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Source: (consider it) Thread: Does Christianity have anything to say to the bereaved?
Raptor Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
Quite so Martin. God's Eternity is like the ocean and we are riding on the HMS Universe.

Not that I'd necessarily want to say to a recently bereaved person that their loved one had simply fallen into God's sea. Rather easier than getting into all that Heaven and Hell stuff though.

If we are already in God's sea, it may be the greater consciousness of this that we can look forward to when we die.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Patdys
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This is a fascinating thread to read.
I am not sure death really ends the relationship we have with those we love.
I believe...
As we are created in the image of God, Imago Dei, I believe that that image of God is relational. The Trinity is example of relationship and Christ both example and point of reference in order we can participate in the Trinitarian love or dance...
As relational beings, I think relationship continues. When others have touched our hearts, that touch continues when we reflect upon them.
Being alive is secondary to this.
Life is different when someone dies. There is a person sized space in our soul/psyche. Life continues but it is different.
My answer to whether I can continue relationship after someone dies is, I think we can continue now. Imperfectly (as when they were alive), but still able to continue.

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Huia
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When my mother was terminally ill she asked me if her parents and sister would be waiting for her when she died. Knowing what she wanted to hear I said "yes" as positively as I could and she was comforted ( I know this from her demeanour and from something she said to Dad). This is not actually what I believe, but it wasn't the time to enter into theological debate, and who knows anyway?

Then, when she died someone who was hoping to offer comfort asserted that she would be "looking down (on me) from heaven." Even though I didn't believe it I was totally freaked out. I remember her with love, but to have her "looking down from heaven" sounded really threatening.

Huia

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Charity gives food from the table, Justice gives a place at the table.

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Huia:
I remember her with love, but to have her "looking down from heaven" sounded really threatening.

This is where I am grateful to have what I consider to be solid information about the life after death (even if it is not accepted as solid by most people.)

That is, I think, a perfectly understandable response.

The key to avoiding an understanding of our loved ones "looking down on us" that is not freakish or threatening is to grasp the difference between that nature of our consciousness in the two worlds.

Our loved ones are intimately connected with us spiritually, but they do not consciously look down on us. They live their life.

On the other hand, if they become angels their consciousness is expanded, and they have a clearer awareness of their connection with us and its influence. Hence guardian angels.

That's the Swedenborgian view, for what it is worth. [Biased]

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Freddy
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Oops. I said "that is not freakish." I meant "that is freakish."

Here is a one minute video about it.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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shadeson
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To make clear what I have failed to say in this thread.

I believe that Jesus did speak literally to Nicodemus - that we must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God.There may be parallel meanings for this life as there are in the concept of the Kingdom starting now, but I think there will be a literal re-birth. Literal by some means in a re-created universe in which our inherent character is preserved i.e. female and male mental character included but no sexual differences apart from that.

This means that people who have suffered greatly will have the trauma erased.

It may well be said we would forget those we love, but God is able to make us known to each other - and our past as far as he wishes.

The fact that it is the 'Kingdom of God' means that our will can no longer prevail for any evil action. This will cause suffering to those who have a natural inclination to dominate and are told of their history of cruelty and power over others.(incidentally, this life is the only one where we live 'like god', knowing/experiencing both good and evil)

Since this is all in another time and place and a new creation there is no sense in which we could see our world now - no looking down from heaven!

I believe there will be enough pleasure in bringing up the children born into that re-creation (and heaven knows there are enough of them without even a toe hold in this life) to keep us occupied along with the many things we enjoy now.

Pain will not be a problem. It will bring spice to living, if healing is always possible.

Of course we cannot fully conceive imperishable life in a new creation but we can conceive a varied one which goes on forever.

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Martin60
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Not too shabby shadeson, not too shabby.

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Love wins

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Belle Ringer
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quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:

Our loved ones are intimately connected with us spiritually, but they do not consciously look down on us. They live their life.

