Saturday, October 20, 2012

Irreverends


Due to the same archaic niceties that lead us to refer, inexplicably, to the "Honorable Justice Clarence Thomas" or to Mitch McConnell as the "distinguished Senator from Kentucky," I am now known, in a certain small circle, as "Reverend Murr." In a sensible world, I would be "Irreverend Murr" at best. Nevertheless I take this as a great honor bestowed upon me by my neighbors Beth and Dean, and also the internet. Beth and Dean wanted to get married and, for reasons known only to them, mine was the name they came up with when casting about for an officiant. They trusted me to come up with suitable oratory for the occasion. Did they know what they were getting into?

"Just don't mention poop," Beth said.

They knew.

There were several outfits willing to ordain me as a minister with no muss, fuss, or money, and I selected the sturdy Universal Life Church, hoping it would allow me to pretend to sell insurance, too. The Universal Life Church has been up and running for over fifty years. They're not big on dogma, and neither am I. The Church believes in "the rights of all people...to practice their religious beliefs...be they Christian, Jew, Gentile, Agnostic, Atheist, Buddhist, Shinto, Pagan, Wiccan, Druid, or even Dignity Catholics."

So it's the Holy Church of Whatever.

The state of Oregon is fine with all this. The state of Oregon does not have the resources or desire to probe officiants for holiness. So I'm not sure why the state of Oregon even cares if an officiant is a legally ordained minister or justice of the peace. Seems like it could be anybody. The mailman, say.

Because when it comes to matters of God, I am officially without opinion. I am an Apatheist. I don't believe, or not believe, or wonder. I just don't care. When presented with a slather of splendors from duck dicks to spittlebug farts, I'm all "ooo! Ooo!" not "author,  author."

None of this bothers Beth and Dean. Beth and Dean are grownups in love, and they know what they're doing, and it's just a small step beyond their mature regard and devotion for each other into the state of Wholly Matrimony. If Oregon is fine with my contribution to this event, that's all we need.

Super profile pic.
So God didn't make it into any of the vows or pronouncements, either, by intelligent design. No one associated with the wedding believes this is a miscalculation. God is busy. Not busy busy, just busy the way all the rest of us are. He joined Facebook on August 6, 2010, and probably hasn't gotten much done since. So far he's gotten 3,332,975 "likes," which is a lot, but not nearly as many as Eminem has. Someone has posted on His page that "God needs a 'love' button. Click 'like' if you agree."

Shoot, everybody needs a love button. I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

Anyway, Facebook isn't having it, and that's why there is also no "love with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind" button either.

Meanwhile, the foremost saint in my pantheon, Mark Twain, has only 397,294 "likes." If I and the Church of Whatever have any influence, those numbers are going straight up.

Congratulations, Beth and Dean.

75 comments:

  1. Well writ, Your Un-holiness Holiness!

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  2. Looks like everyone was happy, and I'm sure your disinterest in holiness didn't put a damper on anything. Being a truly holy officiant seems to mean having a long list of couples you'd refuse to marry. If you'd refuse to marry a gay couple, you pass the basic holiness threshold; if you'd refuse to marry a couple where one member is of slightly the wrong sect of the Church of Whatever, you're super-holy and might even get a Like from God. Beth and Dean don't sound like the type who think their marriage can only be safe if others are excluded from marrying.

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    1. They are most certainly not that type. Shudder.

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  3. An apatheist, hey? As the only member of the church of the holy shrug, I extend salutations. I don't do weddings. What's a service without reference to poop?

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    1. I KNOW. I had to take out my whole opening line about panic diarrhea.

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  4. Too bad we hadn't heard of you when we got married by a JP... but then, maybe you were still in diapers. But if we ever decide to renew our vows I know who I'd want to officiate!

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    1. Um, I may be just a few years younger than you, although that doesn't mean I wasn't in diapers. Be prepared, I always say.

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  5. "I'll show you mine if you show me yours." Hahaha! I do believe that it all went to hell in a handbag over lines like this...

    You make a smashing Reverend Murr--now you have me thinking, I'd love to have the power to marry people! Homeless people, random drunk strangers...can I marry pets? There's a lot of tree huggers around here that swear their dogs/cats/birds are in love.

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    1. We're a single-pet family but Tater would like to marry all the fleshy bits that stick out on our faces. She looooves them.

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  6. Ah, Blessings and Bear hugs to the happy couple, and the Irreverent Rev. Murr. So much fun to do a particular favour for some folks.

