Big Words: DEATH

Looking at the spiritual importance of the words we’ve considered so far since beginning our Big Words series last year, it’s hard to imagine a “bigger” word than this one: death.

Every human being will eventually die. To one extent or another, every religion deals with the question raised by that reality. Religions grapple with questions about the afterlife, about what happens during death itself and about how to prepare for our own death and the deaths of others. Some of these questions are spiritual—how to find meaning in mortality, for instance. Others deal with the practicalities of dying.

The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life decided to add “death” to the this semester’s Big Words series after university president Dr. Wendy Libby mentioned to one of us that she felt our society shies away from the topic. And she is correct: Despite death’s inevitability, many of us avoid discussing it with our loved ones or our spiritual advisors until it is too late.

We won’t be able to handle all the big questions about death in one evening, of course. However, we can prepare our minds to explore the issue. We will begin our look at living and dying with help from two guest speakers, Christopher Bell, Ph.D. and Cheryl Lankford.

Dr. Bell is assistant professor of religious studies here at Stetson. He teaches courses in Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions and Asian culture. He has extensively studied the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and will talk about death from that perspective.

Ms. Lankford’s parents founded what is now Lankford Funeral Home in DeLand in 1950. She earned a degree in Mortuary Science in 1978, has more than 40 years in funeral home management and ownership.

Big Words: DEATH is this Thursday, March 14, at 6:30 p.m. in Lee’s Garage. Cultural Credit is available for the event, and dinner (Southwestern Food!) will be served.