Sunday, October 17, 2010

Heaven is.......

I don’t want to get into a whole big philosophical debate about what is heaven. Each religion and for that matter each individual seems to have different ideas of what, where or even if heaven exists. These authors have presented their own fictional ideas for your reading (hopefully) pleasure.

The Shack, by William P Young is a novel that does make you think. I know of one staff member who could not get it off of her mind for weeks after she read it. This self published novel went on to make the bestseller status on a number of lists. As of May 2010, it had over 10 million copies in print.

After all the years of feminist using the pronoun "she" for god, Young uses this for two of his versions of god. God the Father is an older black woman, who calls herself "Papa", Jesus is a Middle East carpenter and the Holy Spirit takes the form of an Asian woman, Sarayu. The shack is where Mack faces his belief system after his son almost drowns and his daughter is kidnapped and murdered by a serial killer. Yes, this is a Christian book and yes it does attempt to explain the trinity. I have wondered how non-Christians would view this book. Perhaps some of our readers may want to comment. If so I would love to hear it.

The Book of Joby by Mark Ferrari. I have come across a lot of songs, stories and movie plots in which God and the devil are playing games in which a human is the pawn. This tale is no different. In this Arthurian tale, nine year old Joby Peterson is a fairly ordinary boy living an ordinary life. That is until Lucifer bets God that he can get Joby to renounce him and God can not interfere. God takes on this bet but it does not prevent everyone from angels to Merlin from helping Joby. Readers will enjoy reading about the struggle that Joby has for his life, his soul and the fate of the world itself!

Heaven is Small by Emily Schultz. The heaven that Schutlz presents in this novel would be my idea of hell. I love the opening line though—"Moments after his death, an event he failed to notice, Gordon Small sought new employment." He becomes employed at the Heaven Book company, the world’s largest romance publisher. As I have stated in the past, I do not like romance novels, therefore this would be hell for me.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold has been written about many times before. In short a young girl, Suzie Salmon, is murdered and goes to her own version of heaven--school. While her father searches for her murderer , Suzie looks down on earth at her family and her murder. I love the that heaven in this novel is whatever the person decides it is for them.

I did find one that is a non-Christian, which sparked my interest and presented more questions on what is heaven. Written by an American Jew, Joshua Cohen. A Heaven of Others (new edition to be ordered) presents a 10 year old Israeli boy’s account of the wrong heaven - the Muslim heaven of his murderer, a young Palestinian suicide bomber. Jonathan is sent to the heaven of oases, virgins and serpents. He narrates his attempt to reach the "right" heaven of his own people.

"All endings are beginnings we just don’t know it at the time". The Five People People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom, recounts the life and death of Eddie, a maintenance man of an old carnival, Ruby Pier. After dying in a freak accident, Eddie encounters five people who have influenced his life. Some of these people he had no idea of how important they were while he was alive. As one of the characters, The Blue Man, states "There are no random acts; we are all connected".

Read this interesting novel and see the connections Eddie has made and how they affected him here on earth and in his heaven. You will come to realize that everyone on earth, from the smallest unknown child to a celebrity that it seems everyone knows, has a part to play in history.

So what is your idea of Heaven? Or Hell? Are there any novels you can suggest? After all, most of us are searching for our own version of Nirvana.

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