Monday, November 24, 2014

Storm Shelter

Sometimes, the lectionary just *nails it*.
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.'

Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?'
 And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'  (
Matthew 25:34-40)

 It's time.

 Just as churches and charities open up as shelters for natural disasters, it is equally our right and bounden duty to be a shelter for more man-made calamities. This post has been sitting here, half-written for two days, as I tried to frame what it should mean to be a church and a people who live out the principles in this passage. To be a home for the hopeless, a safe space among the chaos of the world, where one can find food, water, care, and a helping hand in the midst of everything coming apart.I just received word that the grand jury decision has been made, and the announcement of what it is will be soon. St. John's is a designated sanctuary, with supplies and professionals in place to help with the physical and mental needs of the protesters and the community surrounding us. It's all hands on deck time, the waiting is almost over.

My city, my people, the Lord is always with us. Therefore, let us pray.

Lord, make us instruments of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Storm coming in.

This is going to be a post in two parts.

One of the things about growing up in the Midwest is that you learn about the faces of storms. The patterns of sky, the taste of wind, the colors of clouds tell us if this is a storm to play in or to take shelter from. As the line comes towards us, how bad is it going to be?

These last couple of weeks have felt like the leading edge of the storm is looming at the horizon. The clouds of the indictment decision for Darren Wilson are black and heavy, with the tinge of olive that means this storm could go from bad to deadly. What will happen when the grand jury rules?

The first spits of rain are happening. This week: declaration of the State of Emergency and the doxxing of policemen, some of whom are just trying to do their job. This week in Ferguson, arrests of media, legal, & clergy. The brief spots of struggling light, too: open churches, prayer vigils, the appointment of the Ferguson Commission.

In some ways, we've been waiting for this to break for 105 days. But really, it's only been imminent since the election. And that looming imminence is wearing. The city and county are holding our collective breath, waiting. Praying. Praying for justice, for an end to injustice. Praying that the looming storm will dissipate. The anger and hopelessness against an unjust system will still be there, but without the destructive nature of riots. Without the destruction of the flood. That would be best, that the fuel of the movement find a different channel to effect change, because the storm goes. It often happens that way in St. Louis, that something furious and murderous...gentles into the power to create the different world we desperately need. But right now, we're preparing for the storm. If it breaks, this is going to be one to shelter from...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Erasing a community

I was standing at coffee hour, drinking my tea, and chatting with a fellow parishioner, a sweet lady. As we were watching the two guys up front clean up the worship space, she turned to me and said, “Why do those people have to come here? I understand they can't help being gay, but can't they go find their own space?”

I found out what mug handles are really for, that morning. They're to prevent you dropping hot liquids when you're so shocked you forget to hold on.

“Would it be fair,” I said, “if they said the same thing about people who didn't like them? That people like you who didn't like gays needed to go find their own church and weren't welcome here, in the place you've made your home?”

“Well, no, but that's not the point. They're the ones who are different!”

I backed up and found an excuse to get out of that conversation, reeling. Because I knew she was more conservative than I am, that she and her husband belong to one of the more 'evangelical' groups in the Episcopal Church, but it still hit me like a ton of bricks that she would rather “they” would just go away, and leave her the territory of her church undisturbed. Erase them.

About a year earlier, when we were talking about our participation in Pride events, another older woman said, “Gays and lesbians I'm ok with, but I don't agree with this affirmation of Bi-people. They should just pick one!” I looked at her daughter, who was very carefully not making eye contact with anyone, embarrassed. I wondered how many people in the room knew that before the daughter's marriage, at one point she'd identified as bi. From the tone, her mother wasn't one of them.

These were both in a parish, in a community, that explicitly identifies as LGBT-friendly, with signs and rainbows and affiliations. All I could think was, “but this is supposed to be a safe space!”

Both of these women, who I believe try their very best to be the best people they can be, the most Godly people they can be, want 'those people' to stop making them uncomfortable, because the existence of the LGBT community inside the church challenges ideas and biases long held.

