The Steampunk Vicar

A Presbyterian Pastor on Neo-Victoriana and American Faith

Apologia, pt. I – The Beginning of Wisdom

I recall with an extraordinarily precious sort of Clarity the first Roots of Shame. I was seated near the Fireplace, at the Table nearest the Kitchen, and was narrating (once again) to my Mother a Sequence from my vivid Store of Imaginings. I was a deeply fanciful Child, with a mental Empire of Space, heavily informed by Star Wars and other fantastic Media. Much of my earliest Youth was spent expounding on the Characters and Events of this great Star Nation.

I do not recall the particular Events that I was relating, but I do remember their Character. They were replete with Cruelty and Viciousness, an unpleasant Episode in my storied State’s Annals. And I can summon, with enormous, crystal Replication, the sense that swarmed over me of Wrongness, when it was pointed out to me how awful was the Tale that I told. From the Crown of my Head to my Fundament, I felt it roll like a hot Wave of Misery. This gruesome History in which I had a moment before been taking such visceral Delight was now turned to Brussels Sprouts (the most disgusting thing that I could imagine eating at the time) in my Mouth. I had been so wrong – I must be a terrible Person.

Years later, in Conversation with my Mother, she revealed to me that I was (her Words), “an enormously difficult Child to discipline,” for, she said “if it was but pointed out to you that you had done Something wrong, you would spiral immediately into Self-Recrimination and Despair.”

Yes, I thought. That matches my Gasoline Mileage.

Still to this day, over Trivialities that no other Woman or Man would identify as worthy of an Iota of my Attention, I will spill uncounted Hours and drop hot Acid on the Foundations of my Self-Worth.

I am, often, undone by Shame.

Along with the Researcher/Storyteller Brené Brown, I share this Definition and Distinction between Guilt and Shame. And while I spend a nontrivial Percentage of my Time struggling with various Guilts, it is the Shame that still Waves over me like Surf on the Shore.

Four Years ago, in a music Shoppe in the Mall of Middletown, New York. I somehow made that poor Woman’s life more difficult, refusing to buy a Membership to the Store. I can still feel the Shame.

A Number of unwise, thoughtless, or intemperate Statements to various Paramours in my Youth. Some were quite cruel, and I feel the Sting of having said them as if they were my own.

The miniscule Lies, the grotesque Failures, the Moments when I let down my own Expectations of myself. Sometimes I feel myself drowning in them.

And let us not forget the incredible, indelible Shame of my over-hasty Marriage and appropriately-hasty Divorce, accompanied by a staggeringly great career Implosion. Neither Situation, romantic or professional, is irretrievable, but they certainly felt so at the time, and clawing my way out of that Pit of unworthiness is the Work of Years…if not of my entire Life.

All of this returns, again and again, to a central Point – a Question to which Life, qua Life, has yet to provide me an Answer.

Am I good enough?

My more loving and attentive Readers will (and have!) point out the Question itself is rather problematic, as phrased. Good enough for what? Or whom? By what Standard will I judge myself? Or be judged? Is not this Question rather Rubbish, as St. Paul would say (though our Translators have left Something to be desired in this Rendering)?

Yes, it is, though it has taken me some Time to acknowledge intellectually its Bankruptcy. And even then…it remains a central Conceit of my own life.  Am I good enough? ‘No,’ says some significant Portion of my Inner Council.

Take this, then, as the hideous Origin of my magnificent Journey of Faith. For Good or Ill, when consulted, I am at best a ‘lean yes,’ on ‘am I good enough,’ and at worst, a definite ‘no.’ I am undone by Shame.

What then?

 

In caedem

I suppose that, after a Fashion, I might be considered a Faith Leader. Lacking a Community of which I stand in Leadership – excepting you, of course, dear Reader – I sometimes neglect the Fact. Nevertheless, I am a Teaching Elder of the American Church of Scotland, duly ordained by the Presbytery of Olympia on behalf of Christ’s Church. Thus it falls to me, unpulpited though I am, to speak in the Silence of the Unspeakable – to claim the digital Pulpit which is, I begin to suspect, my present Calling, and to use it in the Service of the One who ultimately called me.

Thus, today, I offer up an imperative Sermon to you, gentle Reader, to those persons of the Christian Faith to whom  I am privileged to preach. This Sermon is taken from the simplest, clearest, and most pointed Texts that I can locate.

