It's occurred to me that the word "salvation" seems to suffer from the assumption that everyone knows what it means, yet do we all mean the same thing?
I went through a free association with the word salvation this morning and wound up with the word "salvage." Here's the funny thing. In the online dictionary of etymologies, the two words sit next to each other:
salvage (n.) Look up salvage at Dictionary.com
1645, "payment for saving a ship from wreck or capture," from Fr. salvage, from O.Fr. salver "to save" (see save). The general sense of "the saving of property from danger" is attested from 1878. Meaning "recycling of waste material" is from 1918, from the British effort in World War I. The verb is 1889, from the noun.
salvation Look up salvation at Dictionary.com
c.1225, originally in the Christian sense, from O.Fr. salvaciun, from L.L. salvationem (nom. salvatio, a Church L. translation of Gk. soteria), noun of action from salvare "to save" (see save). In general (non-religious) sense, attested from c.1374. Meaning "source of salvation" is from c.1374. Salvation Army is from 1878, founded by the Rev. William Booth. The verb salve "to save from loss at sea" (1706) is a back-formation. (etymonline)
So then I started thinking about the idea that perhaps salvation and salvage might be related. What if we thought about salvation meaning to "save property from danger" or "recycling of waste material"? It's interesting that both have ship references attached to them.
I like the idea of salvation being about salvaging. Salvation is too often attended with triumphalist assertions - like Ted Haggard's recent claim that he is now healed of his bout with homosexuality (in only three weeks of counseling.... Glory be!).
What if we talked about salvaging our lives after our mistakes... like my daughter's car. We bought a salvaged title. We got the car painted, we changed the battery, we put in that air freshener strip to get out the smoke smell... and she drives it. It runs. We love that little corolla. It is reliable and just what we expect of it. Nothing more, nothing less.
What role would faith have in a salvage operation? What do salvaged lives look like compared with saved lives? I wonder. Just a few of my Wednesday musings. Class was cancelled for tonight.