Thursday, July 17, 2014

Natural Burial

My friend Polly posted today about an environmentalist's "green burial."  Although my perspective on natural burial comes from a VERY different place, the end result could look quite similar.  My pastor isn't exactly fond of cremation -- for theological reasons. 

I know that cremation grew out paganism.  I know that for many years the Church objected to it.  But I find it less objectionable than many of our current standard-American embalming/burial practices.  That said, I don't want to be cremated, and I don't intend to cremate anybody for whom I'm making funeral arrangements.

There is "green cemetery" space in Waukesha.   Although the cost is higher, there is also an option for "natural burial" in the regular parts of the cemetery, where a grave-marker can be placed.  For theological reasons, I think making note of the body's spot is important too, so ideally, I'm not keen on the idea of burying people "somewhere" on a prairie. 

The part of "natural burial" that troubles me most is the people that the family would be working with.  If their worldview and their theological perspective is the complete opposite of that of the grieving family, would that cause problems?  And if so, which would be easier to take: their weirdness or going along with Standard Procedure?

Current info on Wisconsin laws can be found here.
More info can be found in the 
video "A Family Undertaking."

Monday, July 14, 2014

Romans + Galatians

So that's why the sem makes guys take a course in either Romans or Galatians -- they say SO much the same thing!

Romans 7 -- I can't do the good I want to do. 
Galatians 5:17 "The flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish."

Romans 8:14 Those led by the Spirit of God are "sons of God."
Galatians 5:18  Those led by the Spirit of God "are not under the law."
Earlier in Galatians, Paul is on about how being-a-son means you're not-under-law.

Galatians 3:29 and 4:7 We are heirs according to the promise, no longer slaves but sons, an heir of God through Christ.
Romans 8:16-17 We are children of God, joint heirs with Christ.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


1. The book I'm reading about introverts and extroverts is full of stories.  More stories than research.  Anecdotal evidence doesn't bother me.  I usually enjoy stories.

2.  But one of the stories is about Al Gore and his passionate work to save the world from global warming.  Or climate change.  Or whatever we're calling it these days.  The author makes the point that Mr Gore worked doggedly on this issue for decades.  Few people listened to him because he is an introvert and doesn't make his case in a splashy way that draws the attention of extroverts.  She pointed out that Gore's movie finally woke up people to the danger we're in, so we're finally taking seriously the necessity to save the planet.

Normally, I will read such things and shake my head in disbelief.  I may crab about it a bit.  (Or more.)  And then I'll go on, taking the good parts of the book and ignoring the bad.  But this kind of book?  If the author believes the global warming and climate change are real, can I believe other things she says? 

3.  To add to my skepticism, she characterized the "Western God" as an extrovert, as seen in Jesus Christ Superstar where God's "son Jesus is kind and tender, but also a charismatic, crowd-pleasing man of influence."

Okay, maybe the Lord is an extrovert.  (What He's all about is giving Himself to others, pouring Himself out for us.)    But the author's source for this insight?

For real?  Jesus Christ Superstar?

4.  I did like the section on sensitivity, conscience, and guilt.  Apparently, introverts tend to feel guilty even when they've done nothing wrong.  They tend to feel embarrassed themselves when friends are teased.  They may fail lie-detector tests even when they're telling the truth. 

Story:  One day my brother and I came home from grade school on our lunch-hour. David and I watched one kid walking on the other side of the street take off his jacket.  Then he swung it at another kid, whipping him again and again.  That day Dad was working nearby so he happened to be home for lunch too.  As we told the story of the mean boy, Dad got mad.  He was angry at the kid for hurting the other child.  He went on and on about how the jacket-zipper could have cut the other child or injured an eye.  As an adult, I realize that everything Dad said that day was reasonable.  But in the midst of the situation, I felt accused.  I remember spouting, "Why are you mad at us?  We didn't do anything wrong!  We didn't hit anybody!"  Poor Dad.  He probably wondered where I came up with such a statement. 

And thus, the section about introverts feeling excess guilt resonated with me.

Queen of Heaven

Jeremiah calls the people to repentance for their offerings and their prayers to the "queen of heaven," Asherah.

It seems very odd that the Roman Catholic church would choose that phrase as a title for Mary, given the scriptural use of the term to refer to a false goddess.