Infantish Baptism

April 23, 2009

Our youngest daughter just got baptised on Sunday. She’s 18 months. Everything went great. There were no dramas.

But I am interested to hear from those who support the practice of infant baptism, at what point does infant baptism become adult baptism? Our daughter surprised us with her advanced communication skills (far quicker than her brother). At 18 months she can clearly and audibly say ‘No, I really don’t want to!’ (she says it a lot). My question is, if she said that during the baptism (which she didn’t, but it was a very real possibility), what do you do? Pack-up and sit down? Tell her to quieten down and do what she’s told? Is 18 months too late to do an infant baptism? The whole Baptism thing gets pretty weird when you dissect it like this, doesn’t it?


5 things we overuse in our preaching: The World as one big bad guy

April 21, 2009

(See previous post here)

3. The World as one big bad guy

Since when did I have conversations with a guy called ‘Society’ or a man called ‘The World’. I’ve never met either of them. Yet I wait in earnest, because they apparently talk to everyone else.

“The world will tell you ‘to look after number one'”

“Society doesn’t like talking about religion”

Perhaps you could accuse John of doing something similar In 1 John 2.15-17; 4.4-6. Here John makes the important distinction between the evil desires in the world and the desires of the people of God. The latter are being transformed by God. The former by the collective desires of the people in the world. If we’re making that point in our sermons, fine. But (sadly) in our sermons we rarely make that point. Instead we over-use John’s ‘World’ personification as a non-confrontational, short-cut device, which replaces investigating, discerning and articulating the actual voices vying for the hearts of the listeners.

Jesus and Moses

April 18, 2009

jesus-mosaic1My good friend Tim and I are in the midst of a 4000 word essay on how Jesus is presented as Israel in Matthew’s gospel. We both have our own ways of procrastinating. I generally annoy people. He makes cool pictures (he was a graphic designer before College).

5 things we overuse in our preaching: Light Relief

April 15, 2009

(See earlier posts here)

2. Light Relief

‘Light Relief’ (LR) is fast becoming the caffeine of sermons. A sermon just can’t seem to start the day without an early hit of LR. Congregations have become dependent on the smooth sounds of the personal anecdote, the funny Herald story or the quote from the Castle. And what’s worse, the LR hit seems only to last five minutes before another one is needed to keep the sermon going. Maybe the best way for us to get back into shape and into a healthy lifestyle is to detox. Kill the opening gag. Ditch the feel good news story. Get straight into the grueling task of being woken up by God’s word.

The best way to appreciate Sydney’s public transport.

April 13, 2009

pttripTake someone who has never been on it before. 

(We had a great Easter Saturday)

5 things we overuse in our preaching: the printed outline

April 13, 2009

This is the start of part 2 of the Sydney Anglican preaching trilogy. (See part 1 here)

5 things we overuse in our preaching.

(Purely subjective generalisations, which is the blogger’s privilege. And I was going to list all 5 here, but I’ll do them in separate posts instead)

1. The printed outline.

I am very much a preacher on L-plates, but my sermons have yet to befriend the printed sermon outline. They just never seem to get along. They kind of politely smile at each other. But so far there has been no chemistry, they don’t click. Maybe it’s because they don’t hang out enough. My sermons always rock up to Church at the last minute, but my printed outline always needs to get there really early (like 4 days early!)

And so when I get up to preach, my printed outline shows no interest in my actual sermon. And my actual sermon has kind of forgotten about the printed outline. When the sermon is trying to bring people to repentance, instead of bringing pen to paper, the outline is trying to bring pen to paper with a note saying ‘don’t forget to repent when you get home!’. They’re not the best of friends. Maybe we should think about separating them. Or they should at least get some counseling. Maybe the printed outline might have more fun dating a lecturer or an OH&S seminar presenter.

April 12, 2009

I wasn’t expecting to see this. There’s a lot of good stuff there.