About

Throughout history the men and women who have prepared and buried the dead have been considered unclean.  Whether we’ve been ostracized, or given a lower stratus, or temporarily shunned.  If burying and handling the dead was an occupation in society, those who practiced it were the other.

With the advent of modern technology and a less superstitious view of death, undertakers have become less of the other.  Today, we exist normally in the world, saved as it were from being outcast by the advances in understanding that science has provided.

In some communities, we’re even honored.  But this occupation doesn’t come without a price.  After all, we work for Death itself and are afforded a perspective on life that few are able or willing to see.

In ancient Egypt, the embalmers were also considered diviners.  There’s some logic to believing the workers of death have a greater sense of the transcendent. We are confronted with life’s unanswerable questions as a matter of our occupation. 

For all of us who have been confronted with death in our personal lives, we know all too well the questions that can come:  Is death the end?  Is there a God?  What is the meaning of life?  It seems that those who live in death’s shadow have a greater understanding of what it means to be human.

This blog is a forum … it’s a middle space, for those who realize their thoughts are neither divine or dirt. This is a place for conversation, where we can create and mold each others ideas about death and life.  Welcome.  And please, join the conversation!

1226Credentials: 

Graduate of Northampton Community College’s Funeral Service Program.

Licensed Funeral Director in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since 2007.

Bachelors Degree in Bible from Lancaster Bible College

Masters Degree in Theology from Biblical Seminary

Certificate of Thanatology from The Association for Death Education and Counseling

Currently a post grad student at The University of Winchester, completing the “Death, Religion and Culture” program.

Features:

ABC’s 20/20 Interview for Episode “True Confessions”.

NBC News Front page feature, “Funeral director Caleb Wilde is an undertaker for the overshare generation”

TIME Magazine online feature, “Confessions Of A Funeral Director’ is a Blog You Totally Must Read”

The Philadelphia Daily News front page feature, “Oversharing Undertaker Goes Viral.”

1150

Religion News Service online feature, “Funeral director Caleb Wilde posts irreverent thoughts on death”  This article was picked up by the Washington Post.

Folha de S.Paulo, Brazilian Magazine Feature.

Why Life Insurance Really Matters in Erie Sense’s Magazine.

The American Funeral Director.  June, 2013.  “Funeral Blogger.”

Contributions:

ABC News:Quoted in “Dead People Get Life-Like Poses at Their Funerals

Forbes: Quoted in “Death of the Death Care Industry.

US News and World Report:  Quoted in “7 Ways to Help a Loved One Grieve”

Philadelphia Inquirer: Quotes in “Themed Funerals Reflect Boomer Generation.”

Huffington Post Live: Should Children go to Funerals?

Church Leaders Top 100 (Book).  “Why 99% of Pastors are Universalists … at Funerals?”

Radio: 

P1080456Interview on the Drew Marshall Show.

CBS Philly Feature and Interview “Chester County Funeral Director Uses Social Media To Encourage Conversations About Death”

Academic

Annual Editions: Death, Dying and Bereavement 14th Ed., 10 Burdens and Coping Mechanisms of Funeral Directors

Here are some of the featured posts I’ve written:

10 Reasons I’m a Funeral Director at Huffington Post.

How To Take A Funeral Selfie Without Being A Horrible Person at Talking Points Memo

Westboro Baptist and You at RELEVANT Magazine.

11 - CopyWhy 99% of Pastors are Universalists at Funerals at Church Leaders.

Even Jesus Wept at RELEVANT Magazine (This post was the “most popular article” on RELEVANT.com in 2011).

5 Things Funeral Directors Wish Pastors Knew at Church Leaders

12 Things My Father Taught Me about Being a Funeral Director at funeralOne.

Confessions of a Funeral Director at Q.

Here are some guest posts I’ve written:

What Do You Have to Know to be Saved? at Rachel Held Evan’s blog.

Caleb the Undercover, Undertaking Missionary at Jamie Wright’s “Jamie The Very Worst Missionary.”

Caleb Wilde, Funeral Director at Matt Appling’s “The Church of No People.”

This is How We Met: Caleb’s Story at Leigh Kramer’s blog.

