Ryan and I went to Abiding Way again, you know, that Baptist place. Still haven't had the talk with the pastor because we were in a hurry to get back so we could do homework. Ryan said he wasn't feeling the service as much this week. I kind of understand what he was talking about, but it was okay for me. There wasn't as much energy this time, and the people weren't as engaging, but it might have been because they moved the service 45 minutes earlier and people might have been disoriented. Plus, a pretty large group left immediately after service to start the Bible study groups.
I still feel like I might be called to be part of the community there. At the very least, the worship style is something that draws me, even if it isn't as exuberant as I would like it to be. The songs choices are similar in style to those that we sing at my home church. I actually like the fact that I don't know most of them because I like discovering new praise songs. And the length and style of the sermon was pretty much on par with the kind of sermon Ronnie would deliver back home.
They announced today that they were going to start Bible studies. If I am going to be part of this congregation, I really want to be part of it, and that means Bible study and community events. I noticed today that some people didn't quite know what to make of the two students from the Presbyterian seminary in their midst. They were probably asking themselves if we realized we were in a Baptist church. But, if you think about it, Protestant theology doesn't vary all that much, say like the difference between Buddhist and Jewish theology. This isn't to say that there aren't some significant differences between Presbyterian and Baptist theology.
I guess the most obvious one, because of the name of the denomination, is the differing beliefs of Baptism. Presbyterians baptize babies; Baptists don't. For Baptists, baptism is a sign of obedience, an outward symbol of your personal profession of faith that brings you into the believing community. For Presbyterians, baptism is a covenantal sign of a person's relationship with God that emphasizes God's grace. I know, a lot of you are asking, "So?" Well, these are the kinds of issues that will come up in a Bible study. These are the things that I will have to talk about if I hang around these people for any length of time.
I, for one, am all about people having different beliefs, especially on issues that don't really seem to affect salvation. (I realize the previous statement was sacrilegious for some people, but just go with it.) Does everyone really have to believe the same thing? Why can't we all accept that we love God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit and let everything else be? We don't all have to believe the same thing, in fact, I'm pretty sure there aren't 2 people on earth who really truly believe the exact same thing! We don't have to all believe in everything ins exactly the same way in order to accept each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, jeez!
And then, there's the issues of predestination, communion and the receiving of the Holy Spirit, not to mention the fact that I'm gay...
I know I said this last time, but it bears repeating. How conservative can they be, seated as they are in one of the most liberal places in the country? Am I just a glutton for punishment? First my presbytery, now this? Should be interesting.