Tag Archive: heaven

Pearls before Heaven

Another day, another great Pearls before Swine cartoon, and you know I just share the really great ones here.

The most popular strip I have shared so far is one I decided to call ‘Fasting Morons’ which has got the hugest number of popularity hits as people really resonated with it. I suspect this one will not be far behind. Thank you Stephan Pastis for voicing, via Rat, the words many of us have secretly thought, but been too afraid to say [along with ‘Will there be a special spot in the corner for the christians who stuck THOSE bumper stickers on their cars? You know who i mean]:



Stephan Pastis has a new Pearls Before Swine treasury called ‘Rat’s Wars’ which i am totally going to get to add to my PBS collection and you should too. I’m hoping that endorsement will finally push Stephan over the line when it comes to adding a yellow-and-white stuffed dolphin called No_bob [cos he doesn’t bob] into his strip, even as a once off cameo.

[For a different Pearls before Swine strip with one of Pearl’s better puns in recent time check out Pearls before France]

[For a different different Pearls before Swine strip with one of Pearl’s different better puns of late, go to Pearls before Oz]

just watching the rob bell furore that has swept up has once again brought something to the fore which i think needs comment and some thort by people who claim to be Jesus-followers…

one of the accusations that has been made against rob bell is that he is a universalist which as i understand it is someone who believes that everyone is going to end up in heaven, and by definition no one ends up in hell.

i don’t know if rob bell is a universalist. people have seemed to infer that from the questions he asks in the promo video for his latest book: ‘Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.’ But according to the one article i read, it says, “after all, on page 72 he actually states, “Do I believe in a literal hell? Of course.” [really good article response to the rob bell stuff here]

but that is not my concern. if he believes that then i definitely would take a stand against the belief because i think the Bible is largely clear on that matter and a lot of Jesus’ teaching and parables seem to deal with who will make it and who won’t.

what concerns me is how amped so many christians seem to be to point people towards hell. my friend Ant Martin mentioned to me how many people have responded to the Rob Bell video by making statements like “reality check, Ghandi’s in hell..” i mean, firstly spell his name right, it’s Gandhi… the question Rob Bell asks in his video is, “Gandhi’s in hell? Really? You know that for sure?” and people divebombed him…

as far as i understand it, it is through faith in Jesus Christ that we receive forgiveness of our sins and are made righteous to be able to live eternally with God (which does begin now) – the thief on the cross next to Jesus receives salvation even though he has done nothing in his life to deserve it, but he acknowledges who Jesus is and Jesus welcomes him to paradise. i don’t know if Gandhi turned to Jesus for forgiveness. But i don’t know that he didn’t. What i do know is that Gandhi loved Jesus and wasn’t so fond of His followers who didn’t seem to display the same kind of life that Jesus spoke about and lived. But i don’t know the state of Gandhi’s heart at the time of his death and whether or not he was in relationship with God and so for people to say he is definitely in hell seems like a foolish, immature, arrogant and presumptuous statement to make [unless you have some evidence i don’t]

and as i said it concerns me greatly that people claiming to be Christ followers are almost excited to point out that someone is going to hell – whether it’s Gandhi or homosexuals or abortion clinic owners or Saddam Hussein or Hitler, it doesn’t matter – hell is a place that was designed for the devil and his angels [Matthew 25.41] and it is always a complete tragedy when any person ends up there.

if it is true that Gandhi is headed towards hell, that should break us.

what is the greatest commandment? to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul and strength and to love your neighbour as yourself. Gandhi is my neighbour [Luke 10.25-37] and my attitude to him has to be one of love. and to anyone else, no matter who they are or what they have done.

maybe if we, as Jesus followers, had a better response to people heading towards hell, we would live differently while they are alive, and in our space, and living next door to us, and help direct them towards a Jesus-filled eternity which starts right now – a life that is symbolised by the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control) and by loving God and loving people and looking after those in need.

and be absolutely shattered every single time someone dies without coming into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

[and spending less time involved in random online judgemental railings against what someone might be saying in some book we haven’t and probably aren’t going to read because of what we thort they might have said in their promotional video and book blurb]

the beep beep machine revisited

i haven’t shared this one for a while so i thort i’d repost it cos it really helps explain the concept really well for me:

So i often hear the question ‘how good do i need to be to get to heaven’ or else the question can be phrased in a different way – ‘how is it that you (followers of Jesus) say that if a serial killer repents and becomes a follower of Christ on his deathbed that he will go to heaven, but that my gran who has never hurt anyone in her life and in fact has been a really good person, but is not a follower of Jesus, is doomed to hell and eternal destruction?’ That doesn’t seem fair…

Well an analogy i heard or made up (can’t remember actually cos have used it so much last few years, think God gave it to me actually) is the one of the beep beep machine which for me explains it well in terms of how the Bible (which i see as the Word of God to man) sees it.

