Oh the sweet theology


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.

One Comment

  1. Mel says:

    How and why liturgy and theology got “blacklisted” is beyond me. I know from my limited experience that because they aren’t used/stressed there is now a whole generation of people (myself included) that don’t conceptulaize what these mean. Theology at face value sounds like something high church officials or philosophical academics contemplate. Not that this is a bad thing just that the average person in a church setting doesn’t think that these can apply to them. Especially in a group such as baptists.

    They just assume that since the more formalized church groups use it (such as Catholics) that it is one of those “weirdo” things that don’t really make sense. Basically judging it before understanding what it really is.

    And since it’s been gone so long they don’t appear on the radar as things that might be worth contemplating. There is sadly this mindset that if it didn’t survive history that this was a good thing because it must not have been worth doing in the first place. Sadly this is not the case most of the time but the thought still seems to prevail.

    Also since these have been left out and aren’t discussed newer generations of people end up not being exposed to the possibility. Honestly if you had asked me 6 or 7 years ago what liturgy or theology were I wouldn’t have been able to answer you. I still am not totally sure what both encompas/ how they can be applied most of the time (at least not in a way I can explain readily).

    Perhaps more education is necessary for the general public such that people start thinking about these things/ can see how these can be applicable to us.

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