Tuesday, January 22, 2013

on baptism

Raise up a child in the way he should go...

I'm reminded yet again this evening that I was not raised in a mainline Protestant denomination. I picked up "A Sacramental Life" at the library last week and started reading it tonight. I almost immediately ran up against an assumption that I've seen repeatedly - Christian churches believe that the christian life begins at baptism, or that it is impossible to be a christian without being baptized.

Every time, that assumption brings me up short, because that is very definitely not what I was raised to believe. Heck, it doesn't apply to most of the evangelical movement. Christianity is about accepting Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Billy Graham converted a heck of a lot of people with those famous altar calls, and he wasn't the only one. Baptism is the outward acknowledgement of the inward moving of the Holy Spirit. Life in the church may begin with the sacrament, but being a Christian, salvation from sin and death, isn't dependant upon getting doused with water. It's important, because community is important. It is only in community that we can break bread together.

And I run into the mainline view yet again. It is the stated theology of my church. It is something that I struggle with every time it comes up. I'll be over here, looking at it again.

in the mean time, I'm computerless this week, which also means short of keyboard and spell check...forgive the errors.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A drabble

The subtitle of this blog is "religion, geekdom, and the occasional intersection of the two."

This is one of those intersection points.

A subset of geekdom is fandom - the realm of people who like/appreciate a specific example or creator. Lost. NASCAR. Firefly. Cardinals. Jane Austen. These all are creators of narratives, stories that catch us, and often make us delve into endless speculations of "what if?" and "what were they really thinking?" (If you think this is limited to those book people, don't get a sports fan started about what might have happened if the ball had been caught/dropped.)

Occasionally, those of us who delve into the world of what if write it down, and that's called fanfiction. This is one of those times. And yes, there is a whole lot of Bible fanfic out there - God left us with a lot of gaps and room in the margins, then made us a people who tell stories. Thus, the Midrash, and of a much lesser quality, this.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Do not fear

"I have called you by name: you are mine."

4 years ago, I heard a call. To work for the Lord in all things. To be a light in the world, a kind word, a gentle hand, to lead, shepherd, to work with His people in the building of a kingdom in this life. I have been baptized by water and the spirit. I have met with others, attempting to discern where it is that God has called me, what is my ministry and where should I serve.

And this week's reading is one of those that I hold as comfort in the darkness, when I doubt that I heard that voice. It reminds me, constantly, that I am not alone. It reminds me that He who called me is there, even when the world is not. No matter how challenging this process is, God is with me, and I need to remember to trust in that.

43:1 But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
43:3 For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.
43:4 Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life.
43:5 Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you;
43:6 I will say to the north, "Give them up," and to the south, "Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth--
43:7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The joy of hats

I? Am a hat person.

According to arcane rules that most people have forgotten, men doff their hats upon entering any building, esp. a church, and ladies get to leave theirs in place. I have always thought that this was related to the number of hat pins and other methodologies employed by ladies with proper millinery to keep the things in place. I have to be careful about which hats I purchase or make, so that they sit on my head without resorting to anything other than friction and gravity, because our modern world doesn't deal well with hats.

It occurred to me this morning as I was undoing the one hat pin I had allowed myself (a concession to the wind), that as a relic of an earlier era, hats highlighted one of the other major changes in the church. In the days when a proper chapeau was de rigeur for church, it was also absolutely unheard of for a woman to serve at the altar in any capacity. And here, I was unpinning my hat so that I could don my robe, and be the worship leader in an Anglo-catholic Episcopalian parish.

Times, they change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.