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Posts Tagged ‘cross’

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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