Before my time, the 60’s boy band, the Monkees, recorded a song called Shades of Gray with the following words: “But today there is no day or night; Today there is no dark or light; Today there is no black or white; Only shades of gray.” If they thought there were only shades of grey back in the 60’s, what would they say today? Surely, in our generation there is even more fuzziness in people’s thinking. On Sunday, we had the joy of celebrating a baptism. And later we looked at Revelation 20 and saw that two books will decide the fate of all people. While I didn’t plan to connect that passage with the baptism, ever since I’ve been thinking about the relationship between them. What strikes me is how black and white they are to our world of grey.
Two weeks ago I began to talk about our Learning Centre discussion on the “no strings attached” (N.S.A.) approach to relationships that North Americans are characterized by. I shared that sociologists summarize the Canadian mind-set as being typified by low trust, low obligation and high freedom. These qualities are not just unbiblical but extremely unhealthy because:
- A lack of trust will lead to isolation and loneliness relationally.
- A low obligation mindset will lead to problems professionally and maritally because healthy commitments are the glue that holds relationships and organizations together.
- A priority on freedom will cause someone to check out when things get uncomfortable.
Given the emphases of our culture, it’s not surprising to me that baptism has become less and less popular in the church – and yet I’m convinced that it’s one of the things God has designed to bring healing to our N.S.A. issues. When was the last time you thought about baptism?