03 January 2011

A harangue

Today I attended with Tal a funeral for a colleague from his days as a state trooper.  In fact, Tal and the deceased went way back, having been in the same patrol class in the early 1950s.  It was a hard way to begin the year.

The funeral was some 40 miles away in a large, modern Baptist church.  Here I'm going to give away what I thought about the proceedings when I made one suggestion:  In this case the word "Baptist" would rightly be pronounced bab'-dist.  Sigh.

Within the the first two sentences of the pastor's talk I wanted out in the worst way.  It was a harangue -- a ranting speech -- intended to extol the one who had died and to inspire those gathered to say goodbye.  And, maybe it did that for some or even for most. 

But, from his chosen passage of scripture -- the 13th chapter of I Corinthians, the agape love passage, the pastor found a way to preach on and decry the state of manhood in the world.  As he made that transition, I went from incredulous to horrified, horrified at what I saw as the misuse of scripture, horrified at how strongly I reject the intimated view that the Christian male (probably white, as well) has an exclusive claim to leadership and power, horrified to realize that many, many people, probably most people I know, hold that view with fervor and passion.

I don't quite know what to do with all that, with today's sort of unwieldy experience.  I am glad we went to pay our respects and I am sad for Tal having lost yet another aspect of his personal history.  I am clear that I cannot possibly buy what I heard today, that I cannot be part of that way of looking at life. 

Destined to be in a minority, I suppose.  I'm certainly not going to be overrun with friends.

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