Broken Promises

One of the questions that rolls around in my head from time to time is the place of infant baptism in the church. I know all the arguments about the role of the Holy Spirit, the outward sign of an invisible grace and the other theological aspects, but in some ways what is concerning me more is the practical side of things. I am still getting to know my parish. I am still meeting new people on my visits. They have not been in the church for two years, so I have not seen them on a Sunday and I am only now getting to meet them in their home.
As a result I am having conversations such, “I have not been in the church since the kids were christened.” The “kids” are now at University!
I am tempted to always say to people in this situation, “so you promised to bring your children up in the life and worship of the church, and have not followed through in any respect. How can I then believe anything else you now say?”
But then is it all their fault? Has the church ever done as Jesus suggested and “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ In other words, has the church ever followed up with these people and actually taken the promises seriously themselves?
Also has the church done as they promised and supported and helped them in this by providing a well equipped, staffed and functional nursery for the infants when they were very small and then a well planned, and well executed curriculum of discipleship for their children as they grew up and developed?
I will never forget the bored voice and look in my son’s face as he came home on one occasion to tell me that he was doing Noah’s ark for the fourth time! Too often, I think, we are simply looking for a way to keep the kids quiet so that the adults can do church!
I have no easy answer for these problems which are of course compounded these days by the whole raft of children’s activities and sports that now take place on a Sunday which are so much more appealing to the young people.
I have no quick and easy solution for these dilemma. I have no magic wand that I can wave. However I do think that we need to start asking questions, we need to improve how we respond to these promises, as parents and as church members before it is too late, if indeed it is not already too late!

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