Thursday, June 14, 2007

Me???

When I went to college in Utah, I started attending a Baptist church with my sister, who was attending college there, too. I remember after the first service I went to, I met with the pastor. We had a long talk about baptism, the difference between Baptist and Lutheran beliefs (while I was raised Lutheran, I hadn't been in years. But they still shaped me, as hard as I tried to deny it. He didn't know much about Lutheranism, either...so we compared notes). After a good talk which involved talking about the fact that infant baptism didn't count, he suggested I not come to communion the next week (the only time I actually remember them having it) since I wasn't baptized (or at least, he believed I wasn't). I respectfully agreed, for different reasons. Despite my rebelliousness against my Lutheran upbringing, I could never quite seem to bring myself to commune where Christ's body and blood weren't recognized.

The issue of baptism was never really brought up again, and while I did struggle with the issue of my parents "having the audacity to choose my faith for me and making that proclamation in my stead" I still never could bring myself to truly question the validity of my infant baptism, and I never completely bought into the idea that immersion was the only valid method. So since the pastor didn't talk about it, it actually slipped my mind. I did kind of intend to get rebaptized, but never could seem to get around to doing it.

For the next year, I really enjoyed myself in that congregation. They were pretty laid back as far as Baptists go. They were friendly and nice, but not overbearing or legalistic (most of them even drank a little. I think that being in a place where you are truly persecuted makes you more aware of what is really important and what is not - there, in Utah, the ones who were adamantly against alcohol were the Mormons). They had great potlucks and picnics. I really enjoyed Bible study, and eagerly went to the Sunday college group (five of us (two were the PKs, one other girl, and my sister and me) led by a rancher guy named Lynn), and I almost never missed the midweek study with the pastor. We had some great discussions. I enjoyed the church service, which usually involved singing a hymn (verses 1,2, and 4....it always cracked me up that the man who led music never wanted to sing a whole hymn), the readings, the sermon , then another hymn, and an altar call. Then it finished up with some prayers and another hymn (they stood up and sat down more often than Lutherans!). The sermons really weren't the way that most Lutherans imagine Baptist sermons. Pastor Dave never could've been like that. They were calm, insightful, and stuck to the text. I really felt a part of that congregation.

The altar call often puzzled me.....it usually was the place where a person publicly "gave their life to Jesus" and then arrangements were made for their baptism to follow in the next few weeks. While altar calls at the nondenominational church that I had attended before that year often involved people re-dedicating their life to Jesus, this didn't seem to be what it was for this congregation.
Every week, the organist would play a hymn and we would sing, and the pastor would just stand there by the altar and wait. Sometimes it seemed to me like he waited a long time. I just figured that it was something that he did at that point in time because he was supposed to (actually, there were many rudimentary liturgical aspects to this worship format, they just didn't know it) , but it didn't seem to make sense, since every person in that small church was fairly active in the congregation. It seemed like that business was pretty much taken care of for a while. Yet the pastor waited, and seemingly waited with purpose.

Two days ago, these memories came upon me again for one reason or another....and all of a sudden I realized, "Oh my goodness!!! He was waiting for ME!!!"

9 comments:

Cheryl said...

What a great story, Lora! Thanks for sharing it.

Totallyscrappy said...

This made me laugh! Especially since I, a LCMS pastor's wife and synodically trained teacher, teach at a wonderful Baptist preschool.
Of course, I also recall an experience from my youth. I went to a friend's Baptist Sunday School where I was asked if I'd been saved. My reply, "Saved from what?"
Oh, how much fun we are going to have when we all get to Heaven!

Jules said...

LOL!! Very funny!!

I have been doing a lot of blog surfing lately and came across a whole bunch of catholic bloggers. Everyone links to each other and they seem to have a great little community going.

I started wondering where all the Lutheran bloggers are when I stumbled across your blog tonight! I'm sure it's fate. ;)

I plan on visiting frequently- it's lonely for Lutherans out there! ;)

Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

Jules,

I'm glad you found me. Did you see the blog list for the Lutheran Blogosphere at the side of my blog? I don't even think that is the most updated blogroll. There are more than 200 Lutheran bloggers on our blogroll, and a GREAT Lutheran Blog Carnival that should be up today (I'll post a link to it in a day or so).

I honestly think that this is one of the main ways that we have found to communicate on issues that are dear to us...it REALLY blew me away when I discovered it.

Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

Jules,

I briefly glanced at your blog (I'm supposed to be getting ready for church) and noticed that you homeschool.

Do YOu know about Martin Loopers? It is a very active email list for confessional Lutheran homeschoolers. They are TRULY a great group of people. Just got back from a "Mamapalooza" with several of them in our area, and they are a lot of fun.

http://www.cat41.org/Loopers/index.htm

Rebecca said...

Your mention of "rudimentary liturgical elements" brings to mind one of the many little aha moments that led me from my pentecostal background to Lutheranism...the realization that every church, however they may rail against it (it's too formal, we don't want to limit the holy Spirit,et.) every church has a liturgy. You discover this when someone tries to change it. I remember when the pastor of the church I belonged to in high school moved the prayer/altar time from the end of the service -- with pastoral motivation, I might add, because he was concerned that people might be coming to church with sins or problems for which they might need prayer before they could really give their attention to the sermon and worship. (Hmm...sounds a bit like the reasons confession and absolution preceed the introit.) Anyhow, he was soon obliged to return to the original order of service, so great was the indignation of some of the congregation. That was when I realized: liturgy is there, whether you call it that or not.

Des_Moines_Girl said...

Great post! Great story! :-)

Jules said...

HI- thanks for the link to the e-mail list. I will check it out. I have been checking out the Lutheran blogs you have listed too. It's nice to know there are so many!

I am very, very Lutheran as it has been a deep rooted part of both sides of my family. I even attended a Lutheran elementary school (LCMS) and a Lutheran college (ELCA). But I still feel like a theological baby in some respects.

It will be nice to read about some of the issues out there and learn as much as I can!

lauriinnc said...

Oh my! Isn't that funny that you didn't even realize it until a few days ago!!!

The God who came to Lazarus to raise him from death with out Lazarus asking him to come...... and the God who sent the Legions of demons out of the man in Gerasense rescuing him from Satan..with out the man even asking.....came to you without your invitation to rescue you and raise you as well.

Funny how God does not change :)
Lauri in NC..another rebellious pastor's wife