“Susan, we need to save your soul.”

Posted: August 6, 2013 in Uncategorized
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“We do?” I asked. Such a direct statement from someone I barely knew.

“Yes,” he said as he leaned over and squeezed my hand. Sitting across from him, I wanted to pull away.

“Why?” I asked. It seemed like such a logical question to me. I mean, surely there must be a reason this man had suddenly become so concerned about my soul.

He looked at me as if I was a child. I was not.

“So you don’t go to hell for eternity.”

I had heard these words so many times in my life. I had searched for a very long time for myself. I had found what I wanted and what worked for me. I had worked at my church for many years and had continued as a volunteer. I was not in need of salvation.

I was in need of sanity.

I was in need of peace and quiet.

I was in need of solutions and not more problems.

“OK, if we save my soul, what happens to me?”

“You? What do you mean?” he asked.

“Well, if I have a soul, than I must be separate from it, right? Sort of like having a car. I own a car but I am not the car. You understand or should I speak slower?”

I saw a brief moment of anger cross his face. This was fun.

He deserved what I was dishing out. I was at a class that I was taking at the local college. It had nothing to do with religion. It was a writing class.

But this man, who was a student, had stood up as class was ending and announced that we all needed to hold hands and pray. A few students complied but when he grabbed my hand and tried to pull me into the circle, I let go and stepped back.

Fortunately the teacher hadn’t left the room yet. He turned around and asked the man to do that off school premises. The man looked hurt and confused. But he stopped.

As I was gathering up my things, the man approached me and said he wanted to talk.

“No, what I mean is, you’ve obviously have some problem with praying…”

“No, I don’t have a problem with praying. I have a problem with someone grabbing me and trying to force me to pray. I don’t need your help and I don’t need you to be concerned about me or my soul. We’re both doing well,” I said and stood-up.

“Come with me to bible class some night,” he said.

I looked at him for a moment. I looked at his eyes and I did not like what I saw. They were cruel and righteous. They weren’t Christian eyes. I had known countless wonderful Christians and other people of different faiths. They either lived their faith or they didn’t.

It was all in the eyes and their actions.

If they were cruel and insane, that was on them.

If they were kind and giving, they were taking their religion to heart.

“I want to make something very clear to you,” I said and turned around and stood directly in front of him. “I know what I think. I know what I believe and I know what works for me. I also know that it’s personal and is between me, myself and I and I would no more go to your bible class than I would jump off a 6-story building. And do you know why?”

He stepped back and began to turn away. I grabbed his hand and pulled him towards me.

“No, you don’t get to run. You have to listen to what I have to say,” I said and held onto his hand a bit tighter.

He nodded.

I can be scary when I want to be.

“Do you know what the problem with religion is?” I asked.

He shook his head.

“None. It’s the people,” I said and let go of his hand. “I try to practice mine and that includes respecting and protecting all religions. I take what I want from each one and make my own decisions. You should try it sometime.”

“I’ll pray for you,” he said.

I liked that. I appreciated it. “That would be nice. Tell Jesus that Susan says hello. He’ll know who you’re talking about,” I said. “He and I are cool.”

I watched him wrestle with my words.

“But if you and he…”

“You do not need to concern yourself with me. You need to save yourself before you save others,” I said and walked out.

He never talked to me again.

There are always a few, in any group, that make it difficult for the rest. Pay them no attention. Decide what you think or believe. Decide what is true for you and explain or defend it to no one.

People know you by your actions. Make them above reproach.

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Comments
  1. Evangelicals come in many flavors. Religious being one of them. It’s a damn shame he felt compelled to impose his beliefs upon a writing class and you, in particular. I guess it’s a good thing he wasn’t a crazed stalker type or someone who would bring reinforcements.

    • Susan Lewis says:

      They’ve always been around and always will be. I have no problem if someone wants to talk about it. I do have a problem with anything being enforced on me. I push back.

  2. People always have been and always will be the problem with Religion. The human need to BE RIGHT gets in the way of so much!.

  3. Equus spirit says:

    Amen, Sister, preaching to the choir! I say it again, AMEN!

  4. Really happy you wrote this. The men who have been ‘concerned’ about my soul have one hand on their religious tome of choice and the other somewhere it really shouldn’t be. I shared your post on Google+. https://plus.google.com/101326359135790262301/posts/XZjPU75oB7C

  5. Equus spirit says:

    You know, Susan, I got to remembering about when I was a student years ago (I won’t tell you how long THAT was!) at Georgia State University right in the heart of downtown Atlanta. There are always a hodge-podge of people there-lawyers, politicians, secretaries, homeless, and – never to be forgotten – the street preachers. (Well, you can’t miss them-they are so loud and they block the sidewalks accosting people handing out something with their message du jour.)

    I was riding the MARTA bus in from the southside because of traffic and parking, so the bus stop was right in the middle of this mishmash of humanity. I have no idea about the point that preacher was making at the time-all I heard was “You are going to HELL!” as I stepped down off the bus steps and he raised his hand with index finger pointed-and stuck it right up my nose.

    Being used to these shenanigans, I merely removed the digit and informed him that I’d been saved years ago and kept walking. His audience of three cracked up.