May 17, 2014 Editor

Chapter Sixty-Three

In 2007 I first published Chrysalis Crucible, a coming-of-age novel about young Andy Norton who goes off to West Berlin in the early seventies to evangelize – with all the answers. You can find a page about it on this website.

I’ve republished it (2015) as Kindle eBook and Amazon print-on-demand.

Andy discovers in West Berlin instead that not only are people not asking the questions to which he has answers, he is being confronted with a barrage of questions coming at him so fast and furious like clay pigeons in a skeet shoot, that he has no time let alone capacity to keep up with answers.

Not least is this the case temporally with massive State violence blessed by the Western church. Not least is this the case spiritually with a doctrine of hell of eternal conscious torment, the Ultimate Cosmic Violence, and blessed by the Western church. (See for example “Farewell, Rob Bell”.)

This chapter, and Chapter Chapter Sixty-One raise questions about Western Christianity’s doctrine of “just hell” of eternal conscious torment (on a continuum with “just war” and “just deserts”.)

An excerpt:

Then a realization blasted into his consciousness like the imagined sudden blistering heat of those ovens at full burn: Dachau is Christendom’s most perfect human picture of hell!

The parallels overwhelmed. God is Hitler. The ovens are God’s specially built chambers of eternal conscious torment, to which human victims by the billions are fed because they refused to take the hand of the feudal lord’s son in marriage. Jesus the Jilted Lover, whose cry of wrath echoed throughout the Corrupted Cosmos. Only unlike Daniel and his companions in Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace, these victims would experience the full suffering of the oven for ever and ever, God be praised, amen! For there even the worm “dieth not.” This was Christendom’s “god.” This was Evangelical’s hell. This was what Billy Graham warned his listeners about, what G. E. holds onto in his evangelistic vision of deity. This was the deep dark open secret about Neal Steinhauer’s, Bill Bright’s, Evangelicals’ “God who loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”

Nein!” Christendom, Evangelicals, Christians, Billy declare. But their eyes betray them. Deep down, they all say, “Yes!” This was the fundamental, fundamentalist, Evangelical footnote theology of John 3:16. This was the truth about their god: God is the Ultimate Sadist of the Universe, whom tomorrow, with a smile, they would invite Olympic-goers to meet through a personal relationship with Christ.

“Open House at Adolf Hitler’s from 1:00-3:00 today. Come get to know him, whom to know is to love,” the personal invitations all read, with Neal Steinhauer’s signature at the bottom. The small print reads, “But we’re constrained to say: If you turn down the invitation today, tomorrow it’s into the ovens. Sorry. ‘His mercy lasts for a moment (two hours to be exact), but his wrath is everlasting.’ Have a nice day and a bright forever—though it may not be quite the kind of ‘brightness’ you imagined…”

Please click on: Chapter Sixty-Three

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.