Wednesday, April 04, 2007

More baptism stuff

Thank you for all of your supportive and thought provoking comments. I appreciate each and every one.

First, I absolutely believe that if there is a heaven, that babies and children go there automatically, regardless of baptism or not.

It is funny, though, how sometimes all the missing back-story can affect how people read your blog. For example, I am not angry with my clergy for how we were treated when C. was born. In fact, our priest has been one of the most supportive of all the people around us. Though she was not permitted to baptise C., she got a baptismal candle for him anyway. She prayed with us the night he was born. She spent the time between his birth and funeral constructing the perfect funeral ceremony for us and for him (researching different types of services that our church uses all over the world). She prayed with us in the year that we couldn't get pregnant. And she speaks C.'s name freely and respectfully in a way that few people do.

I think that the way that we have been cared for by this amazing woman has gone a very long way to keeping me plugged in with our church and with faith. And I sort of look at things like this - everyone makes mistakes. I happen to think that my church's position of not baptising stillborn babies is a (huge) mistake. But when I consider the grace and peace that has been brought into our lives from this one representative of our church, I can partially forgive that failing of tradition.

I have faced a crisis of faith over C.'s death, to be sure. However, it really began quite some time ago. A grew up in a church that I will refer to as Tradition A, a traditional, liturgy based church. My husband grew up in Tradition B. The two are so closely related that I would think of them as fraternal twins. However, Tradition B was much more accepting of me than Tradition A was of my husband. We now participate in Tradition B.

Honestly, I am much more comfortable in Tradition B. However, it is awfully confusing when the theologies (though they are incredibly similar) seem to contradict. For example, baptism is looked at as an atonement for original sin in one, while it is seen as a process of initiation in the other. I would say that I am still learning about both Tradition A and B.

Both traditions practice infant baptism, where the parents take the vows of baptism on behalf of the child. The child will then confirm these promises when he reaches an age of understanding.

All this to say: it has been really good for me to be thinking all of the implications and understanding of both traditions as I try to reach some sense of direction when it comes to faith.

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