Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don't like christianity   by Roger Wolsey

published January, 11 2011

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Chapter 6

Salvation: When & Where?

And what’s up with all the Blood?



Redemption Song,  Bob Marley

Salvation The Cranberries

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.  Audrey Hepburn

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." Luke 19:8-10

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him  

Jesus, John 3:16-17 out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 

Paul, Philippians 2:12



            “Are you saved?” and it’s corollary, “When were you saved?” are perhaps the most dreaded and off-putting questions that non-Christians encounter as they go about their business and living their lives.  Both questions are loaded and those who ask them have a certain agenda – one that springs from Conservative Christianity.   That perspective makes certain assumptions including: a) that salvation is primarily a personal matter; b) that salvation means that someone has accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior; and c) that people remember and celebrate the date of when they made that decision.   I sometimes refer to this as “the morning glory” type of Christians.  The petals of Morning Glory plants stay in their buds a long time until one day, when the temperatures are just right - Shazam! - they just burst open all at once.  Powerful to witness! Indeed, there are people who know when and where they were when they accepted Jesus as their Savior.   The thing is, Morning Glories aren’t the only kind of flower and their way of blooming isn’t the only way that flowers bloom.  In fact, most flowers bloom through a low key, gradual, unfolding that doesn’t involve much fanfare or attention.  I would suggest that is the way most people come to faith in God through Christ and the sense of wholeness that goes with it.   Instead of asking “Are you saved?” progressive Christians are more likely to ask “How are you doing?”; “How’s it going with your faith life?”; or if they’re old school, “How is it with your soul?”   These are different sorts of questions based upon different ideas about what salvation is all about.

            For certain readers, likely, those from a more conservative perspective, this chapter is the main event and the heart of the matter.  What does Wolsey say about salvation and the atonement?   How a theologian speaks to these matters tends to be the basis for whether or not they’re considered a heretic (by those who go around considering such things).  I don’t want to be flippant.  These are serious matters.  We humans really are a pretty screwed up lot.  We know less than we think we do.  We don’t know what’s in our best interests.  Even at those rare times that we do, we often self-sabotage.  Our attempts to make the world a better place and improve things have a long track record of less than desirable consequences – frequently making things worse.  We’re exploited, used, and oppressed and we exploit, use, and oppress others.  Left to our own devices, we tend to make a hell of a mess.  Those who deny these realities are gravely deluded.  We need help.  Christians refer to this help as salvation.  Let me begin by describing the typical conservative take on these matters. ....

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