Christianity gets death backwards. You see, our advanced civilization tells us constantly to look forward to a long life, healthy and sexy bodies, a bright future in a steadily advancing career followed by an early retirement filled with travel and leisure.
Yet at the same time, we have more depression, anxiety, and chemical dependence than ever before. We have wealth but not fulfillment, leisure but not contentment, Instagram-worthy lives but not peace.
In all this, no topic is taboo except, perhaps, one: Death.
Written by Caitlin Doughty, who worked as a crematory operator and is now an “alternative” funeral director, author, and YouTube personality, the theme of the book is not really cremation or funerals or gory details, though it definitely includes that. The main theme is death itself. Specifically, how our culture interacts with death (or tries to avoid it), and what things might be like if we looked death – in all of its messiness – straight in the face.
In large part a memoir of Ms. Doughty’s first six years working in the funeral industry, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes functions in turns as an exposé of the funeral industry, a defense of a healthy interest in death, and an inside look at interesting funeral and memorial observances of various individuals, families, and cultures, as seen through the eyes of a crematory worker.
These things are all tied together by a question: Does the contemporary funeral industry help us die well?
As a Christian working in the funeral industry, I’ve noticed that there are very few solid, biblical Christian books for kids about death and heaven. At least, they are not very easy to find! As I dug around, I discovered a few absolute gems that are worth adding to your library.
If are a professional such as a pastor, counselor, funeral home employee, etc, you can use these for personal growth or to give out to families going through the death of a loved one.