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  • Writer's pictureJacob Skorka

Salvation Points: Tallied by Saint Peter Himself

Here, have a beer, and sift through my most present thoughts.

As I do every time I write {and as I hope you do every time you read}, I'm currently drinking a beer. I've also been thinking. Recipe for disaster for some, I'm sure, because beers and thoughts tend to cause some tension in the world. I say that because I fully expect this to cause some tension in the world as it has already caused quite a bit of tension in mine. I've been thinking a lot recently about one specific thing. Maybe it's less of a thing and more of an action. It's even more possible that it is not only an action but a collective group of people repeatedly acting a certain way. And yes, it is a problem.

I started thinking about this thing, this action, this routine, after a friend shared a tweet. A couple of weeks after I read the tweet I heard someone else, completely unrelated and unknown by the tweeter, share a statement that correlated to the tweet. The tweeter is someone that I don't know personally, and I believe is in a completely different place in faith as the person who shared the statement. The statement came from a man who is deeply committed to Christian ministry and it was said in passing during somewhat of a sermon to a room full of Christian business owners. The tweet came from a man who seems to be questioning faith and deconstructing what he once believed without the intention of reconstructing when he finds the answers. Both the tweet and the statement align with one of the most central causes of my own internal struggle and questioning over the last few years.

Something I've always struggled with is people with an agenda. Specifically, people who do and say things because of their agenda while claiming there is no agenda. I understand that it's human to have an agenda and I do believe that everybody has one. There is always something -- some type of transaction, something for me, something for you, something to push something else forward -- within human interaction, and I am no stranger to operating in the center of that push-and-pull. It's extremely evident in business, and I'm guilty of using that as a strength to get what I want out of other people, professionally. You can see it in dating and romantic relationships, and my marriage could be used as a case study to prove it. It's even visible in mundane life things like doing chores around the house. The difference between this collective group of people repeatedly acting the way that they act and the rest of the world is evident in that when the rest of the world has an agenda they don't hide from it. In business conversations, or in romantic relationships, or in doing things around the house, there is no shame in admitting an agenda. People operate in a way that will eventually accomplish what they have set out to accomplish. There is nothing bad about having motivation for action when it's obvious that there is a motivation for action. Christians, however, like to hide behind the fantastical idea that they don't have an agenda for loving people when, in fact, it is very clear that they are trying to save your soul in order to get into heaven.

The tweet.

"heaven and hell are now and now. christians bring hell on earth by assuming heaven is later"

@andyothling on Twitter

The statement.

". . . the Kingdom of Heaven is something that you're born into, not something you have to die to enter."

Pat Harrison, some type of pastoral mentor/counselor in Greenwood Village, Co.

My biggest question the last few years.

Why does it feel like my salvation is your ticket into heaven?

Here's my problem: American Christians interact with the world as if the Kingdom of God is something that is coming only after you die. The Christian agenda is, I want you to experience the Kingdom of God, therefore you have to become a Christian now so that when you die you go to Heaven. To boot, there is always a sense of that Christian wanting the credit for your conversion, isn't there? Almost as if gold stars and salvation points are being divvied out by Saint Peter as he checks the list to get in.

While trying to convert people, Christians completely forget that the Gospel they are preaching is a Gospel that is here, now. While trying to save souls, Christians are exclusively selective in who they love and very anti-gracious in who they choose to not love. While tirelessly attempting to convince people that the Kingdom of Heaven is worth dying for, Christians forget that they already live in it.

Jesus' entire life was designed to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. The American Christian thinks it's their job to bring the earth back to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Paraphrasing the words of the greatest example of this, American Christians are on the bus back to the Kingdom; you're either on the bus or you're getting run over by it, and they don't care if there is a mountain of bodies under the bus when it gets to its destination.



@andyothling on Twitter is not someone that I have ever met. I realize that I have made assumptions about him in this piece, and it needs to be said that they are just that, assumptions. Assumptions based on tweets that he has published.

@andyothling - if this blog made its way to you, I would love to talk. I would love to know how my assumptions line up with your life and I would love to pick your brain about this topic.

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