Erasure is a topic frequently covered by social justice activists of all stripes. What can be erased from view, what can be glossed over or excused as a one-time or not that bad or not really that good? Make that which challenges drop from view to maintain the status quo.

It's something I've been pondering for the last couple of months and esp this week, listening to people, allies and advocates and activists, celebrating the progression of same sex marriage across the country. I'm very happy for my friends, that they are no longer denied a basic civil right, that in 30 states (and possibly more this week, depending on what happens with the 9th circuit) they can marry their partner. But what about the people who can't? Or who won't?

There's an entire community of people for whom marriage is not the answer, or even an answer, at least in it's current configuration, and we in the church are particularly guilty of focusing on marriage as the Big Thing, forgetting, ignoring, erasing a large portion of the congregation and their equality.

Half of LGBT people identify as Bisexual*. A couple of different places I've heard disparaging remarks from gay or allied clergy, not just laity, about how bi people should just choose one, or that they're just confused, or it's a stage. That people who are "actively bisexual" are hurting the cause of gay rights. How it's not fair that they can "pass" in either community, with the implication that they're no better than double agents.

The comment about being "actively bi" made me angriest. That it came from clergy in the community was the worst. What does that even mean? Does it mean that someone can't date a guy, then a girl, then another guy, if they're out in the dating pool? Or that they can't have a boyfriend *and* a girlfriend at the same time? That they have to get married to one or the other, sooner rather than later, and ignore the fact that they might like both? That they have to "make a choice"? What happens if they don't, if they chose to not get married, or if they choose to acknowledge that men and women are both attractive, that restricting themselves to one or the other is a denial of who they are, who they were made to be?

Will the church still support the right to not choose then?

Bi people exist, they exist in our communities, and yes, they may be "passing", but if these are the attitudes in evidence when they do come out, is it any wonder the closet is still full?

This is destructive of lives and relationships, esp in places that are otherwise open and affirming to the queer communities. And while I know how lucky I am to be in a denomination that has stated full equality of all persons regardless of sexual orientation as a goal, this isn't how we do it, telling people that to be a Christian, they must hide their orientation (and possibly their partners) under a basket. We learned that already, with our gay and lesbian clergy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

oh my city...

I live about 10 miles south of a really sleepy little suburb. Over the last 15 years, it's been hit by the auto plant closing, and then the recession & foreclosures. But through it all, it has maintained a sense of community and of shared values - education, church, family.

They're not so trusting of their government.

Unlike most of the surrounding communities, in Ferguson, (as someone quipped recently) the only people in the region who weren't aware of the culture of corruption were (some of the) white people in Ferguson. And the corruption of government in that part of the metro area, esp in the police forces, is legendary enough that we tell stories about it.*

Watching my town come apart at the seams, the racial/ethnic divides become stark, clear lines, watching everyone have an opinion on it, and finding that sometimes, people I otherwise like and respect could not conceive of the cops being anything but justified, even as we all *know* that there is a problem 'up there' with honest policemen,** made me sick. I was scared, and ashamed. It felt like the only thing I could do was pray. Praying that it would end peacefully, praying that no one else would get hurt, praying that grief would not turn to anger, that people would listen to each other.

The whole first week, I had no time. I followed what I could via Twitter, but I support four mammals in my household and had too much that had to be done, obligations that meant that I couldn't take time 'off' to go north, and that I really couldn't afford to get arrested, issues that mean that more stress, and more stress on my body, from walking, from running, from tear gas, would compromise my ability to provide food and housing to those in my care. And that makes me feel guilty, and incredibly aware of my own privilege, that I could choose not to be a part of the protests. That I could choose to put the phone down, and not live in that world, and deal with problems "closer to home."

One of the things that gave me hope, though? Was seeing pictures of my bishop, my priest, and a not-small segment of the clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri, as white-bread as we tend to be, walking in Ferguson. Watching them, and huge numbers of other people associated with MCU unite behind the people of Ferguson, walking in search of justice. They have a thing, now. It's called Praying with Our Feet.