First, from the Gospel according to St. Matthew, the Fifth Chapter, starting at the Fourty-Third Verse*:

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies: bless them that curse you: do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which hurt you, and persecute you,

45 That ye may be the children of your father that is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to arise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and unjust.

46 For if ye love them, which love you, what reward shall you have? Do not the Publicans even the same?

47 And if ye be friendly to your brethren only, what singular thing do ye? do not even the Publicans likewise?

48 Ye shall therefore be perfect, as your Father which is in heaven, is perfect.

And then, my central Text, from the Hebrew Bible, the Book of the Exodus, the Twentieth Chapter, the Thirteenth Verse. Listen for God’s Word to you.

13 Thou shalt not kill.

Let us pray.

God of heaven, add unto us Understanding of your Word and Will for us. Even as your Children mistake and trample your Word, guide us in the Way that you would have us go.

Amen.

Do not kill People.

I am stunned, as ever, that I must specify this to you, gentle Reader. Whenever once again I am forced to address Murder on a massive Scale, I feel that my Kindred and I in the Clergy have, somehow, signally failed to impart even the most basic, simple Commandments. Thus, in the Wake of the Mass Shooting in Orlando, Florida, with fourty-nine Persons dead, a further fifty-three injured, in the Wake of this depraved Act of domestic Terror, in the Wake of this wanton Assault on the Lives of Revelers in a Space of Safety for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Communities, many of whom were persons of Latino or Latina descent, in the Wake of Murder most foul, once again, I fear that we, as a Priesthood, as a Community, as a Nation, as a Church, as a World, must reconsider, once more, this Commandment of the God of Israel, and its Implications for our Behaviour – to wit:

Do not kill People.

Do not kill People because you dislike how they are dressed.

Do not kill People because you dislike how they looked at you.

Do not kill People if you disagree with their public Behavior.

Do not kill People for Money, or Possessions, or Glory, or Honor.

Do not kill People because you do not like the Grade or Performance Review that they gave you.

Do not kill People because they break up with you, or will not yield to your romantic Ministrations.

Do not kill People because you regard them as impure.

Do not kill People because you believe them to be irreverent.

Do not kill People because you see them as unjust.

Do not kill People because you think them insufficiently compassionate.

Do not kill People because you feel that they are disloyal.

Do not kill People because they are gay. Or lesbian. Or bisexual. Or transgender. Or queer. Or intersex. Or asexual. For all of these identities and more, do not kill people.

Do not kill People because their Skin Color differs from your own.

Do not kill People to try and start a War.

Do not kill People because they do not worship your God.

Do not kill People because they do worship your God, but incorrectly, you feel.

Do not kill People because they hate you.

Do not kill People because you hate them.

Do not kill People because they have committed, or intend to commit, a Crime. Do not feel absolved from this – if it is in your Power to resist the Commission of a Crime, by all Means you should do so. But do, I beg, try not to kill People in the Process.

If it is possible to avoid doing so, do not kill People who are trying to kill you. Likewise, if avoidable, do not kill People who are trying to kill other People.

Do not purchase Weapons, place them in your Car, and drive somewhere for the express Purpose of killing People. If you do the first three things, neglect, please, the fourth, and do not kill the People.

Just, simply, and I know this might be rather difficult…do not kill People.

 

I know that this will, for some of you, present a burdensome Commandment. “Ah!” I hear you cry, “But what if I really must kill this Person, or this enormous Group of People, for the following excellent Reason!”

“No,” I shall reply. “Do not kill People.”I shall then point to the Passage in the Scriptures that commands you not to kill. Then I shall point at the Words of Jesus, the ways in which He lifts up not hating our Enemies, but blessing and praying for them. I shall note that we are to be different – better – than the ones who harass and persecute us. We are to be more good than our Foes.

This necessitates not killing them.

In short, Brothers and Sisters, Children of God, Daughters and Sons, Kindred of one another, in all your Ways and Walkings, in all the Turnings Life yields unto you, to the very best of your Ability…

…do not kill People.

The Word of the Lord.