The problem I have (one of ignorance) is, what about those who never had loved ones? The Loner who was taught and believes "no one can love you". They have no lover to meet in the afterlife because they "learned" no one loved them. Are they alone forever?
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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Belle Ringer:
The problem I have (one of ignorance) is, what about those who never had loved ones? The Loner who was taught and believes "no one can love you". They have no lover to meet in the afterlife because they "learned" no one loved them. Are they alone forever?

According to this system no one is alone forever. Everyone has a perfect match, and they meet in heaven if not in this world.

Aside from which, everyone is spiritually in the midst of a community of people like themselves throughout their whole life, although they are never aware of it. This community, which changes according to many factors during a person's lifetime, is intimately connected to the person.

When the person dies they find themselves in the presence of these people, people who are similar to them and who love them. And from there they make choices as to their eternal home and their eternal community.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
The interesting question is whether Christians who believe in eternal life are more likely to be selfish than those who don't.

If you don't mind my saying this Svitlana, eternal life is sufficiently fundamental to Christianity that it's a bit difficult to imagine the concept of consistent Christians who don't believe in it.


I haven't been following this thread up until now, but two thoughts to throw in. My apologies if someone has said either of these before:-

1. However consoling it might be just to say things that are nice, we are committed to a message that we say is objectively true. If so, can it ever be right to comfort people with a version of it that is not true? And

2. Going back to the title and the OP, which other belief systems have a message to say to the bereaved?

'That's it folks', as per Dawkins et al, isn't a message.

[ 14. December 2016, 19:31: Message edited by: Enoch ]

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Lamb Chopped
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We all of us have the Lord ( which is bound to be a greater joy and comfort in the actual experience than it is for most people looking forward!) And as Lewis said, we can pretty safely extrapolate from what we DO know of God to anticipate that, if he takes one good away (say, marriage) it is only to give us something even more fulfilling--not to leave us longing.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
We all of us have the Lord ( which is bound to be a greater joy and comfort in the actual experience than it is for most people looking forward!) And as Lewis said, we can pretty safely extrapolate from what we DO know of God to anticipate that, if he takes one good away (say, marriage) it is only to give us something even more fulfilling--not to leave us longing.

Whoever trusts in God this way will surely be blessed. That is most definitely the way to go.

I think, though, that it is easier to believe when we have credible and useful information.

As Enoch just said:
quote:
1. However consoling it might be just to say things that are nice, we are committed to a message that we say is objectively true.
I agree that we should be committed to what is objectively true. I think that we should look for objective truths that will support belief.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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'sall depending, innit?

It depends on whether we believe there's an afterlife or not; pace Enoch, not every Christian does.

Secondly, it depends whether we believe that afterlife will be a pleasant thing for everyone, or some, or none. Most Christians who believe in an afterlife actually, theoretically at any rate, presumably believe the second, as that's the logical position for Evangelicals, and explicitly the teaching of the RCC. And both of them have a distinctly unpleasant afterlife for those who don't get the pleasant one.

So, frankly, no, traditional Christianity doesn't have anything to say to the bereaved (or at least something they'd want to hear) in the majority of cases. Most people do not meet the criteria that the RCC or traditional evangelicalism set up for getting the pleasant afterlife, so in fact the message in most cases would be "Sorry, they're burning in Hell."

Funnily enough, that's not what most people say. Which makes me conclude they don't really believe what their traditions teach. If they did, they'd have been willing to crawl naked over broken glass before bereavement occurred to get the dying on the right path. But they don't.

Compared with that message, Dawkins' one sounds quite positive.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
'sall depending, innit?

Translation?

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
'sall depending, innit?

Translation?
'It's all depending, isn't it?'

[mutters]I dunno, y'think yer posting in English....[/mutters]

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
'sall depending, innit?

Translation?
'It's all depending, isn't it?'

[mutters]I dunno, y'think yer posting in English....[/mutters]

The rural equivalent here would be " 'pends eh".

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
The interesting question is whether Christians who believe in eternal life are more likely to be selfish than those who don't.

If you don't mind my saying this Svitlana, eternal life is sufficiently fundamental to Christianity that it's a bit difficult to imagine the concept of consistent Christians who don't believe in it.


