I am a seminary student who was saved at the age of nineteen by Jesus, I guess, but not in the way most people mean when they say they were saved: he shouted at me. “Move back,” he said, but I didn’t move. “Move back,” he repeated, but I didn’t move. So then he shouted at me: “Mark! Move back! Away from the fire!” So I moved, and then a boulder fell on the place where I had been sitting. A big one, like the size of a piano.
I don’t believe that sort of thing ever happens. In the years since it happened to me, I’ve asked why I was saved a thousand times. It feels like a debt, and I don’t know what I’m supposed to pay it with. Why was I saved? Repeating that question into the silence of the way I understand reality, silence which was broached that one time but has not been broached again, used to make me speak in a disdainful tone, to set the value of the world below the level I would pay for, if I ever learned how to pay, and discovered that I could.
I don’t like that tone, and I try not to use it anymore, but sometimes I still hear it in my voice. If you hear it, I hope you’ll remember that it’s something I don’t like about myself.