I DON’T WANT “certain folks” as my neighbors in heaven.
If there are counties in heaven, I don’t want them in my county.
Or in my same country.
Or in any one of the 26 dimensions in bosonic string theory.
Some people are bad to the bone, crap to the core, and butt to the head.
They repulse us like an opposing magnet that can do nothing but push us away.
Jesus pursued lost people. But he showed little patience for bad people, most of whom were in the religion business, as the Bible tells it.
Jesus said bad folks don’t make the cut for the Kingdom of Heaven.
In parables, he compared them to weeds that get burned in a fire and to good-for-nothing fish that get tossed in the sand.
“Folks are going to wail. They’re going to clench their teeth so hard that they grind them” (Matthew 13:50 Casual English Bible).
That is what I’d do if Gabriel assigned me a studio apartment next door to one of those “certain folks” I won’t mention by name.
Looking for some balance
This is a hateful day to live, for anyone who follows the news.
We’re so divided, entrenched, and inflamed. It may start with stinky leaders and work its way down. I have no doubt it does—in our country and in others. But especially in ours, with vulgar and degrading and despicable tweets and cheap-shot talking points belched out nearly every day, it seems.
It’s exhausting. It’s nauseating. And it feels dirty.
It’s like living in a massive, stinking landfill, and wondering how on earth we’re going to clean up this mess and get the stink off of us.
That’s hell, you know.
Literally, when Jesus talked about hell, it was a stinking, smoldering landfill in Gehenna, a valley on Jerusalem’s south side. Gehenna got translated into English as “hell,” to help readers connect with the Jewish idea of God’s judgment. Many Jews felt that what they did in that valley—sacrifice their children to an idol—is one of the main reasons God let Babylonian invaders from what is now Iraq wipe the Jewish nation off the world map.
It was their Judgment Day, or at least one of them.
Hell on earth
What we are experiencing now is hell on earth. We can smell the stink and feel the fire.
Battle lines are drawn, and hatred has gone viral.
Father against son. Mother against daughter. Mother-in-law against daughter-in-law.
Gentle Christian against gentle Christian, mutating into souls angry and vicious.
We see the hatred in our leaders. We pick up their stink. And we add our own.
We are better than that.
I am better than that.
Somehow, some way, we have to stop enabling the hate, rationalizing the hate, and living the hate.
The world is not big enough to contain it.
We know that, don’t we?