I live in an area that is dominated by Southern Baptists. Even the mega-churches down here who claim to have no denominational ties have Baptist leanings. I grew up Baptist. Methodists were considered sinful because they dance. The Catholics were one step away from Satan worshippers and Pentecostals were just considered weird. Things have mellowed out just a bit, but the Baptists are pretty firm in their beliefs, regardless of whether they’re Biblically-based or not. So the Baptist way is the only way I have ever known until about a month ago. I made the transition from a Southern Baptist church to an Episcopal church and it has been one of the best things I have ever done in my life.
The Episcopalians are definitely a different breed than the Baptists, but I like it. I like the formal services. I love the collective prayer. I love the fact that we kneel when we pray. I like the fact they’re not hung up on alcohol. I will never understand why the Baptists have such issues with alcohol. I understand the whole bit about not wanting to cause your brother to stumble who might be recovering from alcohol abuse and all that, but if all the Baptists avoid drinking alcohol because of their recovering alcoholic brothers then there must be a whole lot more recovering alcoholics out there than the Baptists are willing to admit to.
Today was All Saints Sunday. As a Baptist, I wasn’t familiar with All Saints Day so I did a Google search and came up with the Wikipedia explanation. The associate rector spoke of saints, saying that we are all saints and should strive to model ourselves after those who have gone before us who may have been forgotten. It’s hard to see ourselves as saints, but by its very definition, Christians are considered saints of God. A Google definition of saint is “a person acknowledged as holy or virtuous and typically regarded as being in heaven after death”.
The other really neat thing we had this morning was baptism. The Episcopals and Baptists disagree on the topic of baptism. The Baptists believe in full immersion. The Episcopals do it a bit differently. This morning, three babies were baptized and the Baptismal Covenant was recited. It was a really sweet and solemn ceremony.
Learning how to be an Episcopal is proving to be a fun and interesting journey. As I learn, I’ll try to post things here from my perspective, but for now…
…Robin Williams said it best:
Robin Williams’ Top 10 Reasons to be an Episcopalian (from http://www.saint-augustine.org/_sep02/ef0902b.htm)
10. No snake handling.