I Really Don’t Care

I don't care about your salvation. I don't need to know if you think you are saved. I don't really want to know your testimony; the exact moment, place and emotional state of your recognition of God? I really don't care. In fact, I am pretty sure that God could care less about your perceived moment of salvation. God knows it all anyway. In fact, if we want to be all Reformed about it, then God chose to be in relationship with you long before you could speak, walk or control your bowels.

I sat in a small circle with a group of college students. As we were talking, one person piped up and said let's share our testimonies. He leapt right in to his own life story, sharing moments of health issues and healing which culminated in a life altering moment where God suddenly became real and he was saved for eternity. Like a good little sheep I pulled every hair-raising story from the recesses of my mind and came up with a pretty good emotional journey which culminated at an alter call in Jekyll Island, GA. As the storytelling continued we reached a good friend of mine who basically said "no".

We were perplexed at her response and asked her to elaborate. She said (and these are my words 10 years later), "I don't have any tragic stories. There are no great emotional moments or epiphanies. In fact, I hate telling testimonies because it feels fake, and it puts down the people who haven't endured suffering in their lives. I don't see the need to tell these kinds of stories. I just know God is there and that I am trying to listen."

Needless to say our campfire moment came to an abrupt halt. Little did I know, she was the most Presbyterian among us. We were used to the evangelic language of the deep south and the idea that if you couldn't describe that moment of epiphany, you weren't a real Christian. I look back on that day and see the courage and faith it took to save the group from itself. In her words, I see more of God than any others that were shared.

And so, while I really don't care about your salvation, I do care about the times in your life when God becomes real. In the Reformed Tradition we have this silly notion that God has always been with and for us, long before we could acknowledge it. Our whole idea around Baptism is that God, out of God's love chooses us for relationship. So, our stories about conversion are more myth than reality in the Reformed Tradition. A more accurate assessment of these narratives is that they are the moments when the faith God has instilled in us from birth becomes real. We do not save ourselves in some grand gesture, God is been working a minor miracle of grace within us, hoping we might recognize the deep relational bonds of the divine-human connection.

In a recent article, John Cobb, Jr. challenges the church to take on as its mission "working with God for the salvation of the world". If you read this, then read that article. It is brief and full of important ideas about the true meaning of salvation. Furthermore, it reveals the kind of salvation I do care about. This kind of salvation seeks to move beyond the eternal reward and begin to think about the impact we should be having on the world as faithful people. So, while I don't care about your salvation, I do care about the manner in which you are a party to the salvation of the world.

I do want to hear your stories of struggle, success and failure as you try and live out the relationship God has initiated. I want to know about your deep wounds, created by a world that has somehow failed you or the ways in which you have failed as well. I also want to hear how God is challenging you to accept the love and grace of a living faith and life-giving relationship. I want to know how you are working with God to save the world.



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