I would like to be able to marry people. I don’t mean I want to become a polygamist. I want to perform wedding ceremonies. In fact, I want to be able to perform all sorts of life ceremonies for people.
The problem is that I’m not a minister of any church in any official fashion. Sure, we are all ministers, but apparently that is just lip service. As far as the law is concerned, being a member of the Body of Christ isn’t good enough – you actually have to be ordained to marry people.
Now, I want to perform life ceremonies for people who don’t go to church. There are plenty of people who need ceremonies who aren’t members of church. The church has turned off and turned away people. The church has become irrelevant to many people’s lives. It has become hypocritical and hyper judgmental. People don’t feel welcome in church.
But they still need ceremonies.
We humans need ceremonies. We need to mark transitions from Then to Now. We need to indicate that something is different. Ceremony and ritual is part of what makes us human. We need closure. We use ceremonies to mark time and growth.
Ceremonies and rituals are like doors. We walk through them, and then we are different. It isn’t the door that makes us different, it is the act of walking, intentionally, through that door. It keeps us mindful and aware.
I simply don’t understand why the person performing the ceremony has to be credentialed. It isn’t like she or he is doing something complicated. A few words, said meaningfully, is all. There is no magic trick. There is no surgery, actually binding people together. It seems that it would make more sense to look at the intent of the people getting married more than the person doing the ceremony. Look how many divorces take place all the time these days, and they were married by credentialed people. So that isn’t working. It isn’t the people performing the ceremony that makes the difference.
Now, you don’t have to be a minister to perform a marriage ceremony. You can be a judge, or a captain of a ship for instance. There are plenty of non-religious people who can marry two people together – but I don’t fit any of those categories.
I wonder if there would be simply something to just going to the county clerk’s office to register (yes, you have to register) to be able to marry people. I don’t think there is any proof that you have to provide to be able to do this. I don’t plan on taking money for it – but I do want it to be legal. There are certain mail-order ministries that aren’t accepted as valid proofs of being a minister.
But again, we are all ministers. I would think that the simple fact that I want to be able to do this, to help out my friends who want to get married or have other ceremonies but don’t go to church, would count. That is a ministry.
I tutor ESL kindergartners. That is a ministry too. But I didn’t get tested or have to be certified. Sure, there was a criminal background check, but nobody asked for proof that I actually had a degree in English or had tutored before. That seems far more relevant.
But two people who want to get married? That is all them. They are doing the hard stuff. The words said on the wedding day don’t make you married. It is everything you do after that.