"Your Name's Not Down, You're Not Coming In"

Walking down Abington Street in Northampton in the hot sun this afternoon, my Christian friend and I passed a woman bellowing into a microphone: " If you don't let Jesus into your life, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven." "Bollocks," I said--though not loud enough for her to hear. In her fervour she looked rather like a dog in the convulsive stage of rabies. "That's what Christians think," my friend said, moving on very quickly. She didn't want to debate with me, she was shopping.
I dwelt on what the woman had said for a long time. I find premises like the one she had spat all over us disturbing, because the God I grew up with was a friendly, loving God, and the boy Jesus was a chilled-out hippie: surely He would disapprove of people making threats in His name, being all wrathful about everybody but themselves. And then I thought, Well, it wouldn't matter anyway, because most folks who haven't sworn fealty to Jesus don't believe in Heaven, so threatening them with exclusion from something they don't believe exists is hardly going to whip them into line.
If God does exist--and in my book it's an "if" the size of Aberdeen--my bet is that He'll look into our hearts when we are waiting outside the Gates of Heaven, and admit or reject using what He sees in there as His criteria. If He's only going to check your passport is in order, He seems like a funny sort of all-seeing all-knowing transcendental superbeing to me.

Dear Lord

can it be true
what i've been
told today--
that animals
don't go to heaven
because they
don't have souls
like we exalted
human beings?
if it is true
(as i'm assured),
and there'll be
no cats, no dogs
no birds there
when i croak
my last, then
lord, i'm just
not coming up.
i ask you humbly
to send me
where they go
with no animals
ain't heaven
to this angel head.


Anonymous said…
Amen, brother...amen...

...and what do you mean animals have no souls...who started that sort of ridiculous rumour???
Bruce Hodder said…
It was supposed to be the Catholics, though you know how Chinese whispers are...could have started anywhere! Imagine getting up there and finding no cats curled up on heavenly chairs...no pigeons cooing from palace porticos...no lambs stumbling down grassy hills and wetting hooves in ambrosial streams while their mothers bleat warnings. Imagine no spiders webs wet in morning dew. Appalling. Just horrible. That view of heaven fills the place with dowdy women and short men with military haircuts whose minds are too stunted to appreciate the beauty of the divine panoramas around them...they'd get up there and start trying to reform everything...clip the angels' wings...lengthen the garments of the cherubim for decency.
Email coming, Janey. I've had my head up my ass all week but it's been successfully removed now...
Anonymous said…
Well geez...If there is such a place designated as Heaven and it is free of the smells of a puppy's breath that oddly smells skunk-like...and is free of purring cats sleeping across my legs...then I suppose I'm headed to that raucous place where all my friends are destined to be with their pooches and felines...and horses...
Now what I haven't figured out is how I can come back in my next life as my own spoiled pet...
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