Change is hard, and not always for the best

Our church is going through a very difficult transition period.

Actually, it’s gone through many in the past decade, but this one seems to be the hardest. And while, in the long run, it might be for the best, right now it is not good. Very not good.

I share this in hopes of connecting with others and hopefully sparking some conversation.

So here’s some details.

We’re a small church. The highest I’ve seen our membership in the past 10 years was about 200. On average there’s been less than 100 of us. The lowest we’ve been is 15. It might have been lower than that for actual membership, but one Sunday – several in fact – there were 15 people in the seats. That included my wife and (at the time) 6 children.

At the time we joined the church, my wife and I were the youngest adults in attendance. And we were in our mid-30s. There was probably a 20-year gap to the next oldest. For a long time, our church was primarily ‘gray’. The “older folks” greatly outnumbered the “younger folks”. And except for my own, we had no kids.

Fast forward 10 years. Now there are many younger folks, and lots of kids. But the ‘gray’ crowd, is leaving. In droves. Some are telling us why, most just stop coming, stop talking to us, and just break all connection with us.

And while that in itself is not fatal to our membership numbers, since we are gaining younger folks and our numbers are about the same, it has been devastating to our finances. Truth is, younger families with kids just don’t give as much as older, retired folks.

Now that’s the facts. Sorry if that sounds cold and ‘numbery’ and all the other things we’re not really supposed to worry about when ‘doing’ church, but I had to lay it out there just for the background.

When you look away from the numbers, to the love and support and the spiritual grown of the church, we are thriving. We have a great preacher on staff, a great secretary that supports the whole set up, and a really great leadership team that is full of great people with varied skills.

But then we hit a wall. And we’re stalled.

We had a flood of fantastic ideas, we formed teams to run things, and then just…. flat. People got busy, meetings were canceled, others just gave up, and the teams sputtered and then died.

So we’re here, facing a huge shift in our demographic age wise – but also diversity. Now diversity is good. One of our principles as a church is to be a mosaic, a whole made up of very different parts. In that we are succeeding, but I think the change has been too much for some of the ‘old school’ folks and for whatever reason – agism, racism, old-way-ism – they felt it was time to move on.

So what does a church do in this situation? The word panic comes to mind, but that’s not what we need to do. We could do the ol’ “step out in faith” giving sermon, but that’s not something we do.

Here’s my personal opinion:

 

Modernize. Fast.

I know that’s kind of a dirty word in church – “modernize”, because tradition is important. And it is, it really is. But there’s traditon and then there’s “they way we’ve always done it”. Nothing kills anything faster than “this is how it’s supposed to be because we always do it this way”.

There’s a story I’ve heard several times.

A church did communion every week. Many churches do it, but this particular church had a very particular way that they did it. With great ceremony the elements were brought in, th trays carefully stacked with decorative cloths draped over them. After the elements were passed, the cloths were then ceremoniously draped back over and the trays quickly returned to the kitchen.

One day someone asked “why?” Why so quickly brought to and from the kitchen and why the cloths? What was the Biblical reason? No one knew, but everyone knew that it ‘had to be that way’. Finally someone took the time to find out. Only one person knew. Betty, a 98 year old founding member. Expecting great wisdom, everyone gathered around to hear. “The cloths and the shuffling back and forth from the kitchen”, Betty said, “is to keep the flies off the elements. If we don’t keep the trays in the fridge, and if we don’t keep them covered when they’re not in the fridge, the flies get on them.” Flies? The church didn’t have an insect problem. But then they realized. 50 years before, the church didn’t have air conditioning or heating. It didn’t even have electricity originally. The doors and windows were kept wide open during the warm months of the year, so there were always flies. But as the church modernized, the flies were kept out.

Yet the old ways remained, even when no one could remember why they were doing it.

Author Neale Donald Walsch put it this way:
“Honor the tradition, but expand the understanding. That’s what religions must do right now if they hope to be helpful to humans in the years ahead.”

If you don’t understand why things are the way they are, then we need to figure it out. If we can’t figure it out, then ditch it. But more than that, the tradition is not as important as the understanding. The root, the reason, God, the Bible, the people – if that is not ‘it’ then your church doesn’t have ‘it’.

But what does that look like in practice? What are the practicalities of it? What does a church need to actually DO to catch up?

