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Reverend Nut Job And The Funeral

One of my coworkers was married to a woman “Jane” who was mentally ill and had serious physical problems as well. Jane called her husband at work so often that he stopped answering his personal phone line. She then started calling the group phone number and talking at length to whomever answered. Her favorite topics were the details of her unending medical problems, what a genius her husband was, and that she knew he was cheating on her (he was not).

When Jane died somewhat unexpectedly, my work group attended her funeral. We sat with other mourners in the sanctuary. The family was sequestered in a room off to the side.

Jane belonged to a hardcore fundamentalist sect. The remarks made by her preacher during the service left those of us in the sanctuary with our mouths hanging open in shock. We were unable to see the reaction of the family.

Reverend Nutjob stated that Jane had had her share of trouble, but had been the source of much trouble for others. He described in detail how Jane had phoned him frequently, day and night. He said that he often cried to the Lord, “Why have you inflicted this woman upon me?” Smiling blissfully, he informed us that now that Jane was dead, he understood God’s message: if you truly believe, God will eventually remove even your worst troubles.

He also spoke at length about religious matters unrelated to Jane’s life or death. He proclaimed that we should get ourselves straight because he knew for a fact that Jesus was coming back within the next two years. (I hope he didn’t sell all his possessions, because it’s been four years now.) He informed us that according to the Bible, Heaven is a cube one mile wide, one mile deep, and one mile high. (That sounds barely big enough to hold Reverend Nutjob’s ego. I guess the rest of the universe is needed to hold all the sinners – like those who know better than to express delight over a person’s death at the funeral.) 0318-09

{ 70 comments… add one }
  • Marozia November 2, 2017, 5:25 am

    No wonder a lot of people are turning away from some organised religions with ministers like that!!

    • lakey November 2, 2017, 12:16 pm

      The reason a story like this gets attention is that it is so unusual. I was raised as a Catholic in an area that had a lot of fundamentalist Protestants. In more than sixty years I’ve never heard of a minister behaving this badly. I’ve never in my life heard the “cube” thing.

      I think this minister’s problem had more to do with really bad judgement and a serious lack of sensitivity than with religious issues. There are some people with mental health issues who, if they aren’t properly treated, can be terribly difficult to deal with. Combining mental health issues with other medical problems is even worse. However, most health professionals, and clergy know better than to make comments like this in public.

      • Yarnspinner November 2, 2017, 2:38 pm

        I think the “cube” thing is somewhere in “Revelations”. A friend of mine who studies such things suggested that, at the time, the person writing the chapter (John of Padmos?) would assume that that was a pretty big space based upon his actual knowledge of the size of the world (small) and how many people were in it (not that many).

        As for the ministers who say stuff like this: I once attended a funeral for a man who was beloved, not just by the community, but by half the state. His wake was standing room only and the line to get in to pay respects to his family was longer than lines at Disney World.

        This man was a good friend to so many people, not a mean or selfish bone in his body. And at his funeral, the priest (who barely knew him and was only there because the regular celebrant was sick) announced to a packed house that “Yes, you are all here saying you loved and miss Brother John, but for all you knew of him, he could have been the wickedest among you. You THINK he is going to Heaven, but he could well know be burning in Hell.”

        It felt like all the air was sucked out of that room when people gasped in horror. The family was furious (I don’t know if the creep got his honorarium for heading up the mass) and won’t go to any services where he presides. The man in question had suffered a horrible, painful death from bone cancer and deserved a better send off from the self important reverend. His daughter did get up and give a beautiful tribute that mostly wiped out the bad taste of the eulogy…but we still talk about it twenty years later.

        In the parish I attend, we had a priest who really thought himself above all creatures great and small–and possibly above God. If Father X was hearing confessions, no one wanted to go because he was so judgmental. And if he was giving the homily, Heaven help you! He was as pompous and obnoxious as the day was long. Recently (and I admit this is mean, but it made me smile) he tried to become part of a local men’s chorale group. The person who was part of the audition process told us “Gee, Father X fancies himself quite a singer. Too bad he can’t sing to save his life.”

        Happily he has left us for, I imagine, much ritzier accommodations….but what a jerk! No wonder we have trouble building up our membership with that kind of leadership!

