"Then, in a flash, it came to him. He understood the attraction. Rafferty with all his lapsed-Catholic guilt. And the list of amends he kept trying to make. To his ex. To his daughter. In this moment, he understood the draw of redemption. He understood why people wanted to be born again. Accept Jesus and you get a free ticket to Heaven. No matter what you did in the past or would do in the future. When you were saved, you were saved. No penance. No Hail Marys, no moral inventories, no ninth-step amends. The Calvinists preached fire and brimstone, but only to the unsaved: the Catholics, Jews, the Wiccans. The insiders were protected. A few indulgences and some tithing bought you an insurance policy. Who the hell wouldn't want to join a religion like that?"
Well, I wouldn't want to join a religion like that. Among the incomplete sentences, the author has also captured an incomplete look at redemption. The sad fact is that non-Christians aren't the only ones to sometimes see it wrong because a lot of "Christians" don't get it either. Redemption is a gift, but those who truly receive it realize that it calls for a change in their life. There IS a moral inventory. And redemption doesn't lay dormant until a person dies and "cashes in their ticket to heaven." Redemption is alive and working in every aspect of life right this minute. And that's why being a Christ-follower isn't all blue skies and rainbows. Being a Christian is uncomfortable because it calls us to sacrifice the many selfish desires we have in order to put others first and be agents of redemption in this world. This world is full of broken relationships, broken systems, hunger and thirst, addiction, greed, suffering. If I can use my time and money to help heal these things then I am working for Redemption. It's an on-going process and it starts within my own heart. I don't have an insurance policy. I have a relationship with Jesus. He is in the process of redeeming what is broken in my life (sin). And he is using me to redeem what is broken in the world. And redemption is best accomplished through love, not with judgement.