Two Scenes:

In the first you are fast asleep in bed, your alarm goes off and you wake up and get dressed in your suit of armour, put in all thirty eight of your piercings (ears, eyes, nose, throat etc), grab R200 in R5 and R2 and R1 coins, your eleven bunches of keys (house, car, locker, post box etc) and your friend arrives in a van and somehow manages to get you outside and into it. She drives you to the airport and pushes you into a trolley and gets you all the way to the beep beep machine (could never remember what it was called, think it’s metal detector but prefer beep beep machine) and you stumble through it – What happens? BEEP BEEP (or maybe the machine explodes)

In the second scene, you are fast asleep in bed, your alarm goes off and you wake up and put on your satin dressing gown and your fluffy bunny slippers, you remove all of your piercings, leave your money on the desk and with just your air ticket you climb into your friend’s car and she drives you to the airport and you walk to the beep beep machine and walk through. [only thing i forgot to tell you is that when you were 3 you had a tragic tricycling accident and you had to have a 1cm by 1cm metal pin inserted into your left pinkie] What happens? BEEP BEEP

You see the Beep Beep machine is built to recognise the presence of metal – and it doesn’t matter if you have 100kg or 1cm of metal – the machine goes off.

Now for me as i understand the Bible, that is the story of Jesus. One day each of us will stand before God on judgement day (not the Terminator one) and He will examine us to see if we have sin in our lives (anything we do that goes against God and who He is, or anything we fail to do that He would have wanted us to do like look after the sick and poor and needy for example – the least of these) – and whether there is 100kg of sin or 1cm of sin, the Bible says it is enough to keep us out of heaven. So the question is not ‘how much good are you?’ – the question is ‘has your sin been dealt with?’

What happens in the airport scenario for you to walk through the beep beep machine without it going off? You take your metal and you give it to the guard and he puts it in the plastic container, in short he deals with your metal for you so that you can go through without problem.

And that’s Jesus. Through Him dying on the cross for our sins, He was a replacement sacrifice (reminiscent of the Old Testament and Jewish culture) – He dealt with our sin and the penalty for sin (death) so that we would not have to and so that we can walk straight through into heaven/eternity with God/paradise – when God looks at us He doesn’t see our sin (if we have confessed and repented and accepted the free gift of Jesus carrying it for us) but the sacrifice and the blood of His Son which made access to Him possible.

So not how good do i need to be to make it, but has my sin been dealt with?
Mine has – how about yours?

John 3.16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not die but have everlasting life.”

so, once we get past the mindless comments of people responding to the blog title and not actually reading it, what am i on about?

if you haven’t read my other blog about the christians choosing to become atheist (https://brettfish.wordpress.com/2010/09/13/a-theist-walks-into-an-atheist-bigbang-its-a-steel-atheist) i would suggest you begin there, cos this is a (s)equal of sorts…

so in the context of finding out that one of my church peoples had turned atheist over the varsity holidays, i have been giving this a lot of thort and i came up with this:

both of my friends who became atheist were christian and so they know the deal – they understand what the Christian-perceived Bible-teaching consequences of not being a Christ-follower are. they both know that if they have got this one wrong – and continue to stay in it – that they are in a LOT of trouble.

so, knowing the consequences of not being a Christ-follower, they are actively choosing against that and embracing another belief, and everything that goes with it

therefore, there are no surprises for them – they get that if they’ve got it wrong, it’s death. damnation to be more precise.

so it is an active step made, considering the facts or understanding or belief or perception or whatever, away from that

there are many ‘christians’ on the other hand (and i use a small ‘c’ as i always do to depict people calling themselves ‘christian’ but not necessarily following Christ at all) who think they are ‘in’ and ‘making it’ and ‘on their way to heaven’ and ‘damnation-free’ and so on, but who are one day going to stand before God and be completely surprised when He says, “Depart from Me, I never knew you!” [Matthew 7, towards the end, bible downstairs, me upstairs]

they are doing the stuff, going through the rituals, hanging out at church, maybe listening to the music and watching the (awful) movies, walking what they suppose is the walk, but completely missing the point

and as i have been thinking about this whole situation, i think that i would rather have you actively choose to walk away from Christianity and become an atheist (or something else) than be lulled into a false sense of security, thinking you are a Christ-follower when you clearly (at least to God who sees all) are not

“I never knew you” speaks of relationship, not religious hoops – it’s not about you didn’t do enuff stuff or you didn’t get enough people saved or you didn’t attend enough religious meetings or you didn’t try harder – it’s that you missed the primary number 1 key aspect of being a follower of Jesus which is loving God with all your heart and soul and mind (closely followed by ‘and loving your neighbour as yourself’ – matthew 22)

i would, obviously, rather have you follow Jesus with me. after all He claimed to be “the Way and the Truth and the Life” and said that “No-one comes to the Father except through Me” [john 14.6] and that is what i believe and am chasing (and being challenged a lot lately that i need to be more focused on the remaining in Him and building relationship with Him than all the other stuff i get caught up in, so that all the other stuff can flow out of being in a strong place with Him) and would love for you to be a part of

but if you’re not. if you choose to walk away. and pursue something else (because please don’t walk away from Christ-following and just sit around apathetically and believe nothing!) then i would much rather have you do that, than call yourself a ‘christian’ while completely not believing in any of it, or living any of it, but just miserably continuing to live out some kind of sick meaningless pointless waste-of-time facade.

what’s it gonna be?

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