Let’s face it — in the industrialized, Western world, religion is having a fairly rough go of it. Sure, there will always be some hardcore fundamentalist literalists who refuse to admit, say, that lions and gazelles wouldn’t pass a 40 day and night diluvian pleasure cruise playing bridge and calmly sipping highballs, but those people can’t keep church attendance up all by themselves, which is why venerable God-worshipping institutions such as the Church of England feel the need to reinvent themselves for the 21st century. You know, glam things up a little bit and turn the earthly job of of scrubbing God’s gross foot calluses into something fun. After all, isn’t it one of the perverse pleasures of humanity to pick at dead skin?
A major market research project commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury and York examined how the Church of England could redesign its christening services for the modern family. Want to guess what the Church figured out? People — especially youngish people without firm ties to the Church — would be more likely to christen their babies in a serene pool of vampire-dissolving Jesus water (j/k, Catholics totally have the market cornered on that) if the Church put on a good show for the Lord and provided some festive balloons and champagne.
According to the Telegraph, vicars say they have noticed that unmarried couples might use a christening in lieu of a wedding as an event that draws family together. It’s a chance, in other words, to make good with all the stubbornly religious relatives and to celebrate with some wholesome family partying. Some congregations, therefore, have adapted their christenings to be more like all-inclusive parties, complete with a ceremony, a caterer, balloons, and, of course, some booze, because, according to the christenings research expert Dr. Sandra Millar,
Parties are not an unbiblical idea – Jesus went to parties, we have got to find ways of doing that.
Of course Jesus went to parties. Who else was going to bring the weed?
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