by Gerald Shuler
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Perhaps the most accurate description of Alicia was that she was exceptionally practical. It was her nature to follow the unquestionable wisdom of common sense. Her real-world practicality had worked well in climbing the advertising industry corporate ladder. She had it all... financial security, prestige, a better than average home... everything. What she didn't have, and it frustrated her to no end, was an answer that could satisfy her practicality when Christian friends or co-workers asked her if she was saved. And it seemed lately that topic was coming up much too frequently.
That was why, in the few rare minutes she had free, she had decided to come up with an answer for her Christian pests once and for all. She knew just where to find the answer for anything. She would google it. With great efficiency and expectation she googled 'saved' and began learning all she needed to know to respond to her challengers. The search, though, took an unexpected direction almost immediately. She got listing after listing for an old movie called "Saved". The movie cover even had a picture of two teenaged girls, one with a halo and the other with horns. Hollywood entertainment. Not what she needed, but certainly in line with what she believed. This “salvation” thing was all hype for selling movies, books and other things sought after by the ignorant population. She scrolled beyond the movie references.
Why do I need to be saved? This one had potential. The little clip said “God leaves no doubt about our condition. While we set our standards of right and wrong by society's values, God's...” Alicia understood this one completely. Society sets the standard for what is right and wrong. She was a good person. She always tried to be kind, helpful, generous. Society accepted her as a good person, so why couldn't her Christian friends call that enough? What were they looking for that they thought she didn't already have? She decided to continue her search.
Save! Save! Save! Limited time sale! More advertising... and poorly conceived at that. Alicia scrolled to the next page of listings.
How to save links...
How to save endangered animals...
How to save the world.
She found how to save everything but her. Google was usually more efficient than this. Alicia was no closer to an answer than before she had started her search. Maybe if she added a word to the search. She added the words “from Hell” and quickly regretted her choice. According to this search she was doomed. It's impossible for sinners to avoid hell. Even one sin will send you there. She thought about her career... the art of lying in in a believable way.
She looked at her watch. Her search had taken longer than planned and she still had no answer for her friends that say she needs to be saved. In fact, all she had accomplished was to upset herself about how much she didn't understand about this topic.
But she had to get back to work. Her work was her life... that was all she needed for right now.
After her unfruitful googling Alicia began to avoid her Christian friends. She was uncomfortable talking about things she didn't understand. Who could blame her for that? Someday maybe she would try her search again, but not now. Maybe someday she would actually let her friends explain it to her. But not now. There was plenty of time. She would finish her career first.
The gravestone was huge and expensive. The freshly lowered coffin would be marked impressively for years to come. On the stone it said simply
May 8, 1987-- April 12, 2014
Practical to the end.
(But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty 1st Corinthians 1:27)
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