I have a secret, which I have not shared with anyone at the church where I serve, until now: I have been baptized twice. Once as an infant, at a Presbyterian church in New Jersey, and once as a 17-year-old, through a “Bible church” in my Texas hometown. Under the influence of that church’s youth group, I came to believe that the baptism of an infant isn’t really a baptism and thus, at age 17, I had not yet obeyed the biblical command to be baptized. My father, a professor of theology, expressed his disagreement with the reasoning behind my decision, but I remained undeterred: I was not going to let this divine command go unheeded.
My River Jordan was the town’s local pool. Hands I trusted as much as any dipped my body under the water and then lifted me up, to the cheers of a large crowd that included family and some of my closest friends. Through their spirit of celebration, I felt the Spirit descend on me, and through the hands of my youth pastor, I felt the voice from Heaven say, “This is my son, with whom I am well pleased.”
A few years later, removed from the religious influence of that youth group, I changed my mind: every tradition of baptism is true and beautiful in its own way, and so my second baptism was unnecessary — and the exclusionary theology behind it problematic. Even so, I do not regret going down to the River Jordan a second time. Now, ten years later, a new gift has surfaced in that holy pool water. Almost every day, it floats toward me. On my better… [Read more…] about Greeting My Anti-Gay Ghosts