And it gave me hope, and confirmed to me that I hang out with the right people. People who would walk for me, be the presence I could not be. Be the presence of Christ in a tense, ugly situation, working, walking for both peace and justice. Organizing for people in need, asking the community what was wanted, listing, trying to supply it, listening again.

That's the church I joined. I am so very, very grateful.

*It is illegal to cause a stoplight to change from green to red without a yellow light. It is especially illegal to do so if you're a cop waiting to write a ticket to someone for running a red light. As it happens, it is also illegal to halve the period of a yellow light for the same purposes. You know what? No, the cops don't get to have control of the stoplights any more. Seriously. No, really. No, you too. All of you, stop that.

**there are good cops, honest men and women on the police forces in the municipalities of North County, who are trying their level best to create good, solid communities and be good solid role models for young men and women who may or may not have many options. I am honored to know several, and weep for them in this situation, torn by conflicting forces pulling in a lot of directions, telling them conflicting definitions of 'right'. I pray that they discern well.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

the theology of breads

At Easter, my congregation started using loaf bread for Communion, as is the preference of our bishop. Being lazy, I would bake up a double batch, which would give us 4-5 loaves and freeze most of them.
Unfortunately, rapid defrosting did Bad Things to the internal structure, making it a mass of glue. My priest objected, parishioners objected, and I went back to the drawing board.

Communion bread is elemental, and it's ingredients and making are matters of long tradition. Wheat, water, salt, oil. Simple bread. But what to do when members of your congregation can't do the wheat?
Last time, I started with someone else's recipe, handed to me with a "let's try this!" This time, I needed to think both about the theology and the requirements of my community, as well as the structure of the bread itself.

Loaf breads with yeast are...theologically problematic. The original one was Passover-bread, specifically enjoined from having contact with yeast. (There's a reason a lot of churches use wafers. They're just pretty matzah.) They are also time-eating, between proof and rising. No making it in the hour before church. But if I must make loaves, then why not look for something that embraces our modernity? Cue all the bakers "there are two types of bread: yeast breads & quick breads." So- modern, artificial leavening agent.

I needed something designed for tearing & dipping, without disintegrating, and not tasting like crap. Not nut-based. Every culture has it's version of trencher-bread, something that serves as eating utensil or plates. Pita or naan or focaccia or tortilla or injeria. I also wanted something easy, with readily available ingredients within walking distance of the church. My condition for the flour was that it be something people actually make bread from. There are a lot of 'weird flours' out there for gluten free baking. I didn't want those. Looking at my books, I realized most of the quick breads were using a high protein flour. That makes sense, given that quick breads don't have to accommodate the stretching associated with yeast-based rising or shaping.

One of my books had a nut-free focaccia bread, using brown rice flour and baking soda/vinegar. Meh, rice is not really a good bread flour, as the texture isn’t ever quite right. Our modern, western thinking sees bread as having to be wheat-based, but in 1st c. Palestine, there were several options for flour - millet, chickpeas, lentils, wheat, spelt, and barley. Wheat, spelt, and barley all contain similar gluten proteins, so they’re out for this project. So, noodling around the flours available from our last foray into GF communion bread and what was still in my stock, I decided to try chickpea flour as an alternative. Taking chickpea flour, olive oil, egg whites, salt, sugar, baking soda, vinegar, and xanthan gum, throwing them in a bowl, mixing, and baking took about 30 min total, and came out a dense bread, tasty, that holds together well when dipped and also absorbs liquid into its crumb. I get two loaves a batch, and we’ll see how well it does defrosted this week.

 Now the only problem are those pesky egg whites, and I have some ideas there...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Clothing and covering

I've spent the last two weeks at a campground in western Pennsylvania, and coming back to the 'modern world' has not been fun.

Me and ten thousand of my closest friends spend this time pretending to be part of different worlds, re-enacting to a greater or lesser extent aspects of life in the 6th to 16th c. The only requirement, other than your entrance fee, is to make an attempt (and not necessarily a good one!) at pre-1600 clothing.

