Sunday, October 15, 2006

Funny Way of Repeating Itself

According to our Baptist pastor, Lutherans believe that when you take communion, that you're eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Jesus.

I thought that was Catholics.

Oddly enough, that's the argument I had x many years ago in Swormville, New York at, and after being at, the church I was looking at last night in the satellite maps. I guess it was wrong of me to have taken communion at the Catholic church because I believed that it was only a symbol of Christ's gift to us. But she stuck to her guns, good for her, good to have convictions.

That wasn't the reason, but I'm not going to become a member of this church. I'll probably attend here for decades, but I won't join the church. I think Christian is as specific as I want to get. I've been a member of several Lutheran churches and a non-denominational, and now I'm weary from the labels and specifics and happy to be just a Christian... I don't want to be Catholic or Lutheran or Baptist or Pentacostal or Four Squarey or whatever... I just want to work on living a life that pleases God, recognizing Christ as the only path to salvation and that I will always will fall short and be unworthy, but through Jesus Christ's sacrifice am redeemed. Not because of who I am, but because of what You've done. Not because of what I've done, but because of who You are.

A bigger issue is my baptism, apparently. I was baptized as a baby, by loving parents, who were making a public commitment to raise me up in a Christian home, to teach, guide and shape me, to love me and give me all the opportunities possible to choose to become a follower of God. As a parent, I realize now that I don't think that's the way to go. We've participated with Rachel in two baby dedications, making those same commitments, but she won't be baptized until she chooses to, after committing her life to Christ. A decision that's solely hers to make, but one that we're praying for and one we're hoping she will choose based on the opportunities we make available to her and the lives we model. I wonder if there are critics who would call it brainwashing, but then there are critics that suggest the same is done by public education. Besides, she also knows that Home Depot and Starbucks are great places that daddy loves to go to. And what's that? Branding? Positive Experience? Consumer education?

At some point in my future, I will probably be baptized again, the full immersion "correct" way to do it. At my last church, they said it wasn't a Main thing, something to fight over, but here it's apparently a Main thing. I get their point and I think it was well presented in the membership class today, but I'm not ready to do it. Not because I am unwilling to make that kind of a commitment before the world -- fill the Tacoma Dome and put me in the middle with a microphone and I'll tell you exactly what I think and the desire of how I want to live my life.

But I kind of see baptism as a sacred or somewhat holy act and so it seems foreign to me, the idea of just repeating it, if it detracts from my parents' intent and the commitment to me. Or, it's just all ceremonious hoo ha and just another artificial barrier that bothers me.

He also called PLU only slightly-slightly-religious and I had to concede him that point. Though it looks like it's a little more so now than it was when I was there.

In other news, in addition to my work at World Vision, I'm doing contract work for a very large non-denominational mid-western Christian community church near a windy city named after a tree and a body of water. Negotiations have mostly concluded and all that remains is paperwork and finding time to get the work done. This is an answer to a prayer we hadn't been praying all that hard about, but it was something I couldn't possibly say no to.
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