Breadcrumbs of Love [SSL150]

Today, Soul School Lesson is reflection on how relationships help mirror our own frailties, a bit about Jean Paul Sartre’s famous line in his play “No Exit”, and a reading of a short story called “Breadcrumbs of Love”. support the program and get extras for today’s HERE.

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10 Misconceptions Christians have about non believers-part II

L'antic poble de Santa Creu / Abandoned medieval village
Creative Commons License SBA73 via Compfight


This is continued from this 1-5 article.

It’s REALLY helpful to read that part first for context, I assure you!

Now on to the next half:

6. Non believers live in fear and doubt.

It’s interesting that many from inside the Christian bubble will ascribe these attributes to non believers when a simple gaze across the church goers on any Sunday morning will show the very same thing to be true of Christians too. I don’t know anyone who does not live in fear and doubt at least from time-to-time. What some Christians won’t tell you is that the local pharmacists know a lot about their fear and doubt even if those in their small group aren’t privy to the matter. And some people just drink, shop, or puke their fattening meal to cope. What is more true? To be human is to fear and doubt. We may call it worry or concern, or a prayer request, but it’s there for Christians and non believers alike.

7. Non believers are afraid of death.

Some are not. Some Christians are not. Not everyone braves their impending physical demise well. This is not so strange, because imagining not needing or using your body anymore is really odd. Really really odd.

Even a Christian who will tell you they know for absolute sure that they will be in heaven with Jesus at the moment of death, as you probe them further and they get into specifics their ideas about all that there is a shift. Either they will often become full of fantasy (sourced in the poetic and figurative descriptions of the afterlife from the Bible which they have illogically decided to take literally [sic.] Pearly gates, streets of gold, or Jesus riding a gigantic purple horse) or that may dissolve into what becomes rather unsettling admission of mystery. Can you really know the particulars? Of course not.

It’s thoughtful to be challenged by the unknown–which is what death is. It’s important to come to your end of surety. It keeps us humble and growing. For everyone, that portion of life and death is a matter of faith, no matter what we believe will happen once our heart stops and we will soon be lowered underground. It is creepy because we are used to being alive, breathing and such. We hate it when others we love die, and leave us, and the whole thing is strange, if we are going to be honest. But, are we?

8. When they behave properly, non believers unconsciously borrow ethics from Christians.

Oaky, on this one, perhaps I’ll say “Yes and No”. In the U.S. the influence of Christianity in our common society is thick and unavoidable. Yet, unbeknownst to Christians, behaviors we (Christians) consider good Christian values and ethics are also part of a meta ethic known the world over and through the whole span of human history. (Following through and getting it right is a whole different business, of course.) This meta-ethic, which many secular anthropologists downplay, or quickly chalk up to darwinian processes, (ad hoc mind you) actually seem to point toward the transcendent. The philosophers get into this quite a bit. So, the part of us that is involved with consciousness is ever-present and point to a place off our seen “map” if you will. Call it the “Devine Spark”, “God”, Yahweh, the Universe (if something impersonal could somehow also be personal, by whatever), the “higher self” (a la Alcoholics Anonymous), or what-have-you…we are essentially speaking of the same big thing… that incidentally is no thing. The Other, the great I AM, the life force, and really when we split hair on that big point, we miss the forrest for the trees.

9. Non believers discredit the unseen world.

This is hardly ever true. Yes, there are a few full blown materialists, but like the unicorn, they are rarely seen and then, only for a few fleeting moments in the perfect circumstances like when painted on velvet or when Harry Potter is nearby.

The desire to discover the mysteries of life are ever-present. Media is a great barometer for this. For instance, witness the many horror genre movies (ghosts, zombies, paranormal stuff, aliens, etc) and all the tv shows groping for answers from the spooky and paranormal night-vision scenes from the many television shows on cable, to the mediums, psychics, and spiritual celebrity gurus and even mega-church personalities (Yes. I’m including everyone from Joel Osteen, (Joyce) Myers, Oprah, Deepak Chopra, and Rick Warren, to Billy Graham, and the Dali Lama). Our gurus and guides are plentiful and that’s because the demand for them is so high. Plus, the prophecy folks of all stripes continue their empires as the masses feeling around in the murkiness for answers.

10. Non believers are going to hell one day.

Okay, this is the one that may get me the hate mail. Just hang on! The reason that this is a misconception is because we can’t know how Grace will or won’t affect a person once they die. We trust in Grace. In the idea of it existing; in the Being that doles it. Can we know another person’s heart that well? I doubt it when our own heart is so unfathomable and fickle for us. Grace is big. As big as you think it is, you are wrong. It’s bigger. I’m always wrong about grace because I cannot fathom it for too long.

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9/11; and the Interview & Confessions of a Funeral Director…


View my 3 Part video interview with Caleb here.


The 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy a week from this Sunday. We will once again see images and recount the horrors of that day, and try in memorial to accept the reality of this world. Most of us don’t encounter death and our own mortality too often. Most of us don’t constantly see suffering, and witness grief and loss.

