Did you see this lovely story of a father and daughter who were recently baptized together in a Virginia jail? Remarkable thing. Unbeknownst to each other, both were serving time on drug charges and joined the men’s and women’s Bible studies respectively. Eight women and three men made the choice to be baptized on the same day. That was when someone put the pieces together and realized the father and daughter were, indeed, father and daughter. The girl is pregnant too.
There are the usual conspicuously absent suspects, of course: the daughter’s mother, the father of her baby. They do seem to be making the best of it though. And they seem oddly happy. The whole thing seems quite uncomplicated for them. They found God, you see. Because they went to Bible study, and they felt bad. Now they want to wash the “bad stuff” away by getting baptized, so they can start over.
You don’t want to be rude, but you’re half tempted to ask: “Where is this ‘bad stuff’ that you want to ‘wash it away’? Exactly? Precisely? Can you point to where?” You resist the urge though. Best to be kind with the sort of simple people who think taking a dip in a portable pool in a hot prison gymnasium means something. Best to be gentle.
Really though, shouldn’t we tell them? Shouldn’t we tell them it’s just a pool? Shouldn’t we tell them it’s just water? Just so many molecules of H20, adding so many ounces of extra weight to their clothing?
But I suppose they would say this is where “God” comes in, isn’t it? “God” whom the father said he could “feel” while he was in Bible study. “God” who washes away “the old me.” “God” who will help them sort themselves out when they get out of jail.
Now probably isn’t a good time to tell them they really have to do all the work themselves, and they should manage expectations accordingly. Probably a fruitless endeavor to try to explain there’s no such thing as “old you” or “new you” either. They can’t understand these things are just words, just little phrases, little hooks to hang a life on.
That girl seems quite determined to have her child too. One wonders if she’s been told she has options. Someone ought to educate her, poor thing.
No matter though. Let her have her child and her ritual both. Let father and daughter have their pool, their holy water, their holy God, if it gives them solace. If it gives them peace. If it gives them purpose, or at least the illusion thereof.
It’s a lovely story, after all. Who doesn’t love a lovely story? Just like that other lovely story about the lovely man who said lovely things, until they killed him. But some people said he rose again. Poor people. Poor, simple people.
Well, it took us long enough, but at least we did see through it all, in the end. At least some of us did. Some still think they can see things. Whatever they’re on about, I’m sure I don’t know.