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Ask the Patriarch 198
How do I send a subtle but non-offensive message?

from: Buzz

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I am fascinated by your organization and plan to explore your site.

I'm writing with a dilemma: a dear friend's daughter is about to wed.  The fiance is a nice young man, a military reservist and pilot. His Big Goal: flying missionary. He dreams of bringing Jesus Inc. to the remote regions of the globe. 

The bride-to-be never really struck me as "religious"--her mom and dad are old baby boomers who are decidedly secular in their orientation, as am I.  Another friend is throwing a big party for the kids, and has asked us all to contribute a poem, observation, sage advice or anecdote of some sort. 

I want to participate, but I strongly object to the whole Missionary-Brand-USA-One-Way-with-Jesus effort. Can anyone suggest an author whose work I might quote, maybe sending a subtle but non-offensive message?


The Patriarch replies:


Perhaps someone else can suggest an author you might quote for this purpose; but nothing comes to mind. I will publish any suggestions in a future update, but, in my opinion, sending "a subtle but non-offensive message" is not really appropriate for the occasion.

I can understand and sympathise with your dismay that the young lady has chosen to marry someone whose goal in life is to be a Christian missionary. But, his intentions are no secret and she, for whatever reason, is prepared to live with that. My advice would be to let it be. It's a lost battle.

Just try to imagine things the other way round - a previously apparently Christian girl marrying an anti-religious activist, like say Dawkins. I'm sure a family friend subtly quoting bible passages while toasting the bride and groom would go over like a lead balloon, and there would be a fair chance the person would no longer be seen as a family friend.

If at the event, someone suggests prayers for the couple, feel free to take a pass on participation, quietly. That is about as subtle and non-offensive as the occasion calls for. As for your own offering, find a love poem with no reference to gods, angels, or miracles.

Sorry I cannot give you what you are asking for. Perhaps, in further discussion, someone else may have a suggestion.