Stop Worrying About Going To Heaven When You Die

In his recent book Unraptured, author Zach Hunt asserts that one of the worst things to have ever happened to Christianity in America is its obsession with "End Times" theology, and the perpetuation of a faith that isn't grounded in the present.

He describes it like this:
"[A Christianity] focused on the future like a zero-sum game, a faith so over-spiritualized and focused on heaven that it has no practical relevance for the here and now."  
This reminded me of the Oliver Wendell Holmes quote: "Some people are so heavenly minded, they are no earthly good." 

Jesus wasn't about that.  Jesus was firmly planted in the here and now.  He spoke more about money than he did about heaven or hell. 

He used plain language to tell stories about the expansive nature of the kingdom of God rather than the overly religious language of the narrow-minded religious elites. 

And, as Joan Chittister puts it: 
He cured on the Sabbath, mixed with foreigners, taught theology to women, played with children, questioned every law, chose people over ritual every time, and never made institutional authority a god.  
Jesus was earthy.  He used illustrations for his stories that were grounded in the everyday lives of the people hearing them.  He enjoyed a good meal and a good party.  He met people right where they were, as they were. 

Sure, I think about what happens to us when we die.  I've written and preached on it before, and I believe that it's an amazing gift to be able to think hopeful thoughts about what happens next. 

But when we begin to think only about "going to heaven when we die," we also lose the beauty and eternity of the wondrous and naked now. 

Now is what you have.  You only have that.  Yesterday is gone.  Tomorrow hasn't happened yet.  You only have now.  

How will you use it?  Will you embrace every moment with all your heart, soul and might?  Will you live and love in the now, just as Jesus did?  Will you plunge your hands into this earth, this moment, this space, and love it as the Lord does?

May it be so, and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always.  Amen. 


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