Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Funeral In a Small Town - Part IV

A small mousy man with large gold-rimmed spectacles approaches the podium. If I remember right, he is a preacher at the church Nanny used to attend. He calls her a sainted woman. He gives a little sermon about how her family is her heavenly family now and that only those bound for heaven can be part of that family. He says that her earthly family comes second to her heavenly family. And then he says that only those members of her family who are saved will remain in her heart because they are the only ones she will see in heaven.

I feel a white hot bolt of anger deep in my gut.

I can’t help but steal a glance at Jerry. He is not saved, and I wonder if this preacher has angered him too. Earlier, one of his brothers told him that the only way to be with his Mama now, was to let God into his heart and be saved. I thought it an unkind and predatory thing, though I know that is terribly unfair. In all likelihood, the brother was just trying to help, using the only tool at his disposal. Faith. But I am so very weary of every hope stealing hardship becoming a platform for salvation. And what Jerry needs at this moment, is not salvation, though I suppose there those who would argue that is exactly what he needs. But I think a hug would probably be a lot more welcome and lot less difficult to come by.

Jerry’s face is stony. Inscrutable. Closed.

Finally the mousy man steps down and the soloist is introduced. The song she will be singing is “Press On, It Won’t Be Very Long”. It’s not a hymn I am familiar with. A pale, bland woman whom I remember from the viewing steps onto the dais and raises a microphone to her lips.

I don’t know what I was expecting…perhaps some suitably dignified dirge from the funerals of my childhood…but the sound that issues from that unassuming woman startles me, rocks to me to the core. That sound comes from the place inside each of us where we harbor our most sacred joys, our deepest fears, and our most shameful secrets. It is a sweet, soulful, haunting sound. It makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck like a lonely train whistle in the distance, or a loon crying over a moonlit lake. There is heartache, sadness, loneliness and loss in that mournful wail, but also….joy. Exaltation. The purity of hope and the certainty of salvation. That sound comes from her soul.

I am stunned by my reaction to a simple country hymn. I am stunned by the ache that it puts in my belly and the lump that it puts in my throat. I struggle to put a name to what I am feeling, pushing away the knowledge that what chokes me, is the bitter green gall of envy. Because it is clear from the power and the pathos of the words she sings…she has the solace of a convicted heart. She possesses the one thing I know I will never have.

Suddenly a cry rises up from the congregation.

“Praise Jesus!”

And another.

“YES Lord!”

More voices join in, until the soloist is barely heard above the din of religious zeal. They are overjoyed by the knowledge that they will soon be going home to Glory. They echo the words she is singing…"Press ooooooon, it won’t be ve-ery long"

“Press ON Lord!”

“Not long now Jesus!”

People are weeping, wailing, praising, rejoicing. Hands wave in the air, faces are upturned, rapturous. It is like nothing I have ever seen and I sit in mute astonishment taking it all in. The spectacle is thoroughly alien, somewhat unsettling and yet, somehow, inexpressibly beautiful.

Beside me, they boys have gone still, their relentless fidgeting ceasing. They are as captivated as I am by what they are seeing. Pre-Pubescent One glances at me and then blushes. I don’t know why. I wonder if he is embarrassed for the shouters. I am, a little. My Yankee reserve finds it difficult to reconcile this overt display of spiritual fervor. Where I come from, religious ceremonies are somber, dignified affairs. Reverence is demonstrated through quiet solemnity, respectful silence and rapt attention. The religious teachings of my youth, though largely abandoned, still dictate my sense of propriety. Even if so moved, I would be unable to express my joy so unabashedly. And I find that I am a little saddened at the thought.

The song ends on one long, succulent note. It is held, and then fades away softly into warbled, whispered nothingness. The hands that have been waving in the air now drift back to laps and clasp once again into respectable primness. Brows are mopped. The rapture is quelled.

It is utterly quiet in the tiny church.

Into the quiet, steps Brother Dwight. He is larger than life, and as he mounts the steps and takes his place behind the podium, I’ll be damned if a fortuitously placed halogen light hasn’t created a beatific halo around his head. It’s the kind of cheap parlor trick that one expects from weeping televangelists on late night TV. It’s not a trick. But I can’t help thinking that Brother Dwight would be pleased if he knew he was being bathed in pseudo-celestial brilliance. Cu-cu-ca-choo, Brother Walrus.

