Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Way to go! Or maybe not…

I feel the need to let out what has been running through my head the evening part of this day.

So around maybe lunch-ish time today my aunt pulled me in a room at the office to tell/ask me something. She was like, “On Thursday night, Darla, Jeremy, Brandon, and Preston are all going to get baptized. Even Bob and I have talked about it too. Since we haven’t been before we might do it too. Anyways, I was going to see if you wanted to do it too. It could be like a family baptizing night. HA!” [Note: it was two Sundays ago when we were all at church together that she leaned over to me after the passing of the “bread” and was like, “You’ve never been baptized??” And I told her no, to which she seemed highly surprised.]

So I look at her and said, “No thanks.” To which she was like, “Okay, I just wanted to ask and tell you.”

At first hearing the news I immediately thought that was cool. They are all going to get baptized. I’ve always been a big supporter of people getting baptized, so I was happy for them that they had made this decision. And then of course I went on with work. Didn’t think another thing about it till later on…and honestly, I can’t remember what triggered my thoughts of it and why it hit so hard, but it did…

The thought crossed my mind that I don’t support this. I suppose I don’t agree with it is a better way to put it. Let me explain…

As I’ve mentioned in a blog entry a few entries back, the grandpa of Brandon and Preston was recently told his cancer is back and in full force. He was told he had a year. Upon hearing this news the family became very concerned I suppose you could put it. As I mentioned earlier, we all attended church the Sunday following the “news.” It was after that church service while we were standing in the foyer that I heard my aunt telling her boys, as they were complaining that they wanted to go home and not go to class, this: “Listen, you boys are going to be joining life groups, it is one of your grandpas last wishes, and we’ll be coming to church and you both will be getting baptized sometime this year too…”

So, I think you see where I’m going with this…

I suppose I can’t “judge” someone’s actions and intentions or even their heart. And you can go say your “she can’t judge someone and what they truly believe,” but I can tell you not as judging, but as putting one and one together, I’m pretty sure these baptisms that are going to be going down on Thursday are not for what one might call the “right” reasons.

Now don’t think this was my first time of being faced with pressure to get baptized. I’ve dealt with the “here’s a perfect opportunity! Let’s do it!” I’ve gotten it from family members (even in the immediate family) as well as friends, but as you can tell, I’ve yet to “give in.”

I suppose in a sense I think this is kind of like what I mentioned in my post just a couple posts ago about my religious beliefs that people seem to always “find Jesus” during their most trying times or when they “need” him; when people are feeling "down."

Let’s face it, not a single one of us that was at church two Sundays ago would have been at church that morning had Grandpa not gotten his “news.” I’m not condoning our going that Sunday. No one made me go, they could have cared less had I not gone, I didn’t even ride with them, I drove separately, but I went because I am a big fan of supporting people. People need our love and support and I love and respect this gentleman, Grandpa, and I wanted to show my support by going to church, which is something he holds dearly to his heart. But I view this baptizing frenzy on Thursday differently…

To me, baptism is supposed to be about God/Jesus/your beliefs and your confessions. Yes, I’m sure grandpa would want to die happy knowing his grandkids have been baptized, but he knows, as well as I do, that the act of being baptized is not what God is concerned with. Yes, maybe He has his “rules” for what counts as true baptism (ie, submersion, sprinkling, splashing, dunking, I don’t know what all there is!), or maybe He doesn’t, maybe that is a mankind discrepancy, either way, I believe the important part of baptism with God is your heart. What you believe.

Yes, on Thursday night we might see 5, 10, 15, 20 baptisms, I don't know, but I can tell you this, if the heart of those individuals being submerged that night isn’t truly in the confession they make verbally, it doesn’t mean a thing.

Granted, this is my opinion and what do I know. But whatever the case I had the thought cross my mind that maybe I shouldn’t attend Thursday night since I don’t support these acts.

Sooo….say I’m judging, that’s fine. It isn’t my place to say what is truly in their hearts I suppose, but deep down I don’t think their hearts are focused on the right thing for this event.

Hmmm….