Amen.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5&version=CEB
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+20&version=CEB

Apologia, pt. 0 – Introduction to Apology

In a much bally-hooed and now discredited scientific Study, Researchers claimed to have discovered that brief Conversations had significant Impact in altering the Opinions of Participants with regard to Same Sex Marriage. In short, actually talking to People, personally, could, indeed, cause them to shift their Stances of the great Issues of the Day.

As noted above, this Paper was retracted for poor Data. It is a Difficulty for me, however, as there is Something about the Conclusion that speaks, deeply, to my Experience. Perhaps it is merely a Desire of mine and of those like me, perhaps an eternal Truth, but I feel it in my Bones, that Persuasion starts – and ends! – in Community with a Neighbour.

I worry, from Time to Time, that in the Echo-Chamber of the Aethernet, where it is laughably easy to expose oneself only to those with whom one agrees, that now, having so divided our Society, it will become only easier for no one to change their Mind. From there it is but a little Leap to believe that I, too, might begin to fear any Disruption of either my Facts or my Beliefs.

As I remarked to an Interlocutor recently, one who was also forged in the Fire of Knowledgebowl (or Academic Decathlon, or Quizbowl, select for yourself your Flavour), good Facts matter. I strive always to project a Humility in Disagreement over Facts, because I would ever rather learn good Facts. If I am mistaken, I desire Correction, for, in Knowledgebowl (and, I submit, in Life), the Path to Victory is paved with correct Information. Persons who become defensive when disproved only serve to shut down Dialogue, and deprive themselves of Victory by means of willful Ignorance.

Of Opinions and Beliefs however, having distinguished them from Facts, I aim for a Flexibility that acknowledges the Road I took to get to them. I believe a Thing now, and can tell you how I arrived at that Belief. Tomorrow I may be presented with new Data, may be forced to change my Mind, and will need the Cartograph of that new Route.

For any Belief to which I can currently Point, there was just such a Road – an Onramp or Origin which brought me to my present Site. There were Turns or Bends or Dips in the Way, and each of these brought be closer to the Waystation – and, I pray, to the Truth, distinguished as well from Opinion, Belief, or Fact, each one.

Combining these two Points – the Instinct declaring that in personal Discourse we have the greatest Chance to bring Others to our Way of thinking, and that each of my Beliefs has its own Highway, it occurred to me that many – perhaps most – of you do not know my Story, the Route that brought me to my current Encampment. I write this Series to give myself the Opportunity to Change your Mind, if even by the smallest Degree, in hearing where the Man you know Today came from. Whether your Acquaintance with me harks from Secondary School, or University, or Seminary, or beyond, or you know me only as “that mad Bloke what writes like a Gentry-Cove of merrye ol’ England on the ‘Net,” I hope that this Apology* will be fruitful for you. I feel sure that it will be for me.

 

* The word “apology” comes to us from the Greek apologia, a Word back, or in Reply. I use it here in both the Modern and the Classical Senses, for this Document will contain not only an Argument and Narrative, but also my sincere Regrets, Griefs, and Shames. At some Points it will, perforce, resemble a Confession – and an undirected Request for Forgiveness. For this, in Advance, I apologize.

De ritibus v. i (Or, The Unity Candle)

The Business of the Pastor is, in many Parts, the very Substance of Ritual. Some of the most moving and meaningful Moments of my Ministry are composed of Rite and Sacrament; Baptisms, the Lord’s Supper, Funerals, and, of course, Weddings. These Things Done, these Practices ancient and redolent with Power therefore, are at the very Core of the Cleric’s Work, the Warp and Woof of a Pastor’s Tapestry.

It causes me Alarum, therefore, to note that Weddings, especially, are becoming overtopped, with vain or troubling Ceremony. Traditionally, each Part and Piece of the Service is carefully considered, contributing to the Unity of the Whole. As the wedding Industry has become a Creature of Fashion, and of the prevailing Winds of our Society, the Demand for Uniquity has proceeded apace, and the Art of Wedding Liturgy has become top-lofty with unnecessary, meaningless, and problematic Ceremony.

Thus, I begin my new Series, De ritibus, which explores some of the Options and Alternatives for additional Ritual in your Service of Marriage. In this first Iteration, we discuss the Unity Candle, its Meaning, and its Implications for your Marriage.

