We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Gimmicky Weddings

How does God look at the institution of marriage?  Well, I’d say, from reading Scripture, that He looks at it as a very serious relationship, a relationship so serious that he uses it as a picture of the relationship between Him and Israel, as well as between Christ and the Church.  For Christians, the latter should be more definitive.

Marriage is serious business, and God invented it in Genesis; the origin is explained in Genesis 2, and the results are stated in vs 23-24.  This passage is so fundamental that we find it again recited by Jesus, and then by Paul when he explains the analogy with Christ and the Church.  Marriage is seen to be inviolate - divorce can be only for specific reasons and even then is not required - let no man separate the couple.  We know that there are many duties and roles spelled out in the Bible for husbands and wives, for which they will be held responsible.

Without going into more details, I think we can agree that marriage is a serious institution, not to be taken lightly or frivolously.  So then, why do so many couples start their marriage with a wedding where seriousness is often thrown out the window in favor of some gimmick?

I have seen media reports on various places where weddings take place which, to me, denigrates the seriousness of the institution for which they are celebrating.  I’ve seen skydiving couples taking their vows in free-fall.   I read of one couple who decided to travel the world and have 30 different weddings in 30 different countries and for each individual wedding they had a gimmick.  A couple who flew in on jet packs.  People who marry through the Internet via twitter, etc.  Couples always looking for unique sites such as cliffs, peaks, stone outcroppings into the ocean.  A couple in costume at a Star Trek convention in a “Klingon Wedding Ceremony.”  In Las Vegas (where else?) you can get married in a “Wedding Wagon.”  I’ve read of underwater weddings where they wear formal attire under their scuba gear, and a couple who took their vows in weightless conditions in a huge NASA aircraft doing maneuvers for training astronauts.  I could go on and on with the unusual wedding locations, but I think you get the idea.

But not only do they have gimmicks for places, many couples use standard venues for the wedding, but they have gimmicks for their attire.  These range from things such as all guys wearing suspenders, everyone in the wedding party wearing one same item with a gimmicky insignia, cowboy boots for the entire wedding party, costume weddings where everyone wears clothing from a particular period of history.  In fact, costume weddings seem to be quite an affair, with various movies celebrated, people dressing as zombies, cartoon characters, etc.  You name it and I’ve seen it in some media outlet.

Now, I’m not referring things such as a ceremony where everyone wears clothing traditional for their culture (such as weddings where everyone is wearing Scottish attire or attire from a particular African nation).  I’m referring to clothing that is just to have a gimmick.  Even receptions can have gimmicky themes.

While some of these ideas I have only read about or seen in a news report, others I have personally witnessed, whether at weddings I have attended or the almost 40 weddings at which I’ve played my pipes.

Whenever I see a gimmicky wedding, it tells me that the couple does not really consider the gravity of what the wedding ceremony is representing - a relationship like no other.  And if you stay for a reception to see how the couple feeds each other the traditional first pieces of cake, you can get a good idea of how the marriage is going to be when you see either one of them smash the cake in the face their new spouse - and I’ve seen it done viciously!

We really shouldn’t be surprised when we see these things at the weddings of unbelievers, but Christians do the same things at THEIR weddings!  I know because I have seen many gimmicky weddings and I just don’t understand why Christians drop to such worldly levels.  And when I see the new husband smash cake all over his new wife’s face, all I can think of is the abuse which will most likely follow in their marriage.

Christians, we need to have weddings that reflect the seriousness of the institution of marriage.  While the world around us is perverting marriage into something against God, and using it for political agendas, Christians should be entering marriage with reverence, knowing that the ceremony is the beginning of an institution which reflects our relationship with Christ.

UPDATE 6/5/13:  I found this excellent article about wedding vows.  It would be great if there were no more "cutesy" vows at weddings.


072591 said...

"I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong."
- Jerry 'The King' Lawler

The problem with your opposition to these weddings is that is a covenant they are making with each other, not with you, not even with God. If the gimmick is something that they both have a common bond in, it tells me that this is a little strange, but since I am not a party to their covenant I have no right to complain.

For example, at a wedding I attended, the couple did not play the traditional recessional at the end of the wedding, but the battle theme from Braveheart. Gimmicky? Yes. But the bride grew up in Scotland, so she really liked the song.

The wedding is the beginning of their lives together and if they are conducting that beginning based on traditions of other people over THEIR preferences, that is setting up a bad precedent.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I wouldn't consider the music to Braveheart any more gimmicky than my piping at a wedding - as noted, cultural things are not the issue.

All marriages, whether Christian or not, are indeed a covenant with God whether they believe it or not. All marriages are serious institutionally.

Common bond? The last wedding I attended, the best man and all the groomsmen (several of them) each had to do a silly handshake, body bounce, etc to make everyone laugh at each exchange. Big joke long before the bride even appeared. That had nothing to do with the bond between the couple.

I don't believe in "traditional" music anyway. It should be relevant to the service, be it cultural, something unique to the couple, etc. What would be inappropriate would be something on the line of "Highway to Hell."

Traditions included in the wedding is not my point, and if you read the examples I gave, you'd know that wasn't what I was talking about. For example, I attended a wedding at the location of their reception so everyone is sitting at tables. The tables were decorated with all sorts of gold-painted animals which had nothing to do with the couple's relationship, but the bride saw the idea on Pinterest and thought it was funny. It was a gimmick. A minor gimmick, and a minor annoyance, but there were other gimmicks as to how the couple and party were dressed which really had nothing to do with their relationship.

Gimmicks is the problem-gimmicks for the sake of gimmickry.

Jeff Spencer said...

Do you ever have anything positive to say about anything?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

If you have read much of this blog you will see I do indeed have much positive to say about GOOD teachings. But one of the main purposes of this blog is to expose the BAD teachings.

So, don't YOU have anything positive to say about my blog? Or have you read much of it? Or would you prefer to not read much and just criticize instead?

Jeff Spencer said...

I confess I only read a couple. I was in a mood yesterday and should not have posted. Looking over the rest of your blog I would say I probably agree with 99% of what you post. Sorry if I came off rash.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Well, thank you for that.

I try to be as gracious as possible with exposing false or aberrant teachings.

With issues like this post, much can be subjective, but I think it is important to understand the seriousness of marriage.

Marshall Art said...

I don't mind gimmicks, per se, if I believe the couple is serious about their union. Most of them I don't particular find all that amusing or clever, and like you, mostly annoying. But as I said, I tolerate such things if I believe they are serious. My oldest had a black wedding cake. I don't recall why, except that the reason didn't have that much to do with the ingredients of the cake as much as the look of it. One gimmick they had that I did think was OK, was that they had a gong. Instead of tapping one's glass to prompt a kiss between them, people were encouraged to hit the gong. I got a very young nephew to go nuts with it, so I had that going for me.

I guess people want their special day to be memorable for everyone else. That's what I don't much like. My own wedding was quite simple, taking vows and requesting God's blessing before a justice of the peace at the same place where the small crowd of 50 dined afterwards. We invited those we wanted (who were close enough to attend without trouble) and that was it. At that point in our relationship, we were pretty much already married and committed to each other. The wedding was a formality.