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Bartleby the Scrivener vegan27
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The greatest benefit of organized religion is knowing what is expected of you in life. One great post-benefit is offering structure to those you leave behind when planning your funeral. Figuring out even a modest memorial for someone who did not belong to an organized religion is not easy, and my mom and I (who are the de facto planners of this memorial) are not sure what to do. Bob definitely believed in an afterlife, and I think he believed in God, but I don't think he believed that Jesus was the son of God, although he was baptized in a Lutheran church.

Does it make sense to find a nondenominational ... I guess, pastor of some kind? To say a few words at the memorial? It would obviously have to be a very liberal, gay-friendly individual.

It feels necessary to have a speaker say comforting words at a funeral. Personally, I don't like the way they usually emphasize Heaven. ("They're in Heaven, they have a physical body up there, they're with Jesus and and their family, they're happy and they're waiting for you," etc.) Those are legitimate philosophical positions, but not all of us have made that leap of faith. On the other end, the people who want to avoid that position say, "They live on in our hearts and memories." That's not comforting for someone who is afraid of death--we don't want to live on as a memory, we want our minds and our consciousnesses to survive death! (Of course there is rebirth in Theravada Buddhism, but the details are not very comforting.) I am also annoyed by cliches such as "live on in our hearts" and "touched our lives".

I would prefer someone whose comforting words emphasize the idea that the deceased's life had meaning, that human relationships have meaning, and that life is worth living. I prefer that we the living express our gratitude for having known a person, and that we use what we learned from knowing them in order to improve our selves and our relationships with other human beings.

I have thought about being the one to speak at the memorial, but since Bob believed in God, and since most of the expected attendance probably do, the absence of any reference to God will probably be conspicuous to the point of unintentionally offending people.

I guess what I'm saying is, do you know any liberal, gay-friendly Unitarian ministers who are available on February 22nd?

I can ask my brother if you want... He's super liberal and awesome and loving... I know he would be very open to the needs of the family. (He's United Methodist, and I have no idea what his plans for Feb 22nd are, but could ask.)

Cakes knows someone in the funeral business who specializes in what we need. She is supposed to contact us soon, but if she doesn't, we may need to continue searching.