Since the time of Constantine, baptism has often been one of the strands holding together the knot of national identity and Christendom.
In other situations, the fear that a child, tainted by Original Sin, might end up in hell for all eternity if she were to die before being baptized has led parents, grandparents and other guardians to seek out baptism in churches as though it might provide some sort of magical fire insurance.
In my previous blog entry I stated that MCC’s bylaws refer to baptism as a sacrament. But what does that mean?
When the New Testament was written, its authors referred to the mustēria or "mysteries" of God — thoughts and plans that are beyond human understanding unless God reaches out and gives us the gift of understanding and participation.*
In the early days of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, the first Bylaws published by the movement had the following to say about baptism:
The Church shall embrace two Holy Sacraments:
1. Baptism by water and the Spirit, as exemplified by Christ at the hands of John the Baptist. This baptism shall be a sign of the dedication of each life to God and His [sic] service. Through the words and acts of this baptism, the words, ‘God’s own child’ shall be stamped upon the recipiant [sic] (UFMCC 3).
But shortly thereafter, John the Baptist disappeared from the Bylaws. What happened?
I mentioned in my 2009 Annual Life Lessons that I’ve been doing a lot of work on baptism this past year. Most seminarians have to grapple with this practice at some point in their studies, but it was a call for papers from the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) that sent me into overdrive. So I’ve decided to make some blog entries to share what I’ve been studying and writing about.
I am pleased to report that my Annual Life Lessons have, at long last, been caught up. I’ve not spent much time writing on this section of the site since I started seminary.
Years 2006-2008 will primarily outline papers written while in seminary, but beginning with 2009, there is again reflection on things that have happened throughout the year. Take some time and check them out…
When I was a kid one of my first albums was ABBA’s Greatest Hits Volume 2. It wasn’t until much later, when I lived in Russia, that I really developed a full appreciation of ABBA’s music.