Despite his resemblance to a Walrus, he has a dignified air. And as he begins to speak, I find I am eager to hear what he will say. The first speaker disappointed me with his finger wagging. But Brother Dwight looks as if he has very meaningful things to say.

And he does. But not about Nanny. He says nothing about her having borne and raised nine children. He says nothing about her having been a devoted wife for nearly 50 years. He says nothing of her many kind and charitable acts. He says nothing of her mouth watering fried apple pies, or her lighter than air biscuits. He says nothing about who she was irrespective of her faith. Nope. I think it’s fair to say that Brother Dwight sees this funeral not as a commemoration, but an opportunity. Brother Dwight is here to save souls. I am monumentally uninterested.

My mind begins to wander, and I begin to remember my own grandmother’s funeral so many years ago. She died just before I found out I was pregnant with Pre-Pubescent One. Alzheimer’s stole her dignity and her identity. My fastidious grandmother would have welcomed death had she been aware of what she had become. She lost her mind, but her body remained stout and strong. Nanny’s body had withered and weakened until it simply gave out, but she retained her sanity and her self until the end. Which is a crueler fate? I, with my fear of growing old, am equally horrified by both.

My grandmother’s funeral was presided over by a minister who had known her only after she became ill. Her name was Vernelda, but everyone knew her as Nell. The minister called her Nelly, and every time he spoke it, I seethed with an irrational anger. I was also angry about her lipstick. My grandmother always wore lipstick of the truest red. I think she wore the same shade my entire life. But for the viewing they had painted her lips a soft, pearlescent pink. It was wrong. When I complained to my mother about it, she understood, and said that she would take care of it if I really wanted her to. “But, honey…” she gently explained, “You have to remember that red lipstick on a corpse can look a little gruesome.” She was right, and the pink lipstick remained. Since then, I have wondered what shade it was that she loved so much. I would like to have some.

Something brings me out of my reverie. Something has changed in the air. There is…expectation and it is electric. I look around, wondering what I missed and why it seems as if everyone is holding their breath.

I realize that the timbre of Brother Dwight’s voice has changed. Before, it was as deeply soothing as  a wooly blanket on a cold winter’s day. But now…it has risen an octave, and there is an edge to it that I don’t quite understand, until I realize that he has adopted that strange and comical cadence that I always thought of as the hallmark of disingenuous piety and profitable conviction.

“Dearest brethren-a. We are gathered here on this fine day-a, to honor this woman-a. She was a strong woman-a. A good woman-a. But most of all, she was a GOOOOOOOOOOOOODly woman-a.”

The exclamations started anew.

“Yes Lord. PRAISE Jesus!”

“AMEN Brother!”

The spotlight was making sweat pop out on Brother Walrus’s brow, and his postulations were causing a deep red flush that spread from the flesh overflowing his collar to the very roots of his slightly thinning hair. He mopped his brow and continued.

“But although we are saying good-bye-uh…we will not MOUUUUUURN for this woman-a. We will rejoice that she is with her father in heaven-uh. We will rejoice that she has gone home to GLORY-UH!”

The chorus of hallelujahs grows more fervent. Some people leap to their feet and sway to and fro with heads bowed and arms raised. Others clap. Some jangle up and down on the balls of their feet.

“You all know how much salvation meant to Mother-ah. You know how she longed to be called to serve in his heavenly kingdom-ah. You know she is sitting at his right hand-ah. Do not weep for her-ah, for she weeps for you-ah! She weeps to think the souls of her loved ones have not been committed to the Lord-ah.”

Oh, here it comes, I think to myself. He is going to fish for souls at a funeral. I am incensed. The boys perhaps feel me tense in the pew, for I sense both of their heads swiveling in my direction and I feel the question marks in their eyes. I look around, but nobody else seems similarly affronted. In fact, they are beaming and…expectant.

“I am going to invite anyone…anyone here-ah, who has not taken the Lord as their savior-ah, to come forward right now-ah. Speak the words-uh, and commit your soul to JEE-zuSS! Come now…and let the Lord into your heart-uh! ”

I raise my eyes from my lap to find Brother Walrus looking straight into me. His eyes are alight with a righteous fire, and they seem to burn clean through me, searing my heart, stealing my breathe. I have the distinct feeling that the pew behind me is smoldering and wisps of smoke rising from twin char marks. I raise my chin in defiance and hold his gaze, though I am trembling with an emotion I can’t name. I fear it is guilt. I fear it is fear. I manage to maintain eye contact, but I can’t suppress the shiver that runs cold fingers up my spine. I see him see it.

