Post # 1
We are being married by my FI’s families’ very conservative pastor. He’s been wonderful throughout our required premarital counseling and gave us several example ceremonies, one of which we really liked and wish to use. The problem, though, is that three parts bother us because we (as a couple) are considerably more liberal than the pastor, my FI’s parents, the rest of the church and a large percentage of the people attending our wedding.
We want to change the ceremony in three ways:
One part says that marriage is between “man and woman.” We believe in the right for same sex couples to be married, so this part directly contradicts our beliefs, although it is crystal clear that the church/pastor/FIs parents/family are absolutely polar opposites. Should we take the section out completely, or is anybody familiar enough with Christian ceremonies to suggest an alternative way to say that a marriage is between two people without it being obvious that we want to change it because we support gay marriage?
Secondly, there is a large chunk about how we vow to serve the church and Jesus Christ… we will go to church when we move this month, but it definitely won’t be conservative southern missionary Baptist. We feel that part of the ceremony sounds cult-ish and creepy, but “giving your life to Jesus Christ” is a big thing in that church and I don’t even want to think about what would happen if the pastor/people/ect knew how un-conservative we are when it comes to how we see the church. We absolutely believe in giving our lives to serving others and in doing so know that we are serving God… but we just hate the way it’s worded.
And finally, “Jesus Christ” is used over and over in the ceremony, but in the church that I grew up in, we believed in a relationship with God, and all the Jesus talk honestly creeps me out because I’m not used to it (even after years of attending this church with my Fiance and his family) and I know my Fiance isn’t a fan. We want the ceremony to be more “God” directed, not “Jesus”. How can we replace “Jesus Christ” with “God” without offending the pastor?
Please understand that we have been darting around in this church for years now, trying to blend in with a crowd that is ultra-conservative. We love and cherish every person in this church and we don’t want to hurt anybody, or make them feel uncomfortable (or even inclined to pray for our souls, which I feel are in perfect shape with God). We are, other than these points, totally on board with the rest of the ceremony.
Post # 3
I understand your dilemma!. I think a big issue is going to be respecting the Church’s feel. A conservative pastor may take issue to bending for you.
For the man and women part could you change to two people who love each other? Or just cut certain parts out completely?
I hear you on all the Christ stuff! We used God and maybe one “Lord” .
I would revise your ceremony to your comforts and beliefs and then run it by the Pastor. The best thing would to be upfront and honest! Best of luck!
Post # 4
I think your biggest problem is going to be with replacing “Jesus” with “God.” Because most Christians (whether they are liberal or conservative) believe that Jesus is one of the persons in the Godhead. Episcopalians, Methodists, Catholics, Congregationalists, Presbys, Lutherans, Baptists, most evangelicals believe this.
I think only Jehovahs Witnesses and Mormons officially don’t.
So replacing Jesus with God wouldn’t make sense to most Christians. They’re the same thing to them! Or at least they think that Jesus is the primary model for Christian life (that’s where the word Christian comes from obviously, it means Christ-follower). So understandably they mention Jesus a lot.
It sounds like your personal faith background is not so really Christian so much as it is focused on worshiping a Creator-deity (instead of an incarnate-deity like Jesus is considered to be). Here’s an idea, could you perhaps suggest to the pastor that the language be switched to reference “God the Father” “God the Creator” “Heavenly Father” or “Heavenly King”? Would that be a bit more comfortable?
Post # 5
I was raised Presbyterian and we never used Jesus as the head of the church as much as this church does! I asked my mom and she was as miffed as I was over it. I had always learned that of course they are the one and the same, and of course Jesus was the example to live by, but we were always taught to follow God as the primary head, not Jesus. Although they are the same 😉 It’s totally a wording thing.
Thank you for the suggestions! They are absolutely helpful and make me 100% more comfortable. I’ll ask my Fiance what he thinks tonight, and I imagine that he’ll like them too.
Post # 6
I have the same problem. I was raised in a very liberal United Church (in Canada) and I’ve been attending my FI’s family’s church which is way more conservative and WOW do they ever over-use the word Jesus! I hear the word Jesus in one service more than I’d hear it in a year when I grew up. But I’m learning that it’s mostly just a wording thing. God-Jesus-Holy Spirit, are all the trinity and some denominations just pick one or two to use more than the other in their vocabulary. Like this “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” thing… Woah!? what?! I grew up with “I talk to God”… apparently it’s all the same thing.
I’m hoping that if the pastor isn’t willing to changing some of the wording that maybe this helps. Sometimes, it’s just a different dialect 🙂 And thanks for reminding me that I should talk with my pastor about this for our ceremony too!