Yes, I really am a geek.

Because this isn't the real world, it's a fantasy creation, people are free to choose what they consider "appropriate" and "comfortable" clothing. Given the temperature shifts that usually happen (we can range from about 40-100 deg F over the course of the two weeks), most people bring a variety of styles, winter and summer appropriate. Cultures & materials shift based on need. But for most women, in most times of the period, coverage is the rule, not the exception. If you're "home," some of the rules get relaxed a bit, like how many layers and the visibility of hair. And a lot of women are content with the attempt at period clothing and don't worry about some of those rules.

My camp/crowd is slightly different, being a bunch of tailors/seamstresses *and* trained historians. The rules apply, and we're usually well covered in our clothing - but we've all chosen times and places where coverage is the rule, where the clothing may be form fitting or form shaping...but skin is from the neck up. Medieval women had a lot of strictures about modesty, and this crowd tries it's best to adhere to them in public spaces, just as proper medieval women would.

This means that when I come back to the modern world and start wearing modern dress, it feels funny-as-in-wrong. Women's clothing has a lot to do with the male gaze - it always has. Making ourselves attractive, making choices in order to make statements about who and what we are, class, power, wealth, status...

But the fact you can see my hair this week makes me profoundly uncomfortable.

Other items which I have to transition back into slowly: Pants. Skirts where my ankles are exposed. Skirts where my calves are exposed. Shoes. Visible elbows.

And when I have to work the day after I get back, it's like being dropped into cold water. I feel naked, because my modern work clothing conforms to modern standards of 'professional' and 'appropriate for summer'. I feel every look of every guy, assessing me for my attractiveness. I am merely meat on the market, subject to the whim of the men around me, and I hate it. I am reminded, viscerally, that it is historically my 'job' to let men look at me, because they're the ones with power, and my best bet is to stay home.

It's the week when casual street harassment hits me the hardest. Because I want to be back in enveloping fabric, where my shape is not up for debate, where I can shield my scars and my injuries from casual sight. Where I'm not 'the redhead', because you can't tell what color my hair is under linen. "Nice legs!" is never shouted at me, as my skirts are long.

And overwhelmingly, the ten thousand people I camp with? I walk around a city of friends and strangers, in funny clothing, and feel attractive but not harassed, because harassment is seen by the community as a violation of the unwritten rules, and grounds for a good, long...discussion of proper behavior from both friends and strangers.

Keeping my hair bound, though, like a proper woman? That carries over.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Grownup church

When I was a child, I spoke and thought as a child. When I grew up, I put away these childish things...

As my friend Hannah said a couple years ago, Christian Radio are the only stations allowed to keep the same top 40 15 years later. If I land on one, I can still sing along to Jars of Clay and Silas Bald and Matt Redman. I grew up with these songs, with a praise band for youth group on Sunday morning and Sunday evening and sometimes at Wednesday night bible study.

Two and three times a week for 10 years has a shaping effect. A love of close harmony, and the ability to find a descant because the melodic line is boring after the 6th time through the chorus is only part of the result. The theology expressed in a lot of our traditional hymnody can be incredibly complex...and the reverse is also true. Unfortunately, much of Christian pop, especially that which makes it through church praise bands, are simple two or three verses of psalm and a chorus. Praise bands often turn worship into an odd sort of performance/concert, where it's not expected that the congregation participates, but they can sing along with the chorus. If they feel like it. Or they can enjoy the performance without engaging. And yes, that's comfortable. It's easy. It's inoffensive. Kinda like the expressed theology - participate, if you want to, and we're only going to present the easy/fun bits anyway.