Candela Unitatis

When first I began to attend Weddings, I bore witness to this particular Rite – the Couple being wed, each having lit a Taper, would then, together, light a larger, single Column, to symbolize their Unity in Flame. Having lit the larger Wick, the Participants will then usually blow out their individual Tapers, as Words describing Symbol and Act are read out by the Officiant. The two Persons, in the old Tradition of Scripture, become One Flesh, leaving behind entirely their prior Lives and welding one another together into one Family. At least, that’s the Idea.

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A Traditional Unity Candle Assembly

As a Christian and inheritor of the Jewish tradition thereby, I am, of course, moved by Candles in General. That’s all well and good. Too, there is something fundamentally beautiful about the Creation of a single Thing from its disparate Elements, which lies at the very Heart of Marriage. Truly, there is much that is deep and powerful about this Ceremony, and I have no Objection to much of the Concept, but rather to a point of Execution.

Quantae Candelae?

My Difficulty lies with one particular Portion of the Act, as each Person blows out the Flame which represents their individual Personhood. I find this profoundly distressing, as I am a proponent of Individuals, and their Rights and Obligations to Self-Determination and -Differentiation. The Erasure of the Individual is a dangerous Fallacy – neither Party to a Marriage should or will cease to exist as any part of the Agreement between them. They will surely be altered by the process, but the Abnegation at play in this Rite as it is described above is a Falsehood, and a toxic one.

My Solution, if the Ceremony speaks to you, is a simple one. Mere change the centre Candle in the following Way – add a second Wick, thus:

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Looks it not delicious?

Of a sudden, the Candle which symbolises your Unity now names also your Duality. Like the Blessed Trinity, you are at once two Persons, and One. You lose Nothing, and gain Everything. This is a deep Mystery, exactly as Marriage is, and all the most precious Wonders of the Universe.

On Trinity Sunday, most Years, I present just such a Light to my Students, and ask them the Question: “How many Candles have I here?” Responding they “Three,” I  point out that there is but one Wax. Responding “One,” I indicate that the Lights are triune. It is this cyclical Movement, this Tide of Thought which is the Centre of Mystery, and which lives in a truly mystic Unity Candle.

I am not displeased to perform this Ceremony for you, but I pray that you will buy into the meaning that I here attach, and that each of you will respect the Other sufficiently that you can let them keep their own Light shining. Indeed – is that not why you loved them first?

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Blessings to you both

De memoriis

Look you ever back upon the corpus of your opera and find that your greatest Works are, perhaps, behind you? That the Poetry of your Soul in the Past exceeded its present State? Yea, even deeper – that, needing to speak a Truth, you return to prior Days and discover that you spoke it in your mis-spent Youth?

My Grandmother is be-smogged – o’ertaken by a great Fog upon her Memory. The Locomotive of her Mind is in grave Danger of becoming derailed. I find a fragment of prior Thought, that I perhaps once wrote upon this very Subject.

Find attached my Reflexions on nepor from Times of Yore, and weep with me, as the Cloud seeks to claim yet another.

heavy_gear_flourish

De nepore. 25 April, A.D. 2012

I must apologize for the gross portmanteau of the title – the word “smog” has no analogue in the Vulgar tongue, and so I find that, like Dr. Des Voeux, I must combine the two concepts in language. Nebula and vapor are the chosen sufferers of Latin’s proud history, and while the result does, in some ways, resemble the word for “grandson,” I feel that I may be pardonably pleased with pride in the result. Nepor, neporis, f. 

The reason, of course, that is on my mind, is that I have just lately had a close encounter with a Smog…not a smog of the vapors and clouds, not of coalsmoke and river mists, the scourge of London’s breath even in your, less hydraulic time line. No, the Smog of today’s adventure is a Smog of the Mind. I had reason to sit, today, with a woman who would have been described, in my milieu, as “senile.” Her age had caught up to the workings of her reason. And as I sat, and listened to her tell me the same tiny fragment of a story, the same factoid, for what must have been the sixth time, I came to imagine what all-pervasive Smog had overtaken her faculties.

For this is what dementia – and Dr. Alzheimer’s Disease – do to your elderly. You have dragged them through wonders of medicine past the dangers of influenza, the pox, plagues, and other ailments. More and more of your grandparents and great-aunts are surviving longer and longer, and so, for more and more, as they age, the industry of their minds and the ravages of nature combine their by-products to produce a miasma, a swirling grey mist which envelops and cocoons, which protects and shields. The Smog of absence from one’s mind covers like a woolen blanket, and seals away the Person from the World, ever tightening, until, at last, the afflicted one forgets how to swallow, and breathes in the last cold nepores of the Lethe.

