Saturday, January 31, 2015
1012 C Street  •  Floresville, TX 78114  •  Phone: 830-216-4519  •  Fax: 830-393-3219  • 

WCN Site Search


Lost & Found


VideoLost: Black and white male Cocker Spaniel, around Pecan Park in Floresville on Jan. 7, wearing black collar with silver paw prints, reward! 830-393-2227.
Missing Kitten from The Ebay Store, across from Olivia's, beautiful gray & white female kitten. If you found her, please, please, bring her home. We miss her very much!
Lost: Shadow, black female mixed Lab, last seen by F.M. 1303 and Broken Arrow, Jan. 11, white patch on chest, tail curls when happy, 30 lbs. Call/text 817-705-1116.
More Lost & Found ads ›

Help Wanted

Paramedic and basics needed at Apollo Ambulance, must be TDH Certified as either paramedic or basic. Applications being accepted at 1301 Hospital Blvd. Floresville, Texas.
Seeking individual to work in a local child-care center, paid holidays, etc., must be high school grad or GED. Apply in person at Cubs Country Childcare, 212 FM 1346 in La Vernia.
More Help Wanted ads ›

Featured Videos





Video Vault ›

Commentaries


Easter and Heaven




E-Mail this Story to a Friend
Print this Story

Disclaimer:
The author of this entry is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
April 3, 2012 | 1,912 views | 1 comment

By Dr. Gary Scott Smith

As Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ this Easter, heaven is naturally on the minds of many. Recent polls indicate that between 75 and 90 percent of Americans believe that heaven exists, percentages that far exceed the belief by residents of other Western nations.

As the author of “Heaven in the American Imagination,” I have recently been interviewed for both a television special and a “Time” magazine article on heaven. The widespread belief among Christians that we, like Jesus, will live after our death, has led many to ask what heaven is like. Throughout history Americans have offered many different answers to this question.

Although their interpretation of biblical passages has guided most Christians in describing heaven, their cultural settings, dreams, and hopes have also shaped their portraits as expressed in music, art, and literature.

Throughout American history, theologians and pastors have typically depicted heaven as an actual place of dazzling beauty, unending delight, and greatly expanded knowledge. Americans have largely agreed that heaven is a spectacular and delightful home for people who are aware of their own identities and life histories, enjoy rich fellowship with others, enthusiastically worship God, do meaningful work, and experience fantastic joy.

However, deeply influenced by their own life experiences and differing political, social, and economic circumstances, American Christians have provided conflicting portraits of heavenly life. From the Puritans in the 1600s to the Second Great Awakening of the antebellum years, most Christians depicted a God-centered heaven that focused on worshiping and serving the Trinity. Since the Civil War, many portraits of heaven have focused on service, education, and personal growth as these concepts became more important in American society.

During the last decade, several major cultural trends--especially increased anxiety, the prominence of our entertainment culture, the impact of the therapeutic worldview, and concerns about the breakdown of the family and the impoverishment of personal relationships--have shaped American views of heaven.

This has led Christians to offer competing pictures of heaven as a place of comfort, enriching entertainment, self-actualization, robust relationships, and bliss. Heaven has been depicted as a haven from the world’s ills, a magnificent home, a posh vacation resort, a perpetual playground, a therapeutic center, and a place of incredible happiness. Some conceptions of paradise provide a soothing antidote to the anxiety-arousing and disconcerting events that lead many newscasts and newspaper headlines. Heaven promises a pleasant respite from the world’s perils, tragedy, and despair.

America’s focus on entertainment, and fear that heaven may be boring, has prompted depictions of paradise as the ultimate recreation center. Anthony DeStefano’s best-selling “A Travel Guide to Heaven” portrays the celestial realm as “Disney World, Hawaii, Paris, Rome, and New York all rolled into one.” “Heaven is a pleasure palace, a fairyland ... and a never-ending vacation.... It’s the ultimate adventure for travelers of all ages.”

For others, the afterlife is principally about introspection and self-actualization. It is the place where individuals listen to their inner child, repair their self-esteem, and finally attain closure. In phenomenally popular books, “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” and “The Lovely Bones,” Mitch Albom and Alice Sebold respectively explain that heaven exists to help people make sense of their earthly lives.

Influenced by a culture that promotes and prizes personal happiness, still others make happiness a key feature of heavenly life. “God will supply us with everything we’ll ever need” to be happy in heaven, declared Billy Graham. Another evangelical predicts that the saints will have “the athleticism of Michael Jordan, the mind of Albert Einstein, and the creativity of Charles Dickens.” Finally, for many, heaven is primarily a place of reunion with family members and friends, characterized by love, intimacy, and comfort.

Americans’ great interest in heaven is evident today in book sales, television and movie themes, art, and music. Books based on the near-death experiences have been especially popular and influential in shaping American conceptions of the afterlife. More than a year after its publication, “Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back” is still number one on The New York Times Best Seller List for nonfiction.

As Christians celebrate Easter this year, they rejoice that Christ’s resurrection promises that those who trust in him as their Savior will someday join him in paradise. Until that occurs, Christians will continue to debate the features and wonders of heaven.

Dr. Gary Scott Smith chairs the history department at Grove City College and is a fellow for faith and the presidency with The Center for Vision & Values. He is the author of “Heaven in the American Imagination” (Oxford University Press, 2011). © 2012 by The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. The views & opinions expressed herein may, but do not necessarily reflect the views of Grove City College.
 
« Previous Blog Entry (March 30, 2012)
 


Your Opinions and Comments

 
Elaine K.  
Floresville  
April 3, 2012 9:37am
 
 
New post.
 

Share your comment or opinion on this story!


You must be logged in to post comments:



Other Commentaries

Commentaries
Commentaries page govtrack.us
Commentaries who represents me?
Sacred Heart SchoolBlue Moon Karaoke & DJChester WilsonVoncille Bielefeld homeEast Central Driving SchoolHeavenly Touch homeWilson's Auto ChooserAllstate & McBride RealtyDrama KidsTriple R DC Experts

  Copyright © 2007-2015 Wilson County News. All rights reserved. Web development by Drewa Designs.