At times I sense Dean Nelson could be our generation’s male Anne Lamott. He offers to us a disarming honesty along with an honest quest for God, but there’s nothing romantic, idealistic or utopian. He offers the quest for placidity, not its secret potion. He finds God in plain sight, but his discoveries are less overt than they are storied instances… really well done.
What role does “baptism” play in your spiritual life? Tell the truth: is it important or is something that just happened one time, long ago, like graduating from first grade?
This chp begins with a hilarious story about being in the deep woods of northern Minnesota where mosquitoes could be the State bird! The chp, though, is about his initiation into a group, and then Dean reflects on baptism — saying good bye and hello to a new world, a new story, where the past is past and the future is now. It also illuminates who we really are. It ushers us into a different kind of story, the ongoing story of cleansing.
This is what Dean Nelson examines in God Hides in Plain Sight: How to See the Sacred in a Chaotic World in chp 6.
On the theology of baptism: “There are historical arguments about baptism that say it isn’t a legitimate means to God’s grace unless you are immersed, or sprinkled, or poured over. That’s the same kind of argument as whether prayer is legitimate if our hands are turned palms up, showing that we’re receiving what God has for us, or our hands are turned palms down, showing that we let go of everything we cling to that keeps us from God” (157).