Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Don't Proselytize During the Service

Photo Credit: jeff_golden flickr cc

A disappointed grandson

While it is a sad affair when a loved one dies, it's also an occasion for pause and consideration of how each of us will be treated after departing from the world of the living. With that being said, one should show a certain degree of tact during a viewing.

I recently lost my grandmother of 78 years. This was quite a heavy loss for my large family and her friends. However, the preacher's treatment of the affair during the viewing did nothing but send my blood boiling. While the man was a dedicated Southern Baptist minister, and I think he was specifically requested to oversee the religious elements of the service, all the man did was read off the obituary and spend an interminable amount of time trying to get people to convert. This was insensitive to me for two reasons:
• 1. It felt pretty opportunistic and in poor taste to me.
• 2. Some of my attending family, while originally Southern Baptist, had converted to Judaism decades ago. Further compounding my agitation of the scenario.
The only reason I did not speak up about the treatment is due to peer pressure from the other family members. The only reason I did not storm off was that I also served as one of her six pallbearers, at my grandfather's request.

In short, make sure that the preacher actually has something personal to say when you have a service. Failing that, have him open the floor up for willing friends and family to speak about the deceased. I would hate for any member of another family to endure suffering in silence when a service intended to be the final goodbye for a loved one is turned into another opportunity for the preacher to work his soul-saving spiel.

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