Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Funerals and fitba.

Yesterday I nipped over the Forth to attend my cousin's wife's funeral. They were married 31 years ago and their wedding was the 1st time I ever went to a church service. The sermon was so dull, I curled up on a pew and had a snooze! Therefore I was a bit surprised when it turned out to be a humanist service. This was the 1st time I'd ever been to a humanist funeral, so I was a very interested observer. The officiant had certainly done his homework and gave a very thorough eulogy and thanks giving for Margo's life. The lack of hymns meant it was rather a monologue, which made it seem to drag on a bit more than was helpful. But there were certain elements of the content which did surprise me.

The reference to the family praying was a slight surprise. The use of the phrase "rest in peace" was another. But the message that we will all be reunited eventually baffled me. At least in the context of humanism. It came across as all the good bits of the gospel, minus the messy, inconvenient or challenging bits. Cheap grace, less the cross or passion and proffering our desires without the certainty of the promise given in Christ. I am genuinely ignorant of the contents of humanist beliefs and was a bit startled at the appropriation of Christian concepts and terminology. I'm by no manner of means anti-humanist - indeed, I once took a service in Iona Abbey with the late Derek Dunn who was a leading Edinburgh humanist. But I was honestly surprised at what was said.

Afterwards, having enjoyed ma's home made soup, it was off to Central park to watch the Blue Brazil play Albion Rovers in the Challenge Cup. We won 3-2. But the Rovers played as if they wanted to win and we gave them far, far too much possession and time in our half. Not good. The rematch in the league on Saturday should be lively. Mind you, I hope we do win and silence the noisy crew of Coatbridge Buckie slurpers in front of me of last night. Loud, pointless and annoying - you can tell them come from Bishop Joe Devine country!


  1. You ought to witness the Airdrie supporters! Much worse with a large dose of sectarianism thrown in. At least most of the Coatbridge lot are Roman Catholics!

  2. The Humanist officiant almost certainly designed the ceremony with the family some of whom probably wanted some reference to an afterlife and a bit about praying while others might have been a bit more traditionally humanist (who tend to be somewhat agnostic as far as an afterlife).

  3. Thanks for that. That makes a degree of sense to me. I'd naively assumed humanist = atheist rather than agnostic.