Thursday, August 30, 2012

Our baptism

"Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead," as described by the Southern Baptist Convention.

I was raised Baptist. I went to Baptist churches my whole life. I graduated from a Christian school that was under the umbrella of a Baptist Temple. When Sean and I got married, we went to the same Baptist Church I was raised in. I was baptized in a Baptist church in Montgomery, Alabama when I was six or seven. Sean was baptized in a Baptist Church in SC when he was a teenager. Neither of us were candidates for baptism. Had either preacher asked a single question of us, they would've known that.

When we moved to Phoenix, we church shopped a bit. Visited here, visited there. We stuck with non-denominational because, honestly, they were easy to find. Easy to get in, get out, and remain invisible.

In Seattle, there were no churches to be found. So we didn't go. In Charlotte, we went to one mega church that scared me so badly that we stopped going to church period. The pastor of that megachurch has grown in popularity since we lived there, but just seeing his face gives me a totally creeped out feeling. We've learned a TON about the emergent church since then and now know it is something to stay away from.

A few moves later, we landed in San Antonio. Similar to the Southeast, there are churches everywhere in San Antonio. Mega churches, EVERYWHERE. We have found, we are not megachurch people.

We've also found, in our experience(s)-not saying ALL, just those we've had the chance to 'experience', non denominational churches stand for a whole lot of everything and whole lot of nothing. They have their dress code of khakis and polos and goatees, their rock band-esque music leaders, their cushy seating and coffee bars. They give chats about how to be a good person and volunteering at the church, but never any true discipleship. Our problem has always been more about what's not being said than about what is.

Moving on!

Baptism is something Sean and I have talked about over the past few years. Having found Montrose, we knew it was time. Also, we knew week one we wanted to join this church. We've never wanted to join a church before. Not to mention, most megachurches will let you do a lot without knowing the first thing about you. Montrose doesn't let you do much without first being a member. This is the first church evereverever that hasn't guilted us from the pulpit to help with something. Refreshingly, it actually makes me WANT to help. Now that we're members, I want to help with Awanas. I want to help in the nursery. I want to get to know everyone better and not just blend in for the next nine months.

Over the past few months, we've had the pleasure of becoming friends with one of the assisstant pastors. When we told him we wanted to join the church, he met with us and we had a nice long discussion about the church, their history, our history, and our testimony. He point blank asked us what it means to be a Christian. I couldn't belive how thorough he was. Maybe that's off putting for some, but having been in so many churches that are full of people who profess Christianity but certainly don't speak/act/live like is something I appreciate.

We got to spend a few special moments with the head pastor of our church on Sunday before we were baptized. The man is amazing. I just don't even know how to describe him. I read online somewhere that he is known as a 'velvet covered brick.' I was thinking more of a giant teddy bear, but that works, too. He is also from Texas and is so soft spoken and gentle that when he brings it from the pulpit, it makes you sit up a lil straighter in your seat. Every Sunday, as I sit in this Southern Baptist church, thinking of how completely full circle I've come, I smile at the fact that I am sitting under the discipleship of a black preacher.

Only other Baptist Southerners with understand that. In the South, at least where I'm from, there are black churches and there are white churches. Not for any particular reason other than, that's just the way it is. It's the way it always has been and will continue to be until Jesus Himself comes back.

Anyways, after praying with our pastor, we were given the walk through. The water felt all nice and warm during the practice run...

An hour later, Sean and I were standing on opposite sides of the baptismal while the asst preacher gave a little intro. He called Sean down into the water as I watched from my side. I couldn't stop smiling. It was such a special, special moment and we were experiencing it together. As I understood it, Sean was supposed to exit the water as I came in. The preacher mixed is up by saying, "It's not often I get to say this, but Sean, would you please help your wife down(there's a few steps leading down into the water)?"

Suprise #2 was the shockingly cold water. I'm sure the entire church heard my sharp inhale. The preacher baptized me and then SEAN brought about surprise #3 by hugging me. Tightly. In front of the whole church in the middle of the freezing cold water. He hugged me for longer than I thought he would and I realized afterwards that I never returned his hug. :( I dissed him in front of the whole church. And I haven't been able to forget the fact for even a second since. Sean has made sure of it. :D

all pictures are by my friend, Rhonda. I am so thankful that we were able to have two families in the crowd that are so special to us. :D


Corey said...

Pete and I were baptized together shortly after we were married. I think it brings another level of "we're in this together" and that we're making this commitment to the Lord and to our family and our church together.
Oh I'm so happy for you guys!

kimrairdon said...

:) awesomeness

Jude said...

congratulations CJ. How special to be able to do this together, and have someone take photos!