Gazing at the colorful lights of Central Avenue from the window of our sushi restaurant, I felt amazingly peaceful. My son, Sky, sat across from me slowly gnawing on his tempura. It felt like we had all the time in the world. Being in each other’s company was nourishing us more than the food. Life is good, I thought. Things are going to be okay now. I felt a fluttering sensation and a leap in my heart like a dove taking flight. This was the day I got baptized.
Before I begin, I ask that you temporarily put aside your opinions on the matter. This is a highly debated topic, the truth of which cannot be revealed to those whose priority is being right. All spiritual information should be evaluated by thorough investigation. One cannot begin if the mind is already closed. What I state as spiritual fact is my belief also subject to questioning. If you can open your mind to the possibility of not knowing everything, then please continue reading. Otherwise, it is best you stop now and continue elsewhere with your opinions.
My choice to be baptized comes from my belief I am innocent and whole. The church teaches us we are sinners and therefor need to be baptized to be forgiven of our sins. There is no conflict between these two statements. Conflict arises when we believe we have to be one or the other, either sinners or innocent. Another conflict arises because we view reality in linear time. Christians say we were born sinners and then we are redeemed through baptism. Others say we were born innocent. We make mistakes, correct through our actions, and remain innocent. Again, there is no conflict between these two beliefs.
How can we be both innocent and sinners at the same time? How can we be redeemed and need redemption at the same time? This is where things get interesting. This is where Jesus and faith come in. If you do not have an open mind to believe in the possibility of Jesus, it is best you stop reading now. I, personally, have a broad view of Christianity involving past lives, evolution, hierarchies of angelic beings and nature spirits. I believe in an order and plan to things, as well as the introduction of evil and chaos for the purposes of the larger plan. Without getting too detailed here, it is a fact Jesus is the son of God. It is a fact He died on the cross and overcame death. Christians say He died on the cross to absolve us of our sins. Yet, they say we are born sinners and need to be baptized. This appears contradictory, and yet again, it is not. The event on the cross transcended time. It is happening as I write. Jesus represents us right now in our struggles. Our brokenness and our wounds are His. We are carrying them right now on the cross.
He is showing us through his story of resurrection, we can be free of our pain. It is a choice. It is a fact God gave us free will. No one can take that from us, not even Jesus. He can do anything through the power of God, cure our ailments, repair our relationships, take us out of poverty, restore our integrity and innocence, yet He cannot make that choice for us. All He can do is wait for mercy as one of His children chooses baptism, and inspires another, until the people are free.
Baptism is Jesus dying on the cross and resurrecting. It is not symbolic. It is actually happening in the moment. In the moment of our baptism, we are dying in our woundedness and claiming our wholeness. Our wholeness is eternal because it is of God. Therefore, when I say things are going to be okay now that I am baptized is still part of my illusion of time, sin and brokenness. I am always okay in the broader sense. Baptism was for me to acknowledge it, and to acknowledge Jesus as myself and my Savior.
Please hear me when I speak of this, I do not expect anyone to let go their own culture and traditions. I believe God intends there to be variety on earth because it is beautiful. Truly. We are here to learn love, and we learn best through our differences.