Drive Thru Baptism = Selfish

Clergy are asked to perform the ritual of baptism. These are high holy moments that most, if not all clergy, embrace and love. I do not pass up the opportunity to participate in a baptism of any kind except one. The Drive Thru Baptism.

The Drive Thru Baptism usually beings as a phone call to the church asking if the clergy will "baptize my child sometime. Having never met this person calling and this person having never entered into the community of the church we engage in a conversation about what baptism means. Frankly I am not one that believes baptism is "fire insurance" or that you have to be baptized to be "saved". (Because I think we are saved by Grace not by baptism, but that is another post.) What I do affirm is that in baptism the person being baptized is making promises/vows to be in relationship with God and with God's people. To serve God through the mission and ministry of a local church and that to make these vows without any intention to live them out in a faith community (to join a church) cheapens the ritual and promotes that baptism is less a religious act and more of a social rite of passage (like the wedding ceremony has become).

Ultimately, I see the Drive Thru Baptism - having a person baptized but never seeing that person again - is selfish. It is selfish to ask a community of faith for guidance, courage, support, help and grace but at the same time not provide any of those same things for any other in the community. It is like getting married and promising to love your spouse but as time goes by you don't show acts of love but expect your spouse to do so. 

So, no I will no baptize you or your child unless you are serious in living out your vows that you are making to live in community: to die to self, to live for others and to follow Christ. If you are more interested in getting your family together to have a party for a rite of passage, then might I suggest this is why we have birthdays, graduations, girl/boy scouts, and other social markers. 

Apparently I am not alone in my thoughts...