A blogging Tunbridge Wells vicar has caused a bit of a brouhaha by roundly condemning secular cremations where the dearly departed can expect nothing better than "a poem from nan combined with a saccharine message from a pop star before being popped in the oven with no hope of resurrection".* Father Ed Tomlinson, 35, of St …
As an Atheist I completely agree with the Priest. I certainly wouldn't want a member of the clergy at my funeral, they'd be utterly superfluous.
... I'd want "Going Underground" by The Jam, for me.
Couldn't agree more...
"What is the point of my being present..."
I whole heartedly agree. What is the point of you being on planet Earth?
As an atheist
I think he makes perfect sense. He's not condemning non-religious ceremonies, he's saying that if that's what you want you should do it, rather than ask a priest to do a Christian funeral. Fair do.
Religion and the Empty Shell...
Once the sole is departed, its an empty husk. Toss it in the rubish, No ceremony required.
In the immortal words of Sir Henry Rawlinson....
"These're the only spirits I want tormenting my body... (sniff) Personally, when you're dead you're gorn. Afterlife, aftershave, blugh! Don't hold with any of it."
"I don't give a toss what you've done with me when I've shrugged off m' mortal coil... Shove a bit of flex up m' back passage, stick a lightbulb in m' mouth and stand me in the hall. (sniff) Mind you, if you're using electricity you'll have to dry me out first!"
That final tune at the end of the cerm service...
... it's GOT to be 'Blaze Away'!
What a wanker.
The Bishop has valid point.
It's not just funerals either -- there are people who must get married in a church despite not actually wanting any religious content.
It is about time people stopped pretending to go along with sky pixie stuff unless they actually believe it, or they wish to at least properly represent those beliefs in the service for the benefit of loved ones -- having a humanist ceremony with no religious content and a few crap songs by TakeBoysApart in a church wit ha vicar present is a little hypocritical and disrespectful (well, I think so at least and I'm an atheist).
Now I'll get back to composing my list of tracks for my funeral -- though I'm not sure if they'll appreciate "Help Me I'm In Hell" or "Six Feet Under Ground".
welcome to chav britannia
'you raise me up'? what the fuck??!!
Doesn't recognise a sales opportunity
> stood at the Crem like a lemon, wondering why on earth I am present
I have to say I don't have much experience of funerals (what with still being alive, 'n' all) but it seems to me that for most people, the funeral is about the people who are still living - not the guy in the box. If this priest hasn't realised that in all the funerals he's done, I think he's missed the point of a lot of them.
So far as why he's present, I'd hazard a guess that a lot of people think of him as a sort of "lucky mascot" or part of the occasion: just like a flash car, patronising sermon and drunk relatives are part of a wedding ceremony.
At funerals, people also tend to get a bit reflective - thinking about their own mortality. If that isn't the prime time to put in a word for god, then I don't know what is. Maybe he should start asking himself if he's actually in the right job, as there doesn't seem to be much in the way of evangelical enthusiasm here, just a rather grumpy-sounding guy having a moan about the world not running in the way he thinks it ought to.
 using the gender-neutral meaning of "guy" here
All he seemed to be saying was...
If your going to have a religous cremation do it properly. Seems fair enough to me.
Flames, cos im sure alot of people round here will see it as him being in the wrong just for being a vicar.
He's got a point
Providing you forgive the guy for his somewhat brash method of delivering his point - which is surely somewhat of a liability in his profession - he's talking a lot of sense. If you don't believe in the great sky fairy, why on earth would you invite one of his minions to watch your loved one being incinerated?
Are they just shy?
I aggree with the Vicar. If you're not a Christian why would you want a Vicar there in the first place? I'm sure this is related to some shyness or a a stigma that requirees you to at least look Christian to your family at the time of a burial.
For me, no vicar and no Tina Turner. I want to get stuck in the oven to the soothing sounds of AC/DC's "Higway to Hell"...
This song for my funeral
But I can see the Rev's point, why have a religious figurehead at your ceremony if you then don't have any religious content in it.
If he hates his job so much he should find a new one...
Unhelpful, misguided and 'religious' (in a negative sense) yes, but hateful and biggoted no...
I would also bet that the priest in question had no problem cashing all of the £90 cheques he's recieved from the undertakers for officiating..!
I used to perform 2-3 funerals per week as an evangelicl (pentecostal) pastor and appart from one occasion when the wife of a suicide victim wanted me to play Sinatra, "I Did it My Way", I never saw my work as anything other than an absolute privilege and a grave commision.
Indeed, I always encouraged the family to pick a piece of music to play and short of songs containing obscenity I would insist that absolutely anything was appropriate, because as well as comitting somebody to the grave a funeral is always a celebration of that persons life.
As a Christian minister I would always preach a short eulogy where I made the Christian biliefs about redemption and the eternal state clear for those gathered, the death of a close friend or relative is often a catalyst for personal searching and questions and the church should gently and sensitively provide what answers it has, (I was never prevented from preaching a eulogy and so I was never in the position of having to decline to preside at a funeral).
