I sat back and just as I did the brakes screeched and I fell on my face. The captain spoke softly, so his men wouldn't hear, "Sorry about that. As soon this last one's in we'll stop with the starting and stopping business. The driver is a bit over board."
I agreed with that statement very much. We were just a small Christian camp. Why did they need to send in a combat team? They were probably just trying to show their power, and forestall any further resistance. I hoped this wasn't going to be the tactic of choice for the new camp commander.
As I regained my composure the wall of the car shot away as the massive door flipped up and all the soldiers except for one jumped out. The door sealed shut again and it was dark inside. The guard they had left me turned on the flashlight attached to his gun and pointed it at the ceiling. That way it would reflect it's white light all over.
He spoke. "So, what are you in for?"
I didn't know how to answer. I didn't say anything.
"Oh, come on. You can do better than that. I am not going to hurt you. We're too professional for that."
I was still put off by his presence in the dark car. I didn't say anything.
"How about something easier, something neutral. What's your name?"
I figured I could answer that. Trembling, I replied, "Philadelphia Smyrna."
The soldier let out a low whistle. "That's a mouthful to say. Do you shorten it at all?"
I didn't think I wanted a United solider calling me by my nicknames. I said, "I usually leave off the last name in conversation."
He started chuckling. I couldn't see him because of the light on his gun blinding me.
"Oh, okay, I get it. You must really not like anything that wears a uniform. That's the opposite of most girls I meet."
I wasn't sure how to take that. He just went on. "Maybe you can answer something a little less neutral. Like, why are you in this containment camp? This place is too low of security for anything serious."
Hadn't he heard we were Christians? I knew I could answer that, and was proud to, "We're Christians."
"Come again? I thought you said your name was Philadelphia something, not Kristin."
The mistake made me smile, and I could feel him relax slightly when I did. "No, not Kristin. Christian. The United says that it's a religion."
"And what do you say it is?"
"Our phrase is that it's not a religion, it's a relationship."
"With who, or what? Sounds kind of creepy to me."
I had never realized just how odd that could sound. I phrased it another way, "Being a Christian is being a friend with God, a relationship. A religion would be making a deal with God, doing one thing for him so that he'll do something else for you."
"How interesting. It would be more interesting if it didn't presuppose a god. That seems to be the main problem in that sort of philosophy. Of course, that would depend on what it takes to earn 'being a friend with God.'"
I was amazed. I felt like I was Apostle Paul, chained to a guard who needed the gospel. I seized the opportunity, "That's what makes being a Christian so different. You can't earn being a friend with God. Really, can you 'earn' friendship with anyone?"
The guard was thoughtful for a moment. "Well, you can with people. You just have traits they admire, and if they have traits you like, that's being a friend."
"Okay then. What is there in you or me for God to admire?"
He was stumped on that one. I supplied the answer after a long moment of silence. "Nothing. God has nothing to be jealous of in us, nothing to even admire, because anything good we might have He already has infinitely more. In fact, God says that there is nothing admirable in us..."
He cut me off. "Now there's an interesting one. 'God says.' Like how does one hear a god speak?"
I wanted to answer that, but just then the door shot open. The guard turned off his flashlight as a few other soldiers hopped aboard. They had been gone several minutes, longer than expected. There was a pause in the loading and I heard a loud thump. I couldn't see much after the blinding light of the flashlight, but it didn't sound good. The captain and the rest of the soldiers jumped on and the door sealed right behind them. They had barely sat down when the van rocketed off again.