Down to the river...

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

This weekend we will be sharing a really special moment with one of our friends from The Mission as he is baptized in the muddy waters of the Tennessee River.  In true Southern style, the service will be followed by a cookout—complete with hotdogs, hamburgers, baked beans, watermelon, and potato salad.  It promises to be a celebration in every sense of the word.

I’m a bit reluctant to bring up the subject of baptism here on the blog because I think it’s such a shame that something as beautiful and important can so quickly divide Christians along denominational lines.  (Just ask the Anabaptists!) But in researching, preparing, and praying for this baptism on Sunday, I couldn’t help but appreciate the tradition from which I came.

I was baptized (somewhat awkwardly) at the age of twelve in the lukewarm waters of the baptismal tank at my home church in Birmingham. My father—who is ordained— baptized my sister and me on the same Sunday. I don’t remember much about the day, except that I was embarrassed about sitting through the rest of the service with my hair dripping wet.

Despite all the questions I’ve had about my faith background, I’ve not once second-guessed the legitimacy of “believer’s baptism." Scripture repeatedly describes baptism as occurring in conjunction with repentance, and I see absolutely no evidence that Jesus, the apostles, or members of the early church engaged in infant baptism.

This doesn’t mean I look down upon the practice. I understand and appreciate the symbolism of it. I guess I’m just thankful that, at least in this case, my conscience led me  back to something so refreshingly familiar.

How were you baptized? What is your position on baptism? Has this position changed over the years? If so, why?

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