This weekend I was the matron of honor in a good friends wedding. Personally, I am not a big wedding person. I find the rituals, pomp and circumstance, and showiness to be utterly pointless. I love that my friends are beginning a life together, but find it stupid that they have to spend thousands of dollars and light a unity candle to do it. For an introvert, being in a bridal party is like Chinese water torture. I used up all my people spoons two days ago. I have to pretend to be soooo excited about things that don't interest me in the slightest. I have to be nice to one of the bridesmaids who the bride doesn't even like (sister-in-law) even though she is driving me batty with bossiness. I'm trying to protect the bride from anything that might upset her or make her nervous.
This is also the friend who I have written about before who I have not told about my deconversion because her past reactions to other backsliders/unbelievers has not been stellar. Our friendship would absolutely change and I know it would not be for the better. Some people may question why I would want to be friends with someone who would react like that. The answer isn't simple. I do know this though, her distancing herself from me would be purely based on her beliefs as a Christian and a complete non-understanding of those who reject faith. She doesn't know what to do with it. She doesn't get it. It is so far outside her realm of understanding and she doesn't dare try to understand it either. Fear mixed with righteous judgment would trump loyalty as it has done in the past.
Which made for some awkward wedding moments. Like when they wanted everyone to lay hands on the bride and pray for her. Then they staged a photo of all the bridesmaids laying hands on her and praying for her. And one can't help but think, I am a complete fraud. My feet hurt too much to focus on the sermon/ceremony that included Adam & Eve, leaving & cleaving, two made one flesh, and all the other Christian wedding-isms, but I'm sure they were all in there. There was communion that was thankfully only the bride and groom. Then a prayer with their parents that I couldn't hear, but obviously meant so much to my friend that she cried half her makeup off.
And I get it. They believe this stuff. This is their wedding. They should be allowed to do whatever the hell they want at their wedding. It's just that now-a-days I feel rather out of place in a sea of Christians. These are my friends, but they aren't my ingroup anymore.
An interesting conversation of note that came up several times over the weekend was that of things people didn't like in weddings. You know, small talk while getting ready for a wedding or afterward. Other people didn't like all the photos, or the pressure to have bridesmaids, or long services. Mine? Worship services. For years now I have loathed worship services at a wedding. Firstly, because it is awkward. We are here to watch you get married, not to sit through a church service. Can we get on with the wedding part of this wedding? Second, it is awkward as hell for non-believers. If you know you have non-believers at your wedding then you are willfully choosing to make them uncomfortable. Sure, it is your wedding, but the idea is supposed to be that these people are sharing in this moment with you. They are as important a part of the wedding ceremony as you are, whether there are four people or four hundred.
My husband and I really tried to avoid an overly religious ceremony. To be honest, we tried to get out of the ceremony itself, but that is another story. I knew that I was inviting people who were either non-religious or of a different religion. Among a guest list of forty, I had two practicing Jews, a Hindu, one Buddhist dabbler, one Greek Orthodox, and a couple of nones. I was absolutely thinking of them when we were going over the vows with the pastor. No sermon. No Christian songs. No prayer. I knew who was in my audience and I wanted them to enjoy this as much as possible.
When I mentioned this pet peeve to the Christians at this weekend's wedding though (because as far as I know, they were all Christians) all of them has the attitude that since God deserves worship and they love to worship God, all those people would just have to suck it up. When I was a Christian, it never occurred to me that God was so deserving of worship that I should give a middle finger to anyone who doesn't agree. Does worshipping at a wedding make you uncomfortable? Oh fucking well, we are doing it anyway because this is what we do and we do it whether people like it or not. I would understand that if these people were strangers because why would you care about strangers? But these people are your friends and family. It should absolutely matter to you.
Of course, if you are a Christian you should like it though. Which is why I definitely got a bit of side eye this weekend when I said I didn't like it. If only they knew. It's a tough topic because on the one hand, this is their wedding and they deserve to do it however they would like, especially if it is important to their faith. On the other hand, I do wonder if I would have even been asked to be in this wedding if my friend knew I no longer believed? Would there have been a picture with all the bridesmaids praying? Or would she have done it anyway, not caring how I felt about it? Based on the reactions of several people this weekend, I would assume it would be the last answer.
This is a personal, but secret, blog archiving my deconversion from a Christian to a non-believer.