The "church" needs to be more relevant to our lives today, so now it's offering a two-for-one special: get married, and your children will be baptized *free!*
"The 'hatch-and-match' service allows couples to baptise their children after the wedding ceremony."
I know all y'all living in unrepentant sin have just been out there going, if only baptism weren't so stinkin' EXPENSIVE. I mean, you have to find a willing believer and a puddle of water! MAN. The breathing fees are already killing my budget, and now this.
"Parents can even get baptised themselves," the article continues. "The aim is to encourage cohabiting parents to marry as the Church tries to become more relevant to the way people live their lives, but critics said that it appeared to sanction having children out of wedlock."
Hm. Let's parse that puppy. "Cohabiting parents" are going to be people who either don't believe the church's teaching on marriage before sex, or they're people who don't want to go to church for some other reason. Sometimes the reason might be as simple as, "I don't want some preacher telling me what to do, and I don't feel like I should have to fork over ten percent of my earnings and sit through boring services every Sunday about how sinful I am and ways I can improve. Thanks anyway, but I think I'll mow my lawn on Sundays instead."
I'm thinking the second part is laughable beyond belief. Helping someone get married after premarital sex?? That would be like doling out forgiveness for sins as though Jesus died for repentant people or something crazy like that. Let's just forget that thing about helping people get restored, cleaned up and plugged into the local church, this line of thinking goes. Let's just sew up some gorgeous A's and have these appliqued upon every adulterous church member's shirt. Then let's gossip about that family with all the bastard kids.
The outside world will see how loving we are and come flocking over, BEGGING the church... can they please be members, too? Please? We want some of that in our lives, too.
Ok, ok. I'm not saying sin is fine and we shouldn't judge for ourselves what is right. Or if our kids ask why Mr. and Mrs. Almost Perfect have five children when they got married last year, we can't tell them that the Perfects aren't quite perfect. Nicely. ("Mrs. Perfect made some mistakes when she was younger, but she is following God now." The end. And yes, "mistake" is a good word here in my opinion, though saying she is "punished" with a baby would not be appropriate!)
The point being, these children are already here, and you have a choice to TRY to restore people and teach them the right way, or to get all judgmental and ensure that their kids remember how you acted.
Maybe I'm being a little harsh. I can't say that it's *wrong* to offer the two-for-one special. My own church gives out mugs to visitors or flowers on Mother's Day, that sort of thing. I can't say these are things *I* would do if I were in charge, but then again, I'm glad I'm not! Thanks be to God!! I'm actually very glad that I don't have to worry about church attendance, offering amounts, church "discipline," and assorted he said/ she said stuff. *whew* I'll leave that drama to other people. Most happily. Go ahead and hand out the mugs!
Yes, maybe I am being a little harsh. Maybe this church group was fasting and praying, crying out to God... and God told them about this program that would save souls AND be easy on the budget! Order now!