My search for a preacher who offers real value continues, but I’m getting closer. This one calls himself a secular humanist, but isn’t even comfortable with that label. The label for what I’m looking for probably doesn’t exist yet. His current title is Humanist Chaplain. He talks about rejecting the term atheist in the interview, and I’m fine with that.
It’s also worth mentioning he is a former minister and the son of a famous minister, Tony Campolo who advised President Bill Clinton. All of this is in the interview. If you want to skip that and some other good stuff, fine, but at least go to minute 26. They are talking about the controversy of secular chaplains in the military and Bart slides into a long discussion about dealing with death.
The discussion is very life affirming. Death is one of those things that keeps people in religion. You can get away with all sorts of sin in life, but you better be concerned about your everlasting soul. He quotes Robert Ingersoll extensively and explains how our desire for eternal life arises naturally out of the experience of death. We want just one more conversation with the one we just lost, we hope to see them again.
He goes on to talk about how an eternal life in heaven is really not a very good solution to this problem. The inevitability of death shows us to the preciousness of life. Knowing our time here is short draws us through the weeds between us, seeking a connection. It drives us to share our joys now and to let go of our anger now because we don’t want to waste this time. As Ingersoll says, “Love is a flower that only grows on the edge of a grave.”
It keeps getting better from there. See for yourself.