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Invited To A Very Christian Wedding


Fuego
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The wife and I are invited to attend a wedding at a Russian church later this year. We used to have a great relationship with these folks, helping them with English and eating with them frequently. They know that we no longer attend church, and that I have deconverted entirely. We have only spoken about it once at one of their homes. We don't really see them much anymore, mostly out of respect for their family structure, but also because their church is very superstitious about what they are allowed to do (makeup, music, who they have as friends). Us being around them often could be a problem for them in their social circle, which is a huge deal for them. They are good people and I don't want to be trouble for them.

 

One of the daughters invited us to her wedding, and I'm totally game to go and looking forward to talking to die-hard believers (whom I love) about why I no longer believe the myth. The wife is deathly afraid of hurting their feelings, and doesn't really want to go because she'll be surrounded by people who are "sad that we don't love Jesus". I told her that you can't control other people's feelings, and you NEED to be yourself regardless of what others want of you. But she is very sensitive to other people's feelings, so it may not be a good idea for her to go. We encountered one of them in a store recently and the lady's comments about being so sad about us really disturbed my wife.

 

Anyway, mostly venting here. I know that what they feel is real, but that it is based on something as mythic as Quetzalcoatl, so I'm more intrigued by it than emotionally moved. I'm keen to try some concepts on them to see how the "programming" reacts. Having been a believer for decades, I know that they have doubts and problems with the faith that they keep silent (as we all did). Believers are taught to always paint a rosy picture of the faith, and not talk about their own concerns and such.

 

I still hope to go. Not sure if the wife will plan to be traveling during that time or what, but my hunch is that she will avoid it. Probably wise.

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They are good people and I don't want to be trouble for them.

 

One of the daughters invited us to her wedding, and I'm totally game to go and looking forward to talking to die-hard believers (whom I love) about why I no longer believe the myth.

 

These two things are contradictory. Please don't use the wedding of the daughter of a friend to try to tell believers why they're wrong. If they know you've deconverted and still want you to be part of their special event, please respect them the way you'd want them to respect you. I imagine the way you'd want them to respect you is NOT by going to your wedding and trying to tell your guests about Jesus.

 

If you feel that these are people who would be receptive to hearing more about your deconversion, schedule dinner with them at some other time.

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Were you going to start all of the conversation before or after drinks?

At least try to respect wishes of the bride and groom.

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and I'm totally game to go and looking forward to talking to die-hard believers (whom I love) about why I no longer believe the myth.

 

Yeah, this is entirely inappropriate. They invited you to celebrate their marriage. Go and celebrate, or don't go, but don't use this as an occasion for grandstanding about your beliefs. No matter WHAT they are, it's entirely selfish and immature to do that at a wedding.

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I agree you should not bring up the topic at the wedding. If anyone else brings it up to you, have a prepared response that you and your wife can agree on and practice together:

 

Just smile and say that you are "here to celebrate the lives of two young people as they start their new lives together, and you would like to set everything else aside for this one moment to honor and respect them. We'll be in town tomorrow morning if you'd like to get together for coffee to explore this topic, but for today it's all about (the bride's name)! Let's par-taaaay!" And then change the subject to the bridesmaids' dresses or the choice of flowers or the music performance -- wasn't that so lovely? Get the other women going on the colors and flowers they had at their own weddings, and the conversation will fill the entire evening.  :)

 

ClaraOlive makes a good point: I would be annoyed if my guests pestered my other guests about Jesus. Do that on your own time and dime.

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The day belongs to the bride. Honor your friendship with her parents, suck it up, don't take offense, don't argue religion, and for fuck's sake don't be sad at a wedding! Anyone unable or unwilling to just smile and go along with the festivities should probably stay away. And remember, it's usually better to be nice than to be right.

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It's strange that a Russian church is so fundamental.  When we still lived in the US one of our relatives asked us to be godmother and godfather for their girl.  The orthodox priest interviewed me before the ceremony and asked me what my faith was.  When I told him I was an atheist, he was very friendly about it and just kind of laughed it off.  I don't know anyone here in Russia that goes to church.  Churches are museums and places were old ladies go and light candles for good luck. 

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Yikes y'all, I wasn't intending that way at all, sorry I came across that way. I'm anticipating the male relatives doing their usual gung-ho preaching at me, which was what always happened when I was among them. I wasn't going to breach the subject myself. This isn't a place to grandstand, and I'm well aware of that. And if the mother shoots them a dirty look, they'll clam up quickly. So my intention is to go as a friend, because I do still love them as friends.

 

Vigile, these are charismatic Russians, so they are strict and very fundamentalist. They came here as refugees some time ago.

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Yikes y'all, I wasn't intending that way at all, sorry I came across that way. I'm anticipating the male relatives doing their usual gung-ho preaching at me, which was what always happened when I was among them. I wasn't going to breach the subject myself. This isn't a place to grandstand, and I'm well aware of that. And if the mother shoots them a dirty look, they'll clam up quickly. So my intention is to go as a friend, because I do still love them as friends.

 

Vigile, these are charismatic Russians, so they are strict and very fundamentalist. They came here as refugees some time ago.

 

*phew* RenaissanceWoman had some good suggestions for phrases to deflect the gung-ho preaching. Lather, rinse, repeat, and if after a few repetitions, someone keeps at it, excuse yourself and leave the conversation. But hopefully they will be too busy with wedding celebration things.

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  • 1 month later...

It was a totally wonderful time! Everyone was sweet and kind, we were brought up to sit with the family and it was just like old times. The bride was breathtaking, one of the most beautiful Slavic girls I've seen (and that's saying something). The whole thing lasted nearly 8 hours, with several songs, skits, and an "auction" of the wedding cake, intended to bring in some starting cash to the bride and groom. The kids of the families have grown so much in the past 6 years. I had forgotten how much I love them all. The bride's mom was the only one to ask me about religion, but she's such an amazing human that I've always loved talking with her. We got along very well, and she even asked her husband for permission to hug me (and she did). :-)

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