For me, a praise band and powerpoint slides* pulls it out of being "church". It's fellowship, it's community building...but it's not a "real" service anymore. It was a big deal, being considered "old enough" to sit through a "real" church service rather than be shuffled off to children's church or youth group (again). To have enough reading comprehension to be expected that I could follow along in the bulletin, and read the words in the hymnal even if they were strange and old-fashioned. It's how I learned to read music, that following along with my mother, and how to sight read unfamiliar pieces. I learned that sermons and scripture should be challenging enough that taking notes was expected and space should be provided for it in the bulletin, even if the notes were angry commentaries about all the points I disagreed with. Being a grown up meant being engaged with, challenged by, and an active participant in the service, and that responsible adulthood meant you could manage to find the relevant page in the hymnal or the Bible, and follow along... or make the conscious decision not to.

Hanging out with church geeks means that my perspective on this tends to be skewed a bit more traditionalist and conservative. All my age cohort that I talk to agree with me - but we're all liturgy/religion geeks and very active in our churches, and so I know better than to think we're representative. We are constantly told we don't exist, at least.

Anyways, I went out to dinner with an old friend yesterday. She's a casual, cradle Catholic - probably at Mass about once a month. "You know you're desperate to go to Mass when you go to Youth Mass," she said, "not only because it's at 6p on Sunday and you've missed all the rest of the services, but because it's not really Mass. My Mass should not have guitars, a drum set, and powerpoint...You know who I see at Youth Mass? People our parents' age." She's right - mostly it's X-ers and Boomers, only sometimes with children or grandchildren in tow.

To a lot of baby boomers, growing up meant getting away from the staid, traditional church forms. Hey, look! We can do rock and roll and folk music in church and get away with it, because we're now in charge! Slides with cool graphics and lots of technology! The kids will like it! It's like eating ice cream for dinner. Things that were forbidden or frowned on are now permissible, because we're grownups and we're finally in charge. But I always feel like the 'praise & worship' services are very much like ice cream, sweet & without substance. They can be really nice, and there is a place for them - a campfire service should fall into that kind of easy, laid-back fun, but not my primary worship service. And for those of us who grew up with casualness, the pendulum seems to be swinging the other way, towards the legacy and tradition of the liturgy. What L was talking about, where she doesn't like these contemporary services either, made me realize that of the age distribution, you really are most likely to find my age cohort at the more 'traditional'-flavor services, up to and including the odd ducks like Evensong and Taize.

Being a person of faith in the world today is hard. Living my faith working toward the principles of grace, love, and justice cannot be broken down into trite phrases and good feelings, and my Sunday morning needs to equip me for working in the broken world, by giving me appropriate tools and renewing me with the depths of the waters of life. Shallow isn't going to cut it, and it offends me when it's assumed that the easy bits are all I can handle. Frequently, that's what the modern 'praise & worship' services come across as doing. Ours is a simple faith, but not an easy one.

*It seems like projectors end up going hand in hand with the praise bands, which is unfortunate. There are some very legitimate reasons to have and use a large screen and power point slides.  If only they weren't so frequently used as "so now no one has to ever crack a hymnal!"

Song of creation

...And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

I think this morning may have been the first time I read Genesis 1 aloud as an adult. And my now-trained ear could hear nothing but the melody and the refrain, the song of the creation of the world. Which means there has been a push to find the verses amidst the song of evening and morning. Thankfully, not that many people will be subjected to my bad poetry as most of y'all are out of town on vacation. Without me. *grins* I will probably come back and clean this up as time permits.

In the heart of the darkness
blew the wind of creation
Breath of God before all things
Stiring the waters

The dark and the light
two halves of a whole
One shall be called Day
The other is Night

And there was Evening
And there was Morning
A new day

The dome of the sky
o'er the dome of the water
In all the shades of blue
that are not yet seen

And there was Evening
And there was Morning
A new day

Land out of the deep
Desert, field, moor, mountain
Green with fruit, grain,
Roots into virgin earth

And there was Evening
And there was Morning
a new day

The sun to rule day
the moon to govern night
and the stars in their courses
Gaze upon the creation, created

And there was Evening
And there was Morning
a new day

Levaithan arises through seas
stunning new-made trout
and eagles explore the air
Robins trill first song

And there was Evening
And there was Morning
a new day

Blessed are beasts wild and tame
Who walk, run, crawl, fly
All creation in the image of God
Singing the oldest of songs

For there was Evening
and there was Morning
A new day

Until the ends of this world
and the dawn of the next
there shall always be
A new day.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Bread of life

I am a giant food geek.

