|The Rescue by Nathan Greene|
These archived posts chronologically lead up to my salvation story:
BORN INTO IT: Nature VS Nurture, Part I
MY ORIGINAL SIN: Nature Vs Nurture, Part II
SPEAKING WORDS OF WISDOM: Something about Mother Mary
I’ve waited to write this because… hmmm… testimonies were something I was programmed to not share in mixed company. Yes – I attended churches that encouraged witnessing, some much more than others, but
within my family one’s born-again experience was not something to bat around the church or secular stage for shits & giggles. Testimonies were to be shared after much soul-searching, preferably with hearts that were ready to receive the Gospel of Love, Sacrifice and Forgiveness.
Right there I’ve lost the respect of some Christians who believe that nothing, but nothing, should discourage one from spreading the Good News. kthxbai.
My family and I witnessed most through music and through lifestyle choices that set us apart from the world. Telling total strangers how Jesus saved us from eternal damnation fell into the “pearls before swine” philosophy some Christians have about sharing their testimony with just anyone in just any situation. And it was just plain rude.
Growing up Minnesotan, raised by Minnesotans, play-nice rules about not talking too much about politics or religion rubbed off on us from our Lutheran surroundings.
I’m still Minnesotan – but no longer playing nice.
Search terms for you religious nerds to Google or Bing or Britannica : Calvinism, Arminianism, Apostasy, Deism, Lutheranism...
A number of things will occur when I tell my story of salvation. Everyone, but EVERYONE, including you, including me, will go away feeling smug.
1. Some Christians will point to details I deliberately or unintentionally leave out and say, “She was never born-again in the first place.” This will free them up to ignore what I have to say henceforth and forthwith. You can’t leave behind salvation you never had. They will feel better about their own salvation and less threatened by my leaving if they can dismiss me. This ability to claim my lack of salvation may stem from their sect’s doctrine, their personal interpretation of scripture or the Spirit of God might move them to doubt the validity of my salvation. I can claim to have been a Christian until I sweat blood but after the blasphemous stunts I pull around here it will be obvious that I was never saved in the first place. Easier to ignore that way.
2. Some Christians will say, “Only God can judge the heart” and let me say my peace. They may even acknowledge the “kernels of Truth” alongside the claims they question. My falling away is merely evidence of the End Times and a Hardened Heart. There will come a time, in hell, when I will regret this. Sad, but True. Even so, come Lord Jesus.
3. Some Christians will say, “Sure sounds saved to me! Once saved, always saved!” and dismiss the threat of my deconversion by believing that as a once-true Christ-follower I will eventually find my way back to Jesus or that his Grace will cover even this sacrilegious phase. In their head, they get to keep their faith and I get to keep mine. It’s all good.
4. Some Christians will see this as a continual soul-searching Journey. They will accept my skeptical phase and give me brownie points for doubt. They might thumb-up me for going beyond mainstream Christianity to find the true Christ in Everything – the Christ that all other religions point to. They’ll applaud my embrace of the historical Jesus. If really liberal they may even say, “Heck – as long as she believes in or talks about a Higher Power she’s in good shape.” (I don’t believe in a Higher Power, fyi – though some will interpret the effort I put into deprogramming as evidence of that belief.)
5. Lots of Christians will say, “She was too young to make this decision.” But I'm an old soul. I have a memory and awareness reaching back to the cradle. The salvation story that spans my 5th to 11th years is as legit as it gets. I knew what I was getting into. I knew what was at stake. The twenty some years that followed demonstrates how seriously I took the growth and maturing of my faith. However, I will acknowledge the wisdom of the Amish rumspringa and their inability to become a member and be baptized until the age of 16.
6. Everyone else. Former believers. Never believers. How will they/we feel smug? Well – that’s the beauty of echo chambers.
Would it be easier if I made a flow chart?
She doesn’t know this yet, but that is exactly what I want to commission ExFundamentalist to draw for me… for free.
All that said and one more caveat via one of those too-cool-for-school #outlawpreachers on Twitter, Khad Young: Salvation is not the point of Christianity any more than the wedding is the point of a marriage. #outlawpreachers
No – but the point from which all special privileges and expectations begin…
As you wait for My Salvation Story part 2, did I miss any Disclaimers I’ll regret in the morning? Is there a place online where you've written about your own Salvation Story?
*This post is verbose - and just one of those over-analytical things I write when I feel like I have to explain everything - and as I recover from a verbose semester. I know I don't have to explain everything. That's what heaven is for.