Thursday, 31 May 2007

how my baptism went

i know that my baptism was a month ago (at least) but i haven't had the chance to blog about it since then. here's how it went (in brief):

i was excited about getting baptised for weeks! about a month before my baptism, the main leader from the church i go to came to my digs. he explained the purpose, the physical action, the spiritual result, and the significance of baptism with reference to various places in scripture. i found that evening quite helpful. i hadn't realised before how it important it is, if one is capable, for a christian to get baptised.

i was still excited about my baptism on the days leading up to it. i had invited friends, my sister, and my nan.

the night before, my sister informed me that she could no longer make it. on the day, my nan actually did come! i was quite nervous on that day. i had planned to write out a testimony, because i had to give a spoken testimony during the ceremony before going into the water. i kept putting it off and eventually didn't write one. i also chose the songs to be played during the service on the day as well. i had only managed to obtain a copy of the church song book the sunday before. i ended up choosing songs that emphasised God's grace. it was the realisation of divine grace that helped me to become a christian, so these songs were quite significant to me even though i didn't know them.

the baptism service was held in northway evangelical church, a little (tiny hall!) church in the outskirts of oxford. we arrived early - more time to be nervous. :P our church had to "borrow" another church premises for the afternoon because they have a baptism pool and the hall we use doesn't because we gather in a school hall.

silly me! i didn't realise before how short notice i had given the singer/guitarist about the songs i wanted and they weren't ones that i remember us singing before. luckily, the music all turned out well and he had some songs of his own that he had planned to play anyway. :)

the head church leader gave a very brief sermon on the significance of baptism, then cued me to come to the the front.

okay, my testimony. it went surprisingly well! people said afterwards that i had seemed confident and clear. what a relief! :D

now for the dunking. it was literally that! full immersion in what appeared to be a miniature swimming pool with steps and a bath plug. the water was warm. mmmm...

i was asked three questions about my faith while having my arms crossed over my chest. after confirming these, i was dunked backwards, a person holding me on each side, and held underwater for a second or two.

when i was brought back up, people quoted scriptures and described images that came to their heads during the baptismal action. my heart was racing. later i was told that i couldn't stop smiling the instant i came out of the water - a joyous and relieved kind of smile. :)

after i had dried off and changed in a side room, i took my seat in the hall beside my nan. another church leader started another brief sermon, but i don't think it was specifically about baptism - i was too excited to pay full attention.

the baptism was so emotional. i couldn't calm down for the rest of the weekend and even the monday after. it was like a "power" weekend of some sort.

i'll never forget that day (or weekend), that milestone in my christian journey.

- james

Saturday, 5 May 2007

poem: holy communion

"Holy Communion"

Whipped and mocked
Crowned with thorns
Nailed to the wood
That you did create

These things I picture
As I take this bread

Taunted and poked
Save thyself!
Rupturing of the heart
Blood and water separate

These things I picture
As I take this wine

Wrath of the Father
Averted only by you, Christ

(c) 2007 Alexis Down

poem: the clothes show

"The Clothes Show"

Get dressed up
Nice and pretty
Examine that wardrobe
Come on now, quickly!
Does God not see us
In the shower?

The Lord's going
To be there!
Get out that Sunday best!
Is it washed and pressed?
Does God not see us
In the shower?

Don't spill that
Breakfast now!
The Lord won't be best pleased
With a butter stain
Does God not see us
In the shower?

Find a seat
In plain view!
Make sure ev'ryone sees
That we are best dressed
Does God not see us
In the shower?

What to say?
We looked fab!
Did you see that lady?
Call that rag a dress?
Does God not see us
In the shower?

(c) 2007 Alexis Down

poem: teaching abuse

"Teaching Abuse"

You've got a family
But wanted more

God has forgiven you
And so must I

'Twas in the library
You did spank me

God has forgiven you
And so must I

I'm lucky I am
Not that pupil

God has forgiven you
And so must I

That innocent schoolgirl
That you asked out

God has forgiven you
And so must I

Sacked you had to be
On that sad day

God has forgiven you
And so must I

(c) 2007 Alexis Down


i understand new things by analogies. i'm sure that most people do too. the christian doctrine is infinitely difficult to get your head around - i mean proper christian doctrine, not what c.s. lewis would call "christianity-and-water" that you learn as a child in this country. it was only by understanding some fundamental concepts by using analogies that i could make an informed decision to believe in a personal God and to become a christian.

i will be posting analogies of how i understand christian concepts. i apologise in advance if some/all of them bore you because most of them are likely to come from a computing angle. it seems like our varied professions and skills are keys to understanding life. :)

- james

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

baptism update!

the date that i'm getting baptised has now been confirmed to be saturday april 21st at 6.00pm.

anyone who can make it is welcome.

thank you to all those who have been pencilling the potential dates because you really want to come. it really means a lot to me! :)

- james

Monday, 2 April 2007

song: sinai beach - humanity

i've been listening to the Christian hardcore band, Sinai Beach, since i got one of their albums, "When Breath Escapes", the weekend before last. aside from the brilliant technical proficiency, many of the songs have very moving lyrics. Here are the lyrics to "Humanity":

Sinai Beach - "Humanity"

Has been fooled by his own brain.
Man's been deceived. He's gone insane.
He's given away his soul.
Exchanged the glory of
The immortal
For the self-indulgent lies
Of the futile.
So that fools may become wise
In their foolish wisdom.
And the wise
Be made foolish
In the fool's kingdom.

Loves to think that he knows all.
His religion of science.
I guess
You can teach the earth to understand
When you make things up.

Can't shove a square
Into a circle
Anymore than a
Monkey into a man.
And the wise
Are made foolish.

Loves to think that he knows all.
His religion of science.
I guess
You can teach the earth to understand
When you make things up.

In serving
A useless non-existent cause
To it's useless
Non-existent end
Man became an infant
And crawled back to
The womb.
He's gone insane,
Fooled by his own.

Lyrics copyright 2003 Sinai Beach