Saturday, April 09, 2016

Nothing on the other side


  1. I thought this was going to be a response to today's reposting of a piece by (the late) Roger Ebert HERE. Since it too used the common phrase "nothing on the other side."

    Ebert begins his piece: I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear.

    I was pleasantly surprised by Nick's blogpost.

  2. A very good post by Nick Norelli.

    I too have sometimes thought about leaving the faith.

    Broadly speaking, the reason I'd be tempted to leave is because I'd want to indulge my sinful nature. The world and its many pleasures are often very attractive. I imagine it's like walking through the painted desert in the Southwest. Many alluring things in the painted desert. Many beauties to behold. Many treasures to unearth.

    Yet to wander off alone from the rest of the group in the middle of the desert would mean certain death from dehydration, exposure to the elements, wild creatures, and so forth. The world is a lovely "painted" desert, but it's still a desert. To remain in the desert would be deadly. This I know, and hence I pray: I pray the far greater beauty of God would like a fetter bind my wandering heart to the Lord.

    Just as well, I know to leave God would mean committing intellectual suicide. Like Nick said, I know God exists, and I know the Bible is true. Like Nick said, I can't "un-know" these things. I'd only be lying to myself to think otherwise.

    More to the point, I know I'd have to betray God to leave him. No need to mince words. It'd be utterly personal. It'd be utterly treacherous. That's because I not only know the God of the Bible exists in an intellectual sense, but I know so in a very deep and personal sense. If I were to leave God, I'd have to forsake God. It'd be like turning my back on my closest friends and family. It'd be as grotesquely intimate as looking a close friend or parent in the eyes while stabbing them in the heart.

    Could I do it? Could I betray a loved one who has never done me wrong and only done me good? Honestly?

    If I did, could I live with myself? Perhaps for a time. I'd either have to turn back to God, or I'd have to suppress my guilt. Those would be the only stark choices left to me.

    If I continued to suppress my guilt, though, I very much expect it'd eventually catch up to me. If I didn't turn back to God, then the only resolution this side of the infinite divide would be for me to end up like Judas Iscariot, and off myself to stop it.

    So, in the end, I know I couldn't leave God. I know I couldn't escape or flee from him. I just couldn't do it. Lord, you hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. And for that I'm thankful.

    1. Well said. I think you captured the dichotomy nicely. There really are just two ways, variously described as the narrow and broad ways, the way of wisdom and of folly, life and death.

      A former pastor was fond of pointing out that the hard choice for most people wasn’t heaven or hell, the hard choice is heaven or earth.