However, this part would take all of 5-10 minutes, and the rest of the time I would use to help the family / friends to commemorate, celebrate and mourn their lost one.
I should also add that at £90 / funeral ther 2-3 I did per week provided the main part of my income as an unsalaried minister. Catholic / CofE / Methodist ministers can often double or tripple this number of ceremonies so when they start complaining about the 'clientele' they don't really have a leg to stand on.
Who needs it?
May as well pack it in fellas, He's not coming...
There's only one song you need for a funeral....
Living in a Box, by Living in a Box!
@AC "Religion and the Empty Shell..."
> Once the sole is departed, its an empty husk. Toss it in the rubish, No ceremony required.
I take it you don't believe in Cod, then?
I agree with him
As an Athiest I feel that having any religious figure at my funeral would be hypocritical. Mind you, there wouldn't be much left of me to have a funeral over - I'm registered as a full organ donor and looking into how to donate what's left to science.
As far as I'm concerned they can do whatever they want once I've finished with this body. I certainly wont be needing it again!
I've chosen "Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake as my parting tune.
No thanks. Just think - an eternity of doing stuff you've done an infinite number of times before. You would get bored of absolutely everything. Imagine getting bored of wanking! Sounds like my version of hell.
That the majority of the comments so far aren't frothing anti-sky-pixie in content. And not a Gately comment in sight, which means that The Moderatrix must be working overtime!
As an agnostic tending towards Zen, I don't want a priest at my funeral any more than I want an imam. I sympathise with him for being asked to attend / officiate, then being asked not to include "any of that God stuff" - WTF is the point, then? If the departed is a Xtian, get a priest to officiate and include God stuff. If they're not, don't. Simples.
Oh, and the tracks would definitely not include any of the tripe akin to Tina Turner, WestLife and BoyZone. Some nice, melodic Rammstein ("Stirb Nicht Vor Mir" would be appropriate, perhaps - "Pussy" would be going to far, even for me!!), a touch of Alice Cooper ("Wicked Young Man", methinks) rounded off with "Voodoo" by Godsmack. The selection of music is pretty much your last chance to express your individuality, so choose some personal stuff that reflects you, y'know?
I was brought up the church for many years. Now i have the choice i dont do because for me religion is pointless. I'm not saying i dont believe in a god because there has to be a "higher power" or how did we come into existance, I mean the stuff that stareted life existed for millions of years, then suddenly came together.
Anyway back to the point at hand, I got married in a church for the reason that as I believe in a "God" that a church was the best place for me personally. As for my funeral i am still undecided as to be buried or go out in flames (either cremation or on a big pile of wood) for either i think i would have a preist, and Rev Ed makes a good point that if there is no spirtual value then he should be made to go.
Re: @AC "Religion and the Empty Shell..."
I found that a bit harsh. Your body carries you around for decades, I don't see a problem with treating it with some respect once you've left it. I'm happy to donate most of my usable bits but I'd rather not have any med students play keepy-uppy with my brain or anything. (And yes I am an atheist etc etc)
Aside from anything else it'd be a bit unfair on the binmen to just have yourself chucked in a wheelie. Imagine the back strain.
For the living
"Rather something real and significant is happening, on earth and in heaven, when these take place."
Some people don't come out of fairy land when they grow up. That's why he doesn't get that funerals are for the living, not the dead.
If you are an atheist why do you give a damn shit who's attending your funeral? You'll have ceased to exist, you'll be just a bunch of carbon compounds, minerals and water. If you spread any wishes beyond your death you are just another whining hypocrite.
It may not have reached your profane livelihood yet therefore take it from an agnostic: a funeral is primarily for the bereaved not for the deceased.
More preparation is needed.
The choice is essentially between buying a pre-packaged CofE (TM) show, tweaked over the centuries to "standard", and hastily reinvent the ritual (to be compared, and found lacking, to the standard by such little men as here) at a time when life overwhelms you.
Basically, if your family had the decency to prepare your funeral say half a year in advance (as weddings are done), you'd get a more personal and polished service. And you had a chance for a vote on music, nibbles, and invites.
I put it to you it's your own fault if you lose friends over your shoddy wedding; but then, you wouldn't care anymore would you?
Re "I'm happy to donate most of my usable bits" - can I have first choice, please??
It's The Bishop!
I think the Vicar is just offended because Tina Turner is a Buddhist.
Just put me on a boat piled high with all my consumer electronics and set light to it.
After I'm dead (obviously).
Silly Moderatrix, binmen don't lift wheelie bins up! The lorry does that for them. All they have to do is pull it close.
". I'm happy to donate most of my usable bits but I'd rather not have any med students play keepy-uppy with my brain or anything. (And yes I am an atheist etc etc)"
too easy you are makeing it too easy
I though cremations would be way down..
.. with the large amount of booze everyone drinks. Too much combustion risk.
Going down in a blaze of glory??
would probably be my choice of song.
Being a Christian I would rather just have them chuck me in the burner or something and go off and have a party, I mean really who wants to stand around mourning some dead piece of meat? I hate funerals they are such a waste of time, once you're gone, its over.
