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Every so often I find a little time to write outside of my school work and things find there way into this category.

Baptism as Sacrament – Part II – Ontological Change?

undergoing changeIn a previous entry, we ended on the question of whether a denomination that includes many Protestant streams that see baptism as either a sign of incorporation into a covenant community or as sign of previous regeneration can honestly claim baptism is a sacrament within its bylaws.

The gulf between views of baptism as imparting a gift from God (sacramental) and outward sign of covenant community (Zwingli, Congregationalist) or a sign pointing to an inward act of faith that has already transpired (Baptist, Anabaptist, Pentecostal/Charismatic) becomes even broader when we begin to discuss the ontological meaning of baptism.

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Debaptize yourself?

fire-insurance-thumbSince 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.

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Baptism as Sacrament

Holy Spirit dove over waterIn 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.*

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Baptism: What happened to John?

In the early days of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches,[1] the first Bylaws published by the movement had the following to say about baptism:

Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist by Andrea Solario

Click to see full image.

 

C. Sacraments

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?

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Baptism: An Introduction

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.

Baptism of Jesus

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2006-2009 Annual Life Lessons!

scribeI 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…

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The Politics of Safe Space

safe space symbolThis week at my seminary was LGBT Week.  It’s a 10-year-old tradition that has brought a lot of good to our campus, raising awareness and creating a space in which people can talk and share ideas.  I’m proud of my seminary for being open to the possibilities that this week can provide.

I was gone to the AAR annual meeting at the beginning of the week, but when I arrived at work on Wednesday morning, I was greeted by stickers that had been applied to both of the front doors of the library building, declaring the entire building a safe space.  You can click on the image to the right to see the entire text.

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