Friday, September 04, 2015

Knowing Boo About Heaven

I was waylaid in writing today's blog entry by two inquiries from Bridge St. UC members about the possibilities for sponsorship of a refugee family. I was encouraged that they took the initiative to contact me. I spoke with a Belleville colleague earlier this week about the same concern.

My plan was and apparently still is to blog about an intriguing novel I read this summer called Boo, by Neil Smith. I doubt I would have sought Boo out if I hadn't heard Smith interviewed by the CBC's Sheila Roger's and been charmed by him.

The story is of a  precocious 13-year-old boy who is cruelly nicknamed Boo by bullying schoolmates because of his pale complexion. He is a ghost to them and ironically becomes one, or so he offers, when he gunned down in a school shooting.

Boo is an atheist, as are his parents,  but to his surprise he ends up in heaven. He ends up in a colony of the afterlife which is populated entirely of 13-year-olds who have died young from a variety of causes over the course of many decades. This heaven isn't all that palatable in any aspect. The food is bland and they are sequestered in structures that are very much like a middle school back on Earth. Age thirteen can be an awkward time of life. Imagine a gaggle of early adolescents living together.

Boo doesn't know who his murderer and that of a classmate was. Much of the story is devoted to solving that mystery and exploring the rumours that there are portals back to their first lives. It was both entertaining and insightful.

Ruth, my wife, also read it and enjoyed it. We agreed that it required suspension of any notions about heaven, but what do we really know anyway? As I am inclined to say, I have a resurrection hope in Christ, and trust that there is an afterlife, but no one sends postcards. I am a Christian pastor but I don't have a lick of control over eternity and it would be wrong to claim great knowledge about it, or attempt to manipulate it as either carrot or stick.

I am reasonably sure that the heaven of Boo is not an accurate portrayal but I'm glad it got us talking. What are your thoughts about heaven? Don't know boo about it? Are you living this life with a sense of eternal promise?


roger said...

Like you say, nobody sends postcards - I need to remember that one! I really hope there is an afterlife.

Although I have not converted, I have recently taken a great interest in Islam and the life of the Prophet Mohammed. The Prophet was and is a contentious individual, but I am fascinated by his life. I am also intrigued about Islam's beliefs in Heaven and Hell.

I figure that of all the religions in the world that believe in an afterlife, one of them's gotta be right!

As for the book, I have been exclusively a non-fiction reader for many years....but your description of this book interests me. I will be including it on my next order on Amazon!

Judy said...

Jesus was a contentious individual, too...