Book Review – By the Power Vested in You (By: Brother G. Martin Freeman)

By the Power Vested in You is a book published by the Universal Life Church that is available for sale on their website by itself and with several “packages” of various ministerial and wedding gear. Basically, the book is “weddings for dummies” but with only 43 pages of content from the table of contents to the page before the appendix. It’s more like “performing a wedding for people who might not have any idea what a wedding even is”. That is to say, the book is a very basic one.


It is a well-written one, though, I was never left confused or feeling talked-down-to at the end of a sentence or paragraph. And the information presented about the basics of a wedding ceremony, what questions to ask the bride and groom, and the reference charts for keeping information are all a necessary foundation. It just feels a bit lacking in material. I feel that someone shooting from the hip for their first ceremony (as I basically was) could easily check off most of the boxes of the checklists from the book without thinking about it. But I might be giving people too much credit, as I have experience in many things that would relate to the job a minister has to perform, and the bride and groom had much of it organized themselves.

It is certainly nice to have the conformation of reading a book someone else wrote on the subject and being able to check off all of the boxes, and as a way to ease your mind, it would definitely get my recommendation. By that token as well it works as a pack-in item to a “wedding kit” and the price for the book on its own is reasonable (but I wouldn’t buy it on its own). The most useful parts of the book are the little bits about ceremonies in different cultures (but it’s really only enough to remind you to research more about it if you’re doing a wedding for someone to whom it would be applicable) and the appendix where you can write down the names of family members, those in the procession, and the couples answers to any questions. This is more useful the first time one is handling a large wedding party, and I think people would quickly develop their own way of keeping this information, but it is a good jumping off point.

In the end I would say that it’s a middle-of-the-road book. I did like the clear and concise language as well as the charts and checklists in the appendix, but I did not like the lack of much real information and the overuse of stock photos (I don’t think I mentioned that before, there are way, way too many). It does what it set out to do pretty well, but it’s no manual for sure.

Table Topics Family 22 #43-44


1. If you could volunteer your time to help one charity which would you choose?

2. When you receive two invitations at the same time how do you decide which one to accept?

ANSWERS By: Austin Smith

1. I have no idea, there are so many that do so many different things, and some that are so much better at providing money and care and I don’t know the full story about any of them. I’d have to say that given perfect information about all of the charities I’d choose the one that delivers the most “care” for the least amount of “overhead”.

2. I don’t know that either, it would depend on whether or not they were family, friends, or the even was a wedding, party, etc… I really have no system for such a thing.

On the Dismissing of Events (Warning: Almost Political)

Warning: Almost Political

I’ve been perusing the internet in the past few days. And of course around 9/11 there was a lot of talk about 9/11. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, nor am I a government patron. I’m not going to try to condemn or praise the United States government here. However in these talks about the past there have been many people dismissing those events. They dismiss them for various reasons, including: “it was a set-up, relatively few people were killed, it pales in comparison to later events, terrorist attacks happen all the time, or simple that it was twelve years ago and that makes it no longer relevant.”

But really it is relevant. I don’t care how you feel about it, it is still important. There are still lines in the sand being drawn over it, there are still policies directly associated with it. Government supporters and government critics, in many countries, not just the U.S. still make it a part of their agenda. It continues to shape politics in America. No matter how dismissive some people will be politicians will for better or for worse continue to use it as a tool, or a reminder. It will continue to be part of the justification or vilification of government programs. And to those who dismiss Americans as being pompous or over dramatic don’t realize the cultural ramifications. Despite what we think Americans rarely forget.

So, I urge people next year to not be dismissive of this date, or of the talk surrounding it. To dismiss it is to hand it to the dogs. If you wish to see it’s message changed or viewed in a new light speak, and speak with an argument, not a few words and a wave of a hand. It, as an event, must be seen, understood, and dealt with, as all events. There has been no closure. Simple stuttered gasps have been attempted, and the remembrance on this day is because of that. And if people continue to ignore or dismiss it there will never be closure, and that can be dangerous.