3/29/10 Shelly, about 40
At a mall in North Carolina I happened upon a Christian bookstore run by a community church that meets there in the mall. A church member (Shelly) volunteering in the store began talking to me, so I asked what she liked about going to church there. "Oh, I just love the friendly atmosphere, and the music is awesome". She told me she grew up always going to church but this is the first church where she liked attending rather than out of obligation, and her 16 year old daughter can't get enough of it. We talked quite a while and when I asked how she knew she would go to heaven she again told me how happy it made her to go to church and how she has become a better person since she started attending church once again. In my mind I thought either 1.) she has saving faith in Jesus and sees the changes in her life as evidence of that faith, or 2.) her real faith is in her own goodness - that she simply believes she is good enough for heaven. Salvation is too important of an issue to leave to assumptions, so I put it another way. "You know Jesus says we are to be 'Fishers of Men' right?" "Oh definitely!" "Well if I came in from the mall and asked how I can go to heaven, what would you tell me?" She answered, "I would say you should accept Jesus in your heart". As we talked further it seemed to me that Shelly has a sincere faith in Christ, but is rather unsure about how to share it.