Suddenly, Brother Walrus’s eyes are torn from mine by a shout from the back of the church and the sound of heavy footsteps. A large man with a grey brush cut and thick glasses lumbers up the aisle, calling out.

“Yes Jesus!! I am here Lord! Take me to your bosom Lord! Wash away my sins!”

He prostrates himself at the foot of the podium behind which Brother Walrus stands. His forehead is touching the rough carpet and his large, soft buttocks are all that can be seen of him from where I sit. But I can hear him sobbing and begging for forgiveness.

I hear a whisper from the pew directly behind me. It’s the woman who had smiled kindly to my boys when we sat down, murmuring to her husband. “I thought Duane Sprague was already saved?”

Her companion grunts. “He is. The damned fool just likes making a spectacle of hisself. Gets saved every hodanged time he sets foot in a church.”

She tut-tutted in dismay, but otherwise said nothing.

I want to laugh. I wanted to leave. I want to demand that Brother Walrus explain to me why I should let his Lord into my heart. I want to ask him how his God can punish the good and reward the bad. I want to ask him how his God can let ugliness like child abuse, poverty, war and famine blight the beauty of the world he has created. I want to ask him why I should worship a God who discriminates. Why I should worship a God who puts conditions on his love, and holds salvation hostage.

But I merely sit and watch the drama unfolding. Again, I am stunned. Duane Sprague wails loudly and dramatically. He says he is not worthy, and Brother Walrus wearily assures him that all he has to do is ask and forgiveness shall be his. Duane Sprague wails some more. Diminutive One puts a hand in mine and rests his warm and sticky cheek against my arm. He looks up at me with his enormous blue eyes and says in a stage whisper, “Mom…I thought you said we had to be quiet in church.”

The lady behind me makes a small sound of amusement, and her husband chuckles outright.

The tension is broken, but I still I feel a little as if I am sitting in the pew naked. I feel raw and open, like a wound from which the blood still flows. I cross my arms in front of myself and try to remember that Brother Walrus is just a man. He is not my judge and jury. He is not my conscience. He is not my damnation or my salvation.

In the pew occupied by Jerry and his brothers, there is a stir. Jerry has slumped down in the pew and crossed his arms in a posture that is decidedly similar to my own. His brother Harold hovers over him whispering fervently and gesturing emphatically towards the front of the church. It isn’t hard to surmise what kind of emotional blackmail is taking place in that pew. Suddenly, I am profoundly grateful that I am not sitting over there. I wish I could help him.

I notice that my mother in law is angry. Her lips are compressed in a tight line and her shoulders are stiff with outrage. Barbara Jean puts an arm around her unyielding form and whispers to her. Linda Joyce shakes her head emphatically and then begins to weep, crumpling into her sister's lilac bosom. Barbara Jean glares at Duane Sprague with malevolence. He has eclipsed the mourning with his theatrics. It is the height of disrespect, and he will pay for it later in the form of cold shoulders and ignored greetings. People in SmallSoutherTown do not take such transgressions lightly.

Alas, nobody but Duane Sprague comes forward and with a sigh, Brother Walrus concludes the service. I suppose that fishing for souls in a town that already has a goodly number of Christian folks can be a fruitless and unsatisfying endeavor. For a moment, I feel sorry for Brother Walrus. I wonder if he fears coming up short on Judgment Day.

The mourners file past the casket, which, after some discussion, has been re-opened for the service. Some of those who have come to pay their respects are terribly, terribly old, and I wonder what they feel when they look into that casket. One woman, whose back is bowed over a walker, and whose skin is translucent with age, is visibly upset. The tears stream down her face unchecked as she speaks to Brother Walrus. He takes her chin in his large blunt fingers as if she were a small child and speaks to her tenderly. I don’t know and I can’t hear if it is grief or fear that causes her tears. She scares me. I know that sick and slimy fear. The thought of being so close to death and still not being reconciled to the terrible certainty makes me tremble once again.

© Blog Antagonist 2006,2007. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of all content, text or image, is prohibited without prior written consent.


  • At 8:45 AM, Blogger Susan - said…

    You should not automatically blame Brother Dwight for "fishing" at the funeral. My mother-in-law has already mentioned that she wants that at her funeral. Possibly it was Nanny's wish too?

