Funny Things from Yesterday: The baptism

Robert N. Tidwell, Sr.

Since I am Baptist, I like to occasionally tell of a funny incident that happened in a Baptist church. A preacher friend told me of a funny happening at a church he visited one Sunday. Glidner Schlictenburg, a man with a real Southern Baptist name, came forward one Sunday morning and asked to be a candidate for baptism. The church voted to accept him, so the baptism was scheduled.

Now, as most folks know, Baptists are baptized by immersion. That means they put you all the way under water. Not a dry thread is left on you when you come out of a Baptist baptism.

Glidner had a frightening experience when he was 8 years old and almost drowned. This gave him a fear of water, and he was almost 40 years old when he became brave enough to be baptized. Besides Glidner’s fear of water, another thing that made the preacher a little apprehensive was Glidner’s size. He was a big man, about 300 pounds, and it seemed that most of his weight was in his stomach.

There were several candidates for baptism this particular Sunday, so the preacher saved Glidner for last.  When he came down into the baptistery, the water level rose considerably.  The preacher instructed him to hold onto his (the preacher’s) right arm, and the preacher would place his left arm behind Glidner’s back to hold him up in the water. Wouldn’t you know it- Glidner let go of the preacher’s right arm, and when he did, he sank to the bottom of the baptistery and his feet came to the top.

There he was- Glidner was at the bottom of the baptistery thrashing his arms trying to get up, and the preacher was trying to help him. The preacher got him part of the way up, and Glidner’s baptismal gown came open. All that could be seen was a big bare stomach at the top of the water. A hand came out of the water and grasped the glass on the front of the baptistery.

The preacher thought, “Oh, No! If Glidner breaks the glass, we will flood the choir loft.”

By this time, a deacon had already started up to help the preacher, but before he got to the baptistery, the preacher managed to get Glidner up. The preacher was trying hard to hold his composure and not laugh at this incident. At this moment, when the preacher and Glidner finally had both feet on the floor of the baptistery and were both standing upright, a tidal wave from the other side of the baptistery hit the preacher and almost swept him off his feet again.

This was too much – the preacher lost his composure and just leaned over the glass at the edge of the baptistery and laughed.

Glidner was evidently saved twice – once by the Lord and once by the preacher, who kept him from drowning in the baptistery.