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Hell, No!
Hell, No!

Hell, No! Weekly Summary

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Hell, No!

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Week Thirty-Seven Summary and Practice

Sunday, September 12—Friday, September 17, 2021

Your image of God creates you. This is why it is important that we see God as loving and benevolent and why good theology still matters.

Heaven is not about belonging to the right group or following the correct rituals. It’s about having the right attitude toward existence.

In the first five centuries of Christianity, many of the church fathers believed in universal salvation. It seems we were much more hopeful at the beginning that the Gospel really was universally good news!

The New Testament includes a hope-filled vision of the whole universe pervaded with divine promise. —Elizabeth Johnson

God is alive. God is love. Love is pulling us on to do new things and we need to trust the power of God in our lives to do new things. —Ilia Delio

Maybe it’s not that there are two places beyond the door of death, heaven and hell. Sometimes I wonder if hell is just what heaven feels like for those who haven’t learned in this life what this life is intended to teach. —Brian McLaren


A Joyful Mind

St. Catherine of Siena purportedly said, “It’s heaven all the way to heaven,” and I’ve come to believe that “it’s hell all the way to hell” if we choose to make it so. If we can’t experience God and love and happiness and everything that matters today, in whatever moment we find ourselves in, we probably won’t experience it tomorrow either. It isn’t a matter of being “saved,” although that can be an ecstatic experience that gets us started. Rather, it’s a matter of getting in touch with the grace-filled reality that is always available to us. I appreciate how Carlton Pearson puts it:

Getting born again is something we need to do daily as we discover more of our own souls with each new life encounter. For the true Christian, evangelizing should begin with oneself, being born again with each new day, conveying the message of hope, and re-creating this world as a place of love, compassion, preservation of beauty, respect for nature, and peace—peace and love above all else. [1]

I invite you to practice finding your way to “heaven” by engaging this day with a joyful mind. What might a joyful mind be? In my book The Naked Now, I offer some suggestions:

When your mind does not need to be right.

When you no longer need to compare yourself with others.

When your mind can be creative, but without needing anyone to know.

When you can live in contentment with whatever the moment offers.

When your mind does not need to be in charge but can serve the moment with gracious and affirming information.

When your mind follows the intelligent lead of your heart.

When your mind is curious and interested, not suspicious and interrogating.

When your mind does not “brood over injuries.”

When your mind does not need the future to be better than today.

When your mind can accept yourself as you are, warts and all.

When your mind does not divide and always condemn one side or group.

When your mind can critique and also detach from critique.

When your mind can wait, listen, and learn.

When your mind can live satisfied without resolution or closure.

When your mind can forgive and actually “forget.”

When your mind doesn’t need to complain or worry to get motivated.

When your mind can find God in all things.

Experience a version of this practice through video and sound.

[1] Carlton Pearson, The Gospel of Inclusion: Reaching Beyond Religious Fundamentalism to the True Love of God and Self (Atria Books: 2006), 260.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (Crossroad Publishing: 2009), 178–180.

Image credit: Manuel Alvarez Bravo, La Hija de los Danzantes (detail), 1933, photograph, Wikiart.
Image inspiration: A portal is an invitation to ponder what lies beyond. This young woman peers into a portal in curious exploration, unsure of what she will find, but still relaxed and open to what comes. In the same way, we are invited to accept that God’s love is constant even beyond our limitations of human knowing. In life and death, God’s love is.
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