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Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

So, I am not just quoting a John Lennon song, but introducing the topic of my blog:  What if there was no hell?  My wife subscribes to Time magazine, and this was their cover story.  It is in regard to Rob Bell’s new book: ‘Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived’.  Now, full disclosure, I have not read the book, but I am a huge fan of Rob Bell.  Bell has a video on sex that might be the best discussion of God and sex that I have ever seen.  Although I have not read his newest book, I found the Time magazine article interesting.

In Bell’s book, according to Time magazine, he proposes the possibility that Jesus Christ died for everyone, both past and present and basically, a loving God would not condemn anyone to hell.  Rob Bell is an evangelical teacher and heads a church of

Not your typical pastor

about 7,000 and apparently his evangelical brethren went crazy at the mere thought of a lack of hell.  Now, I know that some of my readers are atheists, so the idea of no hell is not a difficult concept to swallow, but for many people it is unthinkable.  Why?  Well, if you grew up in the church as I did, the idea that there is no hell is just about as heresy as saying there is no heaven.  For many people, evangelism without hell is like physical trainers without fast food, they both would be out of a job.

I may have mentioned before, I am a Christian.  I am not perfect.  I have made many mistakes in my life, both big and small, but I must ask myself:  Would my beliefs change if I was convinced there was no hell?  My beliefs wouldn’t change at all, and I am not convinced they should, nor should evangelists around the globe.  It has been my experience that very few, if any, have converted to Christianity out of fear of hell.  I am not going to try to convince my readers that there is a hell, but I do believe that hell exists.  In my opinion, hell is where God is not.  Like Bell, I believe in a loving God, and in His love, I believe He will not force anyone to be with Him that does not want to be, and therefore, the existence of hell.

I believe in the redeeming power of Christ, both on Earth as well as after, but have a hard time believing that Ghandi is in hell. 

In hell? I dont think so.

Now, keep in mind, I am not a preacher.  I did not go to seminary, and simply put, I am no theologian, but I can read and I consider myself pretty smart.  Let me share with you two Bible verses that might indicate that things are not as simplistic as many people believe them to be (which is the heart of the problem: people want their beliefs and lives to be simple and certain, but to discuss this would require another blog).

In the book of Matthew, chapter 19 (23-24), Jesus tells his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

If you google this passage, you will find a variety of different interpretations, but I want to give my simple take on this passage: Not everyone is getting in to heaven because they may be unwilling to do the things necessary to enter heaven.  We could argue at length what those ‘things’ might be, but I think Jesus is talking about those that put their trust and beliefs in non-God items, like money.  Again, it is just my opinion.

The second passage from the Bible I would like to share is from Luke 23:38-43 where we learn of a conversation among Jesus and two criminals being killed on the cross:

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The above passage from Luke would suggest that getting into heaven might be a little easier than that whole eye of the needle business.  The point I am trying to make is that many people are going to be surprised at who they see in heaven.  On the same token, many will be surprised at who is not in heaven.  One thing I am certain about, if there is a hell, I do not decide who will be there and who will not, and I am quite thankful for that.  As many churches remain stagnant or are losing members, churches like that of Bell are growing and doing well.  I don’t think churches should abandon their beliefs, as I believe Rob Bell is quite biblically sound, but I do think the church needs to have a more open door policy rather than behaving like an exclusive social club with dress code, passwords and secret handshakes.

At the end of the day, whether you are a believer in God, an atheist, or think we were planted here by aliens, isn’t it at least worth considering alternative ways of thinking?  If your beliefs can’t survive alternative ways of thinking; then do you really believe what you believe?  It’s something to think about.

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Last Friday, I got a vasectomy.  It went great, thanks for asking.  I was going to regale you with the details of the operation, including the moment I laughed out loud and the nurse asked what was wrong, but I might save that for another blog.  I do, however, want to tell you about the Dr.’s instructions I received for post-operation, specifically, the “Call immediately if you notice:” section.  I am to call the doctor if, my temp is above 100.6 (normal), unable to urinate (makes sense), drainage, redness or bruising greater than quarter-size at incision site (of course, standard warning signs), and swelling greater than softball size (WHAT!?!?!)

Did someone call the doctor after their testes swelled to the size of baseballs and get shunned?  “Sorry sir, baseball size is pretty normal.  We are very busy here at the doctor’s office.  Please don’t call unless they reach softball size.”  Who draws the line for when to see a doctor?  Three hour erection?  No problem.  Four hour erection, get to the hospital immediately.  Who drew this line?  I have had zero problems, but trust me; I was not going to wait beyond baseball size, or even tangerine, OK, plum size and that’s my final offer.  I’m just sayin …

My line.

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Happy Christmas!

