A friend of mine, a professional scholar of the New Testament but no great fan of attempts (such as Rudolf Bultmann's) to "demythologize" its witness, recently told me about his visit to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
I came away from Heaven is for Real
thinking that either Colton Burpo was carried in an out-of-body experience to a
biblical wax museum or he's been channeling
images from his father's sermons back to his credulous parents.
We are in the interim between Easter and Pentecost. Of course, we live
in an interim in other ways: we anticipate graduations, new jobs, the
resolution of dilemmas. In the U.S., it is as if we are suspended
between an old world--a disintegrating empire--and the emergence of
After Jesus has been taken up in a cloud , the “men in white” convey a
message of hope to the disciples: this Cloud Rider will return in the
same way they saw him go. The cloud that carried Jesus away was the
power and presence of God, the Ancient of Days. It is a powerful
metaphor for God, and reminds us of other metaphors, and other
One of the buzz phrases in the United Methodist Church appointment process these days is “seasons of ministry.” As our bishops and cabinets try to encourage longer-term ministry appointments, this phrase helps us expand our imaginations. For too long in our tradition, clergy lived year to year, and so did congregations.