A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes…Hugh Downs
Quite honestly, going to hell is not high on my daily concern list.
This past Sunday was a beautiful Mid-November day in Kansas with a gentle breeze and a warm sun shining. A dear friend, Cliff, invited me to take a drive through the countryside to attend a Church luncheon and music service with a visiting Family Band. I quickly jumped at the opportunity to meet and socialize with people in this community.
Upon arrival at the Church, the first thing I saw up the sign out front which declared the denomination and I laughingly told Cliff that this was the religious group that had frightened me out of believing in God over 45 years ago and thankfully I had overcome that fear when I learned that God is not exclusive. Cliff laughingly said that it had been about that long ago that since he had been in a church for any reason except a funeral.
When walking through the front door, there was the energy of having entered a “scary movie” as pictured on the wall were four faces associated with a history of lying and deception: Richard Nixon, George Bush Senior and Junior, and … one I’m not positive but I think it was… J. Edgar Hoover. God knows there is a reason I don’t watch scary movies or read Stephen King books anymore. Cliff read the expression on my face and asked if I was okay.
The group was just completing the first service and ready for lunch which was really nice. We sat by a musician friend of Cliff’s who plays golf at the club at the “Lake” and a couple from Ottawa sat across from us. The Lady is a computer technician and we exchanged cards while talking. After lunch, we went outside to enjoy the sunshine and leave the depressive energy inside the Church.
Reluctant to re-enter the Church, we had about an hour before the music which we had come to hear began so we for a drive around the “Lake” that Cliff calls home. He moved to his little piece of paradise in Kansas about 7 years ago and lives a life of peace. For a living, he does what he loves and does it well therefore he never works a day in his life. For me, Cliff is not only a dear friend but a role model and mentor.
We re-entered the building to hear the “Wissmann Family” and be inspired. Their music and their family is truly an inspiration. As is written on their website, “Through each musical concert the family shares through humorous—and sometimes poignant—personal testimonies of the Lord’s work in their lives. Each of the children are involved in some aspect of the ministry. People are delighted to see the family’s close knit relationships as they encourage and interact with each other through every program.”
The Wissman Family is a testimony of God’s Love and that everyone on Earth is a member of the Band of God’s Children sharing life and living in Unity with the abundant resources provided for all by God. This would have been a wonderful service of praise to God had it ended with singing praise to God.
Unfortunately, the service then went into depression. Depression is a contagious disease which multiplies faster than cockroaches. Depression is easily spread by contact with mob mentality, fear and paranoia. There is not a lot of difference between going through depression and going through hell. The Pastor attempted to scar hell out of us by starting off with “they” are coming after us, in fact “they” are already on our shores. My mind immediately went into questioning mode.
Who is the “they” that he is warning us about? With the pictures in the foyer...Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover hanging around were we being warned about Communists? Then the Pastor made a very derogatory remark about our President and I remembered the Pictures of the Bushes in the foyer leading me into wondering if “they” were all people of color or Muslims or all financially challenged people?
As the message of fear and hatred of life spewed forth, I thought about standing up and walking out but I was wearing a red sweater and I thought that maybe “they” that the Pastor was talking about were witches, vampires, or some other “super natural” and I would bring down his wrath. What if I was a “they” and didn’t know it? I did experience a living hell during the time I sat in that service. He kept throwing out random Bible Verses out of context to reinforce his message of hate, bigotry, and fear. He was inviting us to go to a place where “they” wouldn’t be allowed to enter. Eternity began to look like a giant prison or fallout shelter where the privileged class locked themselves into segregation with all the loot.
Then came the really scary part where he offered the invitation for us to leave this life and go into Eternity with him. During this invitation, he kept asking people to raise their hand but his questions were double edged. He said if we knew we were Children of God and wanted to spend Eternity with the other people in that Church to raise our hand. Well, I know that like the seven billion other people on Earth, I am the Living Beloved Child of a Loving God but the thought of spending even another five minutes in this depressing hell was more than I was willing to commit to.
I kept thanking God that we had eaten the great lunch before the service because I would have been afraid to drink the punch after this service. Finally when the final Amen came, Cliff and I quickly left out the building; we were both respectful enough not to run until we got outside.
Once outside we made a joyful noise and thanked God for life and all that it brings. It took about an hour to completely let go of the depressive energy and remember to fear not and let not our hearts be troubled. Thank God for nerve calming beer!
Gospel means good news – Life is a precious gift to be loved.
Next week I will truly appreciate going to Unity to share in practical spiritual teachings that empower abundant and meaningful living.
Love, Light & Lots of Laughter…Joa