It was no prophet's flag is set so... who posited eternal life as a problem, not myself. But with such a diversity of beliefs held by practising Christians, even the clergy, it's hard to imagine that there aren't quite a few who don't really believe in this concept.
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Martin60
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I find the concept utterly unimaginable or rather only imaginable as fantasy, utterly unreal, utterly unbelievable. Infinite, eternal, physical reality is perfect, needs no supernatural explanation for which there is no evidence whatsoever.

But then there's Jesus ...

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Love wins

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shadeson
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch

However consoling it might be just to say things that are nice, we are committed to a message that we say is objectively true. If so, can it ever be right to comfort people with a version of it that is not true?

What is your version of the truth? I'm interested to know as I was expecting someone to say something similar.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch

Going back to the title and the OP, which other belief systems have a message to say to the bereaved?

I thought Islam had a teaching.

"But those who die while not believing that“There is no true god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God ” or are not Muslim will lose Paradise forever and will be sent to Hellfire"

Sometimes I think that God allowed Islam to grow to mock our parallel belief system. Especially after watching 'Muslims like us' with the murdererous threats to the Shia by the Sunni over the correct holy succession.

It made me think of the old dispute about St Peter. What Peter said about Jesus vs the man Peter being the rock on which the church is founded.

Jesus said the Holy Spirit will teach you all things, not that we would have a theology set in stone.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
The interesting question is whether Christians who believe in eternal life are more likely to be selfish than those who don't.

If you don't mind my saying this Svitlana, eternal life is sufficiently fundamental to Christianity that it's a bit difficult to imagine the concept of consistent Christians who don't believe in it.


It was no prophet's flag is set so... who posited eternal life as a problem, not myself. But with such a diversity of beliefs held by practising Christians, even the clergy, it's hard to imagine that there aren't quite a few who don't really believe in this concept.
Not sure about disbelieving or believing, but my position is that it doesn't matter very much, and when the time comes I'll find out. The goal of Christianity being more sensibly and less selfishly to focus on life now, with post-life things not cause anxiety or worry, because they will take care of themselves. Notwithstanding that living forever is both a lovely idea and a horrid one, depending on how things are going.

I know there are cultural Christians who dispose of most supernatural aspects and live in accord with distilled principles from Christianity. Jesus setting an example of how to live, and little more.

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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Martin60
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Less is more. Less supernatural claims, less accompanying exclusion, literalism, damnationism creates space for more of the beatitudes, more incarnationality, more inclusive trajectory with confidence within and beyond this life.

Heaven can wait.

The trouble is we're so bad at doing the more that I doubt that the less would help. There seems to have to be a lot of the less for there to be any of the more.

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Love wins

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Martin60
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Sorry, tangential from this, but damnationism is SO real. So much a part of the dread of the bereaved. I've it encountered time after time at church. The best that is said is "we don't know". A lovely, intelligent, mature, vastly capable woman whose brother committed suicide taking scant, desperate comfort from THAT! Not from good news being proclaimed from the front. All that is said from the front stirs up her anxiety.

Which isn't too tangential, but this might be, I'm on the desk for the homeless and vulnerable Xmas party last night and a young Anglo-Asian guy comes in to hand a Bible in that was given to him by some tract wielder. He didn't want it and didn't want to dispose of it disrespectfully, the his father being a Muslim it turned out, being the reason I suspect, which was touching.

My friend on the desk, a rabidly left wing evangelical, so not bad, inquired as to why? The chap then showed us the tract which contained the prominent threat that if you don't acknowledge Christ on your head be it.

I had a great conversation with him about his heart, his love for his parents, what he cared about, how he walked in the world, about what we bring to the party - especially whoever dragooned him with the tract, about what he thought was in Allah-God's heart. The poor chap was so relieved, so grateful.

I have NEVER known an Anglican congregation in over a decade where that dread isn't rampant and even revelled with.

Because nobody from the front knows otherwise.

I, like on God's intervention, arrogantly, KNOW.