  • At 8:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This story made the hair on the back of my neck stand up,too. I also feel terribly uncomfortable in situations like that. Thank you for sharing this-you are a wonderful writer.

  • At 10:20 AM, Blogger Beaver said…

    You paint a picture I know nothing of. I eagerly await the next chapter and wonder how far to the "end". Will it be a "happy ending" and what what will a "happy ending" be in your estimation? I too find fear in reading your story, but not at all in the same way you do.

  • At 10:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    you are a fantastic writer, your words paint a picture filled with emotion.

  • At 11:20 AM, Blogger flutter said…

    The exact reasons why worship in a church is just so utterly beyond me.

  • At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I heard about this series from Antique Mommy, but this is the first time that I've had a chance to come here and read it. You bring back memories of my own grandmother's funeral (except for the soul saving). You are an awesome writer. Thank you for allowing us such an intimate look into your thoughts.

  • At 2:12 PM, Blogger Namito said…

    This is rich, rich with life. I am there beside you in that pew. And with Jerry.

    Go on, go on, my dear.

  • At 2:18 PM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    I, too, am there with you in the pew as I read this. You are such a gifted writer. And those situations make me incredibly uncomfortable too - and my family is Catholic (much more toned down than these types of spectacles, for lack of a more respectful word)!

  • At 3:50 PM, Blogger Betsy said…

    I am disappointed that I have used my time reading this story. I read the first part (I liked it), but I didn't get a chance to come back until today to read the rest. You are a good writer, that is good with words, and you were just putting your opinions and experience in writing. I just wanted to make a few comments... the list of evil things you said God allows on this earth is not the accurate, and people who don't know God or understand Him are confused and repeat these same questions all the time. God created a perfect world. Death, murder, sickness, violence, rape, evil, tornadoes...they became part of this world when sin came into this world through the disobedience of man (us). We are born sinners and that is why the world is evil and will continue to get worse. That is why we need a Savior, Jesus Christ, who God sent to save the world from their sins. Nanny wasn't afraid to die, why? Because when you are saved (give your life and heart to God) you have assurance that you will spend all eternity with God. Why are you afraid of death? Wouldn't that worry you? If you know that you are not saved, wouldn't you be worried about your soul? Eternity is forever! Nanny lived a long life, but that is nothing compared to eternity! I just read a verse today 1 Chron. 28:9 "For the Lord sees every heart and understands and knows every plan and thought. If you seek Him, you will find Him. But if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.

    Chose Jesus' free gift of's by faith that you believe with your heart and speak with your mouth that He is Lord!

    I guess I am fishing too. Jesus said to be "fishers of men".

  • At 3:51 PM, Blogger merinz said…

    I am finding your series of blogs absolutely fascinating and so so different from anything we would ever experience in our culture here in the South Pacific!

  • At 5:41 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Hi Betsy...I want to thank you for your honest remarks. I'm truly sorry that you were disappointed by my story. Is it because you though this was a story of salvation? It's not, and if I gave that impression, then it was my mistake and I apologize.

    A lot of my readers know of my struggles with faith...I have been honest about my doubts and my search for truth. But new folks might not be aware of my background.

    I was raised in a Christian home as was my husband. Both of us had experiences that led us away from the church, but I'm not ready to say that it led us away from God.

    This story is about a lot of things...the death of a wonderful woman, Southern culture, the love of family, my feeling like a fish out of water here (I was raised in the Midwest) and my search for something to believe in.

    The part about "fishing" for souls and my surprise and indignation was to illustrate how differently I was brought up and how much Southern culture clashes with much of what I was taught. Something like that would never take place at a funeral. It would be considered rude and disrespectful.

    Oh, Yes...I do worry about my soul. I do worry about what happens when I die. I do worry that my children will be raised with the same fears.

    But...I can't just turn on faith. I wish I could because life would be so much easier and less frightening if I could.

    Again, I thank you for your comment and your candor. I like to hear from everyone whether they agree with me or not.

    That said, I hope you can see my story as a look at what those of us who do not have faith are struggling with and why, perhaps, we reject the explanations that Christians have relied upon for so long.

    Maybe it will lend some perspective to your quest and that of your husband to bring people to God. I think understanding one another and really listening to one another is the first step in effecting any kind of change...political, cultural, interpersonal, and most especially...theological.

    I wonder if you hear what I am saying with this story. would like to ask that you read the story again, and listen with different ears. Listen not as a Pastor's wife, but just as a person. Maybe the person you were before you let Jesus into your life. Hear my fear, my doubt, my longing. Hear it and feel it, if you can.