        • Just4Kicks November 3, 2017, 4:28 am

          Ah, you just made me think of Father Walters.
          He was a very elderly priest in our parish when I was growing up.
          My sister and I would be so happy when we saw he was the one presiding over the Mass.
          When the altar boys would bring the cruets over with the water and wine, he would always put just a splash of water and ALL of the wine in the chalice.
          Once at a funeral Mass, Father Walters was the back up priest to another one who saying the Mass.
          When the other priest got up to give the homily and say a few nice words about “Bob Johnson” Father Walters was seated next to the altar boys, but had a wireless microphone on.
          About halfway through the homily, Father Walters, still seated, said loudly, “BOB JOHNSON DIED?!? Oh, NO!!! Bob was a HELL of a bowler!!!”
          My whole family got the “church giggles”, as well as many other parishioners.
          He would also end every homily with “You pray for me, I’ll pray for you, now lets get on with the Holy Mass!”
          God Bless him, he always made me smile.

        • Dippy November 6, 2017, 3:30 pm

          Who doesn’t stand up and tell the “priest” to leave immediately? If someone said this about someone I knew at their funeral service, I’d sure say something right away!

      • Mechtilde November 2, 2017, 3:37 pm

        Unfortunately I have both observed, and heard accounts from close friends and family about ministers from all denominations behaving in an equally apalling manner. In some churches very little can be done about it because the way they are set up makes it almost impossible to discipline or dismiss them.

      • Jazzgirl205 November 3, 2017, 11:45 am

        I agree. It is unusual for someone to be that dense. I have run into clerics who did not have the talent for public speaking therefore did not do the deceased justice. However, none of them were cruel.

  • DGS November 2, 2017, 7:51 am

    Not sure whose mental illness was worse, Jane’s or Reverend Nutjob’s…what a traumatic and frightening experience of a funeral service!

    • Dee November 2, 2017, 11:20 am

      Agreed – the reverend’s behaviour strongly suggests mental health issues, too. I can see Jane being a real pain to deal with, but there didn’t seem to be a real focus on how much her husband tried to get her into care before her death. So I do feel rather sorry for Jane, too, since she was clearly ill but left to her own devices.

      I attended a wedding once that reminds me of this funeral story. Christian Reformed Church, which is rather gloom and doom anyway, but the wedding ceremony was so depressing my mom and I wondered if we were supposed to leave the church and run straight into heavy traffic, if that was the minister’s intent. They were a lovely bridal couple and didn’t deserve that, but it was what they chose, so I guess it worked for them. But it just seems some people shouldn’t be in the business of “people”, especially people who are trying to celebrate a wonderful day or are grieving.

  • Michelle November 2, 2017, 8:05 am

    Wow, that is appalling rude. How unkind of this preacher to insinuate that God removed this woman from Earth because she was annoying/aggravating to him. I understand his frustration, and the frustration of the husband’s coworkers, however, that is a really awful thing to say at a funeral.

    The preacher who spoke at my grandmother’s funeral briefly went way off topic and started talking about “loose women, promiscuous people and heathens”. The family all just started looking at each other and my uncle made a really loud throat clearing noise that snapped the preacher back to the moment.

    • Just4Kicks November 3, 2017, 4:36 am

      A friend of mine who was Catholic got married many moons ago, after living wither fiancé for two years or so.
      She got married in the church to appease her parents, she really didn’t care if she had a Mass or not, but it meant alot to her folks.
      The priest knew they had been living together, and it didn’t seem to bother him until the wedding Mass when he stated to the packed church “Well, It seems that Sue and Jim have been living in SIN for MANY YEARS (Two actually), so I don’t know how much of a SACRAMENT this actually IS, but I’m doing this out of respect for Sue’s parents…..who ARE GOOD CATHOLICS!!!”
      Oh, my God.
      Sue and Jim were horrified, and Sue’s poor mom looked like she wanted to crawl under the pew.

      • SV November 6, 2017, 9:36 am

        I was at a wedding a few years ago ( my sweet young daughter was actually in the wedding party) where the minister began pontificating about how good it was to see young people getting married in a church, as that was the only true wedding and one that was blessed by God. I was sitting in the pew, with my husband of more than a decade and our three beautiful children. We were married by a JP in my parents back yard in a lovely New Years Eve ceremony. Sitting there with my family, being told that my marriage was not real was insulting in the extreme.

        Bride and groom divorced a year later.

        • Just4Kicks November 7, 2017, 4:24 am

          Someone in my family said something like that to me as well.
          I’m born and raised Catholic and would’ve loved to get married in the church, but my
          husband was divorced and we couldn’t unless we got an annulment.
          Too much hassle and red tape.
          We got married in a gazebo in a local park at sunset, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
          This crabby old uncle was on his fourth wife, and my husband and I just celebrated our 20th anniversary.

