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This is what a nominally Jewish friend of mine called the Baptist Church when he was trying to map out the religious chaos that is his family. You gotta admire his sincere and loving error!

I come from a Southern Baptist home, and suffered a slight fall from grace when I joined the Presbyterian church. I’m not sure about the history of the Baptists, frankly. They do sum up a lot of the negative opinions I hold about Protestant churches! No one will split as fast as a Baptist congregation, in my experience.

I just finished reading, HOW THE REFORMATION HAPPENED, by Belloc, and I have to admit that the “every man his own Pope” thinking of the non-Catholic churches has led to a startling propensity to disunite.

My own church — meaning my particular local congregation — is to celebrate its ninetieth birthday next Sunday, and there is talk of a church split simmering quietly in the background. This is because authority is derived from a democratic process, so, if a minority of a congregation believes, oh, say, that homosexual marriage is wrong, they can be voted down. The only choice you have in a democracy is to go form your own democracy. It’s how the Holiday Inns get their conference rooms filled on Sunday mornings, apparently…

Doctrinally, in the sense of personal belief and practice, I lean toward the Catholic. I would likely be in RCIA right now if it weren’t for the promise of disowning by my mother and a wife that can’t understand the worship-of-Mary thing.

That aside, I will look around and see what history of the Baptist church I can find, if that is of interest. However, I don’t think that “house churches” are directly out of the Baptist tradition. It is more complicated than that. It comes from the Pentecostal beginnings in the early 20th century, I would think.

Oh, and don’t get your backs up — I know Catholics don’t worship Mary. But you should try explaining that in the South.

Happy Easter to you all.