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treasures in earthed vessels

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jan 19, 2011

Forward-thinking Anglicans (is there any other kind?) are asking the General Synod to change the wording of the baptismal ceremony as practiced in the Church of England.

 
The problem, says Rev. Dr. Tim Stratford of Liverpool, is with “language not being earthed enough.” A published report provides a few examples:

Complaints centre on three sections of the baptism service from the Church’s latest prayer book, Common Worship, authorised for use in 1997.

In one, parents, godparents or an adult being baptised are asked to ‘reject the devil and all rebellion against God’ and to renounce ‘the deceit and corruption of evil’. They are asked to ‘submit to Christ as Lord’.

The problem, our Liverpudlian guide explains, is that these phrases are difficult for “non-theologically versed Britons” to grasp. He doesn’t say so, but I can’t help noticing that the language may also be a barrier to Britons who do not intend to reject the devil or submit to Christ.  

Sadly, the Daily Mail report does not give us a sample of the “earthed” language that the Rev. Dr. Tim would prefer. We know only that it would be poetic, direct, and “resonate better with people’s experience of life.” Oh yes, and it would “refer to the symbolic role of water in baptism.”

More about water, less about sin. More about the earth, less about Christ. Somehow one suspects that Rev. Dr. Stratford’s proposed language will be more in keeping with the “lived experience” of membership in the 21st-century Church of England. 

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  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Jan. 24, 2011 3:51 PM ET USA

    I imagine the only Brits who cannot grasp those words are in the same state as Dr. Tim. Impaired.

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