6/3/11 Dave, 67
I found an older man named Dave at the park, out of his wheelchair and practicing walking with the help of a low fence. We talked for perhaps ten minutes about natural things before I swung the conversation over to the spiritual. He had almost died from a heart attack and/or stroke ten years ago, and has been in the wheel chair ever since. He knows his own bad habits led to his condition. We talked of our different views on how one can be saved. He is a Catholic and puts a lot of emphasis on his final thoughts or prayer before he dies, feeling that if he dies having confessed all his sins and asking for forgiveness he will be saved. I explained how this is really faith in one's own humility or confession rather than faith in Jesus. He asked how my Christian faith was different from Catholicism. I try to avoid sectarian "rabbit trails" and debates, and I usually just say that the older a church denomination is, the more likely they are to rely on their man-made traditions rather than the Word of God. But Dave kept asking about praying to saints, telling how he goes to pray for healing at a shrine of St.Jude here in Chicago. I told how it is tempting to try to find someone else to put in a good word for us when we don't feel we can approach an authority ourselves. I wish I had explained how Jesus is our advocate before the Father (1 John 2:1 "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.") but didn't think of it at the time. Interestingly, Dave eventually asked "So what are you saying I should do?" - but when I told him about repentence and faith in Jesus, I don't think he liked the repentance part too much and seemed to dismiss the whole idea.