I have to hand it to Wendel Sloan for taking on a cherished belief in the afterlife in a Bible-belt outpost where a few zealots may be willing to send him there.
It’s not like it hasn’t happened before.
On July, 30, 2002, Clayton Frank Stoker killed his friend Johnny Joslin over an argument about heaven and hell in the Texas town of (I’m not making this up) Godley, Texas.
To place the spiritual conviction of the existence of an afterlife under the microscope of “intellectual honesty” may be less than honest.
Heaven and hell are matters of faith, not empirical evidence. I’m all for science, but the afterlife isn’t rocket science.
Convictions on the afterlife are woven into the narratives of nearly all world religions and convoluted with our sense of justice and mercy.
If not the literal reward for good (or punishment for bad), it is how we manage the legacy of a Mother Teresa or a Slobodan Milosevic.
Our actions, for good or evil, transcend our lifespan.
It is reasonable to suggest something happens to us beyond a corpse rotting in the grave.
I grieve with anyone at the loss of loved ones. I, too, find that profoundly sad. “No man is an Island,” wrote the clergyman John Donne … “any man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind.”
In that same spirit, I offer my hope.
I hope my neighbor will think of my offer not so much as the well-intentioned respondents who promise to pray for him, but as yearning for voices of better angels to reach his ears when he is missing people he’s lost.
Rev. Michael Steven Brunk