        • Donna November 7, 2017, 2:02 pm

          I was right there with you until the last part….

          Sounds like (at least) the couple getting divorced made you feel better about your ‘extreme insult’!

  • clairedelune November 2, 2017, 8:41 am

    This is heartbreaking–Jane sounds like a very difficult person to have around, but she also sounds like she was absolutely miserable in her life. How infuriating that her minister was unable to summon any compassion for her.

  • TracyX November 2, 2017, 8:51 am

    I’ve also been to a Catholic wedding where the Priest went off about how gay marriage is ruining everything for about 20 minutes. In the middle of the ceremony. Not sure why he thought that was appropriate for a regular wedding.

    • kingshearte November 3, 2017, 3:55 pm

      Me too! It was ridiculous. He started his… homily, I guess, with something to the effect of how sad it was that it even needs to be said that marriage should be between a man and a woman and so on and so forth, and all I could think was “So don’t say it. You have in front of you a man and a woman and they’re getting married, so what anyone else is doing is entirely irrelevant.”

      It was perhaps not quite as horrifying as a priest expressing gratitude that a person has died and thus gotten out of his life, but it was still pretty freaking awkward and offensive.

    • World November 4, 2017, 1:05 pm

      I think you and I share the same sentiments – that was completely inappropriate and off topic, regardless of the denomination’s beliefs! But I think one should be careful in calling a straight marriage a “regular” wedding.

      When I get married to my wife in my church, I very much think it will be a regular wedding! 🙂

  • Dippy November 2, 2017, 9:17 am

    well, that was certainly not what one expects at a funeral!

  • Shalamar November 2, 2017, 9:25 am

    Woah. Why stop there? Why not lead the congregation in a rousing chorus of “Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead”?

  • Girlie November 2, 2017, 9:34 am

    What in the world?!!

    No matter WHAT religion she was a part of – how could someone say those things about a mentally and physically ill woman who turned to them for comfort and help? He could have ignored her phone calls if it was so bad, and I wouldn’t have blamed him for that, but really – no matter how annoying she may have been, HE was traumatizing, which is FAR worse.

  • Anon November 2, 2017, 9:39 am

    I’m sure a lot of people were annoyed at Jane’s behavior. But I would say you do not complain about them unless they are very close family.

    There’s a difference between a child of the deceased going up and telling people how awful that person was to them (physical abuse, etc.) vs. a reverend or any other not-close relative.

  • Dana November 2, 2017, 9:44 am

    My father is a minister. He’s often had to stand at the funeral and find something nice to say about the deceased who was a wife beater, cheated every chance he got, was an alcoholic and druggie, and who died in a car accident where the deceased was the drunk driver. Still my father managed to say something good…I don’t know how, but he did! Funerals are not the place to condemn the dead or to inject your personal religious beliefs on others. It should be a time for friends and family to mourn and to get get closure – no matter what the deceased was like in life.

    • Anon November 2, 2017, 4:03 pm

      “He… he was a human being.” Steps away from the microphone.

    • jokergirl129 November 2, 2017, 4:31 pm

      Your father must of thought long and hard on that one. Finding anything nice to say about a person like that wouldn’t have been easy.

    • Kirsten November 2, 2017, 5:13 pm

      In those cases, most ministers manage to say something about the person made mistakes with their life but they’re at peace now and god loves them anyway.

    • Jazzgirl205 November 3, 2017, 11:55 am

      When I had to plan my brother’s funeral, I asked the priest not to mention his alcohol or drug abuse nor his other shortcomings. The priest quietly answered, “Don’t worry, I’m not that sort of person.” He was a dear friend of my mother’s and I didn’t think he would say anything but I felt I needed to cover all the bases.

    • NostalgicGal November 9, 2017, 1:16 am

      I’ve had to do a few doozies and yes, my BUSINESS/office/secretarial training has helped with parsing out a ‘proper cover letter’ couched in terms that say the truth without dragging anyone down. Being a minister means you better be or become a good public speaker… as that is a major part of it. Talking to the family for anything good they can remember can help. After that it takes skill.

  • Wild Irish Rose November 2, 2017, 10:04 am

    Words fail me. It’s worse than an officiant who didn’t actually know the deceased going on about what a great person he or she was, even though everyone else knew he or she was an embezzler and a mass murderer. Sheesh.

