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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Sunday, April 30, 2006
    When one of the lads gets married

    This is Mark, one hour ago. As I write this he'll be smoothing down his shirt in preparation for the speeches at this afternoon's wedding do. His own. I wonder what your reaction is when I tell you that this is a picture of one of Liverpool's finest young Christian leaders...

    It's different, when one of the lads gets married. One of those whose relationship to me has largely been about a mutual affirmation of our maleness. By means of competitive shaved haircuts, lengthy football conversations, the exchange of feeble jokes, lounging around in shoddy t-shirts sipping small beers and watching Match of the Day. By means of celebrating our singleness together by eating so badly that others invite us round for meals out of pity. By means of encouraging each other to avoid romantic relationships for fear of losing our treasured 'independence'.

    When one of the lads gets married, you're tempted to think he must have been bluffing all along. That he couldn't have been an avoider of commitment after all. Or maybe, I think, it's me who's been kidding myself. Commitment - comes to us all, in some shape or form, whether we're looking for it or not.

    So as we watched, a little ruefully, Mark's independence slip away, his new set of commitments beautifully affirmed, Richard and I stood together exchanging thoughts about what it really means - maleness. And how seldom we allow ourselves to talk about it, or are allowed to do so by others. He's done some good thinking about it, Richard, online. I shall have to revisit it all, once this bittersweet day is over. They do this sort of thing to you, weddings. When one of the lads gets married.