The Church of England, bidding to keep pace with the changing times, has begun promoting a “2-for-1” service that allows couples to combine a marriage ceremony with the baptism of their children born out of wedlock.
Guidelines for the controversial “hatch and match” liturgy went out to the church’s 16,000 parishes this summer.
"You can be a minister. Just don’t marry one,” I heard myself telling a little girl in my church, and then wondered where that came from. I suspect that I meant it as a compliment to my husband, who was standing nearby. Perhaps I had been short-tempered, as I sometimes am on Sunday mornings, so the comment was my way of saying that I know it is not always easy to be married to a minister.
Early on in our marriage, Karen began to decide that even if she believed in some kind of God, she could not accept basic Christian teachings. The faith claims that Christians make about Jesus—about him being the Son of God—seemed unbelievable to her. The Bible is just another book, she began to conclude, and so we cannot grant it any particular authority. She wondered whether she could continue to attend church. This stirred a bit of panic in me. She was not just my wife. She was the minister’s wife.
After thousands of scientific studies of marriage, the one number everybody knows is 50 percent. Fifty percent of American marriages end in divorce. It’s a statistic made for pessimism and fatalism, as in “Half of the people in this room will get a divorce.” Adding to the woe is the wealth of research that has noted the severe economic and social impact of divorce on children.
It would be hard to find more divisive, jabbing rhetoric on marriage than in these publications by self-described “marriage nut” David Blankenhorn, the founder and director of the Institute for American Values, and the late historian Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, well known for her testy rebuff of femini
Creation and Covenant: The Significance of Sexual Difference in the Moral Theology of Marriage
On the day I read through Valerie Weaver-Zercher’s review of books about the wedding industry, I encountered a young woman at the church reception desk who was breathlessly explaining that she had just secured the Cigar Bar at Ditka’s Restaurant, next door to the church, for her wedding rehearsal party.
Brides, Inc.: American Weddings and the Business of Tradition
One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding
Altared: Bridezillas, Bewilderment, Big Love, Breakups, and What Women Really Think About Contemporary Weddings
In the minutes before the wedding ceremony, I wait downstairs in Pilgrim Hall with the groom and the groomsmen. Upstairs the sanctuary is lovely, with freshly vacuumed carpeting and wedding flowers that are a cut above the usual Sunday morning carnation extravaganza.