We had a naming ceremony for RB. It was bloody lovely. No-one attending had been to one before, though RB’s dad and I had read through the service script.
Neither RB’s dad nor I believe in God. We had a civil service for our wedding as we didn’t want to lie about God being a part of our marriage. So this non-religious version of a christening was perfect for us.
We had a special day for RB. We said lots of lovely things to him. Had a few readings and songs. We made promises about how we, our friends, and family, would encourage him to grow with dignity – surrounded by love and guidance – and find his potential, and we didn’t lie about God. And then we went to the pub where we welcomed him to the world.
It was a slightly weird one for me. I grew up CoE. I went to Christian camp, was in the church choir, and spent every Sunday morning in church for the first nearly 15 years of my life. I remember judging a girl, when I was 5 or 6 years old, for not knowing the Lord’s Prayer. I remember my silent pride at knowing the Sunday service without needing to read the books. So I know how Christians judge people who aren’t christened – as inferior. Heathens are inferior. I’m fine with them thinking that of me – but for me to put that on RB, it silently hounds me.
However, we can’t get him christened and mean it. That’s worse to us. Doing something you don’t believe in, because it’s what people do, is the antithesis to how we choose to live and how we want RB to live.
It’s important to question the status quo. It’s important to behave in a considered, intentional way. It’s important to believe what you say, and say what you believe.
If RB wants to be christened, he’s welcome to be, when he’s old enough to understand what he’s signing up to – whether that’s a CoE christening, or the Muslim, Zoroastrian, Jewish, or Catholic equivalent.