“Are You Saved?”

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So… I’m sitting next to my dad. His walker squeaks every time he moves, hand shaking as he holds the puzzle piece. “Nope,” he whispers, his once strong voice wavering, “this one doesn’t go here.”

“You’ll find its home,” I reply.

He sits quiet as he studies the puzzle.

To my left sits a woman who apparently went to school with me. We didn’t graduate together… I’m rather unclear how we’re connected. Like me, she’s visiting her father.

“What do you do for a living,” she asks. 

I don’t talk about my job much. Most people don’t understand it. Publisher? Sounds too big. Freelance writer? I do more than that. Copywriter? No, I don’t work for the Library of Congress. This time, I go with “publisher.”

My answer didn’t matter. She’s apparently taken an evangelism class. That first question was merely a door opener.

“Are you saved?”

Ah. Now she’s gotten to her point.

I paused, forming a myriad of thoughts into a coherent answer. In those few moments, I watched a smile spread across her face. “I thought so,” she said.

“You thought what,” I asked, trying to keep the moment cool.

“If you can’t answer that simple question…”

I paused a bit, wondering if I should “go there.” After all, why did it matter if she thought I was “saved?” I answered anyway.

“I suppose,” I said, “I’d need to hear your definition of “saved” before I could answer that question to your satisfaction.”

“There’s only one answer,” she replied.

I continued, “Some Christians believe baptism will get you into heaven. Others believe in faith alone. Others cite the parable of the sheep and goats to point out actions are necessary. I know some faiths require a ‘sinner’s prayer.’ Then we have the whole concept of ‘grace.’ Considering I don’t know your exact stance, I really can’t answer your question without more information.”

She pursed her lips and I feared I’d just become her new project.

Then I continued, “That’s why I’m currently reading through the entire Bible. I’m also journalling my thoughts on each chapter as I do so. Perhaps a little Biblical literacy is helpful in that regard…”

She still didn’t answer. But I knew nothing I said at that point would have changed her mind.

“Are you saved?” Turns out that was a loaded question with many incorrect answers depending on who you speak to.

That’s why I decided to launch this Consecrated Journal project.

I’m not a theologian. I don’t work in a church. I’m just a regular person who took Paul’s advice to heart:

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“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his purpose.” Philippians 2:12-13

 I sincerely hope you’ll take this journey with me.