Not the most standard of times, but I’m sitting at my work computer, yup on the other side of the city from where I live, on a Tuesday night. There are candles and flowers and wine and people upstairs praying. I’m wasting time for 45 minutes after a slightly slow afternoon at uni looking at research methods, attempting to bash out what my group is doing to present our research on the very vauge ‘Virtual’ and a nice coffee with new uni friends, Jo and Kellie.
Tonight Shannon, with whom I share an office with, is getting baptised. Baptised perhaps a little unconventionally, I’m not sure quite how much so. Thus far, we are in an office building, albeit a very nice office building and not a church, she is not getting ‘dunked’ so to speak, has only invited a small group of people who have been influential on the journey (wow somehow I scored), and to top it all off, especially for you conservative crew, the service or whatever you want to call it will be done by a woman. *Ahhh Oh my, You can’t do that!*
I was baptised back in 2001 at the same time as my sisters by my Dad in a church I no longer attend. I’m pretty sure it was a little bit of, ‘Oh my sisters are doing it, I’ll do it now too because that’s a bit less scary’. I didn’t share a testimony because I was a wuss. I did get dunked (and foolishly wore jeans). It was a fairly traditional baptism by Protestant standards. Do I regret doing it at a time when sure but still influenced predominantly by the convictions of those close… I don’t quite know?
Then there was the brief conversation I had with a spray painter (cars) randomly on the train this evening. I was carrying flowers and he asked me if they’d been given to me. I explained briefly.
“Oh, a baptism not in a church. That’s different. How old is your friend?”
“Wow that’s old to be getting baptised.”
He then went on to tell me how his kids were baptised as babies, “No choice” and, “Later they can work it out”.
So. How many conventions can you break? Are we so legalistic that we consider things less authentic when we steer from tradition? The decision and the declaration and the commitment count, what about the medium, the method, how things play out? What matters most in a baptism? Do you need water?