Sunday, August 12, 2007

Church Funeral Denied

Would you attempt to graduate from a college you did not attend?  Ridiculous question, right? 

So where is the logic behind this dilemma?

A gay man who died while waiting on a heart transplant was first offered a funeral by the Church where his brother was employed as a janitor,  and then they rescinded the offer when they learned he was gay.  They did, however, offer to pay for a service elsewhere - the family did not accept.

Couple of things got my attention here… first of all, why wouldn’t the family of ANY person who is not affiliated with a church simply have a service at the funeral home or graveside? Working at a Church does not make you a member of a Church, just an employee, and the employee in this case was the deceased's brother.

Secondly, all churches have a set of rules, a doctrine, not usually created by the pastor, unless he has been with them since the beginning, which may or may not have rules regarding who can use their services.

Like it or not, it is a community or “club,” of people who are registered “members,” who share common thoughts, beliefs, likes and dislikes and who contribute to the funding and operation of that church with their own money, so yes, they are entitled to make their own rules. We may not like the rules, but it’s not our place to judge them.   The general public is not entitled to any service from any church.

You don’t apply for graduation from a school if you didn’t attend the school, so why should you expect full acceptance and a proper send-off from a church you were not a member of and didn’t help support?   No, it's not about the money, it's about membership and stewardship.  A little logic and common sense would help here. Churches basically serve members and their families, not outsiders.  Since this man's brother was a janitor at the church, not a member, they had no obligation to break their own rules.

All churches are not involved in their community providing community help and/or services. They should be, but not all church members are spiritually enlightened. They are on a journey of learning and evolving as a follower of Christ, hopefully, but I will not condemn them just because they are still babes.

Find another church. Simple.

I don’t know about this particular person, whether or not he professed to be a Christian.

Word of warning though, you can’t expect a Christian sendoff from any church if you are not a Christian.  The church is not federally funded, and therefore you are not entitled to any special treatment from a church where you are not a registered member.

Now if you really think this is wrong, then you will have to apply that logic to other groups that require membership, such as country clubs (I'd love to go swimming) and warehouse shopping clubs (Sams, Costco) and the list could go on and on...  get the benefits without being a member?  Don't hold your breath.

At least churches don't REQUIRE you to pay, you just have to become a member to receive member benefits. 
Tithing is optional.

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