Baptism: I Was Not Very Religious

“I went to Pastor Char and said, ‘Hey. I’d really like to be baptized, but I don’t think I’m a Lutheran.’ And she looked at me and said, ‘Okay. What questions do you have?'”

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Transcript for Baptism: I Was Not Very Religious

Valparaiso appealed to me actually after I visited. It was honestly the last on my list of universities when I first started looking. It scared me because it was a Lutheran University and I was very not religious so I was kinda just apply as a, ‘Hey, I should apply to a Lutheran University’, but then I visited here for the Honor’s College visit day and was just so taken aback by the campus and all the people I met and how understanding they were and how nonjudgmental of my non-religious standpoint and I absolutely fell in love with it. Overall I do feel a large sense of acceptance and general community of support especially with the chapel community being so open to all religious viewpoints. I mean the chapel agreed to give me a nondenominational baptism, which for a Lutheran community is really radical, but they accepted it, no questions asked and I think that is a good indication of what the general community is here. My mother was raised Catholic, my father was raised Methodist although he doesn’t really adhere to any formal religion and mom did not want to raise me Catholic because she did not like the guilt that she was raised with. So I hadn’t gone to Church since I was about eight, but I was still very intrigued and I wanted to know more about the Christian religion as a whole. Coming to college I didn’t really know what my own beliefs were I was kinda hoping to discover that a little bit here and I started looking at this stuff and realized eventually that I didn’t have to know everything before I had agreed to be baptized. So with that realization I went to Pastor Char and said, “Hey I’d really like to be baptized, but I don’t think I’m a Lutheran.” And she looked at me and said, “Okay, what questions do you have?” and just let me ask what kind, any questions I had she tried to help me think through them, gave me a little bit of guidance, and then immediately agreed to baptize me into the general Church of Christ as opposed to the Lutheran tradition. I remember the night I told my friends that I was going to get baptized. One of them literally jumped up and down in glee cause she had just gotten baptized the summer before, again in a non-denominational ceremony. Actually three of them were literally jumping up and down in glee, others were very happy, there were a couple people who don’t attend Church who went to that service to support me and my decision. So it was just generally a very happy occasion.

  • John Linstrom

    Glad that this speaker found a place of welcome. Seems like this is what the church is meant to be — it’s only too bad that such a simple gesture of grace is perceived as “radical” in the context of the wider Lutheran Church. I wonder how radical it is; but whether the wider church would confirm that perception or not, it does seem like a real perception that churches need to grapple with. It probably depends on your synod, too. I’m just glad that this turned out to be a happy story for this person. I remember many similar moments of grace at Valpo’s chapel — I think it’s really kind of remarkable the way they’ve been able to shape the university’s religious culture in positive ways, considering all the synodical trickiness they have to negotiate. (The work never ends, I think, but recent attempts at interfaith dialogue also seem encouraging, from what I’ve heard.)

    • aschuet1

      John, thanks as always for your thoughtful response! Allison