Friday, November 28, 2008

Southern Baptists and Advent

Sunday will be the first Sunday in Advent, and lately this blog has been getting lots of traffic regarding an entry I wrote a year ago, entitled "When the Southern Baptists Discovered Advent."

I take this to be an indication that Baptists are no longer defining themselves negatively, but are embracing that which has always been rightfully theirs, as Christians.

When I was growing up Southern Baptist in St. Louis in the 60's-70's, we identified ourselves by what we did NOT do or believe. For example:

1) Catholics and Lutherans had Advent and Lent. Baptists did not.
2) Catholics and Lutherans smoked, danced and drank. Baptists did not.
3) Catholics and Lutherans "read" prayers. Baptists did not.
4) Catholics and Lutherans made their kids go to "confirmation." Baptists did not.
5) Catholics and Lutherans sprinkled. Baptists did not.
6) Catholics and Lutherans believed in sacraments. Baptists did not.
7) Catholics were against abortion, therefore Baptists were pro-choice. (Yes, this is not often brought up, but it is true. Look
here and here and here and here and here).

I am thankful to be able to live to see my Baptist brothers and sisters identifying with the greater history and larger ecclesiology of Christ's Body, the Church. It will be interesting to see if they continue to live into their inheritence, discovering other treasures, such as the practice of the entire church year and the discipline of the lectionary.

Meanwhile, may our voices join together as we sing. "O Come O Come Emmanuel." That is something we all can agree on!

If you are new to Advent and are looking for resources, here is a good place to start. And here is a helpful view on Advent from "the other side."

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