Monday, November 14, 2005

Round II

”Nearly every Christian I have spoken with has some idea that eternity is an unending church service. After all, the bible says that the saints worship God in heven and without giving it much more thought, we have settled on an image of the never-ending sing-along in the sky, one great hymn after another, forever and ever, amen” Eldridge, J.O.D.

So, something struck me, I was reading this, and the realization came to me that I don’t really have all that much of an interest in heaven, like it does not really matter that much to me. Perhaps it is a failing, or perhaps it is just me not understanding, but “going to heaven” does not do it for me. I guess it might explain why I am so focused on this life, helping people here and now. Honestly it really upset me when I saw people going off on a mission trip and the whole focus of the trip was to stand on the street corner and preach to people, my response was always, how are you helping them, you go down and for two weeks you try and pressure them into becoming a Christian, saying something so that you can put a notch on your belt and feel that you are “doing gods work”. Yes I am being overly harsh and yes there is good work that is being done, it is just my personal baggage. I guess that I feel like we are somehow just abandoning people if we just go to preach at them, than let them go back to there rat infested house, without any kind of sanitation, sure they have hope that somewhere or sometime else things will be better, but it still sucks when it leaks through your cardboard roof, or your shivering through a malaria cycle. I have always wanted to physically help, its great to give someone hope for the next round, but how bout helping them with what they are really dealing with right now? I guess that I am just not on the same page as others. I think that we as Americans can take it for granted that things are comfortable, nice, clean, safe, yes they might be here, but here is not the world, the world is a lot bigger than just our little corner of the block. So, is it easier to try and just give hope for the next round and ignore this one, tell em to tough it out and they will get there reward in the next life?

So, couple pages latter: “Now think about this for a minute. You’re the Son of God you’ve just accomplished the greatest work of your life, the stunning rescue of mankind. You rose from the dead. What would you do next? Have a cookout with a few friends? It seems so unspiritual, so ordinary. Do you see that eternal life does not become something totally “other”, but rather life goes on-only as it should be?”

So perhaps we have done a disservice by thinking that this heaven thing will be all clouds and endless sitting in a church. Perhaps it will be a healing of this broken thing we call communication. Humm the joy of really communing with people, wholly, without the baggage that seems to permeate our lives, that would be amazing.

"I am not a scientist; but I am told by those who are of the great adventure in exploring the beauty revealed in the structures of physics or molecular biology. I don’t go in for organizational structures and master planning, but I have friends who can talk about them for hours. To each his own-literally. Each person will live out the passion of his heart, set there by the Creator from before the beginning of time. I should like one day to paint with the grace of Monet, or plumb the wonders of physics with Einstein. Perhaps I shall. There is work enough to be done." (Eldridge-journey)


Patty said...

This is for the previous posts' comment you made:

True. You can't know for certain, but if they had never heard of God and told you they'd never heard the name of Jesus, you would think you would come to the conclusion that they are not saved, and if they were not, then you would conclude that they would go to Hell. Now, if they became saved, you still wouldn't know for absolute certainty that they were going to Heaven, but you would have to have faith that they were, based on their changed lifestyle, etc. We can make guesses or deductions about a person from getting to know them, what they believe, but yes, we may guess wrong. If you had known me when I was 13-17 you might(and even I would) assume that I wasn't a Christian. I wouldn't blame you for judging me, because I certainly wasn't living as a Christian should. I have come a long way from then, it has been a gradual changing. I see it now and can compare myself to then. I am a Christian, and no matter what I did, am doing or will do, I will always be that, but I hope that my actions & thoughts now & in the future will continue to reflect a Christian lifestyle.

I have a personal story to tell: I knew a guy who lived in our neighborhood. He was confined to a wheelchair. We(myself & my "friend") tryed to avoid him whenever possible. This was about 8 years ago. He was very nice, always talkative, friendly, funny, smart, nice looking, about our age. All he wanted was someone to talk to. We barely gave him that. I remember that he told us he was an atheist. He was unsure of what he was. I knew a lady who was(or rather, I conclude she was) a Christian who was the grandma of a real friend of mine. She took her time to give him a tract and talk with him. I never did. We would make fun of him and everytime we saw him coming, we would try to go the other way. Yes, my "friend" was a very bad influence on me. I can compare that "friendship" to the "friendship" in the Lord of the Rings with Grima Wormtongue poisoning the mind of King Theoden. Anyway, I am responsible for what I did, which bothers me still 8 years later. One day I heard ambulances, went to our front yard, saw the paramedics, after a long time carrying the guy on a stretcher. He died of heart complications. If he were alive now, I would love to talk with him and be a friend. It is sad. I cry if I think too hard on that.

I agree, no one can change the heart & mind, but God(the Holy Spirit). Very true.

What you said:

So, is it easier to try and just give hope for the next round and ignore this one, tell em to tough it out and they will get there reward in the next life?

Good way to see things. I never saw anything wrong with mission trips and still don't. I never saw it as pressuring someone, but you have a good point. My cousin, Janiece and her husband, Josh and his twin brother, Ryan are missionaries. They have lived in Thailand, Canada & now Oklahoma.

This is their blog site, although they are very busy at the moment, so they do not blog as much:

I visit their site a lot, it's actually where I got the idea to do a blog instead of a website.

Have a great week!

Anna said...

Where have you gone? Has school eaten you alive?

The Fly said...

I had a frustrating episode with something like this a while ago. I was talking to my friend Super Dave, and he was going off on how he doesn't think Bono is a good representation of a Christian because A) he swears and B) he's trying to fix things in Africa. The attitude I got from him was basically one of indifference toward this world; as if we have to survive in this world, but we shouldn't be doing anything to improve it. Even if it's futile, and something we'll never accomplish, what's the point of living on this planet if we're not working to make it as good as possible?

And I saw the same issue with some folks I knew whose "passion was for missions work". Their entire focus was saving people, and there was no foundation to it. There was very little building, or helping; the focus was entirely spiritual ministry, with little or no effort to couple that with an example of God's love through legitimate service.

I'm stoked for heaven, but I feel that I have a lot to accomplish here on Earth first, and I'm nowhere near ready to take the spiritual elevator. The afterlife, be it heaven or hell, is the completion of the cycle that starts here on Earth, and just like being born and going straight to age eighty without experiencing the life in between, it would be ridiculous to focus solely on the afterlife at the cost of our work and duty and time here on Earth.