free flying soul

"this world has nothing for me and this world has everything...all that I could want and nothing that I need"

My Photo
Location: Macclesfield, North Carolina, United States

Born: 1970; Graduated High School: 1988; Married: 1991; Children: 1996, 2000, 2005; Graduated College: 2008; Figured Out This Faith Thing: In Progress

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Real Entry? Nope...Just Me Thinking Again

I am officiating a wedding tomorrow. The couple does not attend our congregation and I only know them from the handful of meetings I have had with them. Early in the process they told me that they did not want a "religious" wedding ceremony. After discussing the issue I told them that I would be happy to officiate a civil (is that the right word?) ceremony if that is what they really wanted...they did.

Fast forward to last week. I get a call from one of the elders telling me that they (the elders) do not want the wedding to take place in the church building. They want me to call the couple and explain to them why. Needless to say...I was a bit stressed. I had made it relatively clear to the minister of our congregation that the ceremony was going to be a civil ceremony and not a religious one. We had agreed that it was odd but that there really was not a problem...until...someone who had heard about what was going on complained and insisted that we not allow a "non-Christian" wedding to take place in THE church.

Fortunately...our minister stepped up and explained that this was an opportunity to minister to people and that the congregation was probably legally bound due to the contract and deposit collected from the couple. Long story short...the wedding is still taking place tomorrow and the couple is happy. I imagine we will still have some members of the congregation who are not pleased...and that got me to thinking.

*insert winking smiley icon here*

Which is worse: officiating a civil ceremony for a couple who is not interested in a "religious" ceremony...or...forcing a couple to deliberately lie during a "religious" ceremony just so they can use the building?

Just for the record...after more discussion with the couple...they have decided to use some Scripture (portions of 1 Corinthians 13) and to have two prayers in the service. Are they doing that just to say that it is a "religious" service and have no more issues? I do not know. I do not think it really matters.

I initially met this couple to determine if there were any reasons why I should not perform the ceremony. They passed my personal litmus test so I moved forward. I have no problem officiating this wedding. I understand that there are some people who think that I am probably sinning (or worse) by being involved in this. I do not know what to say to them. I will be honest...marriage as we know it is a government thing. I believe 100% that the spiritual side far outweighs the legal side of it but the fact remains that many people only consider the legal side of it. Our churches are already entangled in that mess because we function as non-profit, tax exempt organizations. I think that opens us up to all sorts of things.

I understand why a devout Christian may have a problem with a "non-Christian" wedding taking place in the building...but...someone should have thought about that before they signed a contract and took money from the people. If it is that big of an issue then there should be some very clear rules as to what is and is not acceptable and those rules should be explained BEFORE letting anyone use the building. It is like our minister explained...the couple could probably sue us (and win) if we backed out one week before the wedding. That would not be the greatest PR move in my personal opinion.

I know I have rambled a bit and this is somewhat disjointed...I am just thinking out loud. Real bloggers sit down and draft their thoughts out before launching them into cyberspace. I just sit down and start banging away at my keyboard. I guess I have learned one thing during all of this. I have narrowed down my pre-marital counseling to just one question. Why don't you guys elope?


Post a Comment

<< Home