Original post at http://jmsmith.org/blog/stylish-baptism/
I saw this video shared on Eugene Cho’s Facebook feed a few minutes ago.
Eugene’s response was somewhat tempered, yet playful:
“I’m trying really hard to be respectful here. But it’s really hard. John the Baptizer must be pulling out the camel’s hair in heaven right about now. But having said that, I’m going to ask my board to approve a budget for doves next year. That would be awesome.”
I chuckled at first, but then after watching the video my response grew to one of …
My first thought was that this video clip sums up pretty much everything wrong with American “Christendom”.
It is so contrary to what we see in the pages of the New Testament and the history of the early church. Imagine if the early martyrs baptized in secret catacombs were shown this video.
Imagine if members of Chinese house churches or Indian village pastors were shown this video.
There is something GRAVELY wrong with such opulence and materialism being brought in to the very act meant to symbolize the freedom on the part of the believer from those very things.
Then compare these things with the video’s message.
Is this REALLY what Jesus hung on the cross for 3 hours in agony to bring about?
But then I thought about the other sacrament that Christians surround with even more pomp and materialism…weddings.
If the wedding industry in our country has become a multi-billion dollar industry and Christians have been perfectly comfortable with this. If weddings are a cultural celebration worthy of billions of dollars in flowers, cake, decorations and food, then why not similarly celebrate the sacrament of baptism and create what could become the “Baptism industry”?
Why not also create “stylish communion parties”?
Where is the line between joyous cultural celebration and solemn Christian sacrament?
Ultimately I don’t have an answer to that. The Holy Spirit will have to be our guide. But I confess that the only thing this video stirred in my spirit was disgust.
What about you, Dojo readers?
How did you respond to it?
Feel free to share your thoughts below.