Most likely I’ll be there on Thursday night, whatever the case, but will I be truly supportive? Most likely not. Will I be the only non-baptized individual there once it is all over? Most likely. Will I be the only person there whose heart isn’t in accordance with God’s will? I don’t know.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kim,

I can understand your stance on this. When I was in Junior High our JH youth group was very close. We did everything together(camps, mission trips, etc.). Then one day my friend from our youth groups said she was getting baptized. Well, by the time Sunday rolled around nearly all of the Junior high youth group was getting baptized except for me. I thought that most were doing it because everyone else was doing it. To this day I still don't know their true intentions and dare not ask. So this goes back to the judging part. I couldn't judge like you said what was in their heart. The act of baptism is very personal. A personal decision. So for me to have intervened would have been wrong, unless I know their TRUE intentions. I think you should ask yourself this question: Will they go to hell for being baptized even if it was because someone told them to? I can't answer that question and not sure if you could either. However, if they all get to church on Thursday and say that they do believe in front of witnesses that they believe Jesus is the son of God then I guess they have made the decision through words and act even if it was influenced by someone else. Even if the act is right do the influences make it WRONG?..It is the right thing to do and that is why I think you should support them for it. Now if they tell you or someone else that this is something that they are not ready to do then I think you would have grounds to not support it. But I guess that if you are just assuming that they are being pressured to do this and you don't support it then I think you are doing something wrong. Assuming is dangerous. Being Passive Aggressive is dangerous. Why not confront the situation if you really are concerned about it. Then I think you will have better grounds to stand on. But if you are just being passive aggressive with the whole deal and don't support it then your acts would be wrong. It takes a lot of humility from a human TO BE BAPTIZED(admitting to the public that you need someone else to help you through this life and that you do believe) so you should at least support them by being there when they have to confess. You know I love you Kim, just want you to think outside the box a little more on this one.

Alison said...

I agree with the first posting. You really can't judge their intentions unless you ask them. Being passive aggressive would not solve the situation (especially on your part) and is not a good way to handle problems. If you are scared about confrontation in person you can always write a letter to let your concerns be known. YES, baptism is the right thing to do and YES is does take alot of humility to do this act especially if you are a private person. Having supportive family there will help ease these tensions. You mentioned Jeremy being baptized. Are you talking about your brother? Just wondering.

FeedingYourMind said...

Anonymous: You're killin' me, man! HA! Seriously, I'm under the impression that this is the same anonymous that i just wrote a long response to your last comment on my other religion post. I'll be honest, you're comments ROCK, but they can rock so hard they make me hurt thinking about them. Genius! I love it! Thanks for challenging me more than I have been in a while! I'm gonna go think about this last response that you "knocked me out with" while i'm in the shower!

P.S. How can you end a comment with "You know I love you Kim..." if you're anonymous!??! ;) Just curious! ;)

Alison:the Jeremy mentioned there is NOT my brother, however my brother has been baptized. Honestly I can't tell you when he did it...as sad as that might be. I know it has been since he went away for college (ACU that is). Maybe since it is such a hard thing to admit and confess to and does take so much courage, maybe that is why i don't know when he did do it. HA! Oh well...not sure.

Nicole A. said...

I agree wholeheartedly with your post, Kim, because I have been in a similar situation. I truly believe that there is no point in someone being baptized unless they truly believe; unless it means something to them.

I was baptized when I was 12 or 13. I did not get baptized because it was something I was convicted about, but because I wanted to get my parents off my back about it. Harsh but unfortunately true. The only reason I agreed was because my cousins were getting baptized and my Mom, Dad, and Grandparents all came to me at different times asking if I thought I was "ready" (the obvious indication, they thought I should be ready). At first I said no, but then realized they would keep asking until I did, and I figured getting baptized with other people would take the focus off me. So I agreed. Sad as it sounds, it really had no meaning for me, except the relief that my parents would stop asking me about it (as they had been asking since I was 9).

Looking back, I wish my parents, instead of pressuring me to be baptized, had encouraged me to take the time I needed and really think about my faith. Something I did not get serious about until I was at least 17. I can’t really speak for other people, or even pretend to know what’s going on in their minds. But I can speak for myself and say I wish I had waited, thought about it more, and been baptized or perhaps not have been baptized when I made the decision myself.