There are some realities that can’t be avoided. Not the least of which is money. Churches need money to function. There are expenses. Bills that need to be paid. Paychecks for staff. That reality can’t be avoided. Churches also need buildings, be it their own or a rented space or whatever. That too can’t be avoided.

But then what?

All the rest is negotiable. All of it. Every bit of it. (Ok, so a church also needs the Bible, but I figured that was assumed, and discussions on the interpretation thereof and all that are for another blog post.)

Modernize. It’s not a bad word. You don’t have to compromise belief to do it.

You want to reach ‘millennials’ or anyone else, you reach them where they live instead of expecting them to come to you. And they live in the new millennium. Our fast-paced, social-media connected, world is what it is now. That’s where people live. And that is where your church needs to live.

 

I’ve ranted enough now. What I really need is discussion. What are your thoughts?

 

Thoughts On The First Clinton/Trump Debate

This evening, Trump and Clinton will face off in the first republican/democratic debate of this election year.

 

Yippee. So thrilled. Really.

Disclaimer: Offically, CWOTI as an entity doesn’t endorse any candidate. Personally, I think it’s stupid for newspapers or any other organization to endorse anyone. Who cares? A newspaper can’t vote, so what difference does it make who they say they endorse?

And I have own opinion about who to vote for. But that’s not the point of this post. The point is the debates. And how pointless they are. Especially now.

Trump said he didn’t think debate moderators should fact-check the participants. And the executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates agreed. It remains to be seen what the moderator of tonight’s debate or any other will do, but the ground is already laid for claiming that a moderator is biased against one candidate or the other if they fact-check ANYTHING.

As a result, tonight’s debate, and any that follow are pointless. If the candidates can say whatever they want without being held accountable IN THE MOMENT, then why bother?

Seriously, why even freaking bother? Oh, sure you can watch the debate while also following someone that will be fact-checking, but if you follow a Trump supporter, they won’t really fact-check Trump, and a Clinton supporter won’t really fact-check Clinton, so if you follow different people, you can get multiple “facts”.

But here’s the thing:

Facts are FACTS – facts, by definition, aren’t debatable. They aren’t things to argue about. Truth is truth. Reality is reality. These aren’t things our Presidential candidates, let alone anyone with half a brain, should be debating.

But that is exactly what will happen tonight and in the following debates. Facts won’t be presented, they’ll be argued. Worse, they won’t even be argued fairly. There will be a lot of hand-waving and interrupting and lots of wink-wink nudge-nudge to their supporters, but in the end, nothing will change.

Trump supporters will still support Trump, Clinton supporters will still support Clinton, and few, if any, undecided people will decide. (And honestly, who is still undecided at this point? The campaigns have been going on for years already.)

Bottom line is this: It doesn’t matter. The debates between now and election day don’t matter. Because you won’t learn anything, your opinion of your candidate won’t change, and both sides will declare that they won and that the other side broke rules or that the moderator didn’t do his job or blah blah blah.

Will you be watching? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Why is everyone so stupid?

It was a rough weekend, this third weekend of September 2016. Bombs, a suspect in custody, an innocent man gunned down for having his vehicle broken down. Politicians of all stations flapping their lips about refugees and terrorism and supporting law enforcement. All the talking head channels want us to think that everything they say is the most important ever.

And the stories trickle down to social media. And the rest of us talk about it. And boy do we talk. And boy do we love to claim that anyone that has a different opinion than us is stupid.

We love to say things like:
If you really believe that…..

….I’ve got a bridge to sell you….
….you’re as bright as a burned out light bulb…..
….dumber than a box of rocks……
….etc…..

Or maybe we’re less aggressive and instead use phrases like “I’m sorry you were triggered because I have a different opinion”. Or some other no-less rude phrase.

All because they disagree. Obviously, we’re smart because our opinion is the best, and everyone else is dumb.

When honestly, we’re all stupid. Few of us see the whole picture, or even try to, and all we really want to do is be right.

I have a picture of the world. An ideal picture of the world based on my experiences, things I’ve read, my religious and political beliefs, and an imagined vision of what the world could be. Based on that ideal picture, I have opinions on things. Stories in the news, things people say, shows on TV… my opinions are mine. Some change easily, like what my favorite movie is, others change less easily, like my political party affiliation.

My opinions are mine, so I believe they are right. Obviously, or I’d change them. And I will defend my opinions because I think they’re right. If I’m writing an essay like this, or giving a speech that’s easy. I state my case and I answer questions.

