t agree with the Baptist’s notion of funerals. And we have lots of Baptists, on both sides of our family, which means that everytime we attend a service, the “going to hell” process just gets reinforced. Straight to hell, do not pass go.

Let me also mention, that when you have a couple hour long church service, then the pallbearers take the body out to the church-side cemetery for the burial — ESPECIALLY if it is freezing temperatures and gusting wind — do you really need to do another service by the graveside? A short prayer, sure, but more ramblings…. no, sir. You’re cut off. Bad preacher. I bet all those old people get pneumonia from the temperature on top of their stress and grief.

Alright. Enough stupid ranting. I should have another customer in a few minutes.



  1. skjarl has made a Comment

    Don’t judge all Christians or even all Baptists by the actions of that man. As a matter of fact, it’s probably a bad idea to judge people at all, lest the keen eye of judgment be turned on you. Meh. I need to go do some laundry.

    January 29, 2007 @ 2:38 pm

  2. flerly has made a Comment

    You missed my point. If it were this ONE funeral, it would be more about me thinking he did a bad job, but it’s been a lengthy unfortunate series of funerals we’ve attended, all Baptist, different preachers… all with the ‘death of a loved one is the perfect time to talk about being saved’ idea, and all falling into the sing-songy rambling, incomplete sentences that lull people like hypnosis. We’ve remarked on it before, and the experience continues to make me angry.

    January 29, 2007 @ 2:51 pm

  3. infinite1der has made a Comment

    :%S/[Bb]aptists/[Ss]outhern [Bb]aptists/g


    January 29, 2007 @ 3:06 pm

  4. skjarl has made a Comment

    So your beef then is that you believe the actions of these men are just disingenuous attempts to…what? Hypnotize you into becoming a Christian?

    January 29, 2007 @ 3:19 pm

  5. flerly has made a Comment

    Essentially, yes.

    Don’t speak coherantly. Don’t be compelling. Just get your religion stuck in my head like a jingle.

    That kind of sermon feels rote, insincere, and makes me feel cheated.

    January 29, 2007 @ 4:34 pm

  6. schlemaggle has made a Comment

    i know exactly what you mean. i think there is a time and a place for everything, and, in my opinion, a funeral is neither the right time nor place for a preacher to conduct new member recruitment for his/her church, or try to save anyone’s soul from the eternal hell fires of damnation. it is a time to celebrate the deceased’s life, and look back with fond memories in quiet contemplation. period. so just let people mourn and/or celebrate while you talk about how wonderful the person was and how his memory will live on, etc., etc. do not use it as an opportunity to attempt to convert however many non-christians you think showed up, because no one goes to a funeral, just hoping to be “saved”. i really don’t appreciate it when a funeral becomes something it’s not intended to be.

    looking at dead people (and the whole concept of being buried) freaks me the hell out, too. dress it up any way you wish, it’s a body. a very dead body. i don’t care what anyone says about open-casket funerals giving people more closure. it has been my experience that i remember every dead person i’ve looked at the way they looked in the casket, and not the way they looked in life, and i don’t think that’s any way to remember a person. so, i choose not to look at dead people anymore, and if i am in a situation where refusing to look would be awkward, i glance and then settle on something like the person’s hands so that the image of a dead, made-up face with a creepy smile (which never even closely resembles that person’s smile in real life) is not the last image i’m left with.

    anyhoo. i feel for you, my dear. both for your most recent Baptist experience, and for the loss of family. you guys are in my thoughts.

    on a completely unrelated note, Saturday night was a total blast! thank you guys for hosting such a great party. we should do it again very soon (we just got our Wii in the mail today. Wii-oo!!). and maybe one of these days we could play WoW again…after the new of the Wii wears off. 🙂

    January 29, 2007 @ 4:35 pm

  7. skjarl has made a Comment

    I agree with you about the lack of coherency and sincerity. However, consider: when are people more likely to consider the afterlife than when mortality (their own or that of another human) is staring them right in the face? We may not agree with their delivery method, but they can’t be faulted for their targeting in my opinion.

    January 29, 2007 @ 6:22 pm

  8. flerly has made a Comment

    Oh, yeah. I get the targetting, but that doesn’t make me think it’s any less tacky. It certainly can be talked about… mentioned… with some attempt at keeping the day respectful.