I will confess – I fear this fate. My mind, mechanical though it may be, in parts, is one of the greater gifts the Lord bestowed upon me. To lose it…to feel the corrosive Smog eating away at gears and workings, at foundations and pillars, to have the structures and springs rust and fall apart, is one of the worst deaths I can conceive.

And yet. My companion in this mission of mercy, a Dutchwoman of sturdy character and firm convictions, claims it as a great gift. “How wonderful,” she says, “to have forgotten.” To worry no more, to have one’s anxieties slip away into the endless clouds…I see her point. Thank you, Anke. Rightly said.

What will you do, when Smog rolls o’er your Eyes?
When Morpheus’ Vapors slip into your Chest? 
When Fire which runs your motive Forces dies?
When choked, forgetting, will you finally rest?  

Primer Codicoris

vintage-wooden-beehive-image-graphicsfairy

Friends and Neighbours, members of the Mind Enhived, I crave your Indulgence. As some of you may know. I have been embarked on the Study of various Languages for the Programming of Electro-Differential Engines, notably the Grammars of Pythonidae and Carbunculus (better known to the illiterati as Python and Ruby). At this latest Juncture, I found I’ve hit something of a Wall, and am not sure how next to proceed.

The Academy of Code

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Imagine this with less Plato and more Tab

My first entre point into the Field of modern Coding was provided by Codecademy, who I highly recommend. Beyond the charming portmanteau of their name, their Primers on HyperText Markup Language (HTML, I am informed) and Cascading Style Sheets, as well as my first Foray into Ruby, were exceptionally good. The in-place Development Environment for Ruby was particularly helpful, and I feel that I’ve an excellent Groundwork, now.

Unfortunately, the next in their Succession of Projects is the Pursuit of Ruby upon Rails. I cannot begin to state my Excitement to learn this Skillset – for what red-blooded Victorian Man loves not Gemstones upon Locomotive Tracks? – but, alas – my Place of Employment does not support their Development Environment, and I was swiftly swamped by their Implementation.

Ad via per ardua

Sisyphus

Gentlemen, this is my Mountain. Find your own Hill to endlessly push a Rock up.

My next Endeavour was Learn Ruby the Hard Way, which has the Virtue of Honesty about it. Twelve Lessons in, I discovered that, indeed, the Gelatin of Ruby had been so compressed by these Methods that I was able to, successfully and independently, create my own Program of Interest to myself.

Sadly, I have now reached the Termination of the free (as in, free tea) Portion of the lessons. For nominally similar Fees, these two Web Sites will joyously offer me prodigious Excesses of increased Content – Codecademy in monthly Payments, Learn Ruby the Hard Way in a single one.

My Query to you all, wise Denizens of the Internet, linked in Mind by Optical Fibres and Aethernet – which of these should I pursue? Codecademy? Learn Ruby the Hard Way? Or some other Option I’ve not yet discovered?

The Floor is open, Friends. What think you?

diamond_28psf29

Ruby

Solvo Problemata

I turned to regard my Interlocutor as I waggled the Cursor across the limis between the Monitors. “Just so,” I said, indicating that, indeed, she would also be able to copy and paste Text across the Boundaries. “This Soft Ware will permit transference of Cursor, Key Board, and Data between the two Apparati.”

Mrs. Goldberg had a nearly indescribable Expression on her Face. “I find,” she said, “that I must rather restrain myself from dancing. Thank you, oh, thank you, Mr. Johnstone. You’ve no idea what a Difference this shall make to me.”

Yes, I rather think that I do, I thought wryly as I replaced my Hat upon my shiny Pate. I rather think that I do.

pcq8yexoi

Perhaps the single most frustrating Aspect of the Pastoral Work is the Crisis of Completion. Infrequently, at best, when one serves in the Parish, is one able to complete or succeed or repair. So much of Church Employment is pure Process, and rightly so. God is best understood as in Process and Perfect, Complete and in Motion all at once. So, too, the Person and Work of Christ, and the life of the Church, which is Christ’s Body in the World.

