Posts Tagged ‘Hell’

The Five People You Meet In Heaven by MITCH ALBOM

June 9