  • Orwellian November 2, 2017, 10:29 am

    He expressed joy at the death of a woman at her funeral. In front of her family. This woman who’d suffered most of her life. He expressed joy. That’s something the church’s higher ups should hear about.

    • Mindblown November 2, 2017, 2:25 pm

      Lots of churches, cults and sects don’t have any higher ups. That’s why some very wired and/Or charismatic ministers get away with this kind of thing.

    • Mechtilde November 3, 2017, 1:43 pm

      Often the higher ups either lack the will or the ability to do anything about it. For example in the Church of England clergy can only be removed from their parish by taking them to a special type of court.

  • staceyizme November 2, 2017, 11:11 am

    I don’t know why funerals seem to bring out the crazy in people. My own father’s funeral was marred by the pastor making some ill considered remarks, although nothing so severe as this. Families in mourning are vulnerable to being hurt through unscrupulous persons and inconsiderate persons. Unscrupulous persons are the robbers who prey on the homes of those absent to attend a funeral and those vendors who use guilt and other shameful tactics to oversell on the casket and related services. I’ve never thought to put a pastor in this category, but this one surely seems to belong there. It almost makes me think that a helpful primer should be handed out to those who propose to speak at a funeral, whether its a few remarks or an entire eulogy… (it should also be given to those who forget to censor some of their less charitable thoughts about the deceased and their family in the receiving line, at the grave site or or during the meal afterward).

    Maybe something like this-
    A Few Reminders:
    1. The deceased is the honoree for this event. It is not about anyone else. It is not a comedy roast or an opportunity to get your personal or business story “out there” to those attending.
    2. This is not a general call to repentance. Please keep your remarks about the hope of salvation or your other spiritual and theological observations brief, relevant and in line with the beliefs of the deceased (or at least of his family).
    3. Please do not make any “helpful observations” to the family and close friends of those mourning. (They know that they look tired, that they should rest, eat, drink, call back those who have offered help or condolences, write thank you cards or delegate that task, get ready to go through things, have a will to deal with etc…)
    4. Please do not make any requests for the cash, property, memorabilia or other belongings of the deceased or their family. Nobody cares that you are ready to receive what you believe is your due. Some people are actually here to mourn.
    5. Please do not invite other people to any event pertaining to the wake, mourning, funeral, graveside or other service. The family, funeral director, spiritual adviser or other delegated person will “handle” any concerns about who should attend.
    6. Please do not set up a “GoFundMe” or other charitable collection for the family without having cleared it with the primary survivors of the dearly departed. You may think that they need cash (you may know that they do) or you may sincerely believe that you are helping whereas you might inadvertently embarrass them.
    7. Please do not do anything to configure the seating, food, order of service, choice of music, decor or other details to reflect your personal preferences or sensibilities. (You can ask, gently, once, if it’s important. Otherwise, nobody cares whether you think the buffet should start with nibbles or the cold salads…)
    There are probably a lot more that could be added, many doubtless learned the hard way by those who have lost loved ones and experienced the impact of carelessness, thoughtlessness and even cruelty. How sad.

    • EchoGirl November 3, 2017, 11:22 pm

      8 (though it tracks back to your first point). If you tell a story about the deceased at the funeral (as is common in my family), it should be about the deceased, not a story about you where the deceased has a minor supporting role.

      When my great-aunt died, her ex-son-in-law (honestly…I don’t even know why he was there) got up and told a super long-winded story that contained a funny anecdote about the deceased. It would’ve fit right in, except that in his long-windedness, he spent way more time talking about himself than her.

  • Dyan November 2, 2017, 11:56 am

    what a horrible thing to say about her…sad really

  • Jd November 2, 2017, 12:02 pm

    I have never heard anyone say they were glad the deceased was gone at a funeral and I hope I never do! What a terrible man! At the funerals I have attended the preachers have always been so kind. This guy was a so-called minister in my opinion.

  • Just4Kicks November 2, 2017, 12:17 pm

    My mom’s best friend had a grown son in his 50’s who sadly took his own life six months ago.
    They were very close and to this day no one has any clue why he ended his life.
    My mom and I went to the funeral and as you can imagine, it was very sad.
    “Aunt B” was devastated, and my mom and I were very worried about her, we still are she is not handling his death well at all.
    He had a lot of friends and family who came, the place was packed.
    The minister was very nice and said some very comforting things and then invited anyone who wanted to come up and share memories.
    His brother gave a very tearful goodbye, and expressed his grief that he didn’t know his brother was suffering.
    Others came up and shared really beautiful and some funny moments they shared.
    Then….one of his friends who seemed drunk and under the influence of something, literally staggered up to the podium and gave a rambling and inappropriate speech.
    “I’m gonna him so much!!! We used to go fishing but never caught any fish cause we were SO DRUNK on the boat by EIGHT AM!!! HAHA!!! Those were GREAT times!!!” ect….
    We all were just squirming uncomfortably the whole time and Aunt B just sobbed hysterically.
    The minister finally decided to end this speech and went up and basically moved him away from the podium and gave a final prayer.
    I’m sure this guy was as upset as the rest of us, but kind of (in the moment) just seemed to make it worse, especially on my Aunt.

