Today I had the pleasure of attending the baptism of my 5 month old nephew at La Salle High School’s chapel. It might seem a bit odd to see a baptist pastor write that attending an infant baptist was a “pleasure.” I mean, when I listen to baptists talk about going to baptisms of some of their children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews I get the feeling that they see it as the equivalent of having thumb-screws applied to them. Our tradition is different, to be sure, but the “thumb-screw” mentality is a bit mis-placed in my opinion.
There was one big reason why I thought this baptism was a pleasure to attend, theology.
When I attend a Baptist baptist baptism, or wedding, or even weekly worship for that matter – it seems like no one cares really what the theology of the event is – and this often leaves me feeling heart-broken. Theology shouldn’t be seen as an enemy, or even an after-thought. Rather, it is the means by which we able to talk about the experience of what happens in worship. In a not more than 15 minute liturgy (with a very warm and personable priest) we dealt with:
- The idea that all the sacraments are meant to be experienced by the whole community as we are bound together and together with Christ as they are administered.
- The need to reject Satan and the “glamor of evil.”
- The idea that the acts of the Church’s worship are done in the view of the saints in heaven.
- The core beliefs of Christianity in the form of the Apostle’s Creed (my wife’s been teaching this in Sunday School and both my kids looked up and said, “Hey we know this!” As the litany moved forward).
- A clear teaching that the baptism reality is to literally be “clothed” with Christ – and that the power of a baptism life in the Church comes only through the light of Christ.
Why Baptists think that making stuff up on the fly (and missing about half these points, all of which are important) is better than a decent liturgy that reeks of Christ is beyond me – but it was a pleasure to experience it today.