I recently found myself growing uncomfortable with a debate about salvation, in which the thrust of the conversation was on whether or not it's even necessary to discuss it as a theological concept. Some who admitted not really getting what the hype about salvation is acknowledged how the concept is sort of lost on them because it carries a lot of baggage from the Bible-belt culture in which we live. I understand that. The same is true for me, and if pressed to talk about the issue a year ago, back when I was really beginning to think that my commitment to organized religion was coming to an end, I would have agreed heartily.
Something has changed for me in the past few months, though. I'm not really any more interested in talking about theories of atonement or anything like that than I was last year. But, I honestly don't think I've ever believed more firmly and unswervingly in salvation. I've experienced it. I experience it everyday, when I go for a run, or write in my journal, or take time to watch baby fox play on the river bank, or have friends speak the truth to me, even when I don't want to hear it, or reach out to someone in need. I am saved everyday by the company I keep and by the choices I make. So, my discomfort was with the determination to keep salvation as a logical concept, one that's understood only with the head, and not through the lens of experience. I acknowledge my lack of patience with heady discussions these days. I'm just deeply aware of how involved I've been in them in the past while life slowly slipped away from me. They have a purpose, I know. I'm just not sure what it is right now.
I feel the same way about resurrection. In the faith of my childhood, the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ was a critical point of faith. But in all my efforts to make sense of that, I watched life slowly fade from my view. I believe in resurrection, now, but it's the kind I experience in this life, the kind that comes from facing grief and finding that it doesn't have the final answer in my life. It will not consume me.
Last year, I felt the bitterness and anxiety of Good Friday. This year, I'm seeing new life emerge. That's resurrection. I don't need to know any more to have faith.