So, supposedly there is a war on Christmas, at least if you believe  anything that Fox News says.  Of course, I don’t believe Fox News for  most things as they make more news than they report on.  What is even a more cruel twist of fate, evil irony, or just plain devil incarnate (Can  you tell how I feel about Fox News?) is that they report on the news  that they make up.  If you pay attention, you will discover this for  yourself, you do not have to believe me.

A war on Christmas? Really?  Here is the big issue, they hate the fact  that people are saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas.  So,  freaking what!?!  Are you telling me that if people suddenly begin to  say Happy Holidays instead of Christmas than the United States of  America will suddenly become a Muslim state?  Seriously?  Do you think  the Jewish people are complaining that people are saying Merry Christmas?  Find me one, just one! They don’t care.  What about the  Muslims?  Contrary to what Fox News might tell you, the Muslims that  live here, want to be here and like it here.  As a matter of fact, go  to your local Muslim owned gas station, and you know what will be  written on their windows?  That’s right, Merry Christmas.  They are not stupid, they know that their culture and belief system will not be  destroyed by experiencing the local culture, which is Christmas.

Santa the God Destroyer

The funny thing is, you know what is really killing Christmas?  Fox  News, no, just kidding.  Seriously, the killer of Christmas is Santa  Claus.  For those of you that may not be aware, Christmas is the  celebration of the birth of Baby Jesus.  Santa and the shopping season  as so destroyed that concept that many people who I know make comments like, “We don’t have Santa with our kids.  We are not Christian.”  That is an actual quote from a person that I know.  The idea that people  equate Santa and the commercialism of gifts and Christianity is the  real killer of Christmas.  If you know me, or read my blog, you  probably know that I am a Christian and we celebrate the birth of Jesus in our home and I don’t give a flying Fahrvergnügen if you say Happy Holidays or not.  Why should I care?  You can say Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, or Rad Ramadan (you like that? Just made it up) to me and it won’t affect my beliefs.  The biggest lesson that most people need to learn is that “What you do ain’t got nothin’ to do with me!”  So, don’t let Fox News convince you that you are doing something wrong by saying “Happy Holidays”.  Since when did it become wrong to care about not hurting other people’s feelings.  As a matter of fact, it sounds like something Jesus would do.

Oh, and you left-wing, tree-hugging, liberals, I got something for you  too.  Chill out!  Do you know what the most popular holiday in the US is?  That’s right, Christmas.  And that’s a fact.  Well, I don’t know if it’s a fact, but I do know that if you are off of work right now, it is because of Christmas.  You know why?  Because you live in the United States of Frickin America, that’s why.  If I lived in Israel, do you think I would be complaining about Hanukkah?  Like it or not, if you live in the US then deal with the fact that Christmas is popular.  So, say Merry Christmas!  If you are offending someone, just say “Sorry, my bad, I did not realize that by saying Merry Christmas I was rejecting your culture, or claiming that your religion was wrong.  Or maybe you are just a little too sensitive about what I say as a greeting?  Maybe you need to reevaluate what you believe in if a two-word salutation by me is going to rock your faith or lack thereof.  Or maybe, just maybe, you need to be worrying less about what I am saying and more about how you can spend more times with your kids and wife instead of worrying about what other people are saying or doing.  Now, get out of my face before I go Bad Santa all over your ass.  Oh and by the way, Merry Christmas!”

So, the moral of this story is do what you got to do.  Say Happy 
Holidays if you like, you will not destroy Christmas.  Say Merry 
Christmas, and if someone is offended, then say sorry and move on, or try my suggestion above.  Regardless, I hope you have a great and loving time with your friends and family this holiday season.  And I believe that Gumby said it best, “Merry Christmas Damn It!”

Eddie Murphy as Gumby. Awesome!

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Over Thanks giving, my got mad because I hated the fact that I had to wait in line as a kid at the grocery store while she ran off and got something she forgot.  She pointed out that I didn’t mind it when she waited in line at Disneyland so that me and my friends did not have to wait going from ride to ride.  She is right, but I still hold to the fact that I hated it.  But it makes me think of my own kids as we take them to Mall of America for Christmas Eve, spend hours upon hours looking for the items that we know they want, or drive from place to place so they can go sledding, see friends, or go to the mall with friends.  And they have no idea what we go through to make them happy.  Just as I did not appreciate my mom waiting in lines for me at Disneyland, neither my kids will appreciate until they have kids.  Nonetheless, as parents, it is what we do.  Thanks Mom!  And Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.  I’m just sayin …

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I’m in Minneapolis right now, and it is the freakin’ ice age up here.  There is like 2-3 feet of snow on the ground and it keeps snowing.  What amazes me every year is the number of black people who I see living here.  Black folks and snow? Who knew?  I get the white folks.  They are crazy, but the black folks?  What is the world coming too?  I’m just sayin (Part Deux) …

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