Please take some time today, or this weekend to remember that the events of 9/11 still bring pain to many. Loved ones are missed, and we can’t gloss over the national tragedy that left a collective hole in our hearts, even ten years later.

This seems a fitting time to discuss an author who is very acquainted with death. It’s his job to be, and his perspective can be very helpful to us. As promised a couple of weeks earlier, the following is my personal interview with blogger and upcoming author Caleb Wilde, a 6th generation Funeral Director, seminary student, husband, and expectant adoptive dad.

My Questions for Caleb:


1. Being a 6th generation funeral director, you have quite a unique vantage point on life, loss, and mortality. How do you think you live life differently than other Christians because of where God has placed you?


Caleb: In traditional religious calendars, the day in-between “Good Friday” and “Easter” is called “Holy Saturday”.  “Holy Saturday” is the day the disciples’ hopes and beliefs were engulfed in death and silence, as they viewed their Messiah’s death without the knowledge of the resurrection.

In some sense, I live the life of Holy Saturday.

As funeral directors, we’re paid by families to be a human shield to death, whereby we make death somewhat easier, less real and more proper.  As this human shield, I’m affected.  I’m affected by the brokenness, by the grief, by the hopelessness I see in faces, by the newly fatherless/motherless children, the tragic deaths and the accidents.

All this has made my personal faith more sensitive to questions of God’s goodness and justice.  It’s not easy for me to understand ideas of “eternal hell”, or ideas of “meticulous divine providence” or even “absolute foreknowledge” or “omnipotence”.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m still a Christian.


2. What do people misunderstand most about your work?

Caleb: We’re a lot like pastors.  Our jobs are really quite similar, except that one is recognized as “ministry” while the other is “business.”  That’s probably the largest misconception … there’s no way funeral directors can meet with grieving families through the most difficult time of their lives and come out on the other side as “business people.”

Everything else is true, though … we are dark and we are odd people.

In ancient times, death practitioners were ostracized from normal society by rule.  Today, we’re partly ostracized from the norm of society by practice.


3. The constant stream of customers (people dying, and their families burying them) can make one grow numb or cold toward the concept and process of death and burial. Do things still surprise you or impact you? What kind of things?

Caleb: There’s something so unnatural about death that (save the very old) it’s difficult to become numb.


4. You’ve probably thought about what you’d want your own funeral to look and sound like. Can you tell us about that?


Caleb: About two years ago, I started taking one minute video clips of myself, so that by the time I’m 70, I should have a montage of age progression videos that can be used for my funeral.

I’ve also talked about recording a message from myself to my family and friends that could be shown at my funeral as the eulogy.  But, by the time I’m ready to die, I figure they’ll have holographic projections, so I’ll wait for that tech until I record my final goodbye.


5. The saddest funeral I ever went to was for a 13 year old boy who took his own life. What have you learned about people during the time of more tragic circumstances that you’ve been a part of?


Caleb: Funerals/death are a perfect storm: you have death, the inheritance money, high emotions and family you might not like too much who are around you all the time.

Funerals intensify people’s real character.  You see the best in people and you see the worst.  The bad people will do horrendous things at funerals, like start fights, curse out their family members over money.  And you can see Jesus in the good ones.


6. Do you find your work mostly depressing, hopeful, profound, mundane, etc.? Would you recommend this vantage point to others?


Caleb: It’s a tough ministry that has little boundaries.  Many funeral homes are also generational, so many of us work with our dads, grandfathers, uncles and cousins, which can make this at-need work that much more difficult to set up healthy boundaries.

Similar to any ministry, I think there should be a passion for death work … a calling of sorts, whereby you know this is what you’re supposed to do.  And being a “calling”, few have witnessed this vantage point.

It’s unique.


7. Do you want to stay in the family business? Why or why not?

Caleb: Next question : )


8. Tell us a bit about how you view suffering, pain, and death from your unique perspective…which probably has a lot to do with the message in your book.


Caleb: I’ve built my understanding of God around suffering, pain and death.  It’s a local theology.  And my understanding of God, suffering, pain and death in light of my faith is the content of my upcoming book, “Confessions of a Funeral Director.”  Hopefully, it will be out in less than a year.  You can get an idea of how death has affected my view of God at my blog,  My book, though, will contain much more narrative than my blog.


9. What’s your best idea for a Smart Phone app.?


Caleb: I live near Lancaster County (PA), home of the Amish and Mennonites, so there’s a lot of intermarrying in these parts.  Not to mention, most of the towns in the rural areas of Pennsylvania have families that have lived there for centuries, so many of them are related.

I have an idea to partner with and create an app the lets you bump smart phones with another person and it will tell you how you’re related to them.  My theory is that this will greatly help the evolution of humans by creating a purer gene pool.   The apps name is “Bump it before you Hump it”.

 THANK YOU, Caleb, and best wishes on your book. I’m really excited to get a copy. 

The working title for Caleb’s book is Confessions of  Funeral Director. A bit more on that here.

So, my reader friends, what are you curious about? Ask Caleb your deep, dark, or even silly questions!