I have thought a lot about whether my baptism really counted. I went through the motions, but my heart wasn’t in it, so should I be rebaptized? What about the times I’ve fallen away, but then come back to God. Should I have been rebaptized then? Which has led me to the conclusion (my own, I’m not speaking for or preaching to any one else), that baptism really is just a symbolic thing. I don’t think people have to be rebaptized (I don’t think it’s wrong, I just don’t think it’s necessary), because at what point do you draw the line. I think how you choose to live your life is ultimately what matters.

I would say support your family, even if you don’t agree with their actions. But I also encourage you to continue as you have, to think for yourself and make your own decisions. Sorry this is so long. It’s something I’ve thought about before and once I started typing it just kind of poured out.

julesforstenholm said...

Hmmmm... very interesting. Well, I will be the first to admit that I've had the same feelings about the "good intentions" of baptism. I mean, really, are they making the decision for the right reasons? However, anonymous nailed a really important issue too. What really are the "right" reasons? And how do we know what the person is truly feeling about the situation?

Much like Nicole, I have often doubted whether or not my baptism really counted. I believed everything that I needed to believe, but the conviction just wasn't there. I was 11. Wow! What an important decision to make at such a young age. And how sad that so many people put pressure on these little "urchins" (a term of endearment) to make such heavy decisions. They can't even buy a lottery ticket for several more years; why push so hard for such a difficult decision...

I believe that the decision to be baptized into Christ can be, I stress can be, the most important decision of a person's life. It symbolizes the acceptance that another being gave his life to take the burden of sin off our backs and allows us to live eternally in a pretty magnificent place.

However, that seemingly small decision also places a great deal of responsibility on the shoulders of the person who is placed in the water and "born again". This symbolic act is a pledge on the part of the participant to live a life according to the will of God, which could be very difficult for a little kid. I had no idea of the magnitude of my decision. I did know that it would please quite a few people, though.

I mean, many, many people believe that the single act of baptism is your "key" to heaven. These kids can decide who ultimately runs their life, but not who runs their country. Hmmmm... very interesting.

So, after this narrative, I will conclude in one sentence what I really want to say. I'm in grad school, so I know how to stretch one thought into many, many paragraphs... Human nature (and personal experience) cause me to question the motives of these kiddos to get baptized; however, I do not know the real reasons for their choice, so I must respect that decision and hope it brings blessings to them in the future.

I have many opinions about baptism, which I will be glad to share with anyone at a later date. It's a fascinating topic that deserves much consideration and thought. Kim, I'm sure we could discuss it for hours! I won't bore you, though!

Blessings to your cousins and I'm sorry about Grandpa... peace...

FeedingYourMind said...

First, in thought that you pulled the “you know I love you” card at the end (though it was flattering, even though I don’t know who it came from…HA!) in the manner that so many of us (myself included) throw something to that extent in at the end of anything we write to people (whether a blog comment, an email, a letter, etc) that we feel might come off as getting them made at us or think we are attacking them or something to that extent…I have to say you in NO way got me upset with you in your comment. In all honestly it has TOTALLY flustered me, but in no sense AT you, if anything at myself in that I don’t know. I’m so confused….

I think I don’t know why I really care. It’s funny because the more I’ve thought about this whole situation, even before you had commented, the more I’m like, “Kim, why do you care? You don’t claim Christianity. If you yourself don’t believe in it, why do you care if they go get baptized for what you think to be the “wrong” reasons!??!” It doesn’t make sense huh? HA!

Assuming IS dangerous. I’ve blogged about that one! I suppose in this situation I just have put too many things together that are telling me this isn’t as genuine as a situation as I feel it should be, so I don’t feel as if I’m having to assume much. There honestly are more things than what I’ve mentioned in the blog, one being knowing the past of these people and their religious followings over the times I’ve known them. But I suppose that is for another time.

Okay…if passive aggressive is dangerous, what isn’t? Isn’t being passive just as dangerous, as well as being aggressive? If passive aggressive is dangerous, who is it dangerous toward? Does it depend? Hmm...I just don’t know.

