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The grey-brown bricks on the building zoom by us in the Sri Lankan minivan. I am visiting with Husband and our firstborn son, only three-months-old. My parents are giving us a drive-by tour of the first two years of my childhood in Colombo. We go to my first home, pass the hospital where I was born and speed past the church where I was dedicated.

My mother was born into a Methodist family, my father into an Anglican one. If I understood more about the differences, I would share them, but I don’t. Both of them found their faith in a popular, worldwide youth organization. Bible studies, teen clubs and weekly meetings stoked the early fervor in their hearts. The colonial walls and steeples were hollow on the inside, lifeless in teaching and lacking in truth. They attended on Sunday always, but increasingly found their souls fed during the week with other teenagers and then young adults with slightly older men and women guiding them along the way.

By the time I was born, my father was working full time for this organization and heading full throttle into a life devoted to Christian work – in Christian speak, this is called “joining the ministry” or something like that, it’s been too long since I was neck deep in a religious subculture. But they were still members and involved in an Anglican church.

Babies born to people in Anglican churches are baptized, sprinkled with water, words spoken over them joining them to the church of their parents, bonding them to a building, a tradition.

As the story goes, my father refused to have me sprinkled. They did not believe the process to be truthful to the words of the Bible. Each person must choose their own faith, no parent can make the choice for them. Instead, he persuaded the vicar into a dedication ceremony.

In the photos I am a little brown baby with a full head of dark hair, open eyes, my grandmother is holding me on the front steps of the church. I’m wearing a long white gown. My parents hold me at the front of the church, and the vicar dedicates me to God. No sprinkling. No name in a register. No joining a church or a faith.

I’m on the outside of tradition, baptized into doing things a little differently.

What church traditions or spiritual traditions were you baptized into? What did you skip? 

This post is part of Living Church: A 31-Days JourneyClick here to read all posts and head over to Write 31 Days for more great topics in October. 

 

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