We hear about heaven and the supernatural on late-night TV far more often than in church, and many Christians never hear it mentioned seriously from the pulpit. Everyone has something to say about their hopes and fears for the afterlife, but the topic of eternity is usually left to the talk shows. Ironically heaven is ignored by contemporary Christian preachers who stress the dailiness and this-worldliness of religious faith. That emphasis is salutary, but it does tend to marginalize the subject of eternity rather than challenging and deepening our ideas through theological reflection.
Each of the authors in this book was asked to write a short personal essay on the subject of heaven. This collection of essays gathers the hopes and reflections of theologians, novelists, and poets. The authors include Rick Moody, Nora Gallagher, Robert Orsi, Barbara Brown Taylor, Phyllis Tickle, Malcolm Boyd, Alan Jones, Cynthia Bourgeault, Donna Schaper, Susan Wheeler, and many others. These writings, which mix autobiography, story-telling, and theological reflection, are so poignant and wide-ranging that we can all find ourselves in them--and start telling our own stories about heaven.
"This thoughtful, rewarding volume is recommended for Episcopal libraries and all others where there is easy acceptance of shared creative thought."
—The Church and Synagogue Library Association
"Heaven is a thought provoking book without easy answers. The essays come from poets, therapists, pastors, novelists, teachers, and artists. In the end, the writers most often seem to agree with an idea in Peter Hawkins' essay, 'Astonish me O Lord, and let it be world without end.'"
—The Living Church
"The wonderful variety of heavens represented in this volume is its greatest strength. It may be just the thing for a formal or informal group of people willing to engage the breadth of our tradition's teaching on the afterlife. It could certainly spark the kind of conversations that might continue until the 'last day.'"
—Anglican Theological Review