I found it funny that you mentioned this passive aggressive stuff though because when I originally thought out this blog (as I do with most my blogs…I seem to write them out in my head throughout the day and then blog them in the evenings) I had planned a paragraph in there for talking about how I’m normally a passive person that will sometimes say what I think (sometimes being the key word), but not go much past that. I’m pretty laid back and usually go with the “I don’t care” attitude. And I suppose it takes a lot to get me fired up about something. I’m not a real outwardly passionate person on a lot of things maybe is it. I’m not one to go protest...HA!

Since I’m in the mood of questioning...the part were you said, “However, if they all get to church on Thursday and say that they do believe in front of witnesses that they believe Jesus is the son of God then I guess they have made the decision through words and act even if it was influenced by someone else. Even if the act is right do the influences make it WRONG?” Okay, so what. What if they do make “the decision through words”, but they are not sincere (whether it is these people on Thursday or anyone). What if they are just saying it to be saying it, because of the influence I suppose is what I’m getting at. In a sense sort of a lie—“Yes I believe”...kinda followed by a mental self-talk of “whatever...let’s just get it over with.” Was that act “right?” You then followed it with “It is the right thing to do and that is why I think you should support them for it.” Well to me that wouldn’t be the “right” thing to do. If a person isn’t doing it for the right reasons I feel that nullifies the act, thus making it not the right thing to do, thus I shouldn’t support it—bringing me back to the idea of why should I go along with this? Then of course I’m back to the “WHY DO I FREAKIN’ CARE?!?!?!” ARRRRRRRRRRRRRR! (HA!)

Why don’t I confront the situation if I really am this concerned about it you ask. Gosh, I don’t know (once again). As someone who has always felt like they don’t struggle with a lot of confrontation I’ll admit I don’t think I could confront my aunt about this one. Who am I to confront her about her religious thoughts? And if that is true…who am I to go blog about it and question it huh? Why do I freakin’ care!?!?

I honestly I think a part of me views people doing anything out of pressure and not making the choice for themselves as so wrong. Not that we don’t all do it all the time, I just think it is a sucky thing. I think we should make the decision of anything...

[oh my gosh...i just figured it all out!!!! After sitting here TOTALLY frustrated trying to respond to your amazing comment I just stopped just now and cried and figured out why this is bothering me so much! You’re AMAZING! Psychology is such a good think and you definitely are in the right place!] ;)

I honestly know why it is bothering me so much! But I can’t put it all here right now, I’m sorry.

But thank you so much for your thoughts. I can honestly say you’ve challenged me more than you’ll ever know!

Take care!

Jennifer said...

I get where you're coming from. Anon #1 said that if they say in front of witnesses that they believe Jesus is the Son of God, then it's right even if it was for the wrong reasons. I have to question this: what if they're only saying they believe because they're being told that they have to? If they're only doing this to make their Grandpa happy, and don't even believe, there is definitely no salvation there. I mean, it doesn't say in the Bible that you just have to say that Jesus is the Son of God. It says that you have to believe and say it. Therefore, it's pointless. Baptism isn't about getting wet.

I'm definitely not judging, since I obviously don't know their hearts. I do know that it's good that they care about their grandpa's wishes, but I also think that he probably wouldn't want them to do it if they aren't doing it because they mean it. I have regrets about my own baptism, and I'd hate for them to have the same regrets later.

Jennifer said...

HA! We said virtually the same thing at the same time, because that comment wasn't there when I started posting mine!

FeedingYourMind said...

Phew...calm cool and collected now...(well mostly)...as embarrassing as it is to admit, I sure did have one of those “counseling session breakdowns” just a few minutes ago. HA! You know, one of those ones where someone gets to you enough that you realize what is bothering you so much that you just have that crazy almost uncontrollable crying (not saying mine was uncontrollable or anything like that!) ;)

Anyways...HA!....

Now while I love leaving people in suspense (kinda like a good Clint Eastwood movie...HA!) I do NOT like to give people the wrong impression, so I won’t let myself sleep tonight before answer the question of why I care so much about this situation.

Tonight in the midst of trying to respond to Anonymous’ comment it hit me (and hard might I add)! I see the boys, my little cousins, going through a situation I can relate to!

Now the impression I want to be sure to dismiss is that my situation relates to religion as theirs does. For me it was going to ACU. Granted I was older than my younger cousins are, but I too was in a situation that I basically felt was forced upon me. I’ve never cried as much as I did that summer when I was having to choose a school to attend. I SOOO didn’t want to go to ACU…way too far...I didn’t know anyone (but my older brother)...etc.

