I have a scattered mind this week, as I’m preparing for different events in different congregations. The nice thing about being scatter-brained is the open space that allows random thoughts to take hold. Procrastination at its finest, folks!
So, I was running this week (I do that) and my training program was playing an evangelical praise&worship style song. This is not going to be a post about that style of music: sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t. This song was fine, I didn’t really know it. The theme was along the lines of “God’s amazing love changed my life, I was lost, now I’m loved.”
I started wondering if this is part of why the “mainline” and the “evangelicals” don’t always seem to speak the same language. Most of the mainline baptizes infants, as well as children and adults. Infant baptism is more common, and so people are raised as “belonging to God” rather than “being found by God.” In believer’s baptism – where the baptized is old enough to choose baptism- it seems that there is more of an emphasis on conversion, on God doing something new in your life. On the one hand, you have the grace of being “marked as Christ’s own” as part of your entire life and identity. On the other hand/tradition, you have the grace of discovering God and saying “yes”.
Standard disclaimer: Duh, I know that people experience conversion moments and God doing new things in their lives even when they were baptized as infants (hand raised here too). Duh, I know that you can know God loves you from birth even if you’re a Baptist. This is musings from a treadmill, remember, which neccesitate generalities because I also have to drink my water and watch my heart rate. Stick with me.
Are we still arguing the Council of Jerusalem when we insist that people have “conversion moments” or think that delaying baptism is cause for concern? The debate among the Jewish followers of Jesus over Gentiles becoming followers had a lot to do with being marked from birth, belonging to the chosen people – and how being converted to God’s people was maybe not as good unless they took on the same mark.
And if that could be counted as adiaphora – that circumscision or uncircumcision was nothing – then what else are we divided over for no reason?