    I think this past one was just especially annoying because we had just spent an hour listening from a dozen grandchildren talk about how much they loved this man who took them fishing and taught them hymns. These kids looked young, and perhaps of the emo tendancy, but they got up and sang for their grandfather, showed respect and love. Then they were repaid with a 40 minute spectacle on how young people are on the road to hell.

    Honestly, most of them and the closer family saw this man as their regular pastor, and they seemed to nod and just accept what he was saying. Perhaps as an outsider, I just got annoyed FOR them. It just seemed rude to me, and to belittle all they had said about their grandfather.

    Maybe, if there’s going to be a sermon, let’s start with that, then let the memorial happen after, because no matter how much you try to talk up a man and his good works, the preacher always has to remind you that no man compares to God. “This guy did what? So what. Check out God.” Can’t we have some appreciation for the good life of a man God made?

    It just all seemed so hypocritical.

    January 29, 2007 @ 8:58 pm

  9. ninjaben3 has made a Comment

    I too sympathize with your loss. I also agree with not using a funeral for recruitment. It reminds me of a wedding I was in last summer when the preacher, during the ceremony, tried to recruit people to the church. He also noted that the wife’s side of the family was in some way more “Christian” than the husband’s side. Save all that stuff for later, don’t bring it up on someone’s special day. Whether it be a day of remembrance or a day of celebration.

    And yes, Saturday night was a flippin’ blast!

    January 30, 2007 @ 8:19 am

  10. skjarl has made a Comment

    So if he had delivered a well-spoken, thought out sermon you would not have objected?

    What he and those like him do is usually a labor love. If their grandfather really taught them hymns, I don’t think he would object to someone trying to reach those he loved with what he likely considered the most important knowledge in this life: The Gospel. He wasn’t there to be disrespectful. He was there to try to helps those folks get closure and to save souls, however misguided and inappropriate his message at the time. Don’t judge him so harshly in my opinion.

    January 30, 2007 @ 4:16 pm

  11. flerly has made a Comment

    Oh, I get it. I see your point here, usually those who speak at funerals are friends of the family, the family minister, or something of the such, and it is a labor of love, done with the intention of delivering the word in such a way as to honor the deceased’s beliefs.

    Maybe the problem is with my lack of exposure of late (say the last 20 years) with attending any Baptist sermon OTHER than at funerals, and I am just not used to how they go. Maybe that repetitive, sing-songy-ness is the usual. Maybe they do jump on the most obvious opportunity to pound home the word of God without what I would call any tact. Maybe, even to the sobbing masses, it is appropriate to “call you out” on your faith in God, one on one at a funeral, mentioning the sinners all by name.

    If so, then this really just goes to show me that I do not agree with the practices of the Baptist faith. Not to mention that I completely disagree with the notion of preserving the body for later use. If anything, it would make me look into other religious practices, but then that won’t keep all our relatives from already being Baptist have having Baptist services in the future for me to attend.

    Maybe I just need to sit in the back so I can’t hear at these things. =\

    January 30, 2007 @ 4:26 pm

  12. skjarl has made a Comment

    Those are also the reasons I don’t attend church, especially Baptist churches. I also agree with you about preserving the body. It is a mortal thing, to soothe our minds and maybe trick us into thinking the dead sleep comfortably. To a being like God, the condition of a body has no meaning. Things are created from nothing by his act of will. Decomposition is irrelevant. To believe otherwise is to doubt the omnipotence claimed by their own faith. Anyway. I’ll leave it be. I think we understand each other here, you dirty heathen. 😉

    January 30, 2007 @ 5:12 pm

  13. karura16 has made a Comment

    i really enjoyed the party on saturday. it was so nice meeting everyone ^_^.

    i second the preacher thing. the last wedding i went to the pastor was actually the groom’s uncle, and so privy to many things a church pastor would not have been. half-way through the vows he interrupts to go on a 20-min mini-rant about the fidelity issues of the groom. i was so pissed off. there is a TIME and a PLACE and that was not it. at all.

    January 30, 2007 @ 10:23 pm

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