Holy Hanging Around, on Formation for Baptismal Living

Mark Stamm, Associate Professor of Christian Worship at Perkins School of Theology, Dallas, TX, writes perceptively and charmingly about the baptismal liturgy among Methodists – and about many other closely related things!

Holy Hanging Around, On Formation for Baptismal Living” by Mark Stamm.


  1. +JMJ+

    It’s a shame that posts like this get the short end of the stick. I enjoyed what I read and don’t see much, if anything, for us to argue about in Mark’s post. The concept of “holy hanging out”, of being in the presence of the Gospel life, is an important balance in an environment heavy on catechesis; as Mark points out, Jesus’ disciples hung around Him, they didn’t just read about and talk about Him at a distance. Discipleship is like apprenticing.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, JMJ. I’ve always realized that discipleship is like apprenticing, as you rightly say, and saw it more clearly when I discovered what my students had learned.

    1. +JMJ+

      You’re welcome, Mark.

      I brought up “apprenticing” because too often catechesis and “religious education” (now “faith formation”) is seen as a cold and dispassionate act, like learning times-tables. But in Jesus’ day, you learned a trade by apprenticing under someone (as we could expect Jesus learned the carpenter’s trade from Joseph). It wasn’t about going to a “school”, per se, but about sitting at the feet of someone and learning from them.

      The same is true today for the faith: you can go to all the schools you want, amass all the degrees you can, but if you haven’t apprenticed under the Master Himself, you’re not a disciple of Christ. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ means sitting at his feet and learning from him.

      Perhaps we’d be more attuned to this essential character of discipleship if we paid more attention to the word “disciple” itself.
      It comes from the Latin discere which means “to learn; to hear, get to know, become acquainted with; to acquire knowledge of / skill in.”

      A disciple gets to know Jesus and acquires skill in being like him… that is apprenticeship par excellance. Catechesis is meant to be a personal process: the catechist teaches the student about Christ, and the student gets to know (becomes acquainted with) Christ.

  3. This comment may be coming in late to the discussion. However this is a valuable piece for the Roman Catholic to ponder. I observe (not judge) that many Roman Catholic people are surprised to hear that Lent is a both a time to prepare for baptism and the renewal of baptism. There is much catechetical work needed to retrieve a deeper sense of one’s baptismal vocation. Certainly, during these days the Elect remind us all of what we already have – we need only to appreciate it better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *