Sometimes it is. When I was a child, I attended church regularly with my grandmother. I can remember the preacher’s sermon making me feel like the worst sinner in the world, so every Sunday I went to the alter to get saved. During the week, my grandmother who was saved, cursed and behaved like the wicked witch from hades. But come Sunday morning she was sweet as pie. I think that’s why I felt like I needed to be saved every Sunday: being saved only worked for my grandmother on Sunday. Today, several teens went to the alter, aged 13 and up. The first one to come up was with his father and looked as if he’d had no choice in coming forward. I observed the young people as they were suddenly surrounded by older ‘saints’ to be encouraged. Memories came flooding back. Those children will go home knowing nothing about salvation. They’ll be puzzled all week trying to figure out who the Holy Ghost is, and perhaps some will go back next Sunday to try it again. Others may end up like me. I’ve learned that salvation means a relationship with God. God is love.

In my new novel, “A False Start,” Anissa, the main character, struggles with her faith. Read the first four chapters at