Thursday, November 23, 2006

If you spare the rod ...

One of the commentators on UTube wrote the following in response:

"This video would have been funny if it happened at a different time and different place. Baptism symbolizes the cleansing of sins and the union of the believer with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection so that he becomes one of Christ's faithful, I am very sorry to say; it is obvious that neither this young man nor the audience -- who were cheering, laughing, and clapping their hands -- understands the seriousness of baptism"
Probably right, I suppose, but this just made me laugh all the more!



At 11/23/2006 4:28 PM, Anonymous Graham Doel said...

That was very funny to watch. I bet Baptisms are very, very boring in the churches of those who share the view of the rather dour and judgemental comment!

At 11/23/2006 4:42 PM, Anonymous T.B. Vick said...

That kid has guts!! Funny video.

At 11/23/2006 8:44 PM, Anonymous One of Freedom said...

The commentor has overestimated God's sense of seriousness. That kid sure was eager to be baptised!

At 11/24/2006 8:58 AM, Anonymous Patrik said...

It also shows the great advantage of baptizing "adults".

At 11/24/2006 1:42 PM, Anonymous Stephen said...

I just felt sad when I watched the video. Clearly the kid doesn't "get" the significance of the occasion. And I think that's symptomatic of the evangelical church in many places: Christianity has lost any sense of awe-inspiring transcendence. What remains is just happy happy.

At 11/24/2006 1:50 PM, Anonymous Mary P. said...

Speaking as someone who has worked with children all her life (elementary teacher, prenatal teacher, daycare worker, teacher of parenting workshops), my input?

That kid was much too immature to be baptized. He wasn't "eager to be baptized", he was thrilled to have an audience to his misbehaviour.

And the audience encouraged him in it.

At 11/24/2006 3:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frivolity has no place in the Church. Baptism is a solemn and sacred occasion, especially since God Himself is present in it with all of His gifts of salvation. If Baptism merely symbolizes the cleansing of our sins and death and resurrection with Christ, and does not actually bestow these gifts on us, then I suppose it makes no difference how one acts.

At 11/24/2006 3:14 PM, Anonymous Stephen said...

Some further reflection on why I felt sad. I reflexively identified with the pastor in the video.

Pastors spill their guts in ministry; all too often, to a congregation that doesn't really get it, that isn't changed by the Gospel in any way that makes them distinct from the unchurched community.

You're familiar with the passages in the Gospels, where Jesus cries out, "O you of little faith"; and even, "How long am I to bear with you?" I guarantee you, this was that sort of moment for the pastor.

He handled it with commendable grace, I might add. But I bet he was thoroughly demoralized when he went to bed that night.

Been there!

At 11/24/2006 6:08 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

I think we can all agree with you Stephen, the pastor handled this with lovely grace!

And Mary, I'm sure you are right!

Hi Pastor Beisel, I wonder, though, if one needs to think baptism itself bestows, as you put it, those gifts, in order to take it seriously. Between symbolise and some sort of infusion transformation there may be a reappreciation for symbol which should lso cause respect for this sacrament. I refer to theologian T Gorringe's work.

At 11/24/2006 6:26 PM, Anonymous Brian said...

yeah, the commentor needs to get a LIFE!

based on other comments, why does everything have to be "solomn" and "mournful"?

Where is the joy of the Lord in the other comments?

At 11/24/2006 7:46 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

This could be thematically relevant!

At 11/24/2006 7:49 PM, Anonymous Stephen said...

Why does everything have to be "solomn" and "mournful"?

Baptism is associated with repentance, no?

I understand it also is a celebration of new birth, but I doubt that this kid was celebrating new birth. He was just playing the class clown, on a totally inappropriate occasion.

At 11/24/2006 9:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My appreciation for Baptism comes from the promises that Christ attaches to it, "Baptism now saves you..." "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, for the forgiveness of sins" etc. I'm just saying that if someone is not taught what blessings Baptism gives, it does not surprise me that they would not consider it something to do reverently. But I do get your point Chris, and it is well taken. There are plenty of things that are not sacramental in this life that we still take seriously because of what they represent.

All joy is not expressed in smiles and elation. I do not think that joy should be absent from Church, just frivolity. Joy can be expressed reverently. The kind of joy that I have when my favorite football team wins is different than the kind of joy that comes from receiving the forgiveness of sins in Church through the Word.

At 11/25/2006 8:56 PM, Anonymous Michael Westmoreland-White, Ph.D. said...

Frivolity does have a place in church, but not in baptism. Believers' baptism objects to infant baptism on several different grounds, but one of them is that being initiated into the death and resurrection of Christ and, new-born, living a life of resurrection discipleship takes a serious conscious commitment. This child did not have that and was not ready for baptism.

For too many believer baptist churches, baptism has simply become a rite of passage from childhood to adolescence. That's what apparently has taken place in this congregation, too.

At 11/25/2006 11:29 PM, Anonymous Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

I'm sorry, but it was simply funny. And you all belong to a Church that was not afraid of telling the most charming story in the Bible, the story in Acts where Paul resurrects a young boy, because Paul had been going on and on in his preaching so long that the boy had fallen asleep and tumbled from a third story window.

If St. Paul could allow this story to be told, it goes a good way towards counteracting the excessive self-importance of the Pastor Beisels.

At 11/26/2006 4:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Certainly one has to have a sense of humor when things happen in church that were not intended.

I just have a different way of viewing what is taking place during the Service. There were no smirks and smiles when the Priest went into the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement, nor were there when a lamb was sacrificed after having guilty hands laid on its head. Dealing with the presence of God was no occasion for frivolity. It was potentially deadly stuff (Just ask Nadab and Abihu!). It was all fear and reverence, seeing that they were standing in the presence of Holy YHWH. So now that YHWH has taken up residence in the flesh of Jesus Christ, the true and greater Tabernacle, is it not fitting and right that the same fear and reverence be shown in Church, where that Incarnate Savior is present Verbally and Sacramentally for the forgiveness of our sins? Of course, now we all get to approach the holiest place confidently, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water (baptism). This is completely the opposite attitude of self-importance. It has to do with rightly understanding Who is present in the Church and *how* He is present. If I am coming off as self-important, I do not mean to be so. It is out of humility towards Christ that I think this way about worship.


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