Off to shoot the only Stranvaesia davidiana, the Chinese photinia, in many square miles of Leicester before it's too dark.

[ 17. December 2016, 14:30: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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SvitlanaV2
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In the MOTR/liberal catholic CofE churches I've come across 'damnationism' wouldn't be entertained. Not publicly, anyway.

The challenge, though, is that without some sort of theological 'damnationism' Christianity becomes both more benign but also less compelling. The disappearance of hell has been proposed as one of the (many) causes of secularisation. Moderate Christians feel less need to evangelise or to share their faith with their children.

I'm not saying that if we reinstated hell our churches would be full. It's too late for that, even if we actually believed in it. And of course evangelism exists outside of hardcore damnationist churches. But my sense is that both evangelism and conversions (where they can be found) now occur principally for this-worldly reasons.

So, to get back on topic, someone who decides to attend church after a bereavement does so not so much in the hope of meeting their loved one in heaven eventually, and certainly not to avoid hell, but in order to feel better now.

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rolyn
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:

I'm not saying that if we reinstated hell our churches would be full. It's too late for that, even if we actually believed in it. And of course evangelism exists outside of hardcore damnationist churches. But my sense is that both evangelism and conversions (where they can be found) now occur principally for this-worldly reasons.


The reintroduction of fire and brimstone, of which a significant part of the Bible is made up, could have a short term evangelical effect but I think way too much water has passed under the Church's bridge for that to strike a chord with anyone much these days.

Originally posted by SvitlanaV2 :

So, to get back on topic, someone who decides to attend church after a bereavement does so not so much in the hope of meeting their loved one in heaven eventually, and certainly not to avoid hell, but in order to feel better now.

A sense of community is pretty much all the church can offer now. But even a bereaved person finding solace in a church setting might only be postponing the inevitable.
Lately we hear of people happily married for years, losing their spouse and very quickly finding intimacy and happiness with another. Given this, and the general happiness and pleasure seeking contentment of the vast secular majority appear to enjoy, it often occurs to me that the liberal church has nothing much to say to anyone about anything let alone bereavement.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:

I think way too much water has passed under the Church's bridge for [hell] to strike a chord with anyone much these days.

That's what I meant, yes.

quote:

The reintroduction of fire and brimstone, of which a significant part of the Bible is made up, could have a short term evangelical effect.

Do you think so? I think even that's unlikely in most Western environments. OTOH, Martin60's local 'damnationist' congregations are apparently not finding their theology a barrier to attracting and keeping members. This is probably because those churches are committed to evangelism.

I disagree that a large part of the Bible is made up of 'fire and brimstone'. Considering how awful a prospect that stuff is, relatively little is said about it.


quote:
A sense of community is pretty much all the church can offer now.

Interestingly, David Voas, an academic who does research into religious populations, has said the same thing; community is what people might want from churches, not religion. But most people can find a more congenial type of community elsewhere.


quote:
Thd liberal church has nothing much to say to anyone about anything let alone bereavement.

In theory, liberal-leaning churches are better at providing pastoral care than at judging people, so they should be very good places for the bereaved to be.

It would be interesting to know if any research has been done into how different denominations or types of church handle the bereaved, and which approaches are the most effective or the most appreciated.

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rolyn
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Yes, despite my own negative posturings I do think the church does has something to offer. Always difficult to pinpoint exactly what that "something" is though.

Hell and damnation does stick in the craw of most, even church goers themselves. The casual observer tends to think some of the really grim stuff is the preserve of OT, that is until anyone actually reads the Bible.
What OT largely appears to be saying is that when you're dead you're dead, (which ironically falls in line with present-day secularism). It is the NT information on what happens to us after we are dead where things tend to get a little complicated.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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Martin60
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SvitlanaV2, where do you find all these MOTR/liberal catholic CofE churches?! I've never found myself in one. Which is a lie. St. Pancras. You couldn't get higher up the candle. You could: All Saints in Northampton. They had a thurible in full swing and you had to turn round at one point! And the priest said 'sod'! But no trace of Mary, whereas she was all over St. Pancras. St. Matthews Northampton was high church it turned out so I couldn't take communion. At least St. Giles were inclusive in that regard, but allowed bizarre claims to be testified. You can't win 'em all.

