Listening to: Alison Krauss
Reading: The vows that (usually) get read at United Methodist Baptisms
Writing About: Being a dad, and a pastor – in that order
This Morning Jayden and Joey were baptized – The back story
- I am super United Methodist – Very official.
Rev. Fuller has the authority to do a baptism.
- I’m kind of a big deal, in that way.
- We, United Methodists baptize babies. It’s not a christening – not a placeholder for some future event. It’s a for-real baptism.
- My biological daughters were baptized as babies. My family and my church are responsible for helping them live into all of the promises made about them before they were deciding anything on their own (at their infant baptism). Eventually we hope they will confirm those promises for themselves (as in “confirmation”). We hope they can acknowledge both that they have a faith that is fully their own, and that their faith didn’t rise out of nothing – they are part of the faith walk of our family and church.
- Our boys were not ‘our boys’ when they were born. We met them when they were 2 and 4 years old. We decided to wait and let them choose when they wanted to be baptized.
- That happened today, and I was sitting on the front row with their sisters and mom (and grandparents and friends). I was not behind the baptismal doing the thing, I was in the support community.
I get into situations quite often where I am saying or doing something that feels quite normal to me, but is not received that way.
I don’t try to be oppositional, or different for different’s sake.
I don’t try to stir the pot or say and do things just for shock value.
I honestly feel like a weird fit everywhere I go, the more comfortable I am in any given situation the more often I end up doing and saying weird things.
I thought not doing my sons’ baptisms was a totally normal decision.
I mean, I know why parents like to officiate these sort of moments for their kids.
It’s easy to see the beauty in that, no judgement here. That’s great!
It’s just not what I wanted to do for my family.
A lot of people asked me why I wasn’t doing it,
so here goes:
Every kid and student needs people from outside their family showing them the love of Jesus.
Sticky Faith uses statistical research to make the case
that for a kid to make it (long term) in their faith,
they need 5 adults investing in them.
When it came time for my kids to have a sit down and talk about baptism.
It was beneficial for me and them to have a brilliant woman lead the discussion.
Yes, I could have done it.
Yes, I had a follow up discussion.
But when I stepped out of the pastor role, and into the dad role:
My kids got another pastor.
When it came time to do the baptism, that same woman stood them up in line
and helped them feel comfortable.
Then another brilliant and talented pastor asked them questions about their faith and baptized them.
When they looked up they saw two pastors on their side.
When they looked out they saw me, their mom, their sisters, their friends, and their extended family cheering them on.
If I moved from the front row to the baptismal pool,
They would have one less person leading and guiding them through that moment.
And Dad may have been up there doing something beautiful,
But he would’t be with mom, grandma, and all of our buddies.
Every Parent is a Pastor
All of us, in ministry, know that the primary spiritual influence comes from home.
Sometimes that plays in our favor, sometimes it is an obstacle.
In that sense, I am no different than any dad in the world.
At home I’m not Rev. Dad –
Well, I guess I am.
But no more or no less than Rev. Mom, or Rev. Grandma…
At home we’re all living and modeling Jesus.
At church, I was happy to have a few more hearts and hands
engaged in the work of shepherding my kids!
So I sat in the front row and cheered on my friends and coworkers,
Surrounded by people I loved.
And I felt really proud of my church and my sons.