Eternal life

My early life was influenced by what Marcus Borg called an “earlier paradigm” of Christianity. I was not as focused on life after death as some folks, but Billy Graham (in the 1950s) and the dominant Protestant culture of my youth gave me a consciousness that included afterlife.

In my mid-20s, coincident with my time in seminary, I began to view life after death as “sheer bonus” (a Theodore Runyon phrase). I saw it not as an extension of earth-ways, but a cosmic, universal reality that is without beginning and without end. Eternity is now, and always.

A dear friend, shortly before his death at a relatively young age, told me that he had heard a definite though not audible Voice say, “You take care of things on your side of the river and I’ll take care of things on this side of the river.” The “river” became a comforting metaphor.

About a decade ago I studied with Richard Rohr for three days in Albuquerque with a peer group. I was helped by Rohr’s focus on a non-dual, unitive view of the Universe and on the generosity of a radical, grace-based, inclusive hospitality.

Add some Borg, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and others I’ve mentioned, and you get a Jesus-flavored universality that includes all creation, rests entirely on unmerited favor, or grace, and sees reconciliation, relational justice and healing as inherent to cosmic union and eternal life–a great celebration.

From Manna and Mercy: A Brief History of God’s Unfolding Promise to Mend the Entire Universe, by Daniel Erlander

6 thoughts on “Eternal life”

    1. Actually, I see all justice as relational. When a person is indicted for a crime, it is the State of California for example) against (the person’s name). I added the word “relational” because we too often see transgressions as a violation of an arbitrary rule that has been established by a hierarchical power (civil or religious). Many people carry a load of guilt around because they have internalized a parental voice, a teacher’s voice, or an understanding of a divine voice that has put them in a “gone wrong” state of being. Many times that is “false guilt” that we carry around needlessly. Social justice, wrongs we (individually, corporately or by society-at-large) have committed against others, etc., are important and should be addressed (seeking restitution, where possible). That’s part of the ultimate healing I see as inherent in salvation and eternal life.

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      1. Richard Rohr’s entry today about forgiveness seems to be saying the same thing in different words. When we are forgiving it is the best evidence of the love of God in us!!

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