Regarding Remembering My Salvation.
by Chris Kamalski
I feel emotionally and tangibly removed from my salvation through Christ. Cognitively I believe at the most profound level that I have been redeemed and restored in Christ (and possibly an even deeper part of my soul feels like I need to justify this belief to myself and to others, after all, I have been at this now for over 16 years!). And yet there is an equally deep (confusing, wishing things were different) portion of my soul that simply does not have the radical ‘My life was dark, and now it is filled with light’ sort of conversion experience.
What precipitates this pondering is a journal assignment we were given for Check-In this morning in which we were to sit with and recall (even emotionally, in some sense) what it was like to be saved. That question alone raises a number of other issues for me (Is salvation a point or a journey of process? Is there a sense in which I am ‘being saved daily?’), let alone the somewhat disturbing reality that often, I simply am not emotionally overwhelmed with my transfer from darkness into light.
Maybe this is a function of the limits of Evangelical language that I was raised so beautifully within. I remain grateful particularly for the community of people that I grew up with, as many faithful people ‘went before me’ in shaping me into the person I am becoming today. However, as the years pass by technical, theological words like redemption, justification, and propitiation seem to lose a sense of wonder and meaning in the midst of what is hopefully an increasingly relational journey of restoration that I am on with Christ. Maybe I long for the relational connection more than the cognitive reality that I am justified before God through the blood of Christ? Not seeking to deny this reality, a deep part of my soul longs for something more–For Christ’s presence to fill me, for the Spirit’s hand to walk with mine, for Abba’s tenderness to shape my character more fully.
I want relationship, not theological reality. I want a deep experience that is grounded within a cognitive, emotional, intellectual, theological reality–and yet remains fully experience. I don’t simply want feeling or consolation, and I really don’t wish for further hiding from my true self before God.
I want God.
Well I saw you post this on Facebook, and I immediately thought of some wise things written by Mike Erre (in his new book). I’m not really sure if you’re looking for anyone’s specific feedback on your feelings… because they are very deep… but I was just so encouraged by what Erre had to say.
“Modern evangelism should call people to become a part of a new people, a holy nation, a contrasting and alternative community. The big revivals and crusades that were popular in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were aimed primarily at awakening latent faith of people reared in Christian homes and communities. In this form of evangelism, people did not need to learn and participate in a new way of life embodied in a particular visible community. They only needed to be individually convinced and convicted. These evangelistic forms tended to isolate and appeal directly to the individual. We began to so focus on the inwardness of faith and so concentrate on the moment of decision that we really didn’t have much to say after someone decided to accept Christ. In the early church, evangelism was primarily a matter of inviting people to become part of a new way of being human – literally a new creation, reborn in Jesus Christ, which was itself the firstfruits of what God was going to do with the whole world. This represents a radical break from the dominant individualistic mind-set that separates us from each other.”
I guess my point is that, whatever kind of conversion you have, it’s all about whether you are living as a new creation, living like Jesus is the Lord over everything in your life. For me personally, I literally came from a non-Christian home, and a dark past… then, into the light. But in the end, I’m just the same as you. And though I might remember my conversion differently, I still struggle… with wanting God.
Again from Erre:
“For the earliest Christians, accepting Jesus was primarily a very this-worldly exercise in renouncing one lord and proclaiming allegiance to another. It was, fundamentally, an exchange of sovereignties. When we call Jesus Lord, we surrender to Him exclusively and completely. We submit ourselves to Him and renounce all other lords. No ideology, political philosophy, drug, or person can have a higher claim on our lives. All our idols must be pulled down, repented of, and crushed at Jesus’ feet. Anything that takes the place of Jesus in our hearts, our passion, and our devotion must go.”
Finally, I’m happy that you are grateful for the community that was around you as you grew (especially your parents…). What I wouldn’t give for that…
Oh, and I made my junior high kids memorize the definition of “propitiation”, so I hope it doesn’t become meaningless to them… 😉
Anyway, I totally rambled. I have just been emerged in Erre’s book because I am going to interview him about it soon, and what you said tonight (or this morning), totally reminded me of what he had to say. Praying.for.you.
your posts are rocking me lately. that quote on confession had me thinking for a week… and i still couldn’t write a response. there was so much wrapped up in that little sentence.
this post is soo honest and powerful. thank you for sharing it. i love and hate that longing… just to be with God, experience Him, feel Him. earlier this week i had this powerful urge to hug Him and was frustrated that i couldn’t.
i put my hope in the fact that in my longing for Him, He is glorified. actually in a weird way it reminds me of 2 Chron. 16:9… “the eyes of the Lord search to and fro throughout the earth, that he might fully support the man (or woman :)) whose heart is completely his.”
i hope and really believe that in our deep and almost desperate longing for God we create space for Him to do more than we could imagine, even though the desperate longing can feel so painful at the time.
What’s the name of Mike Erre’s new book Carrie is quoting?
Sorry, I should have mentioned that 🙂
“Death by Church”, and you should definitely pick it up, it’s so good!!