    Maybe then you can find some value in it.



  • At 7:12 PM, Blogger Betsy said…

    Thanks for receiving my post with an open mind and without offence. I usually don't "evangelize" on the web because it is so impersonal. I just felt like I had to respond to you because you and I are a lot alike. I grew up in the Midwest and my dh and all his huge family are very southern and very emotional! Another thing...his grandma died this time last year too, but she was 86 and she died in the hospital. The funeral was a lot like what you described, but the difference is that a lot of his family is "lost" and my dh and I had "A Rock" to lean on during that difficult time. Their grief was very real and very hard because they didn't know their eternal "state", so they didn't know that they could be with their loved one again. Dh could at least comfort himself in that fact.

    Being in the ministry, I know many people who have been hurt by the church and Christians. Please on my behalf, forgive us! Not knowing the situations, I know true believers can mess up and cause pain. I also know that there are wolves in sheep's clothing. They claim the name of Christ, they attend every Sunday, but they lead a very different life outside the church walls. People like that have hurt the "church" and the name of Christ! Don't let any person or thing keep you away from a personal relationship with your Creator!

    It wasn't that long ago (11 years in Nov) that I gave my heart to the Lord. I realized just how bad a person I was and it didn't matter how good I tried to be, it was never good enough. Only through Jesus and His forgiveness can our sins be wiped away! I was married at 16 with a baby and I smoked pot. My dh and I didn't have much of a marriage. I was seeking, but I didn't know what. My MIL invited us to a concert at her church (boy did I think she was some weird, crazy Christian lady!;) and it was as if a light bulb went off and I realized I needed God. I went home and prayed and my life has never been the same since!!

    I am the only Christian in my family. They have seen God change me over the years and use me and my dh. I have never forgotten what God has saved me from, nor where would I be today and what kind of person! I did hear your fear and doubts, that is what lead me to reach out to you. One of my favorite songs goes like this: "I will walk by faith, even when I can not see. Because this broken road, prepares Your will for me." Faith is believing without seeing. You put your faith in things everyday, seen and unseen. Why not try Jesus? :)

  • At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Your writing is so descriptive that I feel like I was there. That kind of preaching scares me. I had a confusing religious upbringing. My mom would take me to churches where people would speak in tongues, cry out, and fall back into the preachers arms where he would help them to the floor. They would lay there for some time. I thought they were dead. I'm catholic now where the congregation is more reverent. I'm much more comfortable with that. Sorry, I'm sure you don't want this post to turn into a conversation or debate about religion. It just brought up childhood feelings for me. You are an amazing writer.

  • At 10:14 PM, Blogger Terri said…

    I am a Christian, but I have to say I really enjoy your writing, and I can understand your aversion to church. I often wonder why anyone would want to be a Christian when there is so much hypocrisy and intolerance in too many churches. Unfortunately I have witnessed this firsthand, but I hold on to my faith. I also appreciate the honesty with which you write and the graciousness with which you apparently respond to those whose opinions are different from yours.

    I can see why such a spectacle at a funeral would get under your skin. These kinds of preachers get under mine and as I said I am a Christian.

    By the way, I found your blog through Antique Mommy.

  • At 10:24 PM, Blogger Terri said…

    Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I love your blog title and tag line. It's so clever and completely reeled me in when I first found the link on Antique Mommy's blog. It also sounds like something my husband would come up with if he began blogging which he won't because he really does think they're kind of stupid.

  • At 10:39 PM, Blogger Beaver said…

    I was hesitant with my earlier comment because I don't know you and wasn't sure how your story would turn out in the next several "chapters". I'm still not sure, but in reading your comment above I have an idea that there is still going to be some "soul searching" when it does end here in your blog. I grew up in church and have been a Christian for 30 years now. I'm only 37. My faith is strong. (However, I think I'd even feel pretty uncomfortable in the funeral service you describe so far!) I have trouble comprehending your thoughts as I have read them so far. But, I find them fascinating - and frightening. And for some reason, I want to know more of why you believe the way you do. I agree with Terri in her comment about hypocrisy and intolerance in "Christianity" and it saddens me. But I also sense God tugging at your heart in your writing - and that's what I'm anxious to read more about. You see, I've never had to wonder about my faith. Granted, I haven't had a perfect life or a perfect family by any means, but I fully trust that God is in control of my life and I allow Him to guide me. In reading just these past few "chapters" in your life, I find my eyes opened to - well, to I don't know what! I want to understand more of why people do and don't choose to believe that God is in control of everything in life - good or bad. Your blog has challenged me. I take my faith for granted so many times, but I don't step beyond my area of comfort to be as bold as Betsy has. I so want you to find peace in your mortality - something that only you can come to terms with. Yes, the prospect of how my body here on Earth will die does frighten me a bit, but the outcome far outweighs whatever agony I may have to endure to spend an ETERNITY in Heaven with the One True God who created us all!

