EDIT: For those reading this post, I should indicate that after some discussion with those involved, both my wife and I are feeling much better about the motivations behind the actions this post judges rather harshly. Blogs in essence are fairly reactionary, and I just wanted to indicate that we've taken what I believe is always the best course of action, which is to deal with issues rather then just pretend like they're not there.
I am NOT HAPPY. My church has once again managed to screw over the little guys. Anyone from church reading this, sorry, but this is really the depths of poor form:
We are having our son dedicated. For those of you unversed in the ways of the more Pentecostal Christian denominations, it just means that parents stand up the front with their child, and the leaders and church pray that they'll do a good job of bringing up the child in the way God wants them to be brought up. Something that, given different circumstances, I'd be jumping up and down to organise for my son.
In our church, this has become incredibly marginalised in it's importance during a Sunday service. When I was little, the church I went to would mould a whole Sunday's service around babies being baptised. While I guess dedication is different to baptism, in terms of it "fitting into the service" a dedication is far less difficult to fit into a service, and yet my current church are so inflexible you wouldn't believe it. A dedication consists of a song, either performed by the church band, or played from a CD, while a slide show of photos of the child are displayed on the big screens we have. Then, the parents are called up on stage while the pastor prays for them and presents them with a certificate. All in all, it takes maybe 7 minutes. Now here's where it gets infuriating...
Dedications are ONLY done on the 3rd Sunday of each month. No exceptions. Unless of course you are someone important. You cannot have a week to yourself. If another family want their child dedicated on the same week, they can have it. This would be cool, except that there's not two songs or anything... they just shuffle the photos of the two babies together, and the parents agree on the song together. So now, you get half the time for your child. Nothing outside of this formula will be considered - unless, again, you are someone important. Then you can do whatever you like.
We wanted a particular song for our son's dedication, and we had to share our Sunday, so we asked the other parents and they liked our song too, and so agreed to have it. When we gave the CD to the person who organises the music, she said we couldn't have it, as it didn't fit the "flow" of the service. She recommended some cheezy song that neither of us had ever heard before, because it only needs a guitar and a vocalist, and the guitarist and vocalist already know the song. We were fine with just playing the CD, but apparently that's no good either. The "flow" cannot be tampered with...
I go to a church, where a layperson's new life is so unimportant, that it warrants around 4 minutes of preprogrammed ritual. NOT what I want for my son. If that's all the time they can spare, I want my son's 4 minutes to be filled with stuff that speaks of what we hope for his life, and of real heartfelt prayers of people who care for him and for us. Is that such a big thing to ask?
Stuff it, you know. Stuff it. Let them do it however they want. We'll just have our own thing afterwoods with people who actually give half a stuff...
Matthew 3 (Justin's Edit of NIV)
16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.
And John the Baptist replied "Shhh, God. You're interrupting my flow!"
STATIC DISCLAIMER: All the stuff in here is purely my opinions, and they tend to change depending on what mood I'm in. If you're going to get bitter if I say something about you that you don't like, then maybe don't read. I avoid using names as much as possible, and would request that people who know me do the same in their comments. Basically, I often vent my frustrations on here, so if you happen to be someone who frustrates me, expect to read a description of someone very much like you in here!