No wonder millenials are over church.

And rolyn, you ae right. Jesus gives us Hell in spades. We have to get over that. The church has EVERYTHING to offer. Eternal life. In this life and beyond. It has ALL the answers, in the trajectory of Jesus.

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Love wins

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
SvitlanaV2, where do you find all these MOTR/liberal catholic CofE churches?!

I get the impression from the Ship that congregational differences in CofE churchmanship are spread rather unevenly around the country. So one area will have a cluster of liberal catholic churches, another will have a lot of evangelical ones, etc. This seems a bit daft, because it reduces the amount of choice available for a given community. But I suppose there are historical reasons for it.

In the broad area around me, liberal catholic seems to predominate. Towards the inner city end you get more Anglo-Catholic ones, and that's made obvious because they write it on their noticeboards.

One Sunday I did go to an evangelical service at a CofE church not far away, but the very small (though well-heeled) congregation was dwarfed in its cavernous church, and there was no sense of cultural ascendancy or dominance.

Perhaps in your area the historical Nonconformists are the ones to turn to if you prefer non-conservative Protestant options? With the partial exception of the Baptists, though, they probably don't provide much competition for the 'damnationist' CofE congregations. Comments on the Ship imply that many churchgoers would rather have the rituals and heritage of a disagreeable form of Anglicanism than the less sacramental or liturgical worship of a more moderate and tolerant Nonconformity.

Or, to go back to rolyn, maybe the CofE simply offers a more attractive community life, and what it officially says or doesn't say about the afterlife is largely irrelevant to many of its attenders.

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Martin60
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I will if I want and I will if I don't want SvitlanaV2! In other words I feel compelled to stay no matter what. No matter how bad. And it's bad the great majority of the time. Damnationism and the prophetic. There are six of us I know of out of six hundred. Liberals. It'll be in the novel. If Oasis was within walking distance mind ...

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SvitlanaV2
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Six hundred! Forgive me, but you sound like a small fish in a very big pond. You might have a more significant impact in a more normal sized congregation. (The average congregation had 108 members in 2010, according to Church Statistics). It's the big churches that can run the big social projects, though, so I understand why you'd choose that environment. We all have to do what seems best for us.

To those (churches) who have, more will be given.

[ 19. December 2016, 19:40: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Martin60
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There's no other shoal SvitlanV2. And yeah I'm a little, old grey fish who can't fit in on the inside but turns up and sings the hymns and gets to swim on the wild side on a Friday night.

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2 In theory, liberal-leaning churches are better at providing pastoral care than at judging people, so they should be very good places for the bereaved to be. [/QB]
Where do you get that idea from? It's not true IME of 40 years of church experience - the Liberals are far more judgmental once the surface niceness is scratched.
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ThunderBunk

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quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2 In theory, liberal-leaning churches are better at providing pastoral care than at judging people, so they should be very good places for the bereaved to be.

Where do you get that idea from? It's not true IME of 40 years of church experience - the Liberals are far more judgmental once the surface niceness is scratched. [/QB]

Erm, would you care to define your terms, and/or adduce some kind of evidence? This feels like handwaving to me.

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Currently mostly furious, and occasionally foolish. Normal service may resume eventually. Or it may not. And remember children, "feiern ist wichtig".

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Martin60
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I can be very illiberal in my response to illiberalism.

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Love wins

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2 In theory, liberal-leaning churches are better at providing pastoral care than at judging people, so they should be very good places for the bereaved to be.

Where do you get that idea from? It's not true IME of 40 years of church experience - the Liberals are far more judgmental once the surface niceness is scratched.
ISTM that the liberal-leaning judgmental attitude you're talking about tends to be aimed at prominent evangelicalism, not at grieving families.