  • At 10:40 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    BA: Your powerful writing continues and I am following every word. You write so well. I am a Southerner so I really understand what you describe. I left the South as a teenager and, as you know, now live in California. I do believe in God even though I don't go to church. The church is too full of hypocrites for my taste. Anyway, just wanted you to know that I understand a lot of your experience and I can really HEAR what you are saying and what you are not saying. It's often very, very difficult to believe in something that you can't see or smell or taste or feel or hear, etc. etc. I understand. Despite my basic beliefs, I still have lots of doubts about lots of different things within the church. I feel that I can (and do) believe in a "Greater Power", e.g. God, and still question a lot of the other stuff that fervent Christians spout as the "word of God". God didn't write the Bible, man did. And he included all his little prejudices as he wrote. Don't know if my feelings about all the hypocrisy and craziness in the church will ever change. Didn't mean to turn your comments section into a long ramble on religion. Sorry.

  • At 12:11 AM, Blogger painted maypole said…

    I did hear your longing in this post, and as a lifelong christian (from a family with an alarming amount of pastors) I know that funerals and weddings are times when people come to church that may not usually, and so the pastor often feels pressure to get the message across. Unfortunately, some do that with guilt and scare tactics. Others take the route that you heard in the singer... conviction and joy, talking of grace and love.

  • At 12:19 AM, Blogger Girlplustwo said…

    wow. sister. i've been in similar situations and i know the internal struggles you speak of. whether to laugh hysterically or fall down sobbing. the truth is fleeting and laden. guilt. fear. relief. all of it. i could say more. maybe offline, someday we will.

    i know. and this series is absolutely incredible.

  • At 6:36 AM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    I was raised a Catholic (which I no longer am) but got 'involved' in a different church in my youth and was really, truly frightened by those speaking in tongues, fainting, etc. You just don't see that in a Catholic mass!

    I feel as if I'm right in the room with you as I read this. I can even see the people shunning poor Duane as he walks through town!

  • At 7:58 AM, Blogger Sarah said…

    Powerful stuff. And I'd have been uncomfortable too. But fascinated at the same time.

  • At 8:32 AM, Blogger Cindy-Still His Girl said…

    Wow. I loved reading your own thoughts in your comments here; giving me a glimpse of the author's heart.

    I myself am a Christian; my faith really defines me. My husband is a minister, so I am CONSTANTLY surrounded by other Christians.

    Because of that, your writing is a gift to me...I often wonder what people who don't share my faith must think when we are moved to tears or loud expression during a worship service or yes, even a funeral. I wonder what the "Churchese" sounds like to others; what we may do (unintentionally) that could really make someone uncomfortable.

    This story series is my first visit to your blog, so I haven't read much about your own path or questions or struggles with faith. I'd love to hear more.

    And because I DO believe that God longs for a relationship with you (and that deep down, you may be longing for it, too), I am going to be praying for you. Not just that you'd "come around" and be "saved," but that you would continually seek and ask and search and question; that eventually you would find answers that lead you to Him. I hope that one day you will know Him in an intimate and loving way.

    You are a gifted writer, and your story here will give me much to think on.

    You've handled the questions and comments here with such grace and honesty. I'm amazed! Can't wait to read more.

  • At 4:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh, God ! You nailed it - suddenly, it was 1982 again...I'm 18 and at my only sister's AnotherSmallSouthnernTown. Her Preacher did the same exact thing..that is until he caught sight of me staring stonily back at him, DARING him to contine turning my sister's funeral into a damned Revival meeting!!!
    Honestly, if It had not been her service, I would have had no compunctions about getting up and walking out !!

  • At 7:52 PM, Blogger mimi said…

    Thank you Betsy for posting your comments. Your thoughts on this blog are mine exactly only I can't express myself as well as you did and I would have come across as judgemental. You didn't. I am so glad you posted.


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