Exactly how far is heaven?

Published: Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 10:00 AM.

Rather than asking if Jesus were to return today would you be ready? McBrayer asks what if Jesus doesn’t return for a decade, a century, or a millennia? What kind of world do we want to be a part of then?

“As Jesus proclaims and pointed to it, the kingdom of God is not an evacuation plan to rescue people from earth or to just save people from the sufferings of the afterlife,” McBayer said. “Rather, it is a revolutionary strategy to redeem the sufferings of earth by putting the rule and reign of heaven inside of people.”

In three of the four books McBrayer has written, including “How Far Is Heaven,” the kingdom of God has been the direct or indirect subject.

“This was also Jesus’ favorite subject,” McBrayer said. “Jesus used the phrase kingdom of God or the equivalent kingdom of heaven more than a hundred times in the gospels. As one whose spirituality is very Jesus-centered, meaning I spend much more time reading and hopefully practicing his words, one has to keep the kingdom of God continually in focus.”

As McBrayer, a columnist for The Walton Sun, read and studied the “red letter words” of the gospels, he discovered that Jesus was into storytelling.

“Jesus was not as much into doctrine and dogma as we Christians are,” McBrayer said. “So when he spoke about the kingdom of God he spoke about dinner parties and wedding feasts. He told tales about wandering sheep and prodigal sons. He talked about farmers sowing seed in a field, mustard seed taking over a garden like kudzu, yeast consuming a lump of dough, and a poor man discovering a lost treasure.”

Jesus told stories rather than wrote creeds, and it is these stories that fill “How Far is Heaven?” Many of the parables begin with “The kingdom of God is like …” and Jesus stressed the importance of the present kingdom of God.

1 2 3

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top

Local Faves