"Wow!," said my friend, looking up from his science magazine, "Did you know DNA is folded into each cell nucleus in your body in a very precise and compact way? It says here it's like 30 miles of spider web thread carefully folded into a cherry pit!"
I think this sort of thing is amazing too. But what strikes me funny is that the same friends of mine who just love to read this sort of thing in science magazines think nothing of dismissing theology as just so much "angels on pinheads trivia". Religion, they say, should be simple, not complex. They say this because moderns imagine religious truth as an airy speculation, unconnected to "real life", which somebody got a bunch of people to buy into.
That's why we think Christianity could be made simple if "The Church" wanted to make it so, but we never imagine DNA could be made simple if "The Scientists" wanted to make it so. We know that Science is constrained to describe what is actually there, not what scientists would like to be there. But we have somehow forgotten that Theology is under the same obligation...."
I found Mark's essay poignant, especially on the heels of a comment Mac Swift made in a recent discussion. He said, "Since salvation is so crucial for mankind's redemption, it would naturally stand to reason that God would make it as simple a matter as possible to save as many as possible."
God does make it simple. Those early Christians who were being saved were added to the Church (Acts 2:38-47). They were not merely making "decisions for Christ", or beginning a "personal relationship with Jesus" -- again, neither of these subjective and individual concepts are Scriptural -- but they were repenting, being baptized for the remission of their sins, partaking of the sacraments, and actively immersing themselves in the liturgical, ascetical and sacramental life of the Church. (props to Silouan).
Salvation is a way of life, a continual participation of our bodies and souls in union with God in Christ through the Holy Spirit. It is not a private decision or a change in legal status. Thus, while simple to begin, it is complex and difficult to live out.