It is a Truth to which I must accede, but which I also detest, that a Pastor’s Work is Never Done. This speaks both to the Sisyphean Proportions of our Call, and to the daily and unending Rigour of its Execution.

And so, in this Hour of my own Transition, as I stand at a Multiplicity of Crossroads and work, possibly for the Nonce, possibly for the forseeable Future, at the Technology which was an early Interest of mine, I find the sudden, sharp Relief of proscribed Problems, to which there are definite and attainable Solutions. The Art of a Technician has Scope and Depth and Range, and an End – both in the Sense of Time completed, and in the Sense of Purpose.

My mission as a Differential Engine Professional is to help Users to succeed at their Objectives. Every Day, when I walk out the door of the Information Services Department, my Aim is to assure that Nurses, Doctors, Janitors, Purveyors of Food, Administrators, and, most of all, Patients are in a Position in which their Technology is completely invisible. I have failed when the Printer or the Computer or the Endoscope is a Thing Noticed, rather than a Thing Used.

For Mrs. Goldberg, her Technology had become an Obstacle. It was actively obtruding in the Flow of her Work. The Fix was complex – it required Time, and Tenacity to achieve, and the Courage to ask a Favor.

But the Light, the Expression of Joy in Mrs. Goldberg’s Eyes! Here is Triumph, here is the Victory! Not over the Children of Earth, but over their Creations. When I left Mrs. Goldberg’s Side, she was enabled, ennobled by a Sensation that her Life and Work were made easier by the Technology and Tenacity of her obedient Servant.

Treasure, too, has a Part to play in this Trifecta. All Hard Wares have Cost, and my Pay is not Insignificant. But grant me these three – Treasure, Time, and Tenacity, and I will ease your Burdens, restore your Services, make you User rather than Used. And I shall do so taking as little Treasure as I can conveniently arrange.

For I am the Steampunk Vicar. And I solve Problems.

Solvo Problemata

scheutzmachine3

Ave, Munde!

In the Interstices between Tasks in my current Employment, I am learning certain arcane and occult Arts. I have found an ætheric Academy and a sort of Forum for the Provision of differential Codes, and am embarking to learn what Needs must. In the near Term, I’ve a few Projects which would be greatly facilitated by Electromechanical Automation – in the more distant Future, I think it wise, even at the Expense of taking up an ungenteel Occupation, to diversify the Waterways of my Income.

In particular, I have been Amused and Fascinated by the extreme Persnickitiness of the various linguae programmantes. Such Peccadilloes as misplaced Punctuation, improper Capitals, even erroneous White Space can put my various Soft Wares into intolerable Fits of the Vapours!

Even so, slowly and surely, I feel as though I am approaching, if not Mastery, then certainly the Capability to achieve my – admittedly simple – Objectives. When I am aware that the Amount of Time that I spend acquiring Numbers and performing various mathematical Operations upon them could be vastly streamlined, I cannot but look to see how this Same might be Reached.

For the Nonce, I merely say to all the spinning Orb,

print “Ave, Munde!”

end.

Novus Locus!

As some of the cleverer among you may have discovered, the Site has Moved! Welcome to the new Unified Reticulated Locus for the Steampunk Vicar, http://www.steampunkvicar.com! This Site is now available for all your Neo-Victorian Clerical Needs.

More Updates are forthcoming, but for the Nonce, enjoy the fewer Key Strokes required to reach me!

You may also now contact me at the new Electronic Post Address, vicar@steampunkvicar.com. It is in all functional Ways indistinguishable from my previous Address, save that it is more in Theme!

Thank you, dear and supportive Friends! And to the Rest of you, may Science fail you!

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Why would you say that? That’s horrible!

De Diebus (or When You Might Not Want to Schedule Your Wedding)

When Shall We Two Join in Train?

calendar72Of Course, dear Readers, I should never dare to dictate to you the Details of your Wedding. As many of the Internetizens whose Weblogues and Fora I have read suggest, the Wedding is the Affair of those Persons being married – a large Party for your Guests, your Family, and your Friends, but, centrally, for the two of You. As such, the ultimate Arbiters of all Matters are, indeed, You. Your various Vendors (Florist, Caterers, Photographers, Videographers, Dirigible Captains, and, of Course, your Servant) will inform you of what they can or cannot achieve, and you will balance your Employment based on their Requirements and Abilities.

