As I said in my vacation post, I went to my brother-in-laws wedding on Saturday.

Well there was one thing that bugged me very profoundly: the “minister”. Wendy’s family is not Catholic and although they went to a Christian Church for a number of years, it didn’t really stick and none of Wendy’s immediate family attend church on a regular basis. Tim, being 5 years younger than Wendy probably doesn’t even have many meaningful memories from going to church as a boy as he was pretty young when they peeter out.

For whatever they decided to get a minister to do the ceremony but instead of finding a church that they wanted to attend and finding a pastor associated with that church, they decided to get what I will forever more call a rent-a-minister. I doubt this guy has any formal religious training to justify the term minister (at least in the traditional American use of the term) and even more importantly, didn’t seem to view his job as being all that religious in nature. It was clear from the conversations I had with Tim, the “minister’s” planner and the “minister” that Tim and his fiancee only met to arrange the logistics and payment of the wedding ceremony. The ceremony was outside at a golf course and had no association to any church.

It was clear from the beginning of the ceremony that he didn’t know these two people and was just spouting out some canned ceremony he got from somewhere (maybe he downloaded it from the place he got his “minister license” on the Internet). Then to top things off, he read from scripture and picked about the worst verse I could think of that has the word love in it. I forget where he started, but I think he skipped the beginning of the passage or maybe just a few lines, but here it is from the beginning up until where he stopped:

“There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them; a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love…” (Ecclesiates 3:1-8

I’m pretty sure avoided the kill part in that passage and he definitely stopped with ‘a time to love’ because verse 8 continues:

“…and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. ”

What kind of IDIOT picks a passage from the bible in regards to marriage that is not about love but just includes that word in a long passage of positive and negative things for whick the point is “all things will come to pass”. A book that starts off “Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!” The book of Ecclesiates is a book about the transient nature of life and that we must look to a higher source for our meaning. Traditionally the Jewish people have had a hard time with the inclusion of this book in the Hebrew scriptures (which is of course the Old Testament) because many thought it over-emphasized that lack of meaning of our lives. Point being, this is not a book you should be quoting from as a sign of our earthly love for our spouse unless it is part of a larger sermon about needing to place your faith in God above all things (and that will sustain your marriage). But that’s not what he did, that’s the only scripture reference he made. In fact, outside of saying “in the presense of God” he made no indication of God having any role in the marriage in any form other than quoting from Ecclesiastes and saying “this is this couple’s time to love”. And don’t even get me started about that statment!

It really ticked me off. I would have much preferred that the ceremony just be done by a Justice of the Peace as they call them. If you’re going to deny the religious importance of a marriage by not actually being concerned with having a real minister do it, why put up the charade of a rent-a-minister? I’m sure Tim and his new wife have no idea what this “minister’s” theology is and what the religious nature of a marriage is in his book. And they don’t care. So why would they have him come and preside over their wedding as a “minister”? At least with the Justice of the Peace, all that their saying is that this ceremony is to legally bind the couple as man and wife, which is something that all couples that are getting married are interested in. But if you’re not interested in making a conscious statement about the religious nature of the marriage (and to do that it seems appropriate to me that the person performing the marriage has the same view (not just A view, but the SAME view) of the religious nature of the marriage) just make it a non-religious ceremony and get on with it. But to hire a rent-a-minister… that was an injustice to God and everyone seated there including Tim and his new wife.

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