    • staceyizme November 2, 2017, 4:28 pm

      I’m so sorry for your loss and the loss to your mom’s best friend. I’ve never understood opening up the microphone to impromptu speeches at funerals (or weddings, for that matter). Grief isn’t an excuse to inflict harm on other survivors in the community and the minister or an able bodied designee should have taken over the microphone sooner rather than later. I hope your aunt finds some solace in her own memories and is able to have some healing of her distress through time and through her other loved ones.

      • Lady Catford November 2, 2017, 9:16 pm

        Sometimes having people stand up and say something about the deceased can be a good thing.
        At Grandpa V’s funeral the minister asked someone to speak. There was a long silence, then my 6 year old grandson walked up and said,”I will miss walking in the park with Great Grandfather. He and I would play Nintendo together. I will miss him a lot.” Then he sat down.
        Everyone started remembering good stories and many cried. It can be very hard for one to deal with the loss of a loved one, but talking about the good times makes it much easier. Too often talking about the deceased is seen as not good, but talking means that the departed is remembered, not forgotten.

        • Just4Kicks November 3, 2017, 3:37 am

          Thank you for the nice comments.
          Aunt B is a wonderful woman, loves my kids and has never once forgotten any of their birthdays, I also pray she finds some peace.
          In response to Lady Catford, I think its nice also when people get up and share stories at funerals. There were several folks who got up and told funny stories and we all shared some laughter through our tears.
          The friend I was complaining about was obnoxious, drunk and high, and in my opinion (also my Aunt’s) way out of line.
          As soon as he staggered up to the podium, very unsteady on his feet, I heard my mom say under her breath “Oh no…this isn’t going to be good”.
          My mom, months later asked Aunt B who that guy was, and she said it was a friend of her son for many years.
          She said she never liked him, and his behavior at her sons funeral did nothing to change her opinion.

      • Vicki November 3, 2017, 7:57 am

        We did a variant on this for my best friend’s memorial service (which I organized because her widower wasn’t capable of it). A very competent mutual friend offered to help with organization andact as MC, including asking anyone who wanted to speak to talk to her, and we put together a list of who would speak when: that meant I was prepared to start rather than leaving a long silence. There were one or two people we were afraid would go on at length or make it all about themselves, but either they thought better of it on their own, or seeing Jeanne there kept them in check.

  • Kat November 2, 2017, 12:28 pm

    I had a similar experience when my cousin passed away. The “friends” of the family whom his mother (my late uncle’s ex-wife) had chosen to speak said a lot of things about him that were not very nice. After the service in the car I said to my mom, “how could they do that to the family?” I’d never been to a funeral before where they said bad things about the deceased. Just appalling.

    • Just4Kicks November 6, 2017, 9:27 am

      I’m very sorry about your cousin and appalled anyone would say nasty things at a funeral.

      My husbands oldest brother committed suicide about 15 years ago after his wife asked him for a divorce on Christmas Day.
      He fell into a deep depression, he didn’t see the divorce coming and we found out his wife was leaving him for another man.
      My MIL called my husband late one night to say she hadn’t heard from “Bob” in a few days and she was very worried.
      My husband and his other brother hightailed it over to Bob’s home and found him in the car in the garage, deceased.
      Bob, we don’t know why, had booby trapped all the windows and doors with broken glass and jagged shale above every door and window.
      Fast forward to Bob’s service and everyone was in shock and devastated.
      My in-laws were a mess and my husband was trying to hold it together for his parents and Bobs kids sake.
      One person after another approached my husband and myself to “get the goods ” on the booby trapping the house.
      “What’s this I hear about broken glass above the doors?!? What the hell is up with that?!?”
      At least three people used me and my husband said quite a few people asked him as well.
      I was seated next to my MIL (Our differences put aside) holding her hand when a family friend came over kissed us both, said “I am so sorry for your loss! But, uhhh, what’s this I hear about booby traps before he killed himself?!?”
      My MIL’ s mouth dropped and she let out a shocked scream.
      I jumped up and pushed this guy, not too gently towards the back of the room and got right in his face and said “What the hell is wrong with you?!? Get AWAY from us!!! This is NOT the time or place and its NONE of your @!$#&! business!!!”

