Monday, July 23, 2007

An idea for rainy evenings

I don't know if others are like me, but if it has been a really rainy day I'm often sorely tempted to drive through the large puddles that gather on the side of roads next to the pavements (sidewalks) on my way home. If Anja is with me, I normally get bullied out of going where the spirit leads – through the puddle – but things are even more tempting if an unsuspecting pedestrian happens to be in the potential vicinity of the consequent 'tidal wave'.

I'll never forget the look on one chap's face in St Andrews as I looked back in my rear view mirror. Boy did I get him good!

Now, my point in writing this post: You've heard of 'drive-by shootings' I suppose?

For those boring, rainy evenings, I've developed a missionary and liturgical exercise to help wile away those tedious hours and at the same time to spread the joy of the gospel.

Namely, I wanted to recommend an evening of 'drive-by baptisms'.

All that is necessary for the performance of this rite:

  • A rainy evening with lots of puddles near pavements full of pedestrians
  • A car (preferably one fast enough to flee disturbed victims, er, baptism candidates, and one reliable enough not to break down at what could be a very inopportune moment).
  • Priestly costumes – or at least some kind of appropriate headwear.
  • A large crucifix
  • Brother Josh McManaway helpfully suggests the addition of appropriate bumper stickers on the car for added effect. For example: "God is my Pilot"; "He made me do it!"; "Car + Puddle = Baptism" etc.
  • A copy of 'Tilling's Drive-by Baptism Liturgy' ©™
  • Someone to drive, and someone else to repeat the liturgy from an open window on the pavement side of the car at the candidate. Optional extra would include a third person to perform the sign of the cross from the back window at the candidate.

Instructions as to the performance of the rite (including a free copy of 'Tilling's Drive-by Baptism Liturgy' ©™):

  1. The idea is to park next to a long stretch of road where you know there are plenty of puddles and pedestrians. In the interest of interreligious and ecumenical dialogue, this road could be situated near a Mosque, Synagogue or alternative Christian denomination of your choosing.
  2. Wait until the chosen baptism candidate pedestrian (hereafter the BCP) is almost aligned with a suitably large puddle.
  3. The driver then needs to get the timing right. This is crucial. Everything hinges on getting the poor bugger, er, BCP, covered by a convincing wave of dirty puddle water.
  4. Having thusly "baptised" the BCP, the second minister of the gospel then needs to perform the liturgy. To do this the driver needs to slow down a little so that the BCP can respond to the liturgy. Then the minister in charge of the liturgy needs to hold his upper body out of the open car window (or sunroof), hold high the cross, and repeat in a clear and loud voice:

    'In the Sacred Discharge of the Evangelistic Functions of the Most Holy Church, I hereby declare you Baptised in the Name of God, and include you into the world wide family of the Redeemed and Sanctified. And stop looking so angry you wet and filthy looking half drowned sinner. You've just been redeemed for goodness sake, you ungrateful worm! As it is written, "How beautiful are the wheels of those who bring good news!" (Romans 10:15)'

  5. At this point, the optional third minister can then perform the sign of the cross and mutter something about how Paul intertexually reworks material from Isaiah 52:7 and Nahum 1:15 in Romans 10. But speed-talk.
  6. Note: All must be wearing priestly looking headwear and should look suitably solemn.
  7. Drive away. Fast.
  8. Hold a thanksgiving meeting for helping turn the tide against secularism, and for re-Christianising the world once again with an altogether different tidal wave of baptismal power.