This Thanksgiving morning I am currently sitting in bed at Ed’s mother’s house hearing the sounds of recently-aquired family members downstairs. It’s an interesting feeling having been married less than a year now to be getting to know these people as family. Don’t know how to describe it exactly, but it’s been a good experience.
I want to list 10 things that I am thankful for in honor of Thanksgiving.
Freethought, and the freedom to express it.
Good water and food, not something that everyone in the world has.
A good job, especially in a time of high unemployment.
Science, for technology and for insights into who we are and where we come from.
All the people who have gone before who have fought and sacrificed much for freedom for Americans, for women, and for atheists.
Here is my experience from Grampa’s memorial service. It was, to my disappointment, much more churchy than Grandma’s was. The majority of the service was taken up in preaching, where apparently the most important thing about Grampa was his love for ‘the Lord’ and the belief that he was now in Heaven with Jesus. I know the preacher meant well, but I felt rather offended and isolated from the service when he assumed that everyone in the service, and in the family, was a Christian. The hymns I didn’t mind so much, since I know they are ones that Grampa would like. I had some comfort in knowing that there were others sitting in the family pews that had similar feelings.
The part that was truly touching and meaningful was when my aunt got up and read pieces that she and my uncle and other aunt wrote in memory of Grampa. My favorite part was her story about how Grampa let them all be children and would laugh and play with them. They also went on long trips in the car, which was a foreshadowing of the long car trips cross-country that I would go on with my parents. Those are some of my fondest childhood memories. I can definately see where Dad got a lot of his personality traits and his love for travel.
So I had mixed feelings about the memorial: a sense of isolation due to the abundance of religious preaching, but also a sense of connection from the stories told by my aunts and uncles.
My Grampa, my last remaining grandparent, died last Friday. He had been sick over the past week, and on Friday morning I got a call from Mom saying that they had taken him to the emergency room and found out that he had leukaemia. At about 2:30pm she called me at work to inform me that “Grampa has gone to heaven.” He was 90.
There is going to be a memorial service on Tuesday, at the church that Grampa attended–the one that I attended as a small child. This can be a tricky issue for an atheist in a mostly Christian family, but thankfully there is some degree of religious diversity in the family as well. That translates in most cases into a atmosphere of tolerance for different views, and a low likelihood that this memorial will turn into an appeal for the ‘unsaved’ to turn to God to avoid going to hell when they face death themselves. I’ve heard of such things from other people, but that is not my situation.
I cringe a bit inside when I hear someone say things like ‘Grandpa is with Grandma in heaven now’ or some such thing. Fine if that makes them feel better, and I’m definitely not going to pick fights with anyone over that sort of thing.
This will be a bit different from a usual funeral service. Grandma and Grampa both agreed — back in the 60′s I think I heard someone say — to donate their bodies to ‘medical science’ when they died. I personally think this is a great idea, since I think having one’s body pumped full of chemicals and buried in the ground in an expensive box is a bit wasteful. Please don’t take offence if you disagree.
So, there will be no body at the service and no burial. If it’s anything like Grandma’s memorial service, it will mainly be family members sharing memories about Grampa.
This is a story from back when I was going to school at Trevecca Nazarene University. I have to strain my memory a bit, back to a time when I will still a very sheltered Christian girl going to a Christian University. This is a story about the first agnostic I (knowingly) ever met. Continue reading →
I’m going to tell a bit about how I learned about sex, and why sex education is an important issue for me. My hope is that my story with help other girls who find themselves in the same situation that I was in.
Some of the details here I’m not exactly certain about and I will leave out any details that I deem too personal to share on the Internet. This is roughly chronological. Continue reading →
This morning at the clinic was SNAFU, as always. There were actually more protesters than usual, including a busload from the Kentucky Mountain Bible College, and a Catholic procession (assuming from the rosaries) who came late on the sidewalk opposite the clinic. Continue reading →
My husband and I took the kids out trick-or-treating last night. As it turns out, one family in the neighborhood thought they could help put some wayward child on the Christian path by taping some Bible verses onto pieces of Halloween candy. Continue reading →