    Having "done" hundreds of weddings over the years, I never get tired of them. As long as they are fairly simple. In the back yard after lunch, for example, wearing "back-yard-after-lunch" kinds of casual clothes. But a big church production worthy of Cecil B. DeMille and his cast of thousands is a bit daunting. My word of advice: you don't want to go there.

    "Real" Rev. Rob-bear.

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    1. Advice taken! I don't really need to make a habit of this at all, but I already got another gig, once a friend discovered I had the magic credentials. Oy.

      No need to put "real" in quotes. You am right. I'm not real.

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    2. Actually, you are as real as you want to be. Not many people could believe a Rev. can be a Bear.

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  7. My daughter is getting married at 5:30 this afternoon on the beach just outside, in Akumal, Mexico. They have someone marrying them but she has no idea who it is or what they say. "We're not into that." Hopefully it will be as good as what you provided for your friends.

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    1. I'm sure it will be grand or at least adequate. It's when people get some stranger to preside over their funerals that things start going sideways, in my opinion.

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  8. 1. Well, you sure clean up nice!
    2. Beth and Dean look like lovely people =)
    3. What I notice about the Facebook screenshot is, you have 85 unread notifications. Golly!
    4. re: duck dicks: I KNOW! HOLY CRAPOLA! Isn't life fantastic?

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    1. 1. Thanks!
      2. They is.
      3. What's a notification?
      4. I was going to put in a duck dick picture but I would have had to bump a pretty wedding photo, or God.

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    2. It's a little thing telling you that someone liked something you liked, or commented on something you posted, or whatever. It's the Facebook butler system. Next time you're in there, click on that little red 85 thingy at the top left.

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  9. It sounds like you did a terrific job of officiating the union of Beth and Dean. I wish them the very best.

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  10. "Apatheist" - oh, I so wish I'd coined that!

    Here in Calgary, anyone can apply for one-time permission to officiate at a civil-ceremony wedding - no religion required. Hubby and I were married wearing formal wear and cowboy boots, while our "reverend" sported a kilt. The rest of the crew wore anything from formals to torn jeans. Best wedding I ever had...

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    1. How many of your weddings were in contention?

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    2. Only one other one, so not really statistically significant, I guess. :-)

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  11. It's kinda bizarre that marriage is a sacrament in so many traditions. (And I say this as one of your few deeply religious readers!) I get why the Catholic church says priests shouldn't marry: God tells us to treat everyone the same, and marriage says don't you goddamn dare. It's not exactly the same message.

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    1. Nope. I think I do have some deeply religious readers and even the occasional Republican. It is a source of wonder to me that I don't get more flak.

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  12. My oldest son was also ordained, through the same church, and for the same reason. So good on you.

    "Apatheist" - huh. Don't know. I went for "agnostic atheist" or "doubting agnostic" for many years. But despite what the fundies want you to believe, "atheist" just means "without gods." Doesn't mean you have the answer - just that you've redefined the question. (That's how I look at it, anyway.)

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    1. And the reason I don't use "atheist" is simply that it seems to be the answer to a question I don't ask myself. "What's for dinner?" is as close as I get to a serious question.

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  13. So very awesome ... congratulations to Beth and Dean, and to the newly minted Rev. Murr :)

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  14. "Apatheist" is AWESOME! I love new words! Can I quote you? Do I have to get written permission from the Diocese of Apatheist Whatevers or anything like that? (And congrats to Dean and Beth)

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    1. I agree. It kills me that I didn't think of it first. But when I saw "apatheism" I stole it right away. So I give you permission to steal it from me.

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  15. I anticipate a whole new generation of Apatheists flocking to you, Murr. Well done, your unholy eminence.

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  16. So did Pootie get to attend?
    This seemed like the type of event for anyone who likes happiness.

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    1. Pootie did not. Which is an oversight, because he's totally on the side of happiness.

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  17. Well, 'Holy' smokes, batman, I think this is just grand. :d

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    1. It is kind of grand! And to think we rustled up a real Methodist. At least he was a peace protester. Well, he didn't protest PEACE.

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  18. I know someone who filled in a form asking for his religion as "scrotalitarian." Y'know what? No one queried it!
    (It was moi who suggested that word, so feel free to use it if you want)

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  19. I cannot think of anyone I would rather officiate at the wedding I am not going to have.
    And have no doubts that your presence added immeasurably to the occasion for the happy couple. Who do indeed look genuinely happy.

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    1. They are! We are! And I would be happy to not officiate at your non-wedding. Wait.