It's more than just being a foodie, enjoying good food and interesting flavor combinations and cooking in my kitchen*. It's the science involved, thinking about structures and matrices and chemical reactions. I love delving into the whys of cooking and baking.

This is good, given that having gone gluten-free, my baking had to change. For several years, I pretty much didn't. If I wanted baked goods, it was purchased, or a mix. Last fall, I finally had collected enough of the odd flours necessary to start experiments, and I knew that the quality of recipes had increased greatly since my first tries 5 years ago. So I started playing. I've missed bread, but more, I've missed cakes and cookies and other chocolate delivery methods. I started learning the properties off all these odd flours that I collected, the protein-heavy ones, the pure starches, the nut flours. I started figuring out what I like in my baked goods, what can substitute in a pinch, how flavors meld or not. Also, doing a lot of flourless baking. Because why bother with substitutions?

I will say - best thing about GF baking? Never having to worry about overdeveloping the gluten. Stir and knead until the texture is right, but don't worry about how long that takes.

My priest approached me at the beginning of Lent, having seen an article at Christian Century about a quest for a common loaf of communion bread. Could we do that? I looked at the ingredient list (and of course was missing one, as per usual for a new recipe) and said I'd try.

Now the thing about that article and its accompanying recipe is that it was put together by people who are neither professional bakers or people for whom comprehensive allergen/diet awareness is a thing. It is for me, as it's a hospitality issue - can I feed my friends if they come over for dinner? and so they use honey and call the recipe vegan (sub light molasses or sorghum). It's hard to find garbanzo flour outside of just the Mexican grocery - but chickpea flour is in every Middle Eastern or Indian grocery in town, as well as at my local supermarket.

So, taking it apart - ground chia and pysillium husk are your egg-equivalents. Chickpea is the depth and nuttiness. Sweet rice is your graininess. Tapioca is your binding starch and air-bubble structure. Cornmeal and chia give the scaffolding to build the structure around. Molasses and maple syrup add sugars to feed the yeast** and to leaven the taste. Salt makes tastes pop.

This is a giant loaf. We'll see if it works - the base recipe is ok, but I've made some changes (flax for chia, molasses for honey). The goal is that by next week, for Holy Week, the entire congregation can take and eat from a common loaf.

Edited to add:
So the base recipe serves about 100-120 for communion. Don't substitute flax for chia.

One of my fellow parishioners asked why we had to have this special bread, why not bake for the majority and have the special people stuff off to the side. It took me aback, partially because why would I bake communion bread, the core of our Episcopal worship service, that I can't eat? Also, it felt like he was placing boundaries around who he would break bread with, based on diet, at our very inclusive church, even though I'm certain he didn't mean it that way.

I found it affirming that our priest had asked that this be done, and that I do it. Those are separate items. The church (universal) has an ugly history of dictating that "special" communion be done off to the side, not part of the main ritual or loaf, for "special" people, creating a second, minority class in what should be the unity of the church. This bread is an attempt to bridge that, being as allergen and diet sensitive as we can make it, so that the unity of the community at the table can be maintained and supported. I was honored that she asked me to make it, because otherwise, I have this wealth of knowledge that mostly goes to make bread for my individual household. I believe that supporting us as a community happens with the hospitality of the table, and I am happy to do what I can to not have anyone excluded because they cannot partake.

*you know you're an adult when: I love my new range! I have a 5 burner gas cooktop and an electric double oven and it has all these bells and whistles, and it makes things go!

**yeast makes it deadly for one of my friends. We may start experimenting with this as a quick bread, because baking soda/powder are less problematic.

