I’m penciled in at my local UU church to speak about heaven on Aug. 15, and I’ve been spending a good amount of time reading, thinking, and listening.
What I’ve learned:
- Jews invented heaven, but they didn’t think people went there. Heaven was reserved for God and his management team. People lived on through their progeny. And their land.
- There goes the neighborhood! Blame it on Christians, who decided Jesus was their pathway there.
- Buddhists don’t believe in heaven as a place beyond the here and now—in fact, they believe heaven IS the here and now, if only you’ll be present enough in this moment to realize it. And that doesn’t mean that the present moment is without stress, or conflict, or pain; you need to transcend.
What I’ve read:
- Heaven, Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife, by Lisa Miller
- Living Buddha, Living Christ, Thich Nhat Hanh
- The Miracle of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh
- God Is Not One, by Stephen Prothero
What am I thinking I want to say:
- As a UU, I can’t say what happens on the other side of death
- I live my life with the idea that heaven is reachable in this present moment
- Salvation is a moment-by-moment, immediate transaction between people. We save each other with our kindness, our attention, our forgiveness.
- Redemption really happens all the time, every day. Waiting on a future time let’s us off the hook to be fully present in this moment.
- You can save yourself, moment by moment, even when others won’t step up and help you. Again, presence.
- How do we do it? Live the change you wish to see.
What do you think? I’d love some help in sharpening my thoughts. Comment below.