Friday, August 31, 2012

Baptism Means Introduction (Intro to Baptism)

I'm at the homestead for my nephew's Baptism. This is my favorite ritual/sacrament because it boldly, openly expresses the truth that it represents (and in representing, makes real):

Welcome, Tiny. We are your family. We have your back. 

The Christian ritual elements, like the anointing with oils, submersion under water, and lighting of candles, all take a back seat for me. Yes, the sacrament of Baptism is to introduce the baptized into the religious community. In infant baptism, the parents commit to raising the child as a Christian, rejecting Satan and all his empty promises.

But I think the Christian elements are secondary to the community elements. In our case, the gathered family represented several faiths. And while many of us are Catholic - or catholic enough for the baptism to make spiritual sense - most of us were there to show solidarity with Tiny and his parents. Our family is a community for our newest member. 

The big question is, what will all this mean in his lifetime? If you were baptized, what does your baptism mean for you today? I wonder what Tiny's baptism will mean for him in 2038, when he's my age.

By 2038, I think the way we experience and communicate our faith life will have changed dramatically. I predict that divisions between religious sects will continue to melt away, and people will continue to feel free to shop for whatever communities fill them with the most happiness. As always, I hope that religious organizations will invest in this movement, instead of building thicker walls and spreading divisiveness.

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