Sunday, February 23, 2014



0. Definitions

"Baptism" refers to the overall rite of Holy Baptism, defined as sacrament by which God adopts us as his children and makes us members of the Church, as well as section three of this EULA

"Celebrant" is the leader of the service, a person having previously accepted this EULA

"God" is the Christian God, as framed by law and statute laid down in the Hebrew texts and Apostle's Creed. For purposes of this EULA, God is also defined as Trinitarian (Three-in-one), in the parts of God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit. God d.b.a. YHWH. "Rebellion" is defined as going against the will of God. "Evil" is defined as that which is against the will of God. God the Son (Jesus Christ) is considered for these purposes as having salvatory power, saving later defined persons from the temptations of rebellion and evil.

"Church" refers to the total of those who have pledged themselves to the service of God (previously defined). "Congregants" are a physical gathering in one place for the purpose of witnessing the legal binding nature of Baptism, as a "Congregation."

"Sacrament" - one of the binding rites of God

"Candidate" - the person or persons seeking the Sacrament of Baptism. Children (those under 13) may be candidates provided a congregant is willing to serve as personal representative and speaker for said child, while also promising to personally assist child in fulfilling the EULA terms as set out henceforth until said child reaches his or her majority, at which time the personal representative will maintain the responsibilities set out in section 2 of this agreement.

"Apostles' Creed" -  7th c. statement of belief, predated by the older "Roman Creed." Please refer to or other similar source. Minor variations in text have no bearing.

This EULA uses "they" as it's gender-neutral pronoun.

1. Renunciation and Acceptance

By accepting the Sacrament of Baptism, Candidate renounces those forces of evil and rebellion in the world, including, but not limited to, wrath, greed, sloth, pride, envy, gluttony, worship of idols, murder, dishonesty, theft, blasphemy. Candidate also agrees that in turning from evil, they are turning toward the love of God, acknowledge the salvatory power of God the Son, trusting that it will be sufficient, and that they will obey the will of God, as set forth in the understanding of the church. (This understanding is considered to be evolving and various, and definitions are somewhat slippery. The Church recommends study, thought, and prayer as guidance, as well as membership in a Congregation for further illumination of the Will of God.) Children may have a representative speak on their behalf. Candidates may ascribe to the principles of the Apostles Creed as statement of the beliefs of the Church.

2. Witnessing

Congregants affirm that they acknowledge the Candidates' renunciation. They, as the representative body of the Church are bound with the responsibility to assist Candidates in fulfilling parts 1-3 of this EULA. This is a personal and corporate responsibility.

3. Baptism

Candidate agrees to the use of water in this cleanliness ritual by celebrant, washing away the old and creating the candidate as a member of the congregation. Said water shall be applied to the candidate by sprinkling (a few droplets), by pouring over candidates head, or by immersing candidate fully in water prepared by celebrant. Celebrant invokes this EULA and the witnessing of God Tripartite, and by agreeing to this application of water, Candidate agrees to all terms and conditions herein.

4.  Redemption

God, as author of this EULA, acknowledges that with the completion of section 3, Candidate is a Child of God and this relationship cannot be dissolved. God's portion of this contract involves acknowledging the impossibility of Candidate maintaining sections 1-3, and therefore requesting only that Candidate try. God agrees to accept Candidate, always and forever, in all circumstances, even unto and past death of the corporeal form of Candidate. God may, at any time, invoke this EULA as God sees fit, using whatever methodology God decides is appropriate to remind Candidate that said EULA is in effect.

5. Termination

This agreement shall not expire nor can it be broken by either party. Candidate may choose to not abide by the terms of the contract; however, God maintains the right to invoke this EULA at any time. This contract is legally binding in all jurisdictions which acknowledge it's validity, physical and ephemeral. Negation is not possible, and termination is non-existent, even after candidate looses corporeal form. By having agreed to section 3, or having it agreed to on a child's behalf (children must confirm contract terms upon reaching age of reason [13] or their legal majority), the application of water in section 3 is eternal, even if candidate leaves congregation or no longer ascribe to belief in the principles of the Church, and thus redemption terms of this contract are assured.