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  20. I'm one too! I'm one too! I've married several couples, and only one divorce so far. Hey! Do you know the secret handshake?

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    1. No! No! Show me! Show me! I've got a better record than you so far, Cap'n Tom.

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  21. I always thought of buying a large tent, getting a great black gospel group for back up and going down south and fleecing the rubes - maybe doing a faith heeling gig, but I draw the line at handling poisonous snakes. Just something patterned on Flip Wilson's The Church Of The What's Happening Now.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. Did you read about the last guy who did that snake evangelizing?

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  22. Holy shit, Reverend Murr! I am an apostle of Apatheism so I don' have to talk about it to anyone. It is an awesome way to be unholy.

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    1. Some ways of being unholy are more polite than others, and polite is good.

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  23. An Apatheist.

    And all this time--after casting about wildly for a name for my severely unaffiliated state--I'd been billing myself as a Reform Evangelical Druid (I did, after all, have some strong feelings about deforestation).

    I once was lost, but now am found! Damn, you're good.

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    1. Alas, I wish I were that good. Someone else got to that word first. Here's the proof: a Wikipedia article. There is no Wikipedia article about me, unless one of you writes it.

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  24. If I ever consider re-marrying (gotta get rid of this one first)I would probably call on you! Could be an experience I would never forget. But would definitely make a list of things to NOT mention!

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    1. Oh, well, if there's going to be restrictions...

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  25. So, basically, there are likely binders full of mailpersons who can officiate at whatever. I'm still trying to figure out why your'e so special. Whatever. I "like" it, Spotty. Pooty. Potty. Whatever.

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  26. Holy, moly, Murr.....Pete and I were married by a riend who was a reverend of the Universal Church of Life and it was a lovely ceremony. With a different time frame, I wish you could have done the honors, but I am glad to know that people are still getting married in this perfect way.

    Good for you!

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  27. I would have taken you for a Pastafarian. You know, a follower of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (bless his noodly appendages). Also not big on exclusionary pomp and whatnot.

    When my dear departed hubby and I got married years ago, by a regular old JP, I made him take out all references to anybody "obeying" anybody else. I thought that was just silly.

    If you ever want to drop a bit of random knowledge into one of your marriage ceremonies, just to spice it up a little, you could let people know that mole rats look like a penis with feet. That ought to wake up anybody who was nodding off during the official bits of the ceremony.

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    1. They do sort of look like that. Only larger. (Okay, that was an un-called-for slam.)

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  28. I've always said "born again pagan" but apatheist is much closer to the truth. Beth and Dean look lovely. I wish them well!

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    1. Yuh, "pagan" involves a lot of beliefs.

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  29. You would have loved my wedding. My mom was afraid the minister was going to be in leathers since he is a biker. He actually wore a suit and we got married in our backyard. Had all the Aunts bring their specialty in the their 18 qt roasters for the meal as our gift and had a major party but no leftovers.

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    1. You're right. I would have loved your wedding. I do love weddings. The less expensive the better.

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  30. Oh!! If I ever get married, I would like to hire Irreverent Rev. Murr. !!!!!!

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  31. Congratulations on your new Irreverency. This just makes formal what most of us already knew, of course.

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  32. As a ULC pretender of long standing, let me welcome you into the ranks. We strive to remain as rank as possible, and trust that you are entirely capable of carrying the tradition to new heights.

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    1. I know I've got the dogma down. Downward Dogma?

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    1. I thought about it. I usually cry at weddings.

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  34. Hah! I am somehow tied to Samuel L. Clemens on Facebooq as weLL.

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    1. I checked your FB page and its the same Twain page in your 'Likes' as mine. SmaLL vvorld.

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  35. Girls tend to marry men like their fathers - which is why mothers cry at weddings.
    Congratulations on becoming a licenced knot-tier. Reverend Murr. Weren't you one of the gifts the three wise guys brought from afar?

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    1. Yup. Me and the Lincoln Logs were the little lord Jesus's favorite gifts.

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  36. I just have to tell you that my dear friend Kathy wed her niece and niece's fiancee last summer in California. She became an ordained minister of the same church you are! It gave us many opportunities to laugh about her being a card carrying, certifiably ordained minister. But at the end of the day, she join two beautiful people in marriage and that's what matters.

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  37. Oh what fun, and what a big responsibility. My husband became an internet clergyman in order to perform a wedding for friends a few years go. I love the phrase "Click to ordain," which was all he had to do to become a grand poo-bah. Cool.

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