You are here

Crump's Expressway

Blog category: 

A column from our Minister, The Reverend Steve J.  Crump

Go more slowly~ Additional time in planning memorial services is helpful not only for our staff but for family members and friends as well.  With funerals there is usually little time to plan special elements for a service, but with memorial services there is extra time to plan something meaningful and rich.  Plus, there is this added benefit:  by giving us extra time between a death and a memorial service, families are likely to go deeper and more thoughtfully into the meanings of their losses.  In other words, I will invite us to slow it down.  I’m called to keep us off the bullet train when life gives us an opportunity for an authentic rite of passage.  Adrenaline and cultural expectations tend to call us all aboard and zoom, off we go, passing by feelings where we wonder later, “What happened?”  My job is to be a countervailing force.  I am supposed to slow it down and to invite us to feel something.  And I promise we’ll get through this together.

 Not about chocolate, not about chocolate, not about chocolate~ When almost anyone thrice insists that it’s not about chocolate, I am inclined to believe it’s about chocolate.  This linguistic axiom comes to mind as I survey recent punditry concerning the massacre in Tucson.  Yes, it appears the assailant is mentally ill, but isn’t there more to the story?  Do you detect a scrambling to immunity, a rush to make one more American shoot-out an isolated event?  Furthermore, isn’t it a disservice to psychiatry when we disconnect or isolate it from political, sociological, historical, and other interpretations of violence in our culture?  Capt. Mark Kelly, husband of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, is commended for reaching out to the family of the assailant.  Kelly’s act was not necessary, but it was a generous act of compassion and civility.  Cultural incivility may not have directly caused a tragedy but Kelly’s gesture reminds us all that something torn in American society needs mending and we each have a role to play in its repair.

 Wallet philosophy. 

“I never told my own religion nor scrutinized that of another. 

I never attempted to make a convert, nor wished to change another's creed. 

I am satisfied that yours must be an excellent religion to have produced a life of such exemplary virtue and correctness.  For it is our lives, and not from our words, that our religion must be judged.”    ~  the words of Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Mrs. H. Harrison Smith, 1812.

 Thank you for your kindness and thoughts expressed to me on the occasion of the recent death of my brother.  When we were young adults, Jerry and I found the Unitarian Universalist movement independent of each other.  The wallet philosophy, posted above, is a quotation he kept among his business cards.  We reprinted the quotation for the order of service at his memorial service at the Universalist Unitarian Church of Peoria, IL.  We figured he must have referred to it in discussing religion with others. Or, perhaps he kept it nearby as a personal, friendly reminder that he didn’t have to explain himself or proselytize another.