I'm not referring to theological disagreements between ministers, nor awkward culture clashes between the self-selecting people who go to ecumenical meetings, but about regular grassroots work: the clergy (and possibly pastoral teams, etc.) facing needy laypeople.

The CofE's evangelical clergy are sometimes given a bad rap for their attitude towards outsiders who come asking for infant baptisms - or even weddings and funerals - while their more liberal colleagues are depicted as having a more tolerant approach. Indeed, I understand that some vicars (probably the more liberal ones?) actually like interacting with the wider public more than interacting with their congregations, perhaps seeing the former as more reflective of their duty of care to the whole parish.

The demographics of many liberal-leaning congregations may also make a certain kind of pastoral care simply more urgent than in evangelical congregations. My former (Methodist) minister once said that pastoral work was his favourite part of the job. Although he likes youth work, pastoral care in the Methodist Church frequently means ministering to elderly church members (many of whom are the liberalisers of yesterday). There is the usual church conflict between and among clergy and laity, but judging in this kind of pastoral work is certainly not on.

There are different kinds of church liberal, of course, and some are more liberal than others.

[ 23. December 2016, 23:23: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
In theory, liberal-leaning churches are better at providing pastoral care than at judging people, so they should be very good places for the bereaved to be.
Where do you get that idea from? It's not true IME of 40 years of church experience - the Liberals are far more judgmental once the surface niceness is scratched.

Seems like a false dichotomy squared at least. I don't see liberals being necessarily better for the bereaved. And I don't see how liberals being illiberal with illiberals makes them worse.

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Love wins

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SvitlanaV2
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My (clumsy) post was trying to say that the context is perhaps one reason why more liberal or moderate clergy might be particularly pastorally-focused, which obviously includes their dealings with the bereaved.

I believe some studies suggest that more liberal clergy are far more comfortable with pastoral work than with evangelism, which would seem somewhat relevant to the topic of this thread.

However, I wasn't implying that liberal clergy are nicer or can offer more comfort or better theological arguments to families in mourning than clergy of another type.

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Martin60
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Indeed not SvitlanaV2. Mourning isn't the time for theological arguments at all. It's the time for mourning. Most people, regardless of how inadequate their theology one way or the other, are naturally good at that.

The worst I've seen was by a village CoE vicar at the funeral of the young guy who died a day after my dad, both obscenely, a couple of days after their plane crash, with the guy's mother there. You could tell the vicar was completely out of his emotional and theological depth, laughing nervously, floridly, saying that 'Johnny is looking down from heaven on us laughing.'. OK for a bunch blokes. Not a mother. Nobody else laughed at that liberally inclusive attempt of pap.

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Love wins

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SvitlanaV2
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Mainstream clergy seem to believe that a little light humour will reduce the tension at funerals. I remember the minister at my mother's funeral cracking some sort of joke. I didn't laugh, but some people did.

At a funeral a few months later, I made a private comment about my deceased mother and a newly deceased church friend pursuing their hobbies together in heaven. It is theological pap, isn't it? But it's the kind of thing people say.

It's hard for the clergy. We turn to them because we want something 'traditional', yet few of us still have a truly traditional faith. But the clergy aren't trained to provide 'popular religion', so they risk failing if they try to lighten the mood with that.

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Gramps49
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Sometimes the best thing the church can give to the bereaved is silence and presence. Consider the friends of Job. He appears to have gotten great comfort when they just sat with him, but they made the mistake of finally speaking.

A community of faith does well when it just shows it is there for the bereaved.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
Sometimes the best thing the church can give to the bereaved is silence and presence. Consider the friends of Job. He appears to have gotten great comfort when they just sat with him, but they made the mistake of finally speaking.

A community of faith does well when it just shows it is there for the bereaved.

This. Though from my own cultural perspective, to silence and presence I would add food.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Martin60
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And drink!

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Love wins

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shadeson
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I am rather ignorant of what happens in more fundamentalist churches.
Do Elim/Pentecostal 'do' funerals for unbelieving family members? What do they usually say?
I'm not sure either about Catholics though they have purgatory of course and could resort to this.
My own Methodist Church would, like the local C of E go through the usual form without any questions though I've yet to attend the funeral of an out and out rogue!

