Noah Livingston addresses an urgent problem in “Saving the Funeral from an Untimely Death.” He’s right–very right–in most of what he says.
When the funeral becomes a cordoned family affair, it degenerates into a matter of personal preference. it becomes a vehicle for self-expression, one last gasp at leaving one’s mark on the world. When it ceases to be congregational worship, it ceases to be an event where God’s people are formed. Too often, pastors lead the way.
The only point at which I would (mildly) disagree with Livingston is where he suggests having someone “tell a story or two” about the deceased. Not the I object to stories about the deceased if they are rightly done. The problem is that they are rightly done so seldom. Except in rare and special instances, the minister should be the only one to speak at a funeral.