Since I married Curt, I have been in a constant state of rebellion. . . against being “Church of Christ.” Growing up (and even as a single adult), I never anticipated marrying anyone outside of the United Methodist tradition. Being the daughter of Methodist pastor didn’t necessarily brainwash me into thinking that, but growing up in a very “theological” house couldn’t help but impact my views of God, religion, faith, grace, baptism, everything. I didn’t just learn about faith and the Christian walk from my father, I also learned about Bonhoffer, the Council of Nicea, the beginnings of the protestant movement, the Circuit Riders and the start of Methodism. Everything about who I am, as a human being and as a Christian, was shaped by the influence of my father and being a Methodist preacher’s kid.
Dating Curt, I knew we had some very different views about some things, but I was “in love” so I just brushed that aside. Our wedding was the instance of reality setting in. Being a girl, I had been planning my wedding for YEARS. Throughout those years, details changed with changing taste and fashion but three things remained the same: I would be married in a Methodist church, my father would perform the ceremony, and the sacrement of Communion would be offered. I didn’t realize when Curt and I became engaged that these three things would be boulders in our path. I suppose if we’d had a year or so to be engaged and work through things, planning our wedding might have been different. But, planning a wedding that’s only 7 weeks after you become engaged puts a little bit of an extra strain on everyone’s nerves and emotions.
I can still remember being in the church one evening with Curt, going over some ceremony details with the pastor (a female who had graciously, on short notice, given us her church to use). I don’t know that I’ve ever felt such tension in my entire life. Long story short, that evening was the first time I came face to face with the fact that the Church of Christ tradition was MUCH different than Methodism. Marrying a girl who was baptized as an infant, marrying her in a non-Church of Christ building, serving communion, and a female pastor being involved were ALL giant taboos as far as Curt’s family was concerned. Even Curt had issues with some of these things, but he still wanted to marry me. It’s funny to look back and realize how hard he had to fight for our relationship. I know we worried his family (especially the issue of my baptism worried his family), but he fought tooth and nail for us. But, some of my wedding plans still had to “go.” That was the night I learned that communion “couldn’t” be served because we were not marrying one another on a Sunday. Hmmmm.
I remember telling Curt about having been dreaming of my wedding and always planning to have certain things a part of the ceremony. I also remember his reply — that he had ALSO thought about HIS wedding and also had certain things that would be involved. . . . and, that so far, none of it was happening. After that evening, concessions were made on my part after realizing that my husband-to-be was facing fire for the concessions he had made. Communion was nixed. My father was assigned to perform the vows (something I had already wanted and something the helped balance the fact that a woman pastor would be praying over us). Curt’s father was given the Biblical reading.
I’m glad, now, that we didn’t talk about our theological differences before getting married. I’m also glad we only had 7 weeks for planning. If anything about or engagement had been different, we might stupidly have argued ourselves out of the committment.