04 September 2011

The Big Guy Has A Beard

There's nothing like accounts of religious revelation.

Colton Burpo, who's claimed to have visited Heaven (the place of the white light, angel and fluffly white clouds rather than the defunct Melbourne nightclub) at the age of four, reports that Jesus has a beard, bare feet, white robes and a purple sash. Indeed.

Burpo's short-term trip to domains celestial is recounted in Heaven Is For Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back (Thomas Nelson, 2011) by Todd Burpo, Sonja Burpo, Colton Burpo and Lynn Vincent, the latter being Sarah Palin's ghostwriter.

The book includes passages such as -
"What do people look like in heaven?"

"Everybody's got wings", Colton said.

Wings, Huh? "Did you have wings?" I asked.

"Yeah, but mine weren’t very big." He looked a little glum when he said this.

"Okay ... did you walk places or did you fly?"

"We flew. Well, all except for Jesus. He was the only one in heaven who didn't have wings. Jesus just went up and down like an elevator."
Oh, great, an elevator, albeit with eyes that "were just sort of a sea-blue and they seemed to sparkle" and one-liners such as "I had to die on the cross so that people on earth could come see my Dad".

JC has a very big seat just next to that of his dad.

All in all it's an entirely missable tract unless you are fascinated by religious kitsch and by the latest breathless iteration of the "it's big, it's real, and I'm back to tell you about my visit" genre.

Sister Choo Nam Thomas in Heaven Is So Real (Charisma Press) - well, if you have been there you are unlikely to report that it is so dull, or fake, or cheesy - reports on how the guy with the beard taught her a special dance, which sounds something like the Frug.

Conveniently, she claims that people who reject her message are under the influence of the Devil. Those who are sick need to cast out the Devil, pray and repent rather than summon a surgeon or reach for the pharmaceuticals. Presumably if they avoid medicine they'll go upstairs (or to the big rotisserie downstairs) so much quicker.

Televangelist Morris Cerullo - another recurrent day-tripper to the great beyond, and on first name terms with the big guy - announces that -
At [his] World Conference, God will prepare you to face every circumstance and every satanic assault you are facing these days in this worldwide economic famine. You will be assured of 100 percent victory in your family, finances, property, health, as well as your lost, prodigal and unsaved loved ones!
Oh yes, and there's the usual blind getting to see, lame to walk etc although - as I've pointed out elsewhere - the miracle-working seems quite selective because there are no reports of missing arms, legs, hands, fet or other excised body parts miraculously reappearing. Amputation, it seems, is forever.