Everyone Dies

Death, Life, and Funerals

Everyone who has ever lived will die one day. As much as that statement sucks, it is true. From the moment we are born, we begin to die. Some of us get more revolutions on this earth than others, although except for those who die at their own hand, we have no idea why this is true. But, everyone dies. 

I went back to my “homeland,” Indiana last week for a visit. My father has been struggling with an infection in his foot for several weeks now, and after having his great toe amputated, I decided a visit was in order. I had not been back to my homeland for over a year now. I wasn’t planning on going this time, but I needed to go. I needed to see for myself that my dad was okay. And he is okay, healing, but my dad is different. I used to see him as this really strong guy; my hero. Okay, he still is my hero, but he has changed from the person he was 13 months ago. His arms and legs are thin, and as I watched him maneuver using his crutches, I found myself holding my breath. My parents have aged in the last 13 months. I mean, I know we all age, but sometimes it sort of sneaks up on you, especially when you have not seen someone in a long time.

Death is something I know a thing or two about, although I wish that were not true. Before I was a pastor, I was a nurse. The unfortunate part of living is dying. Just in case no one ever told you, life is fatal. One day each and every one of us will die, as much as we fight it. Maybe that is the key to life; knowing that one day this crazy journey will be over, so we damn well better enjoy it while we can. I mean, there are car accidents, people get shot going to work, getting pulled over, going to church, getting groceries, and it is all really ridiculous. Things like that just should not happen. No one should have to bury their child; life should never work that, and yet it does. Is it fair? No. If you have some resource that says life will be fair, please share it with me, I have a bone or two to pick with the author. Want to know how unfair death and life is, just remember there is something called “Pediatric Hospice.” “Only the good die young,” well I disagree with Billy Joel. It just hurts a lot more when they do.

While on my trip back to the home of Indy Car and Tony Stewart, I went to a funeral visitation. This sweet lady had dropped dead at 65 years young. No time for another goodbye. No time for another hug or an “I love you.” There is always going to be another funeral, at least as a pastor anyway. In the 2 years I have served as a pastor, I have officiated 15 of them, I believe. As a way of catharsis, I now announce the number of dead I have burried in each cemetary I pass. I didn’t say I always make sense. 

All this to say that everyone dies, sooner or later. So be sure to love the ones you have. Hold them close. Appreciate them. Tell them you love them.

First Posted July 14, 2015 

Miss Meg’s God Shack

Let’s rename the church

My daughter’s BFF suggested a new name for the church I pastor: Miss Meg’s God Shack. Apparently, the Baptist title is much too scary. I can’t say that I disagree with her. A church that slaps a Baptist sign outside seems to think that indicates they can do and say whatever they wish. Yes, as Baptist we have the whole autonomous thing, but often that seems like a license to exclude. That is the reason that I belong to the American Baptist denomination. They are supportive of women in ministry, and are far more inclusive than any other type of Baptist that I am familiar with. That does not mean that being a woman pastor in the American Baptist Church is an easy thing. Far from it, but that is another story, for another time.

If I could create “Miss Meg’s God Shack,” I would have some rules.
1. Our Goal, Our purpose, Our everything would be: Love God. Love People. The end.
    Everyone is people. You are people. I am people. Your neighbor- people. Your boss- people.         People need love, and that what this is all about. If we cannot love people, there is no point in the church.
2. We do not meet in a church building.
    We meet in a shelter, homes, parks, maybe rent a storefront or something. Let’s not be a slave to keeping a building running. Yes, old church buildings are beautiful, and I am not saying knock them down, but what does it take to maintain them, and isn’t there better use of the money we spend on that? I don’t believe God intended for us to build great buildings and become more devoted to the building itself than to the creator of the universe.
3. No skinny jean, smoke machines, strobe lights.
    I do not care what people wear. It is not about putting on a show, it is about Jesus and authentic worship. If that happens singing Amazing Grace acapella, great! If it takes some Kari Jobe, that works too.
4. Have Coffee, will travel.
 This preacher needs her coffee, so wherever we meet, there will be a coffee pot, or carry-in coffee in the midst of us. If you want water, a pepsi, whatever, that works too.
5. Crying babies, kids, people with special needs, and everyone in between are welcome.
We spend way too much time telling kids to be quiet or complaining about a crying baby; noise means life in the church, and I welcome the noise.
6. Shoes are optional. I don’t wear my shoes to preach now, so why should I change that. No one else needs to wear their either, unless they want to.

This is it for me. I want to talk about Jesus and love for every single person who ever lived, without exception. I am looking for honest and simple. I think that is what other people are looking for as well, and it has all gotten lost in the- this is what we must do, this is how you must dress, this is how you must act, this is what you must say, or it is not church.

Welcome to Miss Meg’s God Shack, where we love God and we love others, the end.

Original Post March 27, 2017