Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The FTM Finds Her Calling

“Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...” – Matthew, Chapter 28, verse 19

I’m what you might diplomatically refer to as irreligious (click here for the gory details), and I would characterize the FTM as nonreligious. God and spirituality are not important to my wife. She doesn’t think about religion, doesn’t worry about it, doesn’t really seem to need it. So naturally, when we decided to take the nuptial plunge, more than three years ago, we planned a secular ceremony.

We wanted to stage our own wedding -- write our vows, choose our own songs, create our own ritual. This was our event; it should be done our way. But we also wanted it to be personal.

(One of the songs we quoted in our vows. The other was Led Zeppelin's Thank You.)

Enter the Friend of the FTM (FotFTM).

The FotFTM – one of the FTM’s oldest and dearest friends -- had been ordained by an Internet ministry and offered to perform the ceremony for us. Even though she was technically a Christian minister, the FotFTM was happy to honor our request and exclude god from our wedding ceremony entirely. Brilliant! The FotFTM did a fantastic job, and our union was legally (as far as we know) consecrated in the great state of New Jersey, without any interference from a higher authority. (Some would say without any blessing from a higher authority, but to those people I simply say feh.)

When we recently learned that the FotFTM was getting married, it seemed only right that the FTM should offer to return the favor and officiate at the wedding. The offer was quickly and happily accepted.

So, last week, the FTM – my nonreligious wife – received a packet of materials ordaining her as a minister in the World Christianship Ministries. Here’s what she got:

  • A missive on official World Christianship Ministries letterhead telling her she was now a pastor and that she could perform weddings and baptisms.
  • A “license” of sorts – really a certificate of ordination -- to hang on her wall.
  • A “Clergy” sign to put in her car, presumably to bag a better parking space when ministering to those in need.

The FTM did not have to attend divinity school. She did not have to live in an abbey. She didn’t even have to prove she was really a Christian. What she had to do was pay $80.

Are you fracking kidding me?

Living vicariously -- and remember, the first five letters of vicariously spell vicar -- through my clearly better half, I am feeling drunk with power. This newly acquired and government sanctioned authority is crying out to be abused. A few ideas:

1. Baptize random people. Walk down the street with a small vial of holy water – and now that she’s a minister, I presume the FTM can get holy water right from our tap – and pour a little on the head of each passerby while muttering something in Latin. I recommend “animus ipse meus stultus.” (According to Google, that’s Latin for “Your soul is mine, fool.”)
2. Excommunicate random people. While it’s true that the paperwork from the World Christianship Ministries makes no mention of any authority to excommunicate anyone, I figure there has to be a way.
3. Put the clergy sign in the window of her car, put a blinking red light on top, and pull people over. I’m not sure anyone would really pull over for a Toyota 4Runner, even if it did have a blinking light and clergy sign, but I’m certain it would be fun to try.

Of course, when the FTM hears me suggest these and other fun ways to abuse the power of the cloth, she just rolls her eyes and clicks her tongue in disgust.

“FTF,” she tells me, “I’m doing this for FotFTM. It means a lot to her and a lot to me. If playing childish pranks is that important to you, get your own goddam credentials.”

And she has me there. Being irreligious, I could never bring myself, even as a joke, to become a minister. It’s not in my DNA. So I guess I’ll have to just be proud of the FTM’s good deed and go on taking cheap shots at religion in this here blog. You have to admit, it’s a super easy target.

Next up, an actual blog post on parenting.


Kristen said...

Being a confirmed Catholic on top of it, I'd bet that the Catholic Church would consider becoming an "Internet minister" blasphemous.

Elizabeth said...

Len, great entry. Yeah, it's ridiculously easy to get married and, it seems, to perform a marriage ceremony. As long as the couple isn't gay.

Manager Mom said...

Building on the parking idea, I think she should wear a half shirt and a tight, short skirt, to show off the belly. She should pull up to Costco at oh, say, one pm on Saturday, park in the handicapped section, and after getting out of the car, lighting a cigarette and pulling a flask from her pocket, grandly place her clergy parking tag in the window before she sashays into the store. I will be there with a FlipCam.

The FTF said...

MM -- Great idea!!!! In fact, I think we should make it a tailgate party with burgers grilling in the open trunk of the Clergymobile, and a keg in the back seat.