Something a bit different
So me and Mrs Akela are just back from a wedding and what an interesting wedding it was.
I’m in that time of life where many friends are getting married and the last few summers have produced a huge crop of them. Most of them have been church weddings and of those all have been in Church of England churches. So how these things work is something I am quite familiar with. However yesterday was my first experience of a wedding at an evangelical Baptist church.
Now much of it I was expecting, a quite informal set up in terms of no alter to speak of, no pews, music provided by a full on rock band and some seriously enthusiastic singing from the regulars at the church. Like wise I was expecting quite a full on sermon. The couple getting married are seriously committed Christians, they met through both helping run a Christian youth group and so this was always going to be the nature of this wedding. And that should not be read in anyway as a criticism, it was their wedding celebrated their way and I am very pleased for them.
However, there were a couple of things that I was not expecting and indeed that in part left me feeling a little uncomfortable.
Firstly one of the readings was part of Ephesians and included Paul’s instructions that wives should submit to their husbands.
Now this is where me and Paul part company in our opinions. Lets remember what the book of Ephesians is, it was a letter from St Paul to the Ephesians in the 1st century AD that consists of Paul’s views on the teachings of Jesus. And I have never been able to fathom where Paul gets his views on women from, I really don’t.
Now if you are a woman and a Christian and you subscribe to Paul’s beliefs on that point then that is your choice and far be it from me to interfere. However I was surprised that this particular friend of mine has gone along with it. Maybe one day we’ll discuss it but I certainly didn’t think that her wedding day was the time and place to do so!
Second was the sermon. The sermon was all about a passage from the book of Solomon that describes love and to be honest the priest had some very wise and thoughtful words to say on it and made me think quite deeply. However the priest, in my opinion, let himself down quite a lot with comments that I think can be paraphrased as atheists cannot fully appreciate love because they believe that it is a purely biological function. Now I am not an atheist, I am Christian, but I have many friends and family who are and to say that these people cannot fully appreciate love is so wrong as to actually be offensive.
And that is frustrating because it further polarises the differences between those of faith and those of none. It is very similar to the way Richard Dawkins comes across. His aggressive form of atheism often repels the religious from exploring science when it actual fact is perfectly possible to be both religious and believe in evolution and the big bang. And so this priest’s attitudes risk alienating the religious from exploring the world of science. Both sides come across as arrogant and that does not help anyone.
To see two sides that simply wont listen or try to understand each other is incredibly frustrating when you have a foot in each camp.