Christianity is not the path to Papa. Jesus is. All other paths lead nowhere. But the gospel is that Jesus comes to meet us on whatever silly path we’re trudging down, even if that path is Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam-ism, Atheism, Baptist-ism, Animism, Paganism, Presbyterianism, Hinduism, Universalism, Republicanism, Communism, Scientism, Taoism, Oprah-ism, Bible-ism, or even SHACK-ism.
We can tend to put so much faith in our -ism, you know? We put so much faith in the ability of the path we’re walking to take us to a life that is true, good, and beautiful. It all comes from the belief that if we pick the right system and work the system correctly, we’ll be able to make ourselves okay. Or in terms of this conversation, that we’ll be able to manipulate the pissed-off-elderly-white-dude-in-the-sky into letting us into “the good place” after we die.
But Jesus is not an -ism. Jesus is not another cheesy method for How-to-Get-Into-Heaven-in-3-Easy-Steps. Jesus is not another technique for our deity-appeasing games. No. Jesus is the one who has bound the human race to himself forever, including all people in the eternal life he shares with Papa and Sarayu. That is the brute fact of the incarnation, and our beliefs don’t change the facts.
Now, if you don’t like Papa, then this will not sound like good news. How could someone not like Papa? Only if they don’t know Papa, don’t trust her to be the good person she claims to be. You know, maybe she’s just manipulating Mack so that she can eat him later. There’s really no way to know. It’s possible to spend eternity not-trusting Papa, not-believing in the wonderful person Jesus reveals her to be. I hope no one WILL spend eternity that way, but that’s not something I have control over.
Whoever does find their way to Hell will find that their loving Papa is there with them (Psalm 139.8). Hell is not a place where God is not. There is no such place. Hell is the condition of not knowing God. To know Papa is to be in Heaven (John 17.3). To not know Papa is Hell. I should know. I’ve spent a lot of my life there.