Monday, August 25, 2008
Still no internet connection at the new homestead, so blogging hasn't been possible. That should change today. Also, things have been a bit hectic while trying to get settled in the new house.
My dad called Sunday morning and said, "is it true that you're not going to baptize your kid?" Oh boy. Talking to my mom later that morning, she said, oh yeah, he's really upset about that, he keeps saying "that's the final straw, I'm disowning her." (What you need to know about my blustery but very loving parents: they would never disown me. Dad threatened to disown me for having a child outside of legal wedlock, but then he helped us with the down payment for our new house, so you can see how that goes. They adore Adonis, and my mom says that we have the best marriage of anyone she knows--except for the part where we're not married.) Both my parents would prefer that we have the baby baptized. My sister, who is a formidable advocate for us, told them that I wasn't going to do things the way they would have me do them, so they just have to suck it up and let it go. My mom is actually kind of adjusting to this idea. Oh but it's difficult for me, the oldest and always a good girl, to "let them down" by doing things my own way.
Why not baptize the baby? Well, there is the obvious reason that Christianity is not my religion anymore. But that's not my main reason. I would even consider baptizing my baby for my parents' sake if I could get past the symbolism of baptism. Yet I believe strongly in the symbolic value of ritual, and how ritual enactment in part constitutes reality. The ritual message of baptism is this: human beings are born innately sinful, in pain and blood from a woman's body, products of a sinful act; being born human, from sexual intercourse, and of a woman necessitates purification, the cleansing with holy water. And to this I say, bullshit. Human beings are not innately sinful. To be born in the midst of blood, sweat, shit, and ecstasy is a holy thing.
I like the idea of an elemental blessing. I imagine that at a Wiccaning or Pagan baby naming ceremony, though I've never attended one, the child is blessed with earth and fire, water and air. In becoming human we become one with the elements, and to enact that symbolically seems a good thing. So we'll have a ceremony, and there will be a sacred cup filled with water, but the ritual will be something altogether other than a Christian baptism.