I believe I’ve been baptized three times. I don’t remember being baptized the first time. If memory serves me correctly, I believe my mother had me baptized in her “Hell and Brimstones” Pentecostal church when I was young. That’s what she’s told me anyway.
When I was about to enter 5th grade, my father was recently married and my stepsister was already attending the Catholic school, St. Peter. St. Peter had a waiting list and while Ty and I were placed on it, my parents were told that if Ty and I were baptized and consequently converted to Catholicism, we would be admitted for that upcoming school year. The school was predominantly White-the addition of 2 Black children looked really good for their diversity numbers (after being admitted I was the only Black student in my grade lol). We participated in the Catholic sacrament of baptism which meant that the Priest lightly sprinkled some Holy Water on my forehead. I was relieved-I didn’t want to get my freshly straightened hair wet.
My final time I was baptized was in October 2006. I had joined my sorority the previous spring and while I had been a practicing Christian my entire life, I knew that I hadn’t publicly declared my faith and allegiance to Jesus. The Tail of my line, Ashley, told the other three of us that she was going to be baptized at Solid Rock Church during the October baptism. The Three on my line, Erika and myself decided we would get baptized as well. Our Two, Tori, was already baptized and stood in the audience and cheered us on as we participated in a full-immersion baptism.
That third baptism is what I connect with the most. I understood what I was doing, what it would mean for my life, and the public declaration I was making. In addition, it was an amazing bonding experience among myself and my line sisters, Renegade IV.
It has since been my understanding that baptism should be reserved for those who have the capacity to think about the public declaration that they are making. This declaration includes a proclamation that they believe in Christianity, are pledging their lives to honor this faith and that overall, they are making a fresh start-a separation between the old life and their new, Spirit-filled life. I say all of that to ask…
What’s up with baptizing and christening our babies?
Babies are free from sin and have zero capacity to contemplate faith and religion. Why do so many of us dress our babies up in those white linens, display them on a church altar and watch a Pastor perform some sort of baptismal ceremony? We send out invitations, have celebratory parties and make major events of these things. When I was younger, I remember attending the Christening of my younger cousin. Although it was nice, I remembered thinking, “He’s NEVER going to remember this.” While watching Sex and the City, Miranda and Steve baptized their baby because of guilt that Steve’s religious mother wouldn’t approve otherwise, despite the fact that neither parent lead a Spirit-felt lifestyle nor had a church home. I don’t understand it.
I recently heard of a spin on this concept, a baby dedication. In a baby dedication, it is the parent’s making a public declaration that they are committed to raising their child under God’s will and Christian ways. This makes much more sense to me. It’s done in a church and it can become a big event with invitations, food, the works!