No chat about afterlife inside death cafés?

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We’ve been doing death, so to speak, at my house the last few weeks — working through the aftermath, talking about grief, that sort of thing. So I immediately was drawn to an Associated Press piece highlighting end-of-life discussions taking place in informal settings throughout the U.S. and in major cities worldwide.

Death Cafés, they call them:

It can be tough to get a conversation going if you want to talk about the late stages of dementia, your last will and testament or the recent passing of your mother.

Boy, is it ever, let me tell you. Especially if a heart attack was involved. It makes everyone think twice about eating the cocktail weiners, too

I digress …

“When you’re at a cocktail party and you lead off by saying, ‘What do you think about death?’ it’ll be, ‘C’mon, man, it’s a party! Chill out!’ says Len Belzer, a retired radio host from New York.

Belzer is among a growing number of people around the world who are interested enough in death to gather in small groups in homes, restaurants and churches to talk about it.

The gatherings, known as Death Cafés, provide places where death can be discussed comfortably, without fear of violating taboos or being mocked for bringing up the subject.

Organizers say that there’s no agenda other than getting a conversation started — and that talking about death can help people become more comfortable with it and thereby enrich their lives.

AP takes us inside one such gathering in New York City, where a group of six asks questions, laughs and eats biscotti while chatting about their eventual demises or those of others they’ve known.

This is all well and good. And I imagine the biscotti was homemade and the tea was steamy and the weather was nice and cool. But isn’t there something missing? Oh yes, the afterlife. The hope. The eternal aspect of a soul that continues on. The part that really matters.

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Today’s Epistle reading is from the New York Times

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Last week, tmatt reflected on how the above reading at Margaret Thatcher’s funeral was being portrayed by some in the media. It seems some had a rather narrow and inaccurate interpretation of the text.

But I wanted to mention a couple of funny corrections affiliated with that text. People kept sending us emails about this and they finally added up. So here’s Foreign Policy:

After being carried through the streets of London in a flag-draped coffin aboard a gun carriage, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was laid to rest this morning in St. Paul’s Cathedral. But the big story of the day wasn’t Maggie. No, it was a 19-year-old Texan who stole the show from the deceased Iron Lady.

With a poise reminiscent of the elder Thatcher, Amanda Thatcher, Margaret’s granddaughter, delivered a reading from Ephesians that has the British media agog. Amanda, who lives with her mother in Texas, chose a rather militant passage that calls on believers to “put on the whole armour of God.” But the reading was a good one, delivered with remarkable grace by a young woman suddenly thrust into the international spotlight. In a tweet that nicely summarized the breathless British media reaction, Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland couldn’t help but speculate “whether somewhere a Texas Republican operative is watching Amanda Thatcher thinking ‘Wonder if she has political ambitions…’ ”

… Poised, eloquent, the descendant of conservative royalty, evangelical Christian, and Texas-bred: It all seems to add up to a promising political future. She certainly hit it out of the park in her introduction to the world, and isn’t it pretty easy to picture a clip of Amanda’s speech at her grandmother’s funeral playing a role in a future campaign commercial?

And (wait for the punchline) here’s the correction:

An earlier version of this post referred to the Biblical passage from which Amanda Thatcher read as the Epistles. She read from Ephesians, which is one of the Epistles.

(Cue: Audible sigh.)

And yet that might be a less odd correction than what ran in the New York Times on the same matter:

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