10Q10Q -- faith, life, rethinking church, following Jesus...stuff
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Hell No... or Yes?
I just read an article, by Travis Loller in the progressive Huffington Post, about the new documentary movie "Hellbound?". It got me thinking how so many of us Christians live as if there is no hell, and then defend a literal hell with devilish delight. I know for me there is still openness in my answer to "Hell?".
Here's a thumbnail of the un-researched, un-footnoted, in-process, what-I-believe-about-hell. I believe in Hell, as separation from God, and as a result of choices I make. I believe a loving God has done everything possible to graciously invite, include and love me and all into a divine, loving, eternal presence. I don't think it's a literal geographical place, nor is heaven, but more about my relationship (heaven) or lack of relationship (hell) with the Divine God of Love.
What I don't know is far more extensive, than what I know! What I know is that the two great commandments are Love God and Love neighbor. I remember that as "Live Love." That's more important to me, and it seems to be for Jesus as well, than my definition of hell.
I believe there is an eternal, spiritual reality. I know how to talk about that reality with the language of God's love for me through Jesus -- as model, Savior, presence and love in-the-flesh (incarnate). I don't know all the details of that, and my ignorance generates in me comfort in God's love, curiosity along the way to keep learning, and a profound imperative for loving everyone. (And I'm still learning mightily on that last one.)
I believe God is big enough and God's Love is vast enough to handle all of life's questions and mine. I don't want anything smaller. When I try to live into something more limiting, life presents a question that just can't be satisfactorily answered within the tinier frame of reference. I see God's enormous, surprising, including love as I learn from and follow in the Way of Jesus. That Way includes my brain, my world, and God's love in the mix.
I expect that this question isn't finished for me. God will continue to grow me. And all along the way I believe that God's life-changing, soul-saving, world-reconciling, mystery-generating Love is holding me and drawing me closer. Traditional language calls that salvation. So for all my friends who will challenge me, I'm saved. Saved from the hell of disconnectedness, of unlovedness, of non-enough-ness, of cluelessness, of broken-without-hope-ness, of worthlessness, of purposelessness... of all the realities that would, without a Way of Love, leave me wandering, alone, broken, hopeless, clueless, living a random life that makes no difference. I'm included in something huge and loving. How cool is that!
I care about what you believe too! I care about what keeps you connected to God's love and if somehow that's a different picture of hell (or any other belief for that matter), I want to learn about your picture too. I want to love all of God's creation along the way. I want to live with Jesus' welcoming, loving, life-changing ways. So please share what gives you hope. Please share how you see hell. Please be brave enough to speak with only gentle honest words for yourself and trust that The Author of Love, of Heaven & Hell, will hold us in Holy Conversation.