How to Speak the Language of Grief at Leanne Penny’s blog.

Ask a Funeral Director in Rachel Held Evans’ “Ask a …” Series.

Thanks to You, John Wilkes Booth in The Order of the Good Death’s blog.

Come Morire Nell’epoca della Rivoluzione della Comunicazione at Salone del Lutto

 

Also, I get my writing published in the local newspaper a couple times a week.  If you want to check out my work, click here!

  • http://Website Leon Rutherford

    I went to my dear Jewish friend’s funeral. Afterwards the ‘grave digger’ aked for a lift so I said sure….I never realised the shock it caused amongst the Jewish mourners that I dare give an ‘unclean man’ a lift. To make it worse I had a Jesus sticker on the back of my car……but the deceaseds sister in law said it left a many thinking…..

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  • http://twitter.com/iamheidiwhitey Heidi White

    Ok, MAN, am I thrilled to read your blog, Caleb. As far as I can tell, this is a missional alternative to 6 Feet Under – and yikes, is that a good show. :) God has seen you and placed a heavy calling on your shoulders – to be face to face with death and sadness on a daily basis is a rocky way through the world. You offer us your insight and your experience as a man with the gift of life in the midst of the full weight of death – I look forward to seeing Life through your perspective. God bless you and multiply your words here and beyond. I will definitely buy your book! :)

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  • Mindy Olseski

    It’s a “dirty job,” but someone’s got to do it! Thank goodness that someone IS doing it for a living! I’ve always been very curious about all that goes on “behind the scenes” and the interesting experiences that someone of the profession has had.

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  • http://twitter.com/jurisdoctorette Veronica M. Surges

    I found my way to your blog through a circuitous, 6-degrees-of-wikipedia-esque route. I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read, and imagine my surprise when I realized you were the same author of the fantastic “Even Jesus Wept” article in Relevant last month! Keep up the excellent writing.

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  • Kevin Miller

    Hi Caleb: Just stumbled across your blog today while researching Ernest Becker’s take on the Fall of Man. Great stuff. I became a huge fan of Becker last summer while reading “The Denial of Death.” You have some great insights here. I just linked to one of your posts on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/HellboundtheMovie

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  • Katie Keichline

    I would love to leave you messages but alas it seems you have to have a facebook account to do so and as mine was jeopardized I cancelled

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sharon-Denney/130800228 Sharon Denney

    Caleb, You came to mind today as I thought about Newtown, and how in the heaven’s name an entire small community deals with the death of so many (including an astounding number of children) at once. Even just logistically, not to mention emotionally and spiritually. I’m sure you’ll comment on it soon. We would all appreciate your insights.

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  • Al Baker

    My apologies for sending my comment like this, but I cannot find an e-mail address. Comment regarding the graphic of Athanasius and the appellation, “the Black Dwarf.”

    This nickname has no record in the historical documents. The nickname seems to have gained popularity with Dr. Justo Gonzalez. He made a mistake and has admitted it. He states that the reference will either be removed or edited out in the new edition of his text. Due to his error and dozens of other well-meaning people using his reference, this nickname for Athanasius has now been spread all over the place. Now we must try to help African-Americans realize that Athanasius was most likely NOT black – this is not going to be easy for some. You can read some research on this topic here:

    http://www.churchhistory101.com/feedback/athanasius-black-dwarf.php

    Al Baker, Ph.D.

    http://www.churchhistory101.com

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  • TerriLynn
  • http://www.facebook.com/terry.langenberg Terry Langenberg

    Never underestimate the power of a written letter. About 7 years ago, while working as a funeral director in Iron River, MI, I had the opportunity to meet a gentleman from Manitowoc, Wisconsin at a sportsmen’s dinner at a local recreational camp. We sat across from each other during the dinner and program and had a wonderful opportunity to get to know each other. Two days later he died unexpectedly at his hunting camp and we were called to take care of the local arrangements. His services were held in Wisconsin and I never did meet his wife. I had sent her a letter expressing my sympathy and shared with her how much I had enjoyed getting to know her husband. Yesterday she called me on the phone…it was the first time I had ever spoken to her. She periodically reads the letter and yesterday felt it was important to call and tell me how much that letter has meant to her. She was able to find out where I was now living and working after retiring from funeral service, and contacted me at my office. We had a most enjoyable conversation and I was truly moved to think that after all of these years that letter still held such importance to her. While we can find the use of social and electronic media to be a real time saver and easy way to communicate, never underestimate the power of a written letter.

