Putting flowers on graves

Many of us will observe Memorial Day by putting flowers on the graves of loved ones.  This custom seems almost universal.  In fact, archaeologists studying the burial site of a stone-age woman have found that the cave dwellers put flowers on her grave.

It’s a beautiful, touching custom.  It feels deeply meaningful, but what does it mean?  Why do you think people do this? [Read more...]

Google is investing in letting us live for 500 years

Google is putting some of its gazillions of dollars into a venture capital fund.  Its goal is to fund research that will let us live for 500 years. [Read more...]

The fastest-growing new religious movement

Several years ago,  I blogged about the adoration of Santa Muerte,  St. Death (as in a feminine saint), the hooded skeleton being venerated by Mexican drug lords.  But now prayers to this saint and the sale of her images and icons have come into the mainstream, and not just in Hispanic enclaves but throughout the world.  You can now find her images in Wal-Mart.

Although the Santa Muerte cult takes the form of the veneration of saints in Roman Catholicism, the Church strongly opposes the practice.   Taping dollar bills to her statue and leaving cigarettes and liquor as offerings are thought to cause Santa Muerte to provide good luck and protection.  One expert says that worship of “Holy Death” is “the fastest-growing new religious movement.”  I suppose it is fitting that a culture of death has a religion of death.

Read about the phenomenon after the jump.

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Six things not to say at a funeral

Chad Bird lists six things that he does NOT want said at his funeral. [Read more...]

The Visitation

How I dreaded the “visitation.”  Having to see my father’s dead body.  Having to meet and greet well-wishers while being in a highly emotional state.   What a horrible ordeal this is going to be, I thought.  And yet, the visitation on Thursday night was strangely healing.  I’m not sure why, but it was.  I do have some ideas, though. [Read more...]

Making the arrangements

My heart isn’t in blogging today.  I’m certainly not in the mood to complain about the culture, worry about politics, or pick theological arguments.  Death gives a different kind of perspective, an eternal perspective, that, for all its hurt, is  healthy for me to consider. With my mother, my brother, and my sister, we have been “making arrangements” for my father’s funeral Friday.  [Read more...]


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