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Baptist Trainfan
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I can't answer that.

What I do know is that ministers conducting the funerals of "committed Christians" will sometimes (or even often?) preach a Gospel sermon along the lines of "They knew where they were going - but what about you?"

I've been to such services and felt that the minister was exploiting vulnerable and grieving people. However they saw things in terms of speaking bluntly to people who would not normally be "exposed" to the Gospel message, at a time when they might be more "open" to thinking about their ultimate destination.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by shadeson:

Do Elim/Pentecostal 'do' funerals for unbelieving family members? What do they usually say?

My uncle and mother were raised as Pentecostals, but as they hadn't been members in later life it was considered easier to have them buried by the Methodist church, with which the family also has a connection. But if my mother had died in the country of her birth she'd probably have had a Pentecostal funeral, and been happy about that.

I have been to Pentecostal funerals, though. The pastors do tend to preach at the visitors. But the funerals I go to generally attract mourners who have some cultural or personal familiarity with a certain kind of church life, and I think many of them would feel a bit 'cheated' if a Pentecostal pastor started to sound like a CofE vicar on one of these occasions!

It might be more bewildering or hurtful for an unchurched family in a different cultural environment. I suppose awkwardness could be avoided by holding a private cremation for the family, and then a memorial service for church friends.

[ 29. December 2016, 18:11: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Gramps49
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On time, as a military chaplain, I was assigned a funeral of an airman who had committed suicide rather than return to a remote tour of duty in the North Sea. When I arrived to do the service, the family asked that their Conservative Baptist pastor be allowed to say a few words. I agreed and at after the reading of Scripture (which I had selected) I allowed him to speak. To say the least, that minister condemned the man to hell for committing suicide. The family was devastated. Then I got up to speak. I spoke on the Quintessence of the New Testament. I did not speak to any details of the man, just to the basic message of the NT. The conservative preacher did not even stay for me to complete my sermon.

A number of weeks later I met the former wife of the airman on another base. She told me how much she had appreciated my words. She said the family quit going to the family church after the funeral.

Point is, just stick to the good news in such situations.

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SvitlanaV2
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The pastor in question clearly didn't see it as his theological duty to give comfort or 'good news' in this situation. Maybe he fully expected family members to leave the church as a result of what he said.

IMO if the family members didn't already know about the pastor's uncompromising beliefs about hell and suicide then there was clearly a communication failure on his behalf. This isn't the sort of thing you ought to discover about your own pastor on the day of a funeral.

[ 29. December 2016, 20:33: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Kelly Alves

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Thank God you were there, Gramps. Poor family.

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"Take your broken heart, make it into art"-- Carrie Fisher (1956-2016)

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Martin60
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Damnationism is rampant in Christianity and Islam which interweaves with their predestinarianism. The chicken that lays those rotten eggs is ignorant, illiberal conservatism.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
On time, as a military chaplain, I was assigned a funeral of an airman who had committed suicide rather than return to a remote tour of duty in the North Sea. When I arrived to do the service, the family asked that their Conservative Baptist pastor be allowed to say a few words. I agreed and at after the reading of Scripture (which I had selected) I allowed him to speak. To say the least, that minister condemned the man to hell for committing suicide. The family was devastated. Then I got up to speak. I spoke on the Quintessence of the New Testament. I did not speak to any details of the man, just to the basic message of the NT. The conservative preacher did not even stay for me to complete my sermon.

A number of weeks later I met the former wife of the airman on another base. She told me how much she had appreciated my words. She said the family quit going to the family church after the funeral.

Point is, just stick to the good news in such situations.

Having organized 5 funerals as a family member or friend, I learned after the first one to ask the priest or minister ahead of time what they intend to say and not to be afraid to say "that doesn't fit". Not uncommon here. Also so a personal reflection from a priest isn't included. And to talk to the organist about what to play and not to play. (Amazing Grace is never allowed in my family due to bad associations)

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(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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