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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Funeral | James A. Auchmuty

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Funeral | James A. Auchmuty

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to A Funeral may seem inappropriate as the title of a book that talks about deaths and burials. But as a former teacher astutely observed, words have uses rather than meanings. Funny is one of those words. Something may be funny/ha-ha—amusing, humorous or funny/odd--unusual, out of the ordinary, even weird. And there are times when a thing is simultaneously funny/ha ha and funny/odd.

My experience across more than sixty years of ministry have included all three uses, and that fact began early Though a Baptist, I began like a Methodist serving a circuit of two rural churches. They referred to me as their pastor, but I was more like what the Air National Guard calls a “week-end warrior.” I was a college student in Birmingham, the churches were 120 miles away in Chambers County, and I had no car when the first one called me. One met on first and third Sundays, the other on second and fourth Sundays. On fifth Sundays I went hungry! And to keep things interesting, though the churches were in the same Alabama county, one operated on central time and the other on eastern.

I discovered this pattern applied in ministering to those who were genuinely grieved as well as to those, to put it nicely, “less emotionally stressed” of whom there are many. Moods and happenings have run the gamut from: pious to secular; heart-breaking to funny bone-tickling; sublime to ridiculous; holy to irreverent. A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to A Funeral, therefore, seemed most appropriate as a title.

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James A. Auchmuty is Pastor Emeritus of Shades Crest Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. For over 50 years, “Dr. Jim” has given of himself to individuals, families, congregations, and communities as a pastor, friend, and mentor. For 27 years, he served as pastor of Shades Crest Baptist Church. Dr. Auchmuty remains active, preaching in churches and providing pastoral ministry to families in times of grief and loss.

 

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