But social media is different. I can state my opinion in 140 characters or less, then pretty much abuse anyone that comments that they think differently.

I witnessed an exchange from a community member that went like this:

Magzine posts a link about refugees and terrorism.
Community member states the fact that in the case of the bombs in NY and NJ, the suspect was a nationalized American that came to the country when he was 7.
Troll states he was Muslim, that all terrorists are Muslims and therefore all Muslims are terrorist. It’s a ‘pattern’.
Community member states that a religion is not a pattern.
Troll digs in and passive-aggressively apologizes for ‘triggering’ but all Muslims are obviously terrorists.
And from there….
you’re stupid
you’re racist
you don’t know what you’re talking about
you’re an idiot if you think that

And so on.

We’ve all done it. We all will do it. We all will continue to do it.

Why?

Because we can. Because social media gives us the platform to be anonymous and terrible. Because our boundaries are ours to protect. And no matter how hard we try, at some point, someone is going to cross a boundary that we consider sacred. And that person is an idiot.

And then “love thy neighbor” and all the other rules we try to live by go right out the window. Because we can’t face the person we’re talking to, we can’t sit down with them and actually talk. So we whip out a sentence or two at a time, pretending we’re ‘debating’ when we’re really just wanting to win.

We’re all stupid.

Me included.

And I hate to say it, even ashamed to say it, but I must admit…..

I love it.

I LOVE it. I love feeling that I made a ‘zinger’ or that I hammered on someone to the point they started ignoring me, or the coup de gras: when I have made them so angry they block me.

Then I won.

I LOVE IT.

So help me, it’s rude, it’s wrong, it’s very un-Christ-like, but I love it.

It’s an addiction.

And I’m hooked.

I think a lot of us are.

And that, right there, is the real problem with discussions on social media. We’re addicted to winning. We are right, and we will be right and when we prove we’re right, either through our opponents’ admission or through getting them to quit, we win.

So let me offer a better way, for you and for me, than winning.

When I was in high school, there was a debate team. We had debate competitions. When we went to these events we didn’t get to choose the topic or the side we were on. For example, we’d go and the judges would have three envelopes. In one was the topic “women in the military” (this was the 80s), in another was “global warming” (yes, we talked about it back then), and in the last was “should Reagan run for re-election”. The judges would pick one at random. Then they’d flip a coin. The “heads” team would argue ‘for’ and the tails team would argue ‘against’. We’d have a heads up before the competition what the topics might be, but we’d have to be prepared to argue either side – no matter what our personal belief might be. You have to remember that this was in the days before the Internet. We had to prepare by doing the research before the event. And once the coin was flipped we had to a couple of minutes to prepare, but that was all. And yes, our goal was to ‘win’ but not necessarily be proving our point, but by being the better debate team.

To simplify, we had to win by knowing the topic better than the other team.

We had to KNOW the topic, both sides, better than the OTHER SIDE.

And social media makes it too easy to no know.  It makes it too easy to assume the other side doesn’t know either and just go in guns blazing.

We need to stop that. We need to not jump into the discussion and INSTEAD stop, research, and know.

Even if you never end up responding, it is far better to KNOW. Even if you don’t agree with the other side, you NEED TO KNOW IT. Then, and only then, can you truly understand the issue and know, truly know if you are on the right “side”.

So here’s the challenge. The next time you feel compelled to respond because someone is wrong, stop, count to 10, then read something about the issue. Steer away from opinions and blogs and focus on finding out as much truth about the issue as you can. Take 10, 15 minutes and find as many fact-based links as possible. Then read as many as you can before you respond.

I know, that takes all the fun out it.

But you might learn something.

 

 

Let's Ramble A Bit

I don’t write enough. I like writing, but I can never motivate myself to do it. I guess I’m always nervous that it’s not good enough, that it’s not going to get read, etc etc etc.

But I should just write. Even if it’s not good, it’s saying something. If I have something to say, I should say it, right? I started this community because I felt I had something to say, so I should just say it. Even if you, dear reader, think I’m a terrible writer, even if you hate my guts, even if you think you need to come and burn down my house, I should just let the things out of my head and heart before they consume me.

So this post is just me, rambling for a while, to see if there is something worth saying. Feel free to respond in any way you like (except for burning down my house, my kids live here too.)

