Not Saved? Buy the Book

Posted by Censor Librorum on Jul 4, 2006 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

My 14-year-old niece recently went off to Bible camp with her best pal. Kaitlin always enjoyed her time there–the cameraderie and the music; but this year she was turned off, and my sister doubts she’ll ever go back. The big turn-offs: no iPods, no cell phones, no makeup, no bikinis, but the worst–she was asked to go up and be saved. Kaitlin refused. Several adults went over to gently pressure her to go, but Kaitlin, rock stubborn, refused to budge. I can see my niece in a sea of empty folding chairs: mouth set, furious and defiant as only a 14-year-old can be.

What is this obsession about being saved and “saving” everyone? It has spawned the marketing and publishing empire of Tim LeHaye, centering on his “Left Behind” book series, which some folks seem to take as literally as the Bible. It is also behind the tremendous evangelical Christian support of Israel. If I were an Israeli, I would be a little leery about having all these “supporters” in my midst–although I’m sure the Israeli tourist board thinks otherwise–as busloads of earnest Christians head off to Galilee and a new Jesus theme park being planned and built for them. It should serve nicely as God’s waiting room.

As a Catholic–am I saved? I cannot say so definitively, since my life is not over, the decision is not mine alone. I cannot presume my salvation is assured, since to us it does not solely rest on whether or not I have been baptized, or “accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior.” In the years before the second Vatican Council, when the same Eucharistic Prayer was used at every Mass, the first audible words after the Consecration were Nobis quoque peccatoribus (“To us also, sinners”). We recognize we are sinners, and for us the struggle continues.

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