Can I hear an amen?

I’m an ordained minister. I’d forgotten that till I got an email from my friend Teri asking me to officiate her wedding.

The message: “Sally said you got a preacher certificate off the Internet. True? Could you marry me and Drew?”

Then this: “My goal is to get good arm muscles, come to Austin this summer, get a tattoo (on my arm, hence the good muscles and the Jillian Michaels exercise videos) and get hitched. Nothing fancy, nothing elaborate. Just someone who can say ‘OK, you’re married.’ Then we can eat fish tacos or something. Please say yes!”

I told her yes, that by the power vested in me by the Universal Life Church, I would marry Drew and her in the tattoo parlor of their choosing, as long as they buy the tacos.

For the record, if the state of Texas allows it, I really would be honored to play preacher for Teri and Drew, who are good to each other and have been living together for years and who want to get hitched so they can adopt a child from Africa. It’d be the right thing to do, to help a committed couple adopt a baby who needs a home, even if I’m an unorthodox man of faith.

So, me, a preacher. You might be wondering how that came about, how I started on my road to faith.

It’s partially the doing of the stoned hippie who married my brother. The hippie, who lead my brother’s service sporting a tie-dye shirt, jeans tucked inside cowboy boots, and a sombrero, told me at the reception that he’d been called to the ministry by the Universal Life Church. He told me that the church is a loving and accepting institution and that the ministry is open to anyone who abides by these two tenets:

  1. Do that which is right.
  2. Don’t shit on other people’s beliefs.

Be good and don’t dump on others’ beliefs? I figured I could do that.

I looked up the church and learned that it was real and that I could indeed become a minister.

So for kicks, I did. I became a pastor.

And then I convinced my friend Omar—who (a) is spiritual or at least baptized and (b) looks like Jesus, only Mexican and without the beard—to join the ministry, so he could marry Sally and me on a beach in Mexico with the toilet-water blue Caribbean as a backdrop. It was to be a beautiful service, a mariachi band accompanying us, Sally in white, our guests half polluted, and Mexican Jesus in a serape pronouncing us husband and wife.

Omar did his part. He became a minister in the Universal Life Church, and for all I know, he might be proselytizing to crack addicts on 11th street right now.

But we didn’t do ours, and our beach wedding plans collapsed. Things falls apart, I suppose.

And then I forgot about the church and the baked hippie and my pastorly duties.

Until I got the email.

But I’m ready, Teri and Drew. I’m ready to be your pastor.

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5 Responses to “Can I hear an amen?”


  1. 1 Laura March 23, 2009 at 7:52 am

    Update – Omar shaved his beard this weekend. He still wears sandals though!

  2. 2 lesleyfamily March 23, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    As long as he doesn’t his hair. . .

    Speaking of that husband of yours, I used to have a picture of Omar wearing a serape looking like the offspring of Clint Eastwood, Geronimo, and Jesus.

    The picture was taken at the Blue Parrot in Playa, and he’s sitting at a table with at least 20 empty green Dos Equis bottles on it. I think it’s safe to assume that Mexican Jesus might have had a few beverages that night.

  3. 3 Laura March 23, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    yea- i’ve got a similar picture. Ahh the blue parrot!!!

    Hey – Since Slade’s up and bouncin about – Family road trip!

  4. 4 Bonnie March 27, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    This entry is all I need to read to know that Sally is good people. Van, like you is a giant kill joy, and won’t let me dog-nap puppies on the street.


  1. 1 Exactly right « Bad Chemicals Trackback on June 17, 2009 at 8:55 am

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