What’s on my mind right now is the US Presidential Election. In spite of my faith telling me that God is in control, that our kingdom as Christians is ‘not of this world’ and so on, I’m still obsessed with this mess that we as a country have gotten ourselves into.

If you follow me on facebook, you know I am a liberal. Unashamedly a liberal. People that say “you can’t be liberal and Christian” don’t have an honest picture of being either a Christian or a liberal (or a conservative for that matter). Most of those that call themselves “Christian Conservative” are only concerned about what they see as faith issues – Pro-life, ‘Biblical’ marriage (as they call it)… things like that, but also, for reasons I can’t comprehend, the Second Amendment, the death penalty, and social safety-net programs – and aren’t concerned at all about things like foreign policy, corporate accountability, and about a million other things that only a government of, by, and for the people can do. In fact, I would venture to say that a very small amount of what our congressmen and President do are blown up in the media and on social media to be the whole picture and the things we need to really be worried about are hardly spoken of at all.

Last night’s “Commander In Chief” forum – or whatever they called it – if proof of this. The moderator (who should, in my opinion, be fired from his network immediately) spent 10 minutes talking to Clinton about emails – an issue that should be dead already – then interrupted her constantly to remind her he had limited time. But when it came to Trump, The Donald was allowed to not only lie in America’s collective face, he was allowed to speak as long as he wanted without ever, not once, being challenged or told to be brief. Trump praised our cold-war enemy and blamed women in the military for their own rapes.

Yet in spite of anything he said, people are still going to vote for him because they believe he represents their conservative Christian values, that the sanctity of marriage, unborn babies, and all that other stuff will be held in the highest regard. When, in fact, Trump doesn’t support hardly any of those things.

So what are we as Christians to do?

Some will say “don’t bother”. I’ve heard on multiple fronts that we shouldn’t bother to vote because God is in control and God will choose the king (Daniel 2:20). And that we should be subject to whatever authority is over us because that is God’s will (Romans 13:1-2; funny how that only seems to apply to leaders Christian teachers like…) and our job is just to trust God. So don’t vote, don’t be involved in ‘earthly’ politics and just go with the flow.

And while I agree, to a point, that respecting God means respecting authority (in the sense that when a police officer says ‘keep your hands on the wheel’ you keep your hands on the wheel). That doesn’t mean we BLINDLY ACCEPT everything that authority says or does. Nor doesn’t it mean we don’t participate in that authority. Vote.  IF God has indeed chosen the authority, in the US, that means God has chosen the PEOPLE to govern THEMSELVES. In a democracy, the PEOPLE who VOTE ARE the ‘king’.

And as Christians, voters, given the authority, it is our duty, our DUTY, not just to vote, but be INFORMED voters. Not just passionate about our chosen issues, but at least passingly informed about things that might not even affect us. For example, I am a married, middle-aged, straight person. LGBTQ issues don’t directly affect me. But someone I know might be affected by how I vote, so it behooves me to know something about where the candidates stand on those issues.

And not just Presidential candidates. On that kind of thing, our congressmen, our state legislatures, our city councils, our school boards have way way WAY more influence. So we need to know where ALL our candidates stand.

But I digress. Let’s get back to the Presidential candidates.

As I said, this election is a disaster in so many ways. “Hillary can’t be trusted” some say. Ok, so why? Why can’t she be trusted? Bengahzi? Emails? In what ways has she shown that she as a politician (other than just being a politician) that she can’t be trusted? And trusted with what, exactly? State secrets? Foreign relations? These are things she’s already had experience with. Not just as a President’s wife, but as a senator and Secretary of State in her own right.

Do I like her? No. Not really. But me liking her as a person, as a speaker, has nothing to do with the issues, or how she will perform in the office. Will I vote for her. Yes. Why? Because there is really only one alternative.

(And before you tell me “Gary Johnson! Jill Stein!” I am well aware of those two. Dr. Stein is polling, in many places, behind a fake person (Deez Nuts) and a dead gorilla (Harambe). Even if I thought she was qualified, she doesn’t have a chance to be on enough ballots, nor get enough votes, to actually win. And Mr. Johnson, just today, displayed his ignorance by responding “What’s Allepo?” when asked what he would do as President about the situation there. Also, being a resident of the state where he was governor, I am all too familiar with how he does things. His time in office was marked by corruption and a huge amount of not doing anything – costing the state millions when our infrastructure started to fall apart due to neglect during his tenure.

