"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." “When I hear people say politics and religion don't mix, I wonder what Bible they are reading.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6.8

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4.19

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2.12

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

From today's Guardian: "My sister wanted a godless funeral. But still invited God."

I read THIS article today and really enjoyed it. I hope you do too. Leave me a note to say what you thought.

Then the undertaker asked what religion my sister was. "Atheist." I replied. That, of course, was a nonsense. Atheism is - doh! - not a religion.....For my mother's cremation we had, via that secular miracle the INTERNET, procured the services of a Rabbi. (Oh yes, my sisters non-religion was, in fact Jewish.)

(Jon Canter)


  1. Loved the article. My dad is on hospice and I'm going to do his funeral. The weird bit is that my parents have always been very private and secretive and I'm actually going to find it difficult to eulogize him. Living abroad for 23 years didn't help, of course.

    One of the things I love about Chaplaincy is having conversations that I think are genuinely spiritual with folk of all faiths and none. I actually a very profound conversation with a Jewish Atheist a few weeks ago that was absolutely spiritual about the meaning of life and of death. Funerals are as real as it gets. Chaplaincy is too.

    It's one of the reasons I increasing find "being real" to have a lot more meaning than silly conversations about parsing Aramaic grammar to determine who God does an does not love.

  2. I for one don't quite get the point he's making. If you want a completely secular funeral, the local library is bulging with volumes of poetry and philosophy that will provide lovely texts; and there is no end to beautiful music by composers ancient and modern that would also suit.

    Seems to me the guy is one of those oh-so-modern people who wears his atheism like a fashionable haircut; and is as eaten up with envy and intolerance as any fundamentalist.

    I could say more, but it's not worth my time to write out all I could say; the gist would be, believe or don't believe, and get on with it man, don't be such a whiner.

  3. Is that really about inviting God or about going back to your roots and inviting what used to be meaningful for you?
    In the sister's generation and with her upbringing, that happened to be hymns and a requiem. With others, it could well be Frank Sinatra's "I did it my way".

    Obviously, I didn't know the sister and her brother did! But I would hesitate to read too much spiritual content into this.

  4. Another popular atheist writing off clergy as useless mutterers of impersonal eulogies. Perhaps he would like to come and see how much time and effort we invest in making the address as personal as possible, reflecting the faith of the deceased, or the lack of it, or, more commonly, their lifelong search for meaning.