There are certain subjects that seem verboten in the pulpit. I'm not referring to political issues, or contemporary social themes; but, rather, to pastoral situations/experiences that are so "close to home" that one's listeners literally rise up in fury against the preacher.
One of these subjects is suicide, if preached honestly and urgently from the pulpit.
Another is a familiar theme of this podcast, the dramatic influence of romantic love -- i.e., the aspiration and almost limitless hunger that exists in people for romantic connection -- on otherwise stable and rational persons. People protest against this subject when I broach it publicly, usually saying something like, "I would never EVER do such a thing", such as leaving my husband and children for somebody else. Yet you find out, just four months later, that the very same person has done exactly that! (I'm not kidding. It happens all the time, tho' there's a kind of embargo on mentioning it.)
This particular cast concerns widowhood. I know of no more verboten subject in the pulpit than the disparity in life expectancy between men and women. Accurate statistics tell us that when you look out from the pulpit at your congregation, at least in most "main-line" churches, the number of widows likely to be present, as well as the number of likely widows, far outnumbers the number of widowers.
Obviously I wish the statistic weren't true. (The chances of my being laid in the earth fairly soon are significantly higher than Mary's chances. That's why we both earnestly wish we could die in temporal proximity. Who wants to be alone in their oldest age?) But it is true, nonetheless.
And now Mary and I see it actually happening, all around us. The husbands within the couples we know are dying at a much faster rate than the wives. Seems like widows are everywhere; and tho' there are widowers in existence, we only get a sighting on rare occasions.
Just go to church, almost anywhere, and you'll see what I mean.
So what is the problem? Why can't I talk about this publicly? (For people of both sexes get noticeably antsy when I do.) Especially, why can't we talk about it as Christians, since the New Testament frequently pleads for "widows and orphans" -- no NT references to widowers! -- and since we know that God is with us most profoundly when we are alone and feeling comfortless.
Maybe you can help me with this disconnect. It seems painfully obvious the older I get. LUV U.