Today’s post is a lazy (or pragmatic) woman’s attempt to kill two birds with one stone. Lisa-jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday has become part of the rhythm around here, and I’ve enjoyed the community involved there. This month I’m also participating in an online book club organized by Abi Bechtel. We’re reading Telling God’s Story by Peter Enns. Therefore, today’s post is based on the word prompt “Truth” and the first thing that came to mind was informed by book club, so I’m hybridizing the two.
Set the timer to five minutes.
Two nights ago my son asked me about heaven.
He asked if it was really gold.
He said he used to feel scared of it, but now he feels better because he read in a kids booklet that there’s no crying or sickness there. This was a relief.
Then he did it. He asked what happens to the people who don’t have Jesus in their heart when they die. Do they go to heaven?
I want to be truthful, but I want to give him security. How can I do both when I feel like there is such a broad cannon of interpretation within Christendom? How can I tell him the questions in my own heart about the strict interpretation I was trained to accept? How do I tell him what is true?
The words of a former professor, Greg Boyd, popped into my head. I studied with him while at Bethel for more than one class, but his World Religions class was the scene of this truth bomb. I have come back to it again and again.
He said something similar to this, but this is not an exact quote…
Imagine you are a beggar with a loaf of bread. Another beggar comes to you holding a loaf of bread. It is moldy and dry. The beggar is breaking off bits and eating them. You say to him, “That bread may make you sick. It may not. But I can tell you for sure that the bread I have is good. It is life giving and you will not get sick from it.” And you share your bread with the man.
It goes along with the concept of there being a wideness in God’s mercy, which I love.
So what did I tell my son?
I told him that many many people who love the Lord have studied the Bible for years and years. These people have come up with different ideas about what it says. I gave him a couple short examples of what I meant.
I told him it is up to God to decide about who hangs out in heaven with Him, and He wants everyone, but that the simplest, most straightforward, reading exactly what the Bible says, is by asking Jesus into your heart…which he’s already done.
It’s not a fantastic answer.
Is it true?
Yes, sort of.
See what I mean?
Sorry if this was hard to follow today. It was hard to corral my thoughts into a linear, succinct form.
May I ask how you interpret some of the hard, fast rules of entrance into the pearly gates? If you are a person of faith, how has your understanding changed from when you were a child? How do you handle the Big Questions of faith with your kids?