Bringing Heaven Down To Earth

blog for the book by Nathan Bierma • > Heaven > Blog

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Find in a Library

Monday, August 28, 2006

Blogger's response to Chapter 1

From one xanga-er:

It is so hard to think of heaven as a reality. This life is so concrete, and the next so nebulous. But in the end we will come to think of this life as just a distant dream: fuzzy around the edges, like a memory from childhood. You can recall that it happened, but you are totally out of touch with it.

Nathan gives a few reasons why he believes heaven is such a distant thought. One of his minor reasons is that we associate heaven with death. Heaven happens to old people and young people whose lives tragically end too soon. I think just mentally dissociating "heaven" from "death" could do a lot to positively affect our attitudes toward heaven.


Related Chapter: 1

Friday, August 25, 2006

Tim Keller on Christianity and urbanism

Tim Keller on Christianity and urbanism, from Christianity Today, as part of the Christian Vision Project:

A New Kind of Urban Christian
As the city goes, so goes the culture
by Tim Keller
Christianity Today, May 2006

My first strategic point is simple: More Christians should live long-term in cities. Historians point out that by A.D. 300, the urban populations of the Roman Empire were largely Christian, while the countryside was pagan. (Indeed, the word pagan originally meant someone from the countryside—its use as a synonym for a non-Christian dates from this era.) The same was true during the first millennium A.D. in Europe—the cities were Christian, but the broad population across the countryside was pagan. The lesson from both eras is that when cities are Christian, even if the majority of the population is pagan, society is headed on a Christian trajectory. Why? As the city goes, so goes the culture. Cultural trends tend to be generated in the city and flow outward to the rest of society.


Related Chapter: 5

Bookshelf: 'Funeral Homilies'

Swords, Liam, ed. Funeral Homilies (Paulist Press, 1985) ISBN 0809127849. [P-A-G-toc]

Related Chapter: 6

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

'Preaching the New Creation'

Monday, August 21, 2006

Calvin College news release

Calvin College issued this press release about my book (and linked to it from its Calvin Wire newsletter.

Response from Bob Crow

Response from Bob Crow of Calvin College:

Thanks for your good work on this. Thanks for helping to put a stake in the ground to be firm that there is something quite important about the here and now, indeed, about this cosmos. What on earth is God doing?--through His people and in anticipation of the great fulfillment when the New Jerusalem descends from heaven to earth.

Response from Rev. Tim Cox

One other reader who wouldn't burn me at the stake:

I was really challenged by your book, Nathan. Thank you for your work in bringing such enlightening research and writing on such an important topic. Who would you recommend that I read for further study? [see "Further Reading" here -NB]

As a pastor who just moved to the Chicago area two years ago, it was great to read all the Chicago stories, too. I feel like I know my new city better! ... Thank-you again for your book that will bring heaven "out of the clouds" for many people!

Tim Cox

I'm "inimical" !

My first bad review (that I know of): my publisher sent me a clipping from an unidentified newsletter with a brief review by the Rev. Andrew Simcak, Jr. It's confusing to read because it consists largely of quotes from my book, without using quotation marks (I assume they were supposed to be block quotes, but didn't get published as such.) The reviewer seems concerned that I do "not accept the 6-day creation" (I don't accept six-24-hour-day creationism, but I didn't explicitly say so in the book, because this wasn't the point). He chastises me for "repeatedly disagreeing with the Biblical teaching that heaven is our eternal home"--I'm not sure how much more clearly and boldly I could have said that heaven IS our eternal home, and that this is the point to our whole existence. The reviewer concludes: "This book is in many ways inimical to the Christian faith and should be avoided."

I'm a heretic! That tends to put a damper on one's day. I'm comforted only that these Christian friends disagree, or at least would refrain from burning me at the stake. And I shouldn't be surprised that there are Christians out there who feel threatened by any questions or alternatives to their existing assumptions. (I do appreciate that the reviewer apparently actually read the book, which not all reviewers do before criticizing a book, and I guess I should be glad that the reviewer relied so heavily on block quotes, so that my actual words, and not just his misconceptions, come through.)

In any case, please read my book, THEN avoid it.

Sojourners on the third Left Behind movie

Sojourners on the third Left Behind movie partial excerpt here; full text requires registration, cached here):

The main problem with the Left Behind movies and books is not the biblical literalism they incorrectly lay claim to over and over. The real problem is that Left Behind is a big old plateload of neo-con neo-gnosticism designed to almost completely ignore some of the most clearly stated points of Revelation (and the gospels), in the pursuit of a particular, arguably idolatrous, present-day political mythology. ...

Sermon at Eastern Ave. CRC

Rev. Thea Leunk quoted from page 180 of my book in her sermon "Blessed Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst," preached at Eastern Avenue Church on July 16, 2006 (texts: Isaiah 55, Matthew 5, and John 4). With her permission, I've posted an MP3 of the sermon.