Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Blogging Lent:

“Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Right now I’m struck by how resistant I am to thinking much about paradise. It seems so uncouth and fundamentalist.

But, it occurs to me I should start thinking more about paradise and being happy about it. Really happy about it. I realize I maintain a measured tone and aloof attitude about paradise because I don’t want to seem nutty over this pie in the sky (I mean, if you think what Obama is promising sounds unrealistic, let me tell you about Jesus promises), and I don’t want to scare off the skeptics. Maybe I’m not even that concerned about scaring off the skeptics as I am having them think I’m a nutty fundamentalist.

But, in reality, I don’t think I’m going to win them to the truth by acting like I don’t believe in paradise. Mostly, this won’t win them; but even if it did, it wouldn’t be to the truth. Because Jesus’ truth involves being with him in paradise.

1 comment:

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Orthodox Christian fundamentalists believe that "paradise" refers to the literal "Garden of Eden" from which the literal "Adam and Eve" were expelled. They believe that it exists on earth, but that we cannot see it. They believe that the angel guarding its entrance has somehow blinded us from seeing it, but that some humans since Adam and Eve have been allowed to enter it while still alive in the body. Very weird, but true. The most famous Orthodox story about this invisible co-existence of paradise and the visible, physical world we live in, is the story of Saint Euphrosynus the cook. His icon shows a man holding in one hand a sprig of an apple tree with an apple or two on it. This icon has recently become popular, and so has the story. You can see this icon in church kitchens and in private homes. So there's a testimony to the reality of paradise, one that will probably be too hard to stomach for most Christians, even me! It's an interesting story, and there may be some element of truth in it, that this man was allowed to visit "paradise," and even that the Garden of Eden still exists and is in some way connected to the future blessedness of mankind. But it really is, for me, in the realm of mystery.

Still, I am no more embarrassed to say I believe in "paradise" than I am to admit believing in "Adam and Eve." For me, it's an issue of belief in the "acts" of God, without worrying much about the "facts." If you remember my explanation about this in a comment I wrote you on the subject of, I think, biblical inerrancy, you'll know what I mean.

Kalí sarakostí! Beautiful 40-days, my brother!