Today was baby's first baptism.
My friend C invite me to his baptism today, along with a group of our friends from school. It was the first time I had attended either a Mennonite service or a baptism and I must say that I was rather pleased with both. I am never quite sure how to anticipate religious events of another faith. They make me quite nervous actually; my self-centred nature leads me to believe that I will naturally make some sort of massive, inexcusably sacreligious gesture. I didn't of course and it was actually a lovely experience. I really appreciated the sense of community that everyone there had and how I felt embraced and welcomed into it.
Let me preface this next section: I have a really hard time talking about religion with most of my friends. We talk about it mostly in abstract terms, and never about the merits of our faith. It's just really wise not to, because no one will win; ultimately none of us know for certain. That's why it's called faith. I'm going to get into this just a little bit now, and while I sincerely hope it doesn't make anyone uncomfortable, I am writing for myself ultimately.
I don't know anything other than what is placed in front of me. I have a lot of opinions and views for a whole schwack of people, but I am aware enough of my own humanity, as well as mortality, that while I am living, I will never really know anything. The most I can offer is this: since I cannot find scientific not spiritual evidence to support or deny the existence of a Higher Power, I believe in human decency. I think about - for lack of a better term - God on a very regular basis, shifting my views by the minute. However, in a situation of formal worship, I struggle to really validate the words written by humans that I am to read. Therefore I spend much of my focus mentally transfiguring any mention of deity into the notion of humanity, that are humanity grants us the wisdom to do what is right onto others and that we bless each other with that respect. The reason I am able to do this is that there is absolutely no qualifying definitions for God. Christ presents more of a challenge, shall we say. At most, my faith prescribes that he was a prophet, of divinely inspiration, but not divine lineage. I - the ever-steadfast fence sitter - will not put forward judgement as I was not there and know not what passed. This is where the majority of my friends and I part ways, as they have a firm belief in this regard, due realistically in part to the fact that this is how they were raised. This has never caused quarell amongst us, and for that I have always been greatful. I think many people (and I must stress that refers to no person specifically) raised under the roof of organized religion tend to stay firmly under that roof without venturing forth, and this is the component which has always troubled me. Take my dear friend S. They were brought up in a clearly Christian house, and have spent the past several years truly exploring what this means for them as an individual. They traveled, they explored, they learned, and in the end they returned to Christianity on their own terms with their own convictions. I believe that this is an example of beautiful faith, on that has been challenged and than reclaimed.
When one wants to convert to Judaism, one is immediately refused. If one truly believes that this is their path they return, and are again refused. If one returns for a third time they are embraced but warned that this is not an easy life, that they will work and they may suffer because of their choice. But at least they choose. This is not to exhalt Judaism above other religion, because I truly do not consider it more or less valid, but it points out how much more meaningful something is if it is worked for and acheived rather than being handed down like a silver spoon of salvation. I'm not saying that everyone should renounce their faith, but rather truly consider what is important to you and why you chose to live your life as you do.
My man C did, and I thank him for sharing it with me.