06 January 2008

think for yourself!

In her book, The Scent of Jasmine, Patricia McCarthy says this while reflecting on the Baptism of the Lord, which is the Sunday coming up after Epiphany: "Too many times we allow others to influence the course of our actions and just go along with their decisions. To renew our commitment to baptism is to renew our willingness to think for ourselves."

Some people would say that faith requires us to yield our rationality. It requires us to yield to sub-rational impulses. There's no doubt that there's certainly a bomb-throwing, murdering element to faith. But that's not the faith that Christ calls us baptized into. That's the faith of fanaticism, and unfortunately, it's an ideology that is claimed by many to be Christianity. And even short of such murderous ends, there's a twisted sort of faith that excludes and thinks it's better than others who don't hold such a belief.

Still, Jesus approaches John for baptism, despite his reluctance to proceed with the ritual, as recorded in Matthew 3. Jesus shocks the religious and cultural sensibilities by insisting on doing what God wants--no matter how it looks. He sets the example of one who thinks for himself.

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