Funerals are important moments. There are precious grieving souls needing words of comfort and grace. Out here in rez country, the families seem to call multiple clergy for most wakes and funeral. I have attended or co-officiated dozens of funerals in the last few years. The tone of this post sounds a little condescending; I intended it to have a only touch of my dry humor, but any way… here are 6 Things a Minister Probably Should Not Say at a Funeral:
1. The Fertility of life. Seriously, please DO NOT talk about the fertility of life. A funeral is a serious time, and you will make it difficult for the rest of the clergy to maintain their somber composure. It would be especially bad if the front seats were lined with a good number of kids to a good number of baby-mommas. One dear friend would always misread his beautiful funeral liturgy about the futility of life in this rather awkward way. Continue reading
“I have never met an Indian person who didn’t somewhere deep inside struggle with anger and sadness at what has happened to their people, and I have never met an honest and aware non-Indian person in America who didn’t somewhere deep inside struggle with guilt about what we as a culture have done to the people who inhabited the country before us. we can like each other, hate each other, feel pity for each other, love each other. But always, somewhere beneath the surface of our personal encounters, this cultural memory is rumbling. A tragedy has taken place on our land, and even though it did not take place on our watch, we are its inheritors, and the [world] remembers.”
-Kent Nerburn in the forward to Neither Wolf Nor Dog
An intoxicated friend stopped by tonight wanting a ride down to his mom or brother’s home. I would have been willing to give the ride but didn’t figure the family would appreciate me dropping him off in that condition. He’d just gotten out of jail for making trouble at his mom’s home a couple of weeks ago. I called the mom to double-check. I was right. They didn’t want him coming down.
He didn’t take the news very well nor did he appreciate the tactful explanation I tendered. Further, I apparently tragically undermined his perception of what a man of God should be, but it was my gentle probings regarding the possibility of a better life that sent him over the edge. He yelled at me for a while. Then walked down the street screaming and threatening. Continue reading