Moore gives thoughts about cremation and Christian burial in Courier-Journal

Communications Staff — June 11, 2012

Louisville’s The Courier-Journal recently published an article about the dramatic growth in cremation in American culture. This, religion reporter Peter Smith notes, says something significant about spiritual trends as funerals and memorial services follow religious tradition less and less and become more and more customized. Russell D. Moore, dean of the School of Theology at Southern Seminary, elucidates the Christian rationale for burial in the story.

Moore, who is also senior vice president for academic administration at Southern, states that burial — as opposed to cremation — is “a fitting earthly end to the life of a faithful Christian, a Christian who has been ‘buried with Christ in baptism’ and is waiting to be raised with him in glory.”

Despite the many amenities that modern-day megachurches offer, Moore observes that a hallmark of American churches is nowadays often missing — the graveyard. The article further unpacks his thoughts:

“Recognizing that cremation is sub-Christian doesn’t mean castigating grieving families as sinners,” Moore writes. “It doesn’t mean refusing to eat at the dining room table with Aunt Flossie’s urn perched on the mantle overhead. It doesn’t mean labeling the pastor who blesses a cremation service as a priest of Molech.”

It does, however, mean “beginning a conversation about what it means to grieve as Christians and what it means to hope as Christians,” he writes.

“It means reminding Christians that the dead in the graveyards behind our churches are ‘us’ too. It means hoping that our Christian burial plots preach the same gospel that our Christian pulpits do.”

The entire article, “Red Casket, Blue Urn: Cremation’s rise parallels national divergence in religion and politics,” is available at The Courier-Journal website.

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