Good morning, y’all. A cloudy, rainy, windy day here in the mountains. We needed the rain, not begrudging it. I just hope “The Great Moderator” can keep it in perspective for us Appalachian folks.
Giving a nod to “The Great Moderator” starts me off on another spiritual train of thought. Maybe it was the telecast from The Full Gospel Original Church of God, yesterday, or maybe it’s just the shock of seeing my old face in the mirror this morning. Whichever, I seemed to be focused today on wondering about the great hereafter.
Man has been wondering about what comes next since before he was able to put one stone on top of another one. Look at my face, I know, I was there. In spite of my age, and my incomprehensible wisdom, I’ve not put together a formal statement that I can personally guarantee is correct. Uncle Bud’s “follow this path” program would have to be void at death. I’m thinking there’s probably going to be lawyers in Heaven and Hell, and I’m not prepared to give afterlife refunds.
Is belief in the afterlife a binary decision? I mean, think about it. If folks didn’t believe in Heaven and Hell would they behave? If you view, Heaven and Hell as the carrot and the stick, would we donkeys continue on the right path without the proper motivation?
Seems like Jewish folks are devoid of the concept of life everlasting, whether walking the streets of gold, or cast into the fiery pit. For our Jewish brothers and sisters it’s about the journey, not the destination. I like this system for its simplicity. Live a moral life and the afterlife will take care of itself. Sounds good to me.
A slightly more complicated view of afterlife is the concept of reincarnation as espoused by the Buddhists and Hindus. You get to keep coming back until you get it right, at which point you join with the “universal consciousness”, which I guess is their God. In reincarnation, life on Earth is Hell, which you keep repeating until you attain the spirituality to attain Heaven. Now, this is a decent enough concept, except that part of the repetition process is that you are reborn into the same family group each time. You keep being reborn with these same people until you get all of your issues resolved. Believe me, I know infinity is a bigger concept than my little mind can handle, but infinity isn’t a big enough time to work out my family issues.
There are some religions, like the Catholics, that believe in a middle state between Heaven and Hell called Purgatory. Purgatory is a nice catch all for the question of what happens to children that die before they’re saved, or adults who don’t receive the last rites. It gives hopes to the faithful that even if they die without being in a state of grace, there’s still hope for a heavenly reward. The Baptists refer to Purgatory as “Hell’s Waiting Room”. The Baptists are pretty adamant about attaining grace before dying. The Baptists don’t want any souls wandering around without a final destination.
One group that believes in souls or spirits in transition are the Spiritualists. Many years ago, Mulva and I happened into a Spiritualist church while traveling down in the Orlando, Florida area. Seems Central Florida is a hotbed for mediums and circus performers. Anyway, Mulva was still struggling with the loss of her mother, and was impressed by how the Spiritualists handle what we would call the “altar call”. Spiritualist leaders give “readings” for the people in the congregation that raise their hands.
Mulva was so impressed that we setup an appointment with a private medium who was highly recommended by the folks at the church. Ever the skeptic, I inquired of the medium how the process worked. She told me that when she went into a trance, her “spirit guide” would take over and handle the contact to Mulva’s mom for us. I asked about the “spirit guide” and was told that it was a Cherokee Indian named Blue Flower that had passed in an untimely death. By the way, Native Americans are the de facto standard for spirit guides.
Well, the medium closes her eyes and the next thing you know the medium is speaking in a slightly different voice, identifying herself as Blue Flower. At this point I say, “Otahitsu” to Blue Flower and wait for a response. “Otahitsu” is “how are you?” in Cherokee, which I just happen to know because of my great grandma Lowe. The normal response is “Hawa”, but Blue Flower only wants to know who we want to contact. I try again to no avail, and then let Mulva proceed.
Probing questions from the medium get Mulva to reveal enough information for the medium to give a “reading” and twenty minutes later we were done. A forty dollar “donation” was left in the basket as mediums can not charge for their “gift”, lest they run the risk of losing their “gift”. I’m sure taking remuneration as “gifts” is a lot easier than filing for a 501c deduction for tax purposes. Anyway, Mulva feels better, and for forty dollars it was a bargain.