Just another traveler on life’s highway, hanging out in the slow lane. It’s quiet, it’s peaceful; beyond the horizon is rest calling my name. Green pastures, still waters, my cup overflows.
Sometimes we get caught up in Christianity’s preponderance with salvation. This basic tenet says to us, in contemporary Christianity, that the goal of our faith walk should be salvation thus guaranteeing a place in God’s eternity. Take the New Testament walk through the verses of salvation, become saved and born again, and miraculously a seat is reserved beside Jesus at the throne of Almighy God. Unfortunately, for mankind, that viewpoint of salvation allows us to escape the primary command to live our lives humbly with graciousness, compassion, honor, respect, and love for the Creation. We did the salvation thing and life can now continue as before because we’ve been “saved”.
Eternity happens later and there is no reason to become concerned with it in this life because we have achieved salvation. There is no dire need to transform or evolve into the present Kingdom surrounding us and residing within us.
That transformation and evolution would require change of heart and change of mind, would it not? It would require reworking the internal me. Yes, I too followed that train wreck of modern evangelical Christianity until I realized, “Hey, if I’m born again, if I’m saved, why has nothing in my life changed?” The answer came to me through the fellowship which led me into sobriety. One of the primary observances of AA was a verse found in the book of James:
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:26
Faith without works is a dead faith because the lack of works reveals an unchanged life or a spiritually dead heart. That verse in James revealed to me that I could not rest on my laurels just because I claimed salvation. The profession of being “born again” was just the start of a new way of living my life following the example of Jesus, the Christ. I could not continue being the man I was before my proclamation.
I found it insightful to rethink the word salvation. One of the definitions in the dictionary is 1) deliverance from sin and damnation, but another is simply 2) redemption. Redeeming has less of a moral conviction, it denotes recovery and that is what I, a man who had followed the wrong trail in life, had to do after realizing my life needed to change. My relationship with the ever-present Higher Power needed to be reclaimed. An admission of the failure of my self-directed life was a starting point, I claimed rebirth, but that certainly could not be the end of the story.
My story is not appreciated by many Christians. My story shakes their preconceived, theology-controlled concepts of the meaning of the Gospel and salvation. Yet, upon study and research my story walks along the paths of Jesus and the Buddha. Jesus and “the Way”, Buddha and “the Path” give me indisputable guidance in negotiating the Christian volumes of “thou shalt and thou shalt not” which have evolved from a very simple message which taught, not preached, how to become “a part of Creation, not apart from Creation.” Jack Wintz, Will I See My Dog in Heaven? (Paraclete Press: 2009), 29.