I just had a wonderful time at the NAMI Wisconsin conference in Middleton, which is a few feet from Madison. I met with several enjoyable people including Amy a pastor’s wife. She sings, promotes marriage equality and is involved in a wonderful, inclusive United Church of Christ congregation. All of which makes her Pentecostal sister believe Amy is going to hell.
Everyone has their own vision of hell and who would be there. Some of my favorites include Richard Nixon and practically anyone he nominated to the Supreme Court; Attila the Hun probably has a private suite; Stalin, Pol Pot and Hitler are continuing to massacre innocents and in an ironic twist, John Wilkes Booth is assassinated by Abraham Lincoln night after night.
But as entertaining as that vision might be, it only belongs to me. No one has sent me a post card say,g, whew! It’s hot down here! Similarly, my Seventh Day Adventist Great Aunt hasn’t sent me a greeting card from heaven. Those of us us who seek and practice inclusion have no need for hell or heaven. Inclusion means “ya’ll come as you are!” We are all included. We would argue whether anything in any holy book makes any sense or has evidence to support it. But that won’t change any minds. I still have the same beliefs I developed as a child.
And those beliefs
led me to understand that hell exists for the living as a scare tactic. It is there to frighten the questioning minds of independent thinkers. Well I’m here to say if there is a heretic among you, I am also one. I am plenty good now that I understand I have a mental illness. My ideas are too broad to be incorporated in any religious belief or even the concept of spirituality. I’d rather laugh with the sinners than pray with the saints, said the piano man, Billy Joel. And it still holds true today. We are going to enjoy this one wild and precious life and after that no one knows or has any proof.
- Lincoln and Booth in Hell (invisibleorder.com)