Sunday, March 28, 2010

Say What?

Tragic story from Kentucky in which 11 people -- most from one extended family -- died in a head-on collision on Interstate 65 northwest of Bowling Green. As reported by CNN,
A Kentucky pastor said it was "easier" that a Mennonite couple that was engaged to be married died together in a car crash Friday instead of one having to live without the other.

"I'm just thankful that not one of them was left behind. It would be so much easier for them this way, both being able to go, be together in heaven," Leroy Kauffman, pastor of the Marrowbone Christian Brotherhood Church in Burkesville, said in a press conference Friday.
Say what? I wonder if the surviving family members see it as "easy" as their pastor?

If we all desired to take this tack, then wouldn't it be "easier" if we all died at the same time? No mess. No bother. (And no one to bury the dead, for that matter.)

Death is part of life -- it's one side of the same coin. While it can be painful and difficult to survive while a loved one perishes, the will to continue living is strong in most people. While shouldering on in the face of tragedy is never easy, no one said this state of existence WOULD be easy.

Later in the article,
"Life will go on, but it'll be difficult," said Kai Steinmann, a neighbor and friend of the Eshes. "For us as a community, I think it's going to mean that a big piece of us is gone."

Steinmann, 25, described the Mennonite community as a "largely construction-oriented" group of about 100 people that formed 10 years ago.

The night before the accident, Steinmann said the Eshe family attended a church meeting with other members of the community, expressing excitement over the wedding and requesting prayers for safe travel.

"We will accept it as the will of God," Steinmann said. "This isn't an accident, God knew this from the beginning and that will be one of the beginning things that the community will do, accept it as the will of God."
Two comments. First, it appears that the members of this church didn't pray hard enough! They were asked to pray for "safe travel" and this is the answer to their prayers?

Second, the sentiment expressed in the last quoted paragraph simply drives me batty. According to the neighbor's viewpoint, their magnificent God knew some of his flock were going to die horrible deaths, but did nothing to stop it or, at least, warn them. And this is a God of love?

If members of your family died a tragic death because a bridge they drove over collapsed AND you later found out that I knew the bridge wasn't safe and that I knew they would be traveling on it, my guess is that you'd want to rip my frigg'n head off. Yet, if your God had this foreknowledge and kept quiet, you would accept this consequence without batting an eye?

Sorry. That sounds like lunacy to me.


  1. This recalls an event that happened here last Thanksgiving, a devoted older couple, both 75, married for 51 years, was washed to sea in a flash flood, never to be seen again. There was a feeling that it was a kind of blessing that they went together. In the last years of life, I don't think I would want spend my last days visualizing my spouse as shark food. But for a young engaged couple, there would be plenty of time to mourn, and rebuild a life. I know someone who did just that.

    The simple sentiments are for simple people who cannot face their own fear. Just ignore them.

  2. The very concept of faith, and especially the Christian faith as practiced by Mennonites and the Amish, apparently has gone way over your heads. There is a time and place to make critical comments, and you loons have no concept....

  3. i personally would have wanted to die along with my husband up until a year ago. now, if that happened, who would take care of our kid??? no thanks! i'd rather my child be cared for by one of us than for my selfish desire to not be parted from my husband be granted. :P
    death is a necessary thing. it is even a beautiful thing, in the case of my grandmother, who was released from a lot of suffering. but who is anyone to judge that another person's death is "for the best" or "easier"? they have no idea what the people involved would have wanted!

  4. Anon,
    I have great respect and admiration for the devotion of belief in the Amish & Mennonnite communities. (I used to live near the Mennonite community in Yoder, KS). It takes great strength to live as they do and to shun, for the most part, the trappings of modern society.

    That said, I agree with the Baroness and Iktomi..

  5. Faith is an important concept worthy of philosophical inspection. However, I think the main points were: 1) whether or not it is easier for a couple to die together is not up to a third party, and 2) This particular manifestation of faith is not the important philosophical concept. (In Kierkegaard, 'faith' is not mere resignation to the state of affairs, it is something a good deal more complicated and, well, faithful.)

    Of course, I do not mean to speak for anyone else.


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