      • Just4Kicks November 6, 2017, 9:29 am

        ***three people ASKED me….not used

  • Anonymous November 2, 2017, 12:36 pm

    If I’d been at that funeral, I probably would have left as soon as Reverend Nutjob started showing his true colours.

  • PJ November 2, 2017, 12:39 pm

    I also don’t care for the message that Jane was a horrible infliction and the pastor was happy by her death.


    I don’t think it is OK to go into a house of worship of a belief that is not your own, then cast your complaint as an issue of etiquette. While I also disagree with this reverend’s beliefs, he was the leader in this place of worship and acting as such. This post sounds like it is basically a complaint about someone accepting and practicing different beliefs than yours.

    I’d chalk it up to “lesson learned” and don’t attend a religious ritual if you’re not willing to tolerate it.

    • staceyizme November 2, 2017, 1:59 pm

      I have to respectfully disagree! There isn’t a faith or a worldview that has a corner on the market either for kindness or for incivility! There’s just no way to excuse this category of remarks as being a way in which faith is practiced. This episode as related by the OP falls decidedly under the category of “things not to say if you are simply a decent human being” and it brings neither comfort nor enlightenment to anyone. There are far worse terms that could be legitimately applied to this pastor but since this is Ehell, I won’t belabor the point.

      • PJ November 6, 2017, 11:26 am

        OK, after reading repsonses to my initial thoughts…

        I should have emphasized more strongly how awful I thought this pastor’s ‘eulogy’ was. If I were in attendance, I’d be sure to never step foot in his house of worship again, *maybe* giving it another chance if I had new of things changing there, as I am a big believer in second chances. I really didn’t mean to imply that the cruel comments about Jane were part of the practice of this faith as a whole, or that there was anything acceptable about them.

        I focused on the second half of the OP’s story, which left a bad impression with me as it was along the lines of “now, let’s look at Rev Nutjob’s crazy beliefs, and how he proselytizes from his pulpit” I was definitely bristling against the thought of religious intolerance. In my focus, I surely lost sight of the true breach of etiquette that happened in the first half OP’s story. Part 2 was probably just more irksome to the OP once the ceremony got off on such a bad foot. Without the hurtful comments about Jane in Part 1, the whole issue in Part 2 may have merely been dismissed with an eyeroll. I do understand how that goes!

        staceyizme (and others who respectfully responded to my initial thoughts): thank you for the feedback and making me reconsider!

    • jokergirl129 November 2, 2017, 4:42 pm

      I don’t think OP was complaining about the religious aspect as a whole. Just that what the Reverend was saying didn’t have anything to do with Jane and that telling everyone to straighten out their lives and that Heaven was a cube during the funeral was not the right time for that kind of talk.

    • Ange November 2, 2017, 6:20 pm

      Where in any of his remarks was religion though? It just seemed like a long complaint about the deceased woman. I could kind of see not going to a service of a religion if you aren’t religious at all but the mourners largely wouldn’t have known what the minister was like, he was off the wall for any religion.

    • Melissa November 3, 2017, 10:12 am

      If the OP’s submission was only about the religious aspect, then I’d agree with you. If I went to a funeral honoring someone of a different religion, I’m sure there would be some parts I don’t agree with or believe, but that wouldn’t be worthy of an ehell submission regardless of how weird I might think their beliefs are. I’m sure that my religion seems weird to those who don’t believe as well.

      However, the etiquette issue is CLEARLY the fact that the officiant not only spoke ill of the dead, but rejoiced in the fact that she had died! Even if she had been a mean horrible person, that would be awful, but she was really only annoying, and that was due to mental health issues, so it’s a gross violation of etiquette and human decency! I feel pretty confident in saying that it’s not a part of their religion’s ritual to disrespect the deceased and their loved ones. Perhaps the OP should not have even included the religious portion of the story so people like you wouldn’t cherry pick that out of the submission and ignore the main issue.

    • InTheEther November 4, 2017, 1:56 am

      Who says the OP is of a different faith?

