Monday, October 27, 2008

I don't like hell.

Watched a documentary last night called "Hell House", after reading a post about it on the "Re-Thinking Youth Ministry" blog. It's basically the story of an Assembly of God church in Texas that creates their own version of a haunted house. Instead of chainsaw massacre's and ghosts; there are scenes like: A gay man dying of AIDS because of poor choices, a girl having an abortion that goes wrong, another girl getting raped after getting drugged up at a rave, etc.....and finally ends with all of these people suffering in hell. All sorts of thoughts flood through my head as I try and figure out what to say. Here are just a few...

- It's a good reminder that even the people we disagree with in large ways theologically, are still human. The man much of the story follows and his family have a story that is very compelling. Single dad raising several kids, 2 with special needs, because his wife ran away with another man.

- Some scenes of the "hasha-baba-baba" sort of speaking in tongues. Kinda freaky. The pastor says, "Let's all speak to God in our own love language", then the entire congregation goes nuts with jibberish. I wonder if God hears this the same way I hear Addison when she speaks words that don't exist. I know she loves me, but I can't wait for her to use actual words. :)

- There is one scene where a few teens in Slipknot fan apparel argue with one of the men running Hell House. They don't understand why the church has such a "limited view". Too much cussing to be a useful scene in youth ministry, but might be appropriate fodder for an adult small group. Some of the questions the teens raised:
Why is everything so black and white with you? The world is more grey.

I have lots of gay friends, you say they're all going to hell?

The girl committed suicide while she was all drugged up, are you saying God holds her accountable for that suicide? (his response, God holds her accountable for the drinking that allowed her to be given the date-rape drug)
etc.

I have to say I don't agree with much of what they're doing/saying. At the same time, I do believe in Jesus Christ as the way, the truth, and the life...etc. That a life lived without Christ will give you an eternity of the same, and that's not something you'd want.

Someone who turns towards God for fear of any depiction of what hell could be like, has still turned towards God...right? I mean, how many in our congregations are there simply because they don't want punishment and they want reward?

Guess I'm just not sure what to do with the whole hell thing. I don't like it.

1 comment:

Bethany said...

We've talked about that in Christian Ed. I don't like the idea of hell houses, but just like any Hell, Fire, and Brimstone it's gonna scare people into coming to Christ. Is this a good thing? bad thing? It can be a starting point for sure, but so much of it depends on what happens afterward. Where the church goes with it, etc...