Blog powered by Typepad

« Sensible people in Iran | Main | Sarge »

Jul 21, 2004


full body immersion

John, does the heathen girlfriend know exactly what she will be asked to renounce and affirm? Has she read the baptismal covenant? She may have second thoughts.

John Wilkins

Not yet. That's on the agenda.


Baptism is at its essence a public ritual. When parents bring their infants to be baptized it is they who make the public gesture. When an adult chooses baptism he or she must stand up publicly, without embarrasment, and embrace the faith. Your gf doesn't sound like she understands. She sounds more curious than committed and a bit silly for all that.


The thing that strikes me most is that it seems so early. Rather like marrying six months into a relationship... it doesn't always turn out poorly, sometimes it turns out spectacularly well, but there's no way to be sure in advance. It does speak to her respect for you that she is interested - no one converts to a faith, I imagine, unless the person or people seen as representative of that faith are deemed most worthy of admiration. I would take that as a high compliment.

Yvette, your point about baptism is a good one. When I was younger (and Catholic) I didn't understand this point and used to feel very annoyed when people would bring their screaming babies in for baptism while the rest of us had to sit through it. Once I got older and went to my first wedding as an adult, I suddenly understood the reason for public ceremony and felt rather ashamed of my youthful impatience.

(On a different note: thank you, Salty, for the recent pointer to Real Live Preacher - he, too, makes for some good reading!)

full body immersion

Sounds like a great chance to share the truths of the faith with her. The Baptismal rite lays it out pretty well--hard to come away without at least a basic understanding of the gospel. You are in my prayers.
Erin--I love the place in the BCP rite where the congregation is asked, "Will all of you here present do all in your power to uphold these persons in their life of faith?" (paraphrase). It speaks so well to the responsibility of everyone who is part of the body to take seriously their role to support and take part in the life of the person being baptized. Even more powerful, I think, when it is a baby or young child being baptized. Speaks to our responsibility.


As somebody who doesn't consider herself a Christian anymore (didn't convert to anything, just got, I do miss the rituals.

I also take vows REALLY REALLY seriously. Your word IS your bond.

So I would recommend that you not go along with the baptism unless your GF has read the covenant and some commentary.

If I were designing a ceremony (in dreamland) I'd have Bishop Tutu dancing in joy and celebration.


I commend to you some science fiction on religious themes: Sheri S. Tepper, "The Visitor" and "Six Moon Dance".

The comments to this entry are closed.

Friends and Family