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reprise

By Diogenes (articles ) | Sep 07, 2005

Father Mark's dogma-free wedding factory mentioned below (for fifty bucks extra he'll attend your reception) put me in mind of a favorite passage from John Updike's novel Roger's Version (1986), concerning the antics of students and faculty at Harvard Divinity School.

And Ed Snea (two syllables, Sne-a) a specialist in Bultmannism and holocaustics, is a short, slight, fair, nominal Presbyterian who has become, by one of those tricks of fashion that animate academic communities, the Marrying Sam of Godless weddings; when the Czech-emigré astrophysicist's daughter marries a Japanese Buddhist graduate student in semantics, it is Ed who tailors the rite to their exact shade of polite disbelief, silently rolling his eyes upward when a single spoken word of Heavenly appeal would be too much. For those to whom even the vaguest mention of natural harmony or everlasting love would savor unduly of barbaric theism, Ed, with his touch of Southern accent and his suede-colored smudge of mustache, has a way of intoning empty phrases so that not a pinfeather of the agnostic couple's integrity is ruffled, while the bride's staunchly Episcopalian step-grandmother (who doesn't hear too well anyway) leaves the service also placated. He has not gotten rich on this sideline, but he has partaken of much champagne and vanilla layer cake; indeed, Ed is so well known to the local caterers that he sometimes hitches a ride home in their van, and takes his neglected family a feast of leftover chicken livers wrapped in bacon and speared with tinted toothpicks.

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