Dunk In Public
I had a rare opportunity to witness the ceremony of believer’s baptism last night, at one of the many local Baptist churches, and by opportunity of course I mean familial obligation. The pre-event conversation went something like this:
D: “Why are we going to this again?”
L: “To show our support.”
D: “I don’t support Christianity.”
L: “You support that they are making their own choices.”
D: “Of course I do. Sure they weren’t pressured into this?”
L: “Yes. There will also be BBQ and football.”
D: “I’ll pack up the car.”
As it turned out, the order of events was barbeque, baptism, bigscreen, and we spent a good deal more time on the first and last of these.
Now maybe I’m not standing up for my principles here, but maybe that just doesn’t matter. Personally, I tend to think that whatever joy is to be found in extended family gatherings should not be ruined on account of our metaphysical disagreements. That includes Christmas, Easter, and now apparently the occasional baptism of a niece or nephew after church camp.
Of course, it is utter folly for me to pretend there is no compulsion going on here. Assuming that Southern Bapists are correct about the ultimate nature of reality, every human being is given a “free” choice between salvation through Jesus or torture by hellfire. I’m having trouble of thinking of a less free choice, right at the moment, and unless church camps have changed significantly in the last couple of decades, they don’t proffer the Heavenly Carrot without brandishing the Infernal Stick.
Oftentimes when I write in this space, I do so with a strong editorial voice and a particular point of view that I hope to impart. Sometimes, though, I just want to share a dilemma and solicit your input. Should we play along with our loved ones when they invite us to these sorts of faith-based events?