Yes, we can all say how we can’t be truly forced to do ANYTHING in life, and while I believe that in a LOT of situations, I believe there are a few that you can be. Though I’m not saying this was one of them for me. HOWEVER, I will say, when you realize your financial backing (whether it is much or not), as well as the support and encouragement, and when you don’t have your own means for transportation, income, etc. life is hard if you turn your back on all that. SOOOO...

Giving in, in a sense I suppose, I gave into the pressures and went to ACU. Though admitting I was going didn’t stop my tears. Let’s face it...I didn’t want to go. To this day I still tear up thinking about the whole situation, even knowing it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me!

So that’s where I sit. Are you following? Because I’m tearing up again! ;) I don’t want to lose it and not finish this...so here goes...

With the boys it could be the same thing. I love them boys! Heck, Brandon is who I go to for guy advice...HA! And he is only 13! Wait, maybe I shouldn’t have said that...that doesn’t say a lot for me huh...HA! ;) Anyways...while I suppose if they do this act out of total influence right now, in the end it could end up the best thing in their life (as the ACU situation was for me), but at the same time, it could bring about a lot of heartache for them as well. I’m fully aware of the fact that they are young right now, 12 and 13, so unlike in my situation, when I was 18, they most likely won’t think all that much into this. Let’s play the card that they are doing it out of influence, then yeah…they go…they confess and they are thinking, “yes, it is over, mom is happy, grandpa is happy, cha-ching…now let’s go home and hit the X-box.” Well that could put them right there in the situation that many of you have mentioned in your comments already, questioning whether their baptism counts.

I like the point Julie made about this IS such a big decision for a child to make.

So I suppose I care because I don’t want to see them hurt or have to go through this. I know the pressures parents can put on their kids to do something, whether they want to or not. And I can say this…I saw their faces when their mom told them two Sundays ago that they were joining life-groups as well as starting to go to church and getting baptized! ;)


P.S. I before I give you a chance to ask it, I'm gonna answer what I know that you are wanting to ask, "So now that I know why I care, what am I going to do about it?" I'll be honest (as I always try my best to be with y'all in these things)...I don't know. Will I talk with the boys? I can see me not. I feel as though they won't completely understand where I'm coming from on this one at this point in their life. Will I talk to their mom? Probably not. For a good reason why I probably won't? Nope, probably not.

"To each his own" my dear friends! ;)

FeedingYourMind said...

All: I want to thank EVERYONE who has left comments on this blog. Had I known this blog was going to end up in this manner (I would have a freakin' breakdown and embaress myself...HA!) I probably wouldn't have written. But having gone through it now and admitted to it and getting all the amazing thoughts from the people that I have, I wouldn't take it back for one minute! ;)

Blessings, readers!

Anonymous said...

This blog truly did serve its purpose. I am glad that you DID question everything and think outside the box even when it hurt to do so. That is something that all of us should do more often. Thanks for keepin it real Kim!

FeedingYourMind said...

UPDATE: Just a quick update. Tonight is the baptisms. And I'll be there. My aunt actually came up to me again at work yesterday and was like, "You are gonna be there on Thursday night, right?" To which I said, "Yes." She was like, "Good, since you are the boys' godmother I want you there. You know, like the Catholics do." To which I replied, "Uh, no." (since I don't really know much of anything about the Catholic ways...HA!) Anyways, since I am the boys official godmother, she really wants me there. And I've felt a lot better about going recently anyways. Not being a religious person myself, it doesn't affect me whether they are doing this for the "right" reasons or not, I suppose from their perspective, it is between them and God.

However I did find it interesting how my aunt keeps mixing all the religions. Not that I'm saying that is wrong or anything, but she brings up the Catholic thing about the godmother and then I just got home from work to find the whole house STINKING, to which I asked her what the smell was and she was like, "Oh I had a friend come and burn incense throughout the house as a blessing for tonight. I suppose my Mexican and Catholic ways came out!" HA! Oh well...i just hope this smell doesn't give me a headache! HA!

So I'll be there tonight for the baptisms, as a friend, as a family member, and as a godmother! HA!