Thursday, June 23, 2011

Washing of the Water

Via NetFlix, I'm watching the documentary "Waiting for Armageddon." Not quite half an hour into it, some American tourists are being baptized in the Jordan River. One of the men, who doesn't appear to have been dunked yet, explains how he's looking forward to observing the coming "tribulation" from a front-row seat in heaven: "It'll be, I think, a lot of fun to watch. You know, not fun in the sense of knowing that people are dying without having received Christ as their savior, but at the same time, you know, seeing the prophecy fulfilled, seeing God's work come out."

Those who have already been baptized look pretty much the same coming out of the river as they did going in, except that their hair is wet and their voluminous white smocks, which look like oversized T-shirts, are just as clingy and transparent as wet T-shirts. (No worries, they're wearing bathing suits underneath, and although the crowd consists of both men and women of a variety of ages, the only dunkees on which the camera dwells are two of the younger and more attractive women.) Somehow I expected the newly-baptized to sparkle like the "Twilight" vampires, or at least look happier than they did before their immersion, but they don't. I suppose that most Americans who are baptized at the Jordan River have already been through the experience back in the States, so this would be a repeat performance, kind of like renewing your wedding vows. Perhaps it's a more solemn ceremony the second time around, or in a "sacred" place.

A local church's recent mass baptism in a water park's "wave pool" seems to have been a lot more jolly, at least for the people being baptized. Other customers were admitted to the park for a reduced fee but weren't clearly notified in advance that the church had rented out the pool, and were upset when they were ordered out of the water. One observer wondered if a water park "was the right place or not" for a baptism. Personally, I wish I'd been there; I think it would have been fascinating to see how to "efficiently" baptize 150 people. What would really have been fascinating would be a trippy baptism scene like the one in "The Last Temptation of Christ," but that's just asking too much of my fellow Oklahomans.

(The screencap does not include the three naked, head-banging women who appeared in the movie's baptism scene. If that's what you came here looking for, sorry!)

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