Category Archives: baptism

Eternal Rest Grant unto her, O Lord.

I just found out my godmother died on Friday. She was 94. She was also my mother’s godmother, and had been homebound for years. She didn’t speak much English, and we corresponded mostly through cards for birthdays and such when I was a child, that tapered off as her health got worse. I, um, don’t remember her name. 

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Remembering my Confirmation

I was confirmed in the United Methodist Church back in 7th grade. It was the culmination of a year’s study, out of which I mostly remember the information about other churches that we spent at least 8 weeks on. I also remember The Confirmation Trip, which is a whole ‘nother story but let’s just say we got kicked out of Grace Cathedral for sitting on the altar.

HEY! We were teenagers and Methodists! What did we know from altars?

But you want to know the one thing I remember the most from my Confirmation? Screwing up the Creed. Because we were all following J’s lead, and J started reading the part on our little cheater cards in the parentheses.

Do you believe in God the Father Almighty?
I believe in God the Father Almighty.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ?
I believe in Jesus Christ
(his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.)

The pastor turned kind of pink and she said, “Um, yeah, you’re just supposed to say the first line. Let’s try that again.”

Do you believe in Jesus Christ?
I believe in Jesus Christ

I remember thinking to myself, Well, that’s kind of vauge there. Almost a letdown.

Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?
I believe in the Holy Spirit.

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The Baptism of Coffee

Serendipity or silly? You decide.

Who knew that coffee, loved by millions, almost never made it past the censors? The book Coffee notes that when the plant first arrived in Europe in the 1600s, some Catholic priests branded it a “concoction of Satan” due to its mood-altering effects. However, Pope Clement VIII allegedly had a cup and became an instant convert. He resolved the social dilemma by symbolically baptizing the brew, thereby making it perfectly acceptable to start your day with a steaming cup of coffee.

From the McMenamins History, Hotels, and Pubs Newsletter, December 2007, January and February 2008, pg. 15.

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The Time I Wasn’t Baptised

Welcome to Advent, which here at the OSI means it’s time to start thinking seriously about What Baptisim Means To Me.

Yeah, I got nothin’ really so far.

But there was a time in the recent past where I was hanging out at a nondenominational Pentibapticharismatic church. That’s what they called themselves (I guess because Chariscostist sounds funny). And I dove into the whole thing head first.

That’s right, I spoke in tongues. Interesting experience. Not the point.

As such churches do, as soon as they get a live one on the hook who’s signed off on the Sinner’s Prayer, they start throwing you into Beginner Christian classes. The point of these classes is threefold:

  1. Explain the important Biblical concept of Ministry.
  2. Explain the important Biblical concept of Tithing.
  3. Explain the important Biblical concept of Believer Baptisim.

I went in head first, remember? Yes! Yes! I can exercise my ministry of being a pray-er and a sing-er and a do-er and a teach-’em! Yes! Yes! I will gladly give a tenth of my income, give abundantly of the rest of my income.

But I balked at being baptized again. I had a godfather and a godmother, I’d been going to church for years and participating as a full member until I stepped through the doors of this particular church, I’d even confirmed the vows made by my godparents when I was a wee atheist of 12 years old. I knew in my heart I was a Christian, I didn’t understand what all the fuss about taking another bath was about.

And that brought my inclusion into that church to a screeching halt. Everyone else in my Beginning Christian class was baptized within two weeks and moved on to claim their ministries in that church. I kept attending faithfully on Wednesday nights, and kept going to the Monday night Prayer Team meeting even though I wasn’t allowed, as an ‘unbaptized’ member, to lead in prayer. When we were blessing the new building, I was assigned to bless the bathrooms.

Well, hell, you folks know me better’n the pastor. I thought that was the best thing ever and I blessed the holy shit out of it.

(Last Vestry meeting, my priest said that you can say ‘shit’ in church just so long as you put ‘holy’ in front of it.)

I knew I was in trouble when I was called to the bishop’s office. The bishop sat me down and said, “Child, why won’t you be baptized?”

“I was baptized,” I said. “As a baby.”

He made a tch noise. “That wasn’t baptism.” And the Bible came out and I got preached at for twenty minutes. At the end, the bishop said, “When can we get you baptized into God’s family?”

“I’m sorry, bishop,” I said. “I’ve prayed over this a lot, but I think I’m already covered.”

He told me to go pray some more. And I did. And about six weeks after that, after my infamous slip of the tongue in Prayer Team meeting, I was tossed out of that church for being an unrepentant sinner.

So this leads me to the most basic belief about baptisim that I hold: Baptism is a one-time deal.

Why?

I’ll tell you when I figure it out meself.

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My Google-Fu is Full of FAIL!

So, remember the whole “What is baptisim all about, really?” thing I promised I was looking into during the Adventish time of this year?

It’s been stopped flat in its tracks. My Google-fu has failed me. Alas! Alack! WOE, DAMNIT, WOE!

See, here’s the thing: I was baptised as a Roman Catholic. I confirmed my baptismal vows as a United Methodist (at a time I was more atheist than anything, but that’s another story). And since 2003 or 2004* I’ve periodically reaffirmed my baptismal vows as an Episcopalian.

So I thought a nice way to start would be to, you know, start at the beginning. With what my family and godparents promised in that church in Oakland in 1979.

And somehow I just can’t find the right string of words that lead me to the Roman Catholic baptismal liturgy. I’ve found outlines and such, but I want what would actually be said!

Soooo, um, if any of you know where I can find that, I would really, really, really appreciate it. Like, really.UPDATE 9.38am – Fr. Chris for the win!

*And this, kids, is why we tell you “binge drinking BAD!” It’s not because we don’t want you to have fun, it’s because it royally fucks up your memory for years to come, even after you stop.

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What I’m Thinking About During Advent

“But Mary Sue! Advent don’t start for another couple of weeks!”

Our Orthodox bretheren and sistren started fasting yesterday, the more strict Franciscans amongst us started on Nov. 1st, and the Big Blue Box put up its winter decorations on October 3rd, so if I want to talk about Advent, I’ll talk about it all I want!

Today when wandering around some blogs I came across the oft-beloved phrase “living out our baptismal promises.” And it got me to thinking. The 23rd of December marks the 28th anniversary of my baptisim. If you’re doing the math, you’ve probably figured out I was all of 3 months old at the time, so I can’t really tell you anything about the event except the fact that it happened. Some people made some promises on my behalf, I’m told.

28 years old is way beyond time to start taking care of my own promises, nu?

So this Advent, I’m going to be tracking down those promises, seeing what exactly those folks at the baptismal font so long ago got me into.

And I’m taking you with me. Bwahahah.

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