I rarely respond to the letters in the order in which they arrive. This one just sailed in this evening. You will have to go to Bilerico after 2PM tomorrow to see my response.
Evening Father T-
I find myself in the position of wrangling with a Baptist preacher regarding my Father's funeral service. My position being as dear old Daddy was devoutly agnostic there ought to be some latitude there, however I am riding a fine line in that I feel that his brother and sister deserve input into the proceedings as well, and by golly they want some preaching going on. I myself would be fairly put out if I have no voice whatsoever if I were in their position. That said, he's not giving me a hard time about Ramsey Lewis and Dave Brubeck being played in his church, so I guess I ought to be slightly more gracious. Sorry, I digress- loads.
It is the wish of said Reverend, and his remaining siblings that some passage or another of scripture be read. My general practice is to try and be inclusive of all religion, as a devout agnostic myself, thus my quandary. And in a general sense I feel it's probably only right as the church in question was founded back in 1760 something by my great great (however many of those require inserting) grandfather, so it would be somewhat tasteless and insulting not to include some passage or another I guess. I have no earthly clue as to what might be an appropriate reading. This man didn't know him, and yours truly has not made a practice of reading the bible in a number of decades. And while I am sure he is a lovely and sincere fellow, I think the concept of a free spirit stuck in a square box is counter to his general dogma..
Any guidance in this matter? I assume at some point you were faced with funeral proceeding for someone you knew not at all as a parishioner.
My apologies for bothering you with this, but oddly enough as we've never met- I genuinely respect your opinion, and a number of people I care very deeply for are terribly fond of you, which is enough for me.
Here's my response.