So no, Johnson and Stein aren’t serious candidates.)

Trump. Donald Trump.

I remember when Trump first became a celebrity back in the 80s. He appeared on a show called “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”, showing off his condo with gold plated everything. He was the definition of the excessiveness of the 80s. He used his new-found fame to build a brand. The Trump brand. He didn’t build businesses or buildings or casinos, be built a brand. All the rest was used to prop up that brand. And since his name was the brand, when all the rest failed, bombed, and went bankrupt, the brand appeared successful. Trump is not a great business man. He’s a failed multiple times business man. If his name wasn’t Trump, we wouldn’t even know who he was. But he sold the name. And everyone seems to believe that he’s using his business-savvy-ness to ‘buck the system’. If he runs the country the way he’s run his businesses (multiple failures) we’ll be in serious trouble. He’s continuing to sell his brand. Even when he loses (and God willing he will lose) he will still succeed, because the brand will be carried forward and he’ll sell books, speak at fund raisers and still be ‘successful’ in everyone’s eyes.

If there is one thing you really need to look at, it’s the forum last night. He flat out revealed things from classified security briefings. Matt Lauer, in spite of his many failings, even called him on it – it was the one thing the moderator called him on.

But then he also wants us to just “take” the oil out of Iraq and he’s apparently best friends with Putin.

Are you not scared?

If God chooses kings, and he has chosen the American people to be their own king, then it is our sacred obligation to vote. And vote wisely. If God is in control, if Christ is the head of the church, if we are the Body, the hands and the feet that are to be doing and going, then it is our job to vote for the best candidates, from President on down, to best represent, care for, and love God’s people.

At almost 1500 words, I think I’ve rambled enough on this topic. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little brain dump. Have a great day.

I went to a funeral today

*Ranty/rambly post that might not actually say anything. Feel free to skip it.

I went to a funeral today. A very nice funeral for a good guy that really didn’t deserve the disease that took him from this world.

I knew the guy, but at the same time I barely knew him. He served, and when he got sick resigned, as an Elder in our church. During a difficult time in our church he even served as Preacher to keep our little church family together.

I say I knew him because serving in the same church, we were in the same place a lot. For more than 10 years we spent a good portion of our Sundays together. We never really spoke much except a handshake and a ‘how are you’. About 9 years ago, during a July 4th picnic, he cornered me and gave me a 2 hour lecture on how I was abusing my kids by homeschooling them. (Well, it wasn’t as direct as that, the phrasing he used was “homeschooling is just a cover for child abuse”. But his opinion of the practice was very clear.) But then when our van broke down and the shop we took it to gave us an outragious quote, he took it from them and had it fixed for us. We never saw a bill. Then when the time came to nominate new deacons, and my name came up, his only comment was “he should have been made one a long time ago.”

But then I didn’t know him at all. A lot of people shared a lot of things at the service yesterday, about his work life, about things I never knew he was a part of. As is true in every church family, the family member have an entire life outside the church that church member might never be a part of.

As is the case when funerals happen, my thoughts have turned introspective. And that’s what I want to talk about today. The random things that are fogging my thinking when faced, once again, with the reality of death.

And my predominate feeling whenever death enters my mind is TERROR.

Anyone that says they don’t fear death – unless they are literally facing death because of chronic illness or something – is a liar. Everyone fears death. I think a fear of death is healthy. It keeps us from doing stupid things. It’s what makes us look both ways before crossing the street. It’s what makes us face something like cancer and say “I am going to beat this”.

Fear of death is good. Being terrified of it is healthy. Right? When death enters my mind, I get the same feeling I get when I drive on ice and I feel the wheels slip. The same feeling I get when I lean back to far in a chair and start to fall. When I’m on the edge of a cliff and look down.

It’s a natural feeling. It’s the feeling of “something is wrong and if I don’t change that something, bad things could happen”.

Fear of death is good. It keeps us alive.

But at the same time…….

Ok, going to get really personal here. Really really personal. But I share these things not to say “hey, it’s all about me” but to say “hey, this is where I’ve been – maybe you’re there and you need to know you’re not alone.”

So here goes….

I’ve faced death. A couple of times. More than a couple. Once it was aimed at my face. Other times, I aimed it at my own face.