      I had a bible teacher in school for 2 years who believed that 9-11 was god’s punishment on us all for the USA not being isolationist and having a foreign policy besides ‘shun all non Christian nations’. Every grade at some point got into an argument with him about this stupidity, but he was one of those who had his head stuffed so far up his rear there was just no way for sense to reach his head. The only reason he lasted for 2 years is because he was contracted the 1st year so the principal couldn’t fire him part way through, and the 2nd year for whatever reason they couldn’t get anyone else to do it, so the option was between him or not having the class. They did actually wind up breaking contract to fire him, as he was a terrible teacher and any teen who was in the least bit religious was outright insulted by his various weird assertions (along with the implication that we weren’t true Christians if we didn’t believe what he said). Seriously, some classmates actually started writing down what he said so they could hand it to the principal as grounds for firing him.

      Some people are just weird outliers no matter what scale you’re judging them on.

  • Mustard November 2, 2017, 12:47 pm

    My first thought is this cannot be real, followed closely by my second thought; this cannot be real…

  • Lkb November 2, 2017, 1:09 pm

    While I agree that the minister was unconventional and inappropriate, I kind of look askance at the OP’s tone, particularly the last paragraph. Imho, the OP was every bit as rude posting such snark on a public forum as the minister was in airing the deceased’s troubles. (For that matter, what did the deceased’s mental health problems have to do with the minister’s remarks?)
    May the departed rest in peace and her loved ones be comforted.

    • jokergirl129 November 2, 2017, 4:46 pm

      Well if Jane called the Reverend a lot like she did with her husband and his coworkers because of her mental illness then that connects to what the Reverend said during the funeral.

    • Vicki November 3, 2017, 8:44 am

      One difference here is that this post is anonymized: it’s not “Reverend John Doe, of the Middletown True Church of God, 123 Main Street said these things.” But Rev. Self-Centered stood up and say this about a specific woman, in front of people who knew her, knew and cared about her and knew exactly who she was, and probably felt that they shouldn’t interrupt him because he was a minister, and because it’s generally inappropriate to interrupt the speaker at a funeral or other religious service.

      From that angle, this is another case of someone using expectations–that it’s rude to interrupt a speaker, and that we should defer to people in positions of authority, especially when they are theoretically doing their jobs–to be rude, by saying things that he probably wouldn’t get away with saying if he ran into one of Jane’s relatives at the supermarket or a party, where it would be much easier to them to walk away if not call him out.

      • staceyizme November 3, 2017, 5:17 pm

        It seems needlessly hostile and even inappropriate to complain about the fact that an etiquette complaint was posted on Etiquette Hell. The fact that the offending party was a pastor might be a source of astonishment and deep chagrin, but is certainly no reflection on the OP. Nor, from my reading of the narrative, was there any snark. Sincere shock and perhaps even outrage, but I can find no fault with that- this conduct seemed to merit just such a reaction.

  • TheCatLady November 2, 2017, 1:17 pm

    My father is a pastor and has had numerous crazy parishioners, and he has never been anything but kind. He sits for hours at besides, comforts the grieving and ACTS LIKE A MAN OF GOD. The fact she was mentally ill was sad, and it happens. For all they know she could have been fighting some form of cancer. The reverend had no excuse for being so terrible. He should have at least respected the husband and left him some dignity in a tragic situation.

  • Lerah99 November 2, 2017, 1:23 pm

    My friend used to belong to a small evangelical, non denominational, storefront church.

    A single mom with two little boys started attending.
    Once they’d been part of the church for a few months the older of the two little boys was hit by a car and killed on his way to school.

    At the funeral the Preacher, in front of everyone while giving the eulogy, turned to the mom and said “We need to get your other son baptized as soon as possible so he won’t spend eternity roasting in Hell next to his brother.”

    My friend left that church because she was so horrified the preacher would say that to the grieving mother.

    Simply because someone has decided they have a religious calling, doesn’t mean they are a decent human being nor that they are sane.

    • staceyizme November 2, 2017, 4:30 pm

      Your last line sums up everything perfectly.

    • jokergirl129 November 2, 2017, 4:49 pm

      Oh lord that was an awful thing to say to the mother. I can’t imagine how much pain that would have added to her grief and I really hope she was okay after sometime.

      And you’re right in that some people are just terrible and stay terrible even after a religious calling.

  • jokergirl129 November 2, 2017, 4:27 pm

    Can a Reverend be fired? Because if so then that Reverend definitely needs to be fired. The Reverend should never have talked about how Jane drove him crazy during her funeral and he should never have alluded to being glad that she died so that Jane wouldn’t bother him anymore. That is just outright terrible to say during the funeral and that is something you don’t admit out loud like that to the deceased’s family. And then going on about how everyone needed to find Jesus and describing heaven like a cube is just weird. Where did the Reverend get an idea like that from? I know that not everyone’s interpretation of Heaven will be the same but describing it like a cube is just odd.

