What Can/Can’t We Talk about?

I had a great discussion with a friend this morning about churches and baptism.  He is deeply involved and well educated in a church with a strong believer’s baptism tradition.  I am a life-long United Methodist – a tradition in which we practice infant baptism as well as believer’s baptism.

My friend shared about a Baptist Church’s unwillingness to talk, as a congregation, about baptism.  The issue came up over whether or not to recognize the baptism of some Episcopalians who wanted to join this church.  I asked if this was about their having been baptized as infants (the Episcopal Church, like The United Methodist Church, practices infant baptism) or if it was about requiring baptism into that congregation of everyone who seeks to join.

He did not know the answer to this; apparently, the matter was too touchy for the church to discuss even to the point of everyone knowing what the actual issues and differences were.

It struck me that churches are not alone; other relationships have similar challenges.  What is in the category of “that of which we will not speak” in your church/family/marriage?

In my understanding of the ideal Church, it is a community where anything can be talked about.  Sure; there are things that don’t belong in open discussion, and things that ought to be talked about differently in the present of children or in the presence of outsiders.  But if the Church is indeed the Body of Christ, it seems to me that anything a member of the community needs to talk about ought to be fair game.

How does this work in your community of faith?


2 thoughts on “What Can/Can’t We Talk about?

  1. We generally do not talk about “the one who shall not be named” here at church, we refused to believe there the evidence that danger was afoot. It was not until this young whipper snapper (of whom not everyone liked) shared to us the reality of “that of which we will not speak”.

    It is rather interesting to me the Harry Potter exposing Voldemort and the Jesus exposing the systematic power of Satan connections.

    So we do not talk about with any seriousness the power of evil as well as screens in the sanctuary.

    We do not talk about a number of things here at my church because, from my perspective, we are driven by the theology of belonging. It is hard to create a community of belonging in which all people are welcomed and all people are loved and all people are happy and not piss anyone off. Therefore, since we are a community in which we believe that making a community of belonging means making a community in which no one is unhappy, we do not talk about a good number of things for fear that someone will feel left out or the they do not belong.

    A theology of belonging quickly can turn to a theology lacking prophetic call and lead to stagnation.

  2. Jason, thanks for the response. I appreciate your assessment of your congregation, and expect such an assessment is common.

    Is that kind of “belonging” really belonging, though?

    There are things that some in our congregations NEED to talk about to become disciples (or to grow as the same), and there are things that some in our congregations NEED NOT to talk about to become disciples (or to grow as the same). Thus the concept of groups within groups. Or classes within societies.

    Can we not find ways to incorporate meeting both these sets of conflicting needs within a congregation?

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