Accompany Them with Singing: The Christian Funeral   -     By: Thomas Long
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Accompany Them with Singing: The Christian Funeral

Westminster John Knox Press / 2009 / Hardcover

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Product Description

Thomas G. Long, one of America's most trusted and thoughtful pulpit voices, provides a theological and cultural critique of today's Christian funeral.

Long begins by describing how the Christian funeral developed historically, theologically, and liturgically, and then discusses recent cultural trends in funeral practices, including the rise in both cremations and memorial services. He describes the basic pattern for a funeral service, details options in funeral planning, identifies characteristics of a "good funeral," and provides thoughtful guidance for preaching at a funeral.

But Long also notes a disturbing trend toward funeral services that seem theologically right and pastorally caring, but actually depart from the primary aims of the Christian funeral constructed around the metaphor of the deceased as a saint traveling on a baptismal journey toward God, accompanied by the community of faith on "the last mile of the way." He argues that the cultural conditions for maintaining this view are under stress and a new, less-theological and less-satisfying metaphor that focuses on the mourner has begun to erode the Christian view. He contrasts the ancient grand community drama with today's trend toward body-less memorial services that focus primarily on the living and grief management. This is a loss for the church, he argues, and he calls for the church to reclaim the classic metaphor. Accompany Them with Singing is a practical and theologically sound resource for Protestant and Roman Catholic clergy and for funeral professionals.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 200
Vendor: Westminster John Knox Press
Publication Date: 2009
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0664233198
ISBN-13: 9780664233198
Availability: Expected to ship on or about 11/11/14.
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Publisher's Description

Thomas Long begins this fascinating volume by describing how the Christian funeral developed historically, theologically, and liturgically, and then discusses recent cultural trends in funeral practices, including the rise in both cremations and memorial services. He describes the basic pattern for a funeral service, details options in funeral planning, identifies characteristics of a "good funeral," and provides thoughtful guidance for preaching at a funeral.

Long also notes a disturbing trend toward funeral services that seem theologically right and pastorally caring, but actually depart from the primary aims of the Christian funeral. He argues that a new, less-theological and less-satisfying service that focuses on the mourner has begun to erode the Christian view. He contrasts the ancient grand community drama with today's trend toward body-less memorial services that focus primarily on the living and grief management. This is a loss for the church, he argues, and he calls for the church to reclaim the classic metaphor.

Author Bio

Thomas G. Long is the Bandy Professor of Preaching at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, in Atlanta, Georgia. He is one of the most popular preachers in the United States today. He is the author of several books, including The Senses of Preaching (WJK), Preaching and the Literary Forms of the Bible, and Whispering the Lyrics: Sermons for Lent and Easter.

Publisher's Weekly

Long, a homiletics professor and well-regarded preacher, argues that funerals have become spiritually “impoverished” and need revitalization. Providing a comprehensive review of the history, traditions and theology of Christian funerals, Long notes that recent decades have seen both growing comfort with cremation and an increased preference for disembodied memorial services offering “closure.” In defiance of this trend, Long argues that just as bodies are present for baptism and weddings, they should be present for funerals. Long laments that eulogies celebrating individual lives often replace gospel preaching and advocates instead that liturgies emphasize a community’s conveyance of a beloved’s body to its final resting place, “worshipping as they go.” Delineating the purposes of a good funeral, Long urges clergy and congregations to embrace funerals as opportunities to “act out one more time the great and hopeful drama of how the Christian life moves from death to life” and from baptism to resurrection. This book promises to be a welcome theological resource and practical guide for pastors and others who care for the dying and officiate at Christian funerals. (Oct.)Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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  1. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    January 10, 2010
    Mary thompson
    This is the best book I've read on dying. My husband is doing that right now and the book has come to me at the right time. It is academic and takes concentration and thought but it is well worth it not just for dying or funerals but for getting our theology straight. Refreshing way to see the facts.
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