There are several reasons that I know that he is not respected or liked. People walk out on his sermons. He is treated with no deference in direct dialogue. He is described as one "who preaches at our church," pointedly not as "our preacher." At the end of the novel, the good people of Gilean get a new preacher, a "large ruddy man" whom they feel lucky to get.
I think the difference is that Furber's madness is personal. He has no charisma. People aren't drawn to him. Living here in the South, I frequently hear people tell me that they visited a church and found the preacher hateful, or bigoted, or narrow, or whatever. I imagine they would not attend church at all if such a preacher were their only option.
The "crazed maniacs" you're talking about, Lale, have charisma for their followers. (Heck, people used to tell me what a "nice guy" George W. Bush was, or they believed him to be. They found him charming and endearing and "would like to have a beer with him." I could never understand. I hated Reagan, too, but I understood his charisma.) Also, the madness and hatred of these preachers and candidates resonate with the hatred, narrowness, fear, and bigotry of the people who are drawn to them. Nobody shares Furber's madness.
Lale, I guess I could summarize what happens in the rest of the novel, but I wish you'd give it another try, skipping the "80 pages." It is never anywhere near that hard again. The story is not much without the amazing style.
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