What is baptism, and why is it significant? This book answers these questions by offering baptism as a life-giving prism through which we can view the entirety of our christian experience. Far from being a staid ritual, baptism, whatever its form, gives each person, each local church, and the church as a whole a common source of identity and purpose.
Drawing on a lifetime of pastoral experience and scholarship, Dr. Shoemaker explores the spectrum of meanings present in our own baptisms and offers a wealth of ideas for church leaders as they prepare items of worship centered around this beautiful sacrament.
"The ritual of baptism is like the tip of an iceberg--there is a whole lot more ice below the waterline than above. Steve Shoemaker explores the depths of meaning embodied in the ritual for believers of any Christian tradition in a way that only an experienced pastor/theologian can. Immerse yourself in this book and then remember your baptism . . . and be thankful."
University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Church Music
Too often, talk of baptism is reduced to questions of mechanics—which way is the right way—or policy—who is in and who is out. With a poet’s love of language and a large-heartedness born of decades of pastoral ministry and deep personal reflection, Steve Shoemaker instead calls us down to the waters themselves, and shows us our reflection within them. Steve reminds us the wealth of baptismal imagery available to us through Scripture and tradition, revealing many paths that lead us to the same, mysterious waters.
Pastor of First Baptist Church of Christ
With the wisdom and accessibility of a seasoned pastor and preacher, Shoemaker offers us a beautifully written exploration of both the mystery and the practicality of Christian baptism. Anyone preparing for parish ministry should own this book; it will prove a theological and homiletical resource across Christian traditions. And for those of us yearning for a deeper understanding of what it means to follow, to give our whole selves to the “life-long apprenticeship” that is Christian faith, this book will be a valuable guide along the way.
—Rev. Dr. Amy Butler, former senior minister
Riverside Church in the City of New York
Founder, Invested Faith
Steve Shoemaker has the wisdom to know that in times such as these, the human family needs to be grounded in memory, identity, and the grace of God—and so he wrote a book about Holy Baptism. Using his characteristically accessible style to open the deepest truths, Steve gently pours into these pages personal and biblical story, theology, and lines from every literary genre, inviting us to wade into a deeper understanding of just how much and in how many ways “God loves us with water.” This book, like its author, is a gift to the church in all its manifestations.
—Rev. Ginger E. Gaines-Cirelli Senior pastor,
Foundry United Methodist Church Washington, DC
Author of Sacred Resistance: A Practical Guide to Christian Witness and Dissent