    • Wilson November 3, 2017, 10:11 am

      Yes, reverends can be fired but if he is the pastor of an independent church that he himself started up, it’s unlikely to happen. They don’t have any governing body, and they usually set the rules themselves. The only way would be for the entire congregation to leave the church, but since he managed to start one church chances are he’d just start over somewhere else.

      • jokergirl129 November 3, 2017, 5:35 pm

        Ah I see. I didn’t take into account that he might be in an independent church and hence have no higher up that could fire him. I don’t really go to church myself so I never really thought about whether a Reverend, Priest and so on would have a boss or not. But thank you for telling me.

        • NostalgicGal November 9, 2017, 1:24 am

          To legally incorporate a church as far as the US government is concerned you need: an ordained minister (and that ordination can be iffy), a secretary, and a member of the congregation. File some papers for nonprofit. Voila, a church.

  • helen-louise November 3, 2017, 3:13 pm

    This reminds me of my uncle’s funeral.

    My aunt and uncle were together for over 40 years but never married due to a complete lack of communication on the subject. My aunt was waiting for my uncle to propose and when he never did, assumed that he already had a wife stashed away somewhere. (He didn’t.) He finally proposed on his deathbed but she said she didn’t want to get married under those circumstances.

    My aunt was too upset to have anything to do with arranging his funeral so all of the plans were made by his elder brother. It turned out that while my uncle had no particular religion, the rest of his family were Seventh Day Adventists. My Asian family are either Baptist after my grandfather or Catholic after my grandmother, and my black family are Evangelical. None of us are Seventh Day Adventists and we had no idea what to expect.

    Mainstream Christianity generally says that a person dies and either goes to Heaven, or into Purgatory to be cleansed of their sins before entering Heaven. Seventh Day Adventists believe that when a person dies, they are dead, and lie in the ground dead until such time as Jesus returns to Earth to resurrect everyone. None of my family knew this, or had had any warning of these beliefs prior to the funeral. There was little more upsetting than being told by the minister that the man you loved wasn’t going to Heaven, but would instead lie in the ground dead. I think this contributed to my aunt’s early death, only a year later.

    The other thing that was very upsetting was that they used my uncle’s legal name throughout the ceremony. I looked at the order of service and for a moment, had no idea who this “Ewart” was. He was always called Hughie. I think many of my cousins had no idea that wasn’t his name.

  • A Person November 3, 2017, 11:06 pm

    Let clergy be judgmental jerks on Earth. They have to face God at the end like everyone else and I’m certain He will have a few things to say to them.

    So for me, I see it as “just wait till Daddy finds out what you did.”

  • Ultrapongo November 4, 2017, 5:40 am

    De mórtuis nil nisi bene
    That’s latin for ”Say nothing but good of the dead”

    It might be a challenge to say anything good about some people, but I agree with Anon, November 2, 2017, 4.02 pm, ”He… he was a human being.” Steps away from microphone.

    There is an old story, maybe not true, but anyway, about a priest who succeded in saying good things of people at their funerals. I will try to translate to English, but the original is rhyming.
    ”The deceased was an industrious man,
    when others slept, he was awake.
    When the others woke up,
    He owned what they were missing.”

    (The deceased man was a burglar)

  • Jennifer Wilson Boozer November 6, 2017, 11:25 am

    When my father died I helped my mom arrange it. My dad and her went to different churches. Mom 7th Day Adventist and Dad Church of God but he had not really attended a church in years. Mom got her preacher, who did a good job, and the COG minister whom she said they had gone to see preach many times. This man got up could not remember my dad’s daughters names, he maybe maybe mentioned my dad’s name once and proceeded to talk about working in the cotton mill and that it would not matter if “he” drove a Cadillac in heaven. The preacher talked about himself and then at the end of his hour long talk in 107 degree weather said that if Hitler got saved before he killed himself we would see even Hitler in glory. I could have choked him!!!

  • NostalgicGal November 9, 2017, 1:28 am

    If I conduct a service, I ask the family what they want. I take notes. I ask questions and try for some stories of things they remember about them that are GOOD. I stick to my notecards. I will preach fire and brimstone at you later or elsewhere or both. Not the time or place for it.

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