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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Precious and loved

Baptism introduces us to a God who actually wants us

Caller: "Pastor, I'm hoping you can help me out. I'd like to get our two boys baptized, preferably in the next three weeks if at all possible."

Peter: "Well, let's talk. What's up?"

Caller: "Rick and I are taking the kids to Disney World next month for spring break. We don't expect any problems, of course, but neither of the boys has been baptized yet. It seems like we ought to get that taken care of ... you know, just in case. The trip should be a great time, but you never know."

Long ago I lost count of the number of times people have phoned in this same request. Alter the number of children and a few other details, and the inquiries are identical.

What is this mom saying between the lines? She is spiritually scared. She is imagining her top-heavy sport utility vehicle, which didn't fare so well in the last consumer safety ratings, rolling into a ditch. If those boys die as a consequence, there go two beautiful kids, straight to hell down a well-oiled chute. Or so she worries.

Who knows why fear-based religion is so prevalent, especially on the subject of baptism.


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