Anyway, I am saving up some money for my dearly beloveds so they have have a good old party
RE: Steve 70
'Unhelpful, misguided and 'religious' (in a negative sense) yes,'
Funny, i didn't read what he said in the article that way at all. Simple point came across to me - not religious? Don't have a religious component to your funeral. Other commenters seem to agree.
'I would also bet that the priest in question had no problem cashing all of the £90 cheques he's recieved from the undertakers for officiating..!'
Given your position, do you think it appropriate to cast aspersions on the character of a purported brother in the faith? Interesting interpretation of Scripture......
Re: @ Sarah
Oh AC Whose Name I Can Still See, someone had to say it, I suppose.
I intend to live at least into late middle age so, y'know, bear that in mind.
Churches are beautiful buildings, singularly fit for holding wedding ceremonies. If I ever get around to marriage or whatever don't-upset-the-religiously-insecure term I'm supposed to use, I'd like it to be in a church.
It's also very hard to find a decent secular MC, so I can even see the point in having a 'religious' marriage. Personally, I don't see any hypocrisy in any of the words apart from the fact the priest addresses god which, as no two people can ever agree on exactly what the word means, I can get around by defining it as something like "in all honesty, in front of everyone who's ever been important to me whether or not physically present".
By the time I'm ready to cark it, I hope there are DIY funeral booths on street corners.
You know a bit like those old instant photo booths...
Adjust swivel seat
Look into screen
Insert ID card*
Insert Credit Card
Recite last will and testament
Instant incineration (carbon neutral of course)
Done and dusted.
Compacted ready for bin men.
* sorry, but they WERE introduced afterall
Bring back being buried at sea. Take a boat out into the big blue yonda, get the captain to say a few words, then plop your fish food.
"I intend to live at least into late middle age" ...
Unfortunately you don't get to choose.
Having spent some time being dead (many thanks to the West Midlands Ambulance Service, logn may you carry on reviving!) I don't recall spending much time worrying about what happened to my body.
"Oh AC Whose Name I Can Still See, someone had to say it, I suppose.
I intend to live at least into late middle age so, y'know, bear that in mind."
some times I think you incrougus us just cos you like the atention
Re: @Sarah Bee
You don't get to choose how long you live? Why did no one *tell* me? I've got it all planned out! I thought... I thought... etc.
You are Dave Gahan and I claim my tickets for Depeche Mode at the O2.
Re: @ sarah
Only occasionally. I have to amuse myself somehow.
Having sat through a funeral where the deceased was a non-believer, so was the family, but no one wanted to 'run' the ceremony, yet everyone wanted to commemorate our friend and be there for his widow, so a Christian minister was called in and we got God thick as lard, I really do think funerals have to be re-thought. Frankly, a Toastmaster or good after-dinner speaker with sensitivity and tact would do as well. A Christian minister is obviously going to speak his stuff, can't fault him for that, and why have him if you don't want it. Point made before, but having been part of the 'audience', so to speak, a message of faith to an audience who has no faith was only distracting and grating and sad.
@Sarah Bee -- late middle age? Is that all you hope for? Do you want to say goodbye to 40% of your life, and the best bit as well?
Re: Viking funeral
@Mike Richards, sorry, no can do. WEEE, you know.
Doesn't matter if you believe in "God" or not, the question is whether you believe in the Christian version of God and his various works and commandments, as interpreted by the particular Christian sect whose church you'd be in.
Muslims believe in God too. So do Jews, and Sikhs, and Hindus (the various Hindu gods are aspects of one greater God), and Baha'is. Would you randomly roll up at one of their places and say "please can you do my funeral service when I die?"
FWIW, I believe in God too. However I also believe that the followers of organised religion have caused more death, pain, misery and suffering in the name of their chosen organised religion than have been caused by any nation, political movement or other concept. For that reason, I'd rather be dropped down a sewer than have my funeral in a church, thanks.
Why was he there?
If it was a secular funeral, what WAS the vicar doing there at all? I can understand why he felt like he didn't belong there!
@James Cullingham & @Sarah Bee
@James Cullingham Yes very good! I did mean soul.
The whole point of religion is based on the soul passing onwards leaving an empty shell. After death we really shouldn't be wasting our time on a corpse. A remembrance service or celebration of Life (or wake or whatever, sometimes down the pub!) is usually seperate to the Burial/Cremation this vicar really should know that!
Yes agreed tossing into the rubish is a litlle harsh. Put which ever bits you want into the recyling bin and the rest into the composting bin.
@Sarah Bee When you reach Late Middle Age... how old do you think I'll be?
(If you really want to work it out I was born in the year of the Fire Dragon! [no I'm not Chinese I'm just not making it easy!])
Come on baby,
Light my fire
@ Charles E
"I think the Vicar is just offended because Tina Turner is a Buddhist."
Shouldn't that be Bullshit? That's certainly how I read it. Plz use a spellchecker next time to avoid any confusion.