Monday, 14 February 2005

a touch more self-loathing please

As per Winnie's suggestion I spent my weekend having a Cultural Experience.

There was some culture. And then there was the experience.

I am pleased to say that throughout it all, our friend The Bride, really glowed; which I know is a cliche, but cliche is there for a reason and you could almost see the happiness she was radiating. So that was good.

I am also pleased to report that my concerns about the food and the beer failed to materialise.

However, there was some stuff that I found a bit odd, to say the least. The church was a 'Free Church' of an evangelical nature. There were two things about the service that actively freaked me out:

One was the part of the ceremony where the congregation were invited up to the front of the church to pray over the couple. There was much muttering-out-loud and waving of hands, which was distinctly un-nerving.

Secondly, the Bride said 'Obey' - and not in a way that was simply a part of a traditional service. The pastor took pains to explain to us that her husband had committed to her in the eyes of Jesus/God and was therefore prepared to cherish her and lay down his life for her. And therefore, it was okay for her to be expected to obey everything he asked of her, because he would never ask her for anything that wasn't okay with God.

That was pretty much as I understood it, and to be frank it made my elbows tingle.

The pastor was nice chap, who could have learnt his routine on the northern club circuit, or alternatively in a used-car dealership in South London. "Awight!".

There was one point in the service where he exclaimed "Jesus, he's lovin' it!" and the person standing next to me muttered "Yeah, he's lovin' it!" under his breath, which caused the chap on the other side to go dark pink and stare fixedly at his order of service so that he didn't catch anyone's eye.

The 'Worship Songs' were all projected on a screen over the band for us to sing and were not my cup of tea at all. They seemed almost empty of content and were mostly about how the congregation was 'saved'; which seemed a little self-congratulatory. I've never been to a church service where there have been electric guitars and a drummer before though, which was quite fun.

However, all in all I think I prefer my spirituality quieter and perhaps with a touch more guilt or self-loathing.

Despite that, a good time was had by all and as we discussed with some of our friends who were also guests, how you get married is all down to personal choice and as it was what the couple wanted, good for them.

We also had time to catch up with a couple of other friends - we solved our potential sleeping-in-the-car-because-of-not-really-being-able-to-afford-a-hotel issue by staying with a mate of mine in West London. And on the way home we popped in to see a college friend who has just given up a lucrative IT job, retrained as a solicitor and moved to a new town to do her articles.

We've got a handful of invitations to visit people later in the year and are planning a kind of Progress Of The South-East, a la Elizabeth I.

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