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  • Helen Chappell

    Hey! I grew up in Kennett Square! Love your blog. I worked briefly at Worrall Funeral Home in Kennett back in hs in the 60′s. Did flowers, grunt work, whatever one summer. For a doctor’s daughter, it seemed logical. Thank you for this work, If this is your ministry, you’ve chosen well. Thank you

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  • Antz Interactives

    Today the latest Christian app for Android was launched.

    It’s about Bible Mezzenger, which generates “personalized” Bible verses on daily basis, that help people through the day.

    New compared to other apps, is that it generates Bible verses based on mood or situation.
    Verses that can help when experiencing feelings like, fear, loneliness, disappointment, sadness, jealousy, but also joy, love, courage and gratitude. But also Bible verses that can help in your business.

    You can save your favorite verses on your smartphone or tablet. You can share them with your friends or social spots like Facebook and Twitter. Also you can Comment on them, and share with everybody or just your ffriends what this verse means for you.
    Unique is however the prayers and testimonies function in the Bible Mezzenger app.

    You can now share your prayers and testimonies with fellow Christians, or support and praise their prayers and testimonies.

    You can share or comment on them, anonymously or under your own name.

    With this Bible Mezzenger app, you can help others that need support. You can Invite friends and share, comment, support prayers and testimonies with them.

    Currently there is nothing like this app available, what makes this a unique app.
    Our main goal with this app is to reach young people who have no or little relationship with Jesus Christ, and help them by showing Jesus can help in any situation.

    For more info, you can check http://www.biblemezzenger.com.

    This app is developed by us:
    Antz Interactives Limited – http://www.antz.nl

    More about the app, you can find here http://www.biblemezzenger.com

    You can download the app here:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=nl.antz.biblemezzenger1

    If you need more info, then please contact us.

    We would be very thankful if you would give this subject some attention by placing or share this on your site, blog or social spot.
    Kind regards,
    Roy Berg
    info@biblemezzenger.com

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  • Emily Frugalsworth

    I love your blog. I also enjoy reading your guest bloggers’ posts. I found your blog after reading about Kristian Anderson, a young father who died in ’12. I was curious about a funeral director’s perspective. I’m sure you heard about him – he was the guy who made that video for his wife and he was a Christian. I will tell my friends about your blog.

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  • Candide Scaramouche

    Interesting stuff but I’ve got to say the history ‘facts’ can be pretty weak. Specific example, my first exposure to the blog was the guest post about ancient Egyptian chocolate cake. Unless time traveling aliens from the future showed up with it at funerals, then chocolate, like turkeys & potatoes, didn’t cross the atlantic in the pre-columbian era. Blatant factual errors make it more difficult to whole-heartedly believe in the rest of the posts.

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  • Myrmidon

    I had to laugh after reading an article about your site. The ‘ad placement’ is rather classic.

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  • feekoningin
  • tinamc209

    I want to thank you for taking the time to blog, Instagram, Tumble, and FaceBook about your profession. My Sister, who is 17, will be attending the Cincinnati Collage of Mortuary Sciences in 2015 (she is getting some basics done on the Community Collage level first), and your blog and everything else that she and I follow have opened our Mothers eyes to see that is “normal” and a needed profession. Again, I want to thank you so very much.

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  • Supa Trace

    Caleb; He made a good choice, choosing you!

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  • porter_readrboard

    Caleb, I’m the founder/CEO of ReadrBoard.com. We enable readers to easily cast respectful reactions to any text, image, or video on a web page — allowing readers to point out which parts of your longform content really capture them.

    It’s a free tool. We’d love to chat about trying our service out with your community.

    Thanks!
    Porter
    porter at readrboard dot com

       0 likes

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  • queen

    when will you be putting out a book? I would love to own one! Your insights and humor in life as made things you post worth reading! I love it.

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