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If One Soul Gets Saved It’s Worth It All

polly and kathy shope 1965
Polly and her younger sister Kathy, Bay City, Michigan 1965

It’s a sunny, spring day, Memorial Day weekend.

Utica, Ohio is having its annual ice cream festival.  A woman and her husband decide to attend the festival. Hopping on their Harley, off they drive to Utica.

The  traffic is busy, and the husband knows he had better be careful.

But off in the distance, a woman grows impatient with traffic. She’s in a hurry, wanting to get home. She makes a decision that will have catastrophic consequences a few seconds later. She quickly makes a u-turn, and much to her horror there is a motorcycle coming right at her.

It’s already too late. The husband does what he can to avoid the oncoming car, but his wife, the mother of his three children, is thrown from the Harley and her head hits the pavement.

And just like that, she’s dead.

Every dream, every hope, and every opportunity of tomorrow is now gone.

Being a Christian family, we turn to our God and ask why. We pray for strength and understanding. The heavens are silent, and they remain so even to this day.

In a moment of anguished religious passion, someone says, if one soul gets saved through this, it is worth it all.

No, it’s not. How dare we reduce the worth of a life, this one precious life, to that which God can use for his purpose. A husband has lost his wife and his children are motherless. Her grandchildren will never know the warmth of her love. Her sister and parents are left with memories that abruptly stopped the moment their sister and daughter hit the pavement.

No, I say to myself, I’m not willing to trade her life for anyone’s salvation. Let them all go to hell. Give us one more day when the joy and laughter of family can be heard and the family is whole. One more day to enjoy the love and complexity she brought into our life.

One more day.

(In honor of my sister-in-law Kathy Shope Hughes who died on Memorial Day 2005)



  1. Avatar
    Karen the rock whisperer

    What a tragic way to die, in the middle of life, with so much to live for! My condolences to you and all her family.

    And to the next person who tells me that deaths of loved ones are “God’s plan” (whether for someone else’s salvation or some other purpose): I have a cane. I know how to use it. Kipling suggested a small hole to the head might let in some wisdom. You have been warned.

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    How selfish I was in thinking if something bad happens to another human being….”well, if God gets the glory, so what?” I was there. I was that person at one time. What a shame that millions think the same thing still today. Thankfully, I’m no longer one of them!

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    My condolences. Any God that values loss more than a person’s influence is too stupid to be worthy of worship. She had way more to offer society than your God can provide. A sad story.

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    There is great joy to be had in caring for self and others and not betraying humanity in worshipping illusion/delusion. Pascal’s Wager opens the door to coo-coo, just in case there is a mean God watching. Coo-coo. The Hell we avoid dealing with by being coo-coo is this one, here. There are churches where men tell women they cannot be equal as men are equal and that they cannot lead as men lead. This is hell. There are churches where Doug Wilson’s demand to know if you had sex and exactly what you did in that act so they can properly chastise you! This is hell. There are churches where men and women discuss just how much hitting of babies and children is ordained by God. This is hell. Fuck off with your eternal hell and deal with the IFB hell here and now, the Pearl Hell on earth Christianity, the excesses of religion that are patented profit-makers, that keep people in ignorance and delusion. Dear Father in Heaven, I must hit my kids and forgive me for wanting to do it! Help me not strike them too hard with your grace….. sheesh.
    Bruce, I am sorry you have lost so much in your life and that even those losses have been denied you by Belief. So sad indeed.

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Bruce Gerencser