Nineveh Moment 32: As Spiritually Nuts in Life, as in Death

In a news piece this morning, it was noted that with the coronavirus crisis there’s, well, more funerals in the U.S. these days. Now to pick up with the American ‘spoiled’ theme from the previous post… The average cost for a funeral in America these days (coffin, burial plot, wake and other funeral home charges…): $10,000. You read that right! On a campaign stop at Habitat for Humanity Headquarters in Americus, Georgia, we toured a replica Third World slum village (see above), then we learned that to provide an adequate Habitat house for a family of five, or more (modest ranch style home) in the Third World costs, on average: $2,000. So doing the math on this: We bury one dead American for what it would cost to build five Habitat homes in the Third World, sheltering around 25 to 35 people. Uh… The slum conditions many in the Third World live in is off-the-charts deplorable. Meanwhile, most of us in, say, lower middle class America are living like kings by comparison, both in life, and in the (cherry wood coffin) death. The late Pope John Paul II at one point said that the First World and Third World were playing out the “Lazarus the beggar and the rich guy” parable in the Bible. And in that story, it doesn’t bode well for the ‘rich guy’ in eternity. Incidentally, Pope John Paul II was buried in a simple, inexpensive, pine box — with the savings, I’m sure, going to some outreach project for the poor. It is time to realign America, both in life, and in death. Note: First Mennonite Church in Bluffton has a “Casket Ministry,” with church member “carpenter hobbyists” building caskets for $350. Often instead of funeral home wakes, First Mennonite will have a memorial service and potluck afterward with photos of the deceased, and so on, displayed all over (no wake funeral hall fees, no embalming costs…). First Lutheran Church here has a Column Burial, with drawers for cremated ashes. Cost for a drawer: $200. Average cost for cremation: $700… When you add all this up, you got, maybe,$1,250 (plus coleslaw for the potluck) — leaving $8,750 for the Habitat homes for the Lazarus’s and their families.

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