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ASK      5'?m1f Monologue: Salvation, faith, belief, works

(enters shaking head) What a nightmare! You would not believe
what I've been through!

It all started with a friend of mine from church. She asked me
if I read my Bible regularly. And, of course, not wanting to
look unspiritual, I said (smiles, sings) "Sure!"

Then she asked me if I've ever read the Epistle of James.

I was getting in deeper than I wanted to be, so I kept it low
key. I said (shrugs, sings) "yeah".

"Well, what do you think?"

"What do I think about what?"

She gave me this funny look and said, "Do you think James was
talking to YOU?"

"Me, personally?"

"Yes."

(turns to side)

"It's been a while since I've read that book. (strolls a few
steps, talking over shoulder) I'll have to get back to you on
that."

I didn't have the slightest idea what she was talking about. But
I was sure that she would ask me about it the next time I saw
her. So, last night at bed time I dusted off my Bible and looked
up James in the index. Turns out James is in the New Testament.

I was determined to go back to my friend today and quote a
spiritual sounding verse from my old pal James. But, frankly,
Bible reading bores me. And after about two chapters I fell
asleep before I could find a spiritual sounding Bible verse to
impress my friend with.

My sleep was interrupted awhile later by several voices coming
from the living room. When I opened the door, I saw all my
friends and relatives dressed in dark suits and black dresses,
eating finger foods and drinking punch. Nobody was smiling.

(opens imaginary door, looks left and right)

"Hey, what's going on?"

Nobody said anything. The people who were talking didn't even
stop talking. They acted as if I wasn't even in the room.

(pauses, looks left and right, louder) "Hey, what's going on?
Don't you guys know what time it is?"

(pauses, looks left and right, louder) "Hey, don't ignore me!
This is my living room you're in, you know!"

(pauses, looks left and right) Alright, if that's the way you
want to play it! If you want to just keep talking and ignore me,
that's fine with me.

(folds arms, taps foot)

Then, one of my friends started to cry and said "I'll really
miss her."

(tilts head)

"Miss who? Did somebody die? Why didn't somebody tell me?"

(steps left)

"Hey, who died? Is it somebody I know?"

(steps right)

"Who died? Did she go to my church?"

(steps left)

"Will somebody please tell me who died?"

Someone on the other side shrugged and said, "I wish I knew for
sure."

(steps right)

"Knew WHAT for sure? What are you talking about?"

(steps left)

"Who is she talking about?

Someone else said, "She told me she was. But I'm not so sure."

(steps right)

"Was what? Sure about what? Who in the world are you talking
about?!"

Then, someone behind me said, "I know she went forward with me
during the alter call. And I heard her say the prayer, but..."

(turns)

But what? It was ME who went forward with you during that alter
call! Are you saying...

(backs upstage, gasps)

This has to be a dream! I can't be dead! Yeah, that's it. I must
have fallen asleep while reading the...

(stiffens, closes eyes)

Oh, please, let me be asleep! Let me be asleep! If this is just
a dream, the Bible I was reading should still be on my chest.

(cautiously raises hands, pats own chest, opens eyes, looks
down, sighs)

Yes! It's here. My Bible is here! I was just dreaming! Thank
God!

(pauses)

Thank God... You know, it's amazing how many times I've said
that since I became a Christian! Thank God. I say it without
even giving it a thought. I say a lot of spiritual sounding
phrases like that.

Oh! (snaps fingers) That reminds me, I still don't have a
spiritual sounding Bible verse to quote to my friend tomorrow!

(lifts imaginary Bible from chest)

Let's see, where was I? James. Chapter 2. Verse... 14.

"What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but
has no deeds? Can such faith save him?"

"Can such faith save him?"

Wait a minute. I said the magic prayer. I'm saved. Aren't I?

(paces)

Of course I'm saved! I said the magic prayer. Everybody who says
the magic prayer is saved, aren't they? But why would my friend
ask me if the Epistle of James applied to me? Why would
everybody at my funeral be so sad as if I was not going to
Heaven? Oh, this is ridiculous! Of course I'm saved. I have
deeds.... Some deeds. I go to church. I even went on a short
term mission project once. I have deeds. Alright, so I had to be
coerced into going on that mission project. But I have deeds.
Don't I?

(stops)

Who am I kidding? If it weren't for social pressure I wouldn't
even go to church. Whenever anybody questions my behavior, I
whip out the only Bible verse I ever memorized: "judge not lest
ye be judged". That usually keeps them at bay. But lately, my
Christian friends have found a way to get around my accusations
of judging. They've stopped making observations about my
behavior, and started asking questions. They can't be accused of
judging if all they're doing is asking questions.

Well, their strategy worked. I had to face the question, (reads) 
"Can such faith save him?" "Can such faith save him?" If I'm 
honest, the answer has to be "NO!".

(kneels)

And I got out of bed and got down on my knees, but this time I
didn't pray the magic prayer. I told God that I was sorry for
using his name like that and that I wanted to live for him now,
really live for him, nothing held back.

(stands)

So, what started out for me as a nightmare ended with sweet
dreams, and all because my friends were not afraid to ask the
tough questions.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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