Thursday, 24 October 2013

Baptism Debate: George

The 'Royal Christening' has brought widespread debate to the nation about the role and nature of baptism in the UK in 2013.

The Archbishop of Canterbury recorded this video to share his views and teaching on baptism:

The BBC posted an article on how baptism have changed; it highlighted 10 things:

1) There is less of them
2) There are more godparents...
3) ... who are not necessarily religious
4) There is a rise in baby-naming ceremonies
5) Children are baptised later
6) "Bogus" baptisms (to get school places etc)
7) Christening gowns are out of fashion
8) But gifts are not (although they're not always silver)
9) The christening water is warmed
10) Simpler language (in CoE)

Read more <here>

So where does baptism fit in today's society? It remains a welcome and initiation into the Christian church, but there are hints that there is almost a 'cultural baptism' rather than truly religious baptism potentially becoming more common. People enjoy the celebration, and party, and gifts associated with a christening even if they don't fully sign up to a life with Christ and in the church. 

The issue of schooling also plays a part, where some parents will stop at nothing to get their child into their first choice of school and faith schools still remain desirable.

What does baptism mean in 2013? The same as it always has. The water may be warmer and the gifts slightly different but for a Christian believer it is a recreation of Jesus' baptism, following Jesus' instruction to the disciples, washing away original sin (for us Catholics!) and welcoming a child into the Christian family.

For others, its perhaps just an opportunity to mark the arrival of a new baby a few months (or years) after the initial chaos.

Do you think baptism is changing? Do you think its right for 'anyone' to get their child christened? Should there be alternatives? How wrong is it to baptise purely to get a school place? Do vicars and priests need to do more? 

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