However, if you wish to obtain for yourself the greatest Flexibility in your Vendors, and, most especially, your officiants, you will pay Heed to the proceeding Advice.

During Business Hours

I am by no means immune to the Arguments in Favor of the Friday Vespers Wedding, say five Hours after the Meridian. Venues, Vendors, and many other divers Expenses shall decrease. Time for Jollity and Merrymaking are maximised, and any Honeyed Moons commence at earlier Dates and Times. Surely, there are excellent Reasons to schedule at just such an Hour.

woman-at-desk-with-knitting

I regret to inform you that I shall be too busy reading and knitting to attend.

As a personal Matter, however, I must admit that such Weddings are an automatic “Swipe Sinister” for me. I am not (currently) employed by the Church, and so my Labour is more fixed than once it was. Not only would I have some Difficulty attending such a Wedding broadly, but it would be nigh impossible for me to take off the Time required by such an Event.

As strongly as I word the Editorial above, I intensify it thusly – Weddings at Teatime on a Tuesday are incredibly discourteous to Guests, Family, and any Vendor unfortunate enough to not be able to serve at Weddings full time. How precisely a Couple might be available at such an Hour (understanding that Many in the present Œconomy are working at peculiar Shifts), I am not sure. Never the less, I am unavailable, and so, too, are many of my Colleagues.

I am not the only Officiant in the Sea, (see you what I did there?) but you will lose some Options with a Wedding during Business Hours.

Times of Spiritual Weight

curzon-illustration-1

No, I shall not celebrate your Union with part of the Cross. Please depart immediately, or I shall summon the Beadle.

I speak here uniquely for the Christian Crowd, and for those whose “non-denominational” Solemnizers identify in that way. Any Priest, Pastor, Minister, or Elder worth their Incense will be unavailable for the Whole of Holy Week, and very likely the Week to follow. This is the greatest Celebration of the Faith, no matter the Altitude of your Church, and it shall not be missed. Thus, I should block out the three Weekends – Palm Sunday, Easter Sunday, and the First Sunday after Easter, and make it a Point to arrange your Nuptials on some other day.

By the same Token, I caution against Marriages during the Christian Seasons of Lent and Advent. These Seasons of Preparation and Prayer are best observed with a Cleric’s full Attention, and long Tradition in much of the West in Fact forbids such Celebrations at those Times. When Their Graces of Cambridge (“Will” and “Kate” I find obscenely on the Aethernet) were first engaged, many thought that the Wedding would take place in March. The cognoscenti, however, knew that the Bishops of the Church of England would by no Means permit such a Ceremony in Lententide. Indeed, that Royal Wedding waited for the more appropriate Easter Season, as well it should have done.

The same goes, I suppose, for those of the Jewish Faith and the High Holy Days in the Autumn (I find here extensive Lists of Days Recommended, not Recommended, and Forbidden), and, I find, there is Reason for Muslims to be thoughtful about Marriage during Ramadan. I find no obvious Guidance on Weddings in Hinduism or Buddhism, and would advise any such Adherents to consult their own spiritual Leaders on the Matter.

When It Is Wrong For You

Perhaps an over-broad Categorization, and yet…many in my Industry and the Digital Photographs of my Generation will be all too happy to tell you the precise Details of the Perfect Wedding. Glorious Sunsets, unbelievable Vistas, gorgeous Vestments, delectable Dishes ~ all are the Stock in Trade of my fellow Vendors. The Perfect Wedding, however, is the One in which you are marrying the Person whom you Love. If, for any Reason, you have Cause to doubt the Wisdom of such a Union, I urge you to postpone, to delay, or to cancel if you must. No Sum of Treasure, no Flights or Plans, no Dreams or familial Expectations can be worth the Devastation of being married to the Wrong Person (or the Right Person…at the Wrong Time).

Victoria And Edward

No one seems to think that this is a Good Idea

As well – this Wedding, as we have said again and again, is Yours! Make it thus! Have you always wished for a snow-bound Ceremony? Make it so! Does the Change of Leaves turn your Romantic Heart? Let your Life then be turned! Do not be Steam Locomotived into a summer Wedding because it is “The Thing That Is Done.” Do not be wed when it is wrong for you.

 

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