I am not a religious man. If people wish to believe in a God that is all well and good, but personally I feel no need for a book of magic stories and an imaginary friend to guide me through life. Why then, I wonder, does an acquaintance of mine, (and an extremely vague one at that) seem to think I would like nothing better of a Sunday than to dress up in a priest’s garb and pretend to be a man of the cloth?
This week saw the third time that I have been asked to perform wedding ceremonies for Japanese couples, and the second by this particular woman. The last time, I explained in depth that I am not a Christian and that my only experiences with churches have been attending weddings and funerals. That was foolish, as having been a wedding guest at real live Christian weddings in churches seemed to confirm that I was just the man for the job. She explained that she had been recommended a Mormon by someone, but she wanted a Christian.
“They are Christian,” I said. But she said she wanted a real Christian. “As I said before,” I explained, “I’m not actually Christian.” She said that didn’t matter as foreigners were Christian and they needed a foreigner.
“Was the Mormon Japanese?” I asked.
“No,” she said. “He was American but Mormons are chotto…”
I thanked her for her kind offer and explained that with my free time being precious, I’d rather pass. She said she thought I didn’t have classes on Sunday.
“No,” I said, “but I often have things to do.”
“What about in afternoons?” she asked. I told her afternoons were chotto…
The woman didn’t seem to be picking up on my hints that I really didn’t want to do this, and asked if she could maybe call me again if they are short of people.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I’m sure you can find someone more appropriate.”
She hesitated and then told me that I had been recommended as a very trustworthy person.
“Thank you,” I said.
“And foreigners are not so trustworthy, so I really hoped you could do this.”
I apologized again, and despite having been told that I was Christian because I was foreign, and that foreigners were untrustworthy, I was the one who hung up the phone and felt guilty. Now, if that was a feeling I’d wanted I’d have embraced Catholicism in the first place.