A Somewhat Rationalist Baptism

by ZorbaTHut3 min read25th Jun 2021No comments

12

ReligionPractical
Personal Blog

Preamble:

I am not religious, and neither is my wife, and neither are our families. Nevertheless, for reasons that I think are much funnier if left unstated, I ended up needing to baptize my daughters on two days' notice.

This is not "get my daughters baptized", note, this is "me, specifically, performing the baptism".

I obviously needed to write a baptismal speech, and after a few hours of tinkering, the following is what I came up with. I'm posting it here because I think some people might enjoy it. You are welcome to use it, though note that parts were cribbed from multiple sources that I don't have copyright over, so, y'know, maybe don't sell it for money.

(Names somewhat anonymized, obviously.)

====

Welcome, everyone. My name is Zorba, and I don't know what I'm doing. But we'll get back to that.

We are here to participate in the ceremony of A and C's baptism. This is a strange thing for a nonreligious family, and doubly so with a nonreligious minister, and yet, we're doing it anyway. I think many of us find this confusing. But we'll get back to that.

When I was asked to run this ceremony, I had to decide if I was able to run it. Baptisms are primarily a Christian ceremony, and I am not Christian; they are a ceremony that people find spiritually important, and I don't like butting into other people's spirituality. If you search for "what is baptism" you will find a lot of information about accepting Christ, but very little about what that actually means. This seems appropriate, though; baptisms are applied to children, often so young that they don't understand language let alone speak it. They don't know what it means; they don't know why they're involved. We'll get back to that too.

As I did research, I realized that some people don't just think of it in terms of joining with Christ. They think of it as joining with the world. An introduction and commitment, between the child, their parents, their extended family, society at large, the universe itself, and the Creator, whoever or whatever that might be.

Most of us have times in our lives when we don't know who we were, or what we're doing, or why we're here. I believe everyone in this room is experiencing a bit of that right now. I think it's just part of being human - a part that is terrifying and dangerous, but that is to be cherished, and understood, and then solved, with tools granted to us by our family, friends, and ourselves.

With the title given to me by the Universal Life Church, I dedicate this specific ceremony to providing a small set of those tools for A and C. I grant them a foundation of family to support them in need. I grant them a community to provide scaffolding to build higher. I grant them the best link I can manage to the universe itself and the creator thereof, representing a target to aim for. In all of these things, I grant them a measure of determination, the ability to exist in an unknown and unknowable world and still move forward, benefited by the help of all that care for them but, in the worst case, still self-sufficient and confident.

----

Some questions for the parents, myself included:

As A and C navigate life's myriad challenges and trials, will you offer guidance and counsel to the best of your ability?

Do each of you affirm that A and C will receive comfort, love and support?

----

A's godparent is I, who cannot be here today. C's godparent is L, who thankfully can.

L, do you promise to support C as a family member, and assist her to build her life as she sees fit?

----

To the spectators:

Do the witnesses offer their blessings to A and C?

----

[Child], may you experience all that life has to offer - the joy of fulfillment, the thrill of achievement, and the serenity of peace. May you understand who you are, may you understand your purpose in life and your interpretation of the purpose of existence itself, and may you reshape the world to be better than you found it. May you ever know loving hands around you and never lose sight of your roots.

I hereby baptize you into this community.

(repeat for each kid)

----

To both of you:

May you keep your balance between the light of the sun and the depths of the unknown. Flourish, and become a keeper of all you find good in the world.

12

New Comment