I worked as a pizza delivery guy in a big-ish city. The place was always busy. Like insanely busy. If you remember “4 bucks 4 bucks 4 bucks”, then you get the idea. I enjoyed the job, for the most part. I got to drive around, listen to my radio, have some interesting encounters, and for the most part the tips were fantastic. And it’s because of those tips that sometimes, not very often, but sometimes, pizza guys (and gals) are a target.

And it was on an exceptionally busy night, New Year’s Eve, that I became that target.

I think the guy knew the best time to get the most money from a driver. Even though we practiced the very strict rule of “drivers don’t carry more than $20”, we often took more than one order out at a time, and if we took a few large orders out at a time, we sometimes had a big wad of cash on hand until we got back to the shop. (This was the days before online ordering and credit card payments over the phone. Practices that are really common now.)

And that was the case. I was on my 4th stop, last one before going back, and I probably had $200 in cash. My practice was not to keep it in my company-provided fanny pack, but to put it in a pouch under my seat. A lot of drivers did that. And the robber knew it too. (I don’t think he was ever arrested, but the people at my shop told me they believed he was a former employee.)

I’m returning to my car after that last stop, and suddenly there is a gun in my face.

I wasn’t a hero, in fact I was a coward. More to the fact, I cried. Literally. Tears running down my face crying. I gave him the fanny pack, and when he asked for it, I gave him the pouch under the seat. He shoved them in his shirt and ran.

I drove as quickly as I could back to the shop (not very far away), where there were lots of people and it was very well lit, and spent several minutes completely falling apart. I don’t remember much else. The police showed up and took a statement. I clocked out and went home. I applied at a different place closer to home the next day and was hired almost on the spot.

Maybe I’m over-dramtising the details in my head, all this time after the fact, and it could be argued that I wasn’t actually facing death because maybe it wasn’t a real gun, maybe it wasn’t loaded, maybe he never would have shot me. But the point is, I BELIEVED it was real, and my reaction was to change from a big, six-foot three man into a blubbering idiot.

Actually, no, I wasn’t an idiot. Fear of death is not idiotic. Fear of death kept me from doing something idiotic, doing what I had been trained to do (cooperate fully with the robber).

(And you “if it had been me, I would have been carrying” guys have a thought, keep it to yourself. Even if I had a weapon – something that would have got me fired – even if i had it in a holster at my side – I wouldn’t have been able to use it. He came practically out of nowhere, and the whole scene with the car door and everything – if I drew it out you would see that the ‘second amendment’ wouldn’t have made a lick of difference, so don’t even….)

That was the first time.

The other times are harder to talk about because it wasn’t someone else pointing a gun at my head – it was me, pointing a (figurative) gun at my own head.

I said before that a healthy fear of death is good. And it is. But sometimes the brain shorts out and that fear get turned inward – along with so much other junk – and fear becomes self-hate, depression, despair.

I’m not going to go into details because the whole episode can be very trigger-y for some. But I’ve been there.

And I could write long volumes about the experience and the hospital and the therapy and the hippie-dippie-feel-good-self-love junk that was drilled into me. At the end of the day, none of that really stuck. In the end it was getting just far enough out of the hole to see beyond it and again think of death with a good, healthy terror.

But as Christians (since the site has the word “christianity” in it) are we supposed to fear death at all? I mean, when we die, there is Heaven, right? If we are to believe what we’re taught, we’ll be an eternity in Heaven and this life will just be a tiny blip in our memory, right? So why worry? Why fear death? If anything we should embrace it because Heaven is where we want to be, right?

And while, yes, I believe there is a place after death, I am not in a big hurry to go there. (We an debate the nature of that place at another time, whether it’s the “clouds and angel wings and harps” that cartoons show us or if it’s something that most people don’t comprehend….) and I am firmly of the opinion that even though many claim our “kingdom is not an earthly world” and we should be “in the world, not of it”, that we are put here for a reason, and that reason is to do and be love and justice to those around us in every way possible. And I want to fight every minute I have breath in my lungs to do that. I can’t do that from Heaven (I don’t think….)

So, no, I am not in a hurry to go to Heaven because I have work to do here.

But more than that, there’s the fear that, maybe, death HURTS?

What if, even passing away in one’s sleep is painful? What if we don’t fear death, we fear that the act of it is the worst pain ever? And it’s not oblivion on the other side that scares us, but the act of passing?

This isn’t helping….