much more often these days by ignorance. And general stupidity. And really off-base folk wisdom.
What irks me, is, I know, a cultural barrier. It is also, unfortunately, a poverty barrier, and I don't know how to break it.
You see, I'm an intellectual snob. Not one of the worst, but definitely in the top twenty percent. Before I was 13, I was scrounging the library book sales for Homer and Aristophanes and Machiavelli and other classics. Not because I necessarily liked them, or thought I would. Simply because I knew they were classics. And other 11 and 12 year olds weren't reading them. I tried to learn various languages throughout my lifetime, mostly in the hopes that this would allow me to read great books in their original languages. I didn't get around to reading good children's literature until I was almost a junior in high school. And I still can't resist a book sale...So we've established that I was and am and forever will be a nerd.
With this nerdy-ness, I love to debate. Blame my father. We always had to have a defense for everything growing up, even our opinions (and yes, I know that this sentence is erroneous by the exclusivity of ALWAYS and EVERYTHING). But I also like debating, discussing, interacting with both ideas and people...finding new connections, having my horizons broaded a little bit, discovering new nuggets of truth I'd never seen before.
The closest my favela friends come to discussion is gossip about the famous people they know or wish they knew or the poor people who are floating through the rumor mills this week. That, and speculating on the plot of the next novella. They're so uncomfortable with disagreement, with various perspectives on truth, that they change the subject almost immediately. About the only time I see people visibly embarassed to be with me is when I question, when I want an answer that's more than, "That's the way it's done here..." Happened the other night, asking the pastor about baptism. I want to know why the Baptists (and other denominations too) have a baptismal tradition that is so different from the Scriptural examples we're given as to be almost non-Biblical. An example? Philip and the eunuch. Evangelism happened, the man accepted and believed and was baptized on the spot. No waiting until the bi-yearly baptism party. No forced baptismal classes to see if he was "ready" or not. And it doesn't sound like the NT church went around re-baptizing converts when they didn't like the quality of the water or the quantity used or the age of the participants...
Anyhow, I just wanted to know WHY. And my girl friends with me got really embarassed and tried to make me shut up, because I was talking to a pastor, and I've never been to seminary. Therefore, I'm not qualified to question a pastor, nor to be able to bring up a few examples of my own from Scripture...but the pastor himself seemed less than interested in engaging my question. It's odd.
So, we chalk up yet another Protestant ritual I don't understand, as my friend goes to be baptized for the third, or is it the fourth, time? Apparently, none of the previous ones counted...
Anyone out there got an answer for me? 1) Why does poverty seem to strip people of the curiosity to know, to question, to seek answers? 2) Why do many churches make people wait so long to be baptized?