The collection plate

This might be a bit of a heavy topic to start with for my new wedding Friday spot but I’m gonna talk to you today about God, well not God exactly but the church.

I’m not religious, let’s get that particular hot potato out of the way to start with, I’m not ignorant about religion and studied religious philosophy at A-Level so I do have an understanding of theology but the idea of a God just seems illogical to me. But that’s not the point.

This all began at the first wedding fair I went to, there was a venue round the corner from where we used to live and although we would not have considered the venue we wanted to see what other suppliers there were in the area. Wedding fairs can be soul destroying affairs and the ones held at wedding venues are usually the worst as they seem to feature the most mediocre of suppliers (that’s a rant for another time) but I was blissfully ignorant at this point. This fair had all the usual suspects; a string quartet, chocolate fountain, flat champagne, lukewarm food etc. But as it was my first wedding fair I was excited about the whole thing, grabbing handfuls of leaflets and being a typical newly engaged woman, grinning like an idiot at anyone who spoke to me. However, I was rather taken aback when I had a large plastic bag thrust into my hand by a lady who then asked me ‘have you considered a church wedding’ I told her no as I wasn’t religious, she just smiled back at me and said ‘oh that doesn’t matter dear’ – Eh?

My face achieved a whole new level of asymmetry as I tried to compute this last sentence. I gave the woman a look of total confusion and sort of stumbled away before getting increasingly irked. The wedding industry is a money spinner and so far seems recession proof, with people still willing to shell out thousands for their wedding and now it seems churches are getting in on the act. OK, OK the church has always been a key part of weddings but the idea of anyone getting married in a church regardless of their beliefs just seems wrong.

The keystone of any wedding is the vows and religious vows means that you swear by almighty God that you will love your husband/wife forever. So if you don’t believe in God surely this will lessen the value of anything you say after this? Plus by using religious vows and not being religious could mean you’re signing yourself up for something you don’t actually want. You might have opted to have ‘obey’ omitted from your vows but the Bible is pretty clear on the position of women in marriage and if you don’t believe me just ask St. Paul “Wives should be submissive to their husbands as if to the Lord because the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is Head of the body the Church, as well as its Savior. As the Church submits to Christ, so wives should submit to their husbands in everything” (Ephesians). Am I signing up for this – HELL NO!

So was this woman with the plastic bag trying to tell me that my vows don’t matter?

Some people seem to care more about the aesthetics of church weddings; they see the pretty entrances, the beautiful windows and ancient architecture rather than what it all symbolises and for the church to be condoning this to make a bit of money, nope this does not sit well with me. I’ve seen so many episodes of wedding shows where the bride is desperate to get married in a pretty church she has seen but has never actually stepped inside it. This only goes to further my cynicism that some marriages are based on the whole romantic ideal about the ‘wedding’ and not actually the reality of marriage. So the fact they are taking vows they don’t really believe in is OK because all they really want is to be a princess for a day. My eyes are rolling round my head as a type the thought is just so ridiculous but I’m sure not far from the truth in some cases.

I’m NOT saying people shouldn’t get married in churches, I’m saying that people who get married in churches should be religious and should understand and believe in what they are saying.

I’m sure that many wedding suppliers come across couples where you can see the train wreck that’s approaching and maybe you have some moral dilemma about taking money from a couple who probably aren’t going to make it to their first anniversary but since when is a florist or photographer meant to be a moral compass. If only we had people in society who could act as these ethical buffers! Oh yes we do and you can find them at your local wedding fair, collection plate in hand, belief optional.

 

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4 thoughts on “The collection plate

  1. Yet another brilliant blog post. I once questioned the values of a woman who was irked at having to get married in an inner city church as it wasn’t ‘pretty enough’ for her wedding… She wanted the country church … When I questioned her reasons ie citing that she may have been missing the point about the whole marrying in a church thing I was attacked by her & all her dimwit mates because ‘it’s her big day’ & ‘it’s got to be perfect’ doh! She managed, somehow to wangle the pretty country church……they’ve never set foot in it since….

  2. As a Christian wife, I agree with what you are saying! We got married in a church as it meant something to us – our friends were church friends there, our youth band played the songs and we chose hymns that meant something to us. We stood in front of the God we believe in and made our vows and they meant the world to us and to God.

    If you’re not religious or a believer then I don’t think a church ceremony should be taken lightly just because the grounds are pretty, or its cheap or its traditional as you are right, it won’t mean anything to you!

    I think each couple needs to find the right place for them, that they feel comfortable in, that suits their love on their wedding day – whether that is getting married in a grand cathedral or under a willow tree in the back garden.

    I find it somewhat hypocritical when people who claim to be atheist then get married in a church just because it will look good on the photos – my only hope for them is that they find a belief in the process.

    As for the quote from Ephesians – I’ve studied that passage a lot through church and school, and in the passage, the church is a strong hold for Christ – it pushes God’s message forward and is a witness of God on earth! So it says that a wife should submit to her husband like the church submits to God. So basically, a wife should be a strong hold place for their husband, a witness and a cheerleader for them, and help them in their life to believe in them! That’s actually a really wonderful thing. It also goes on to say the husbands should be like Christ who is the head of the church – well Christians believe that Christ died for us, he put his neck on the line and came up against a lot of aggro just for us. Well if thats what a husband is supposed to be like (prepared to die for you, standing up against things that try to beat us down) then that sounds like a pretty amazing marriage and a great example to live by! Check out this blog post to find out more about what that passage means: http://bible.org/seriespage/submission-christian-wife-ephesians-521-32

    I really respect your views here and I think you are right about the fact that a lot of couples perhaps enter into their vows too lightly and choose a church wedding for reasons other than that of their beliefs. Ultimately a wedding is for a day and a marriage lasts a lifetime and it is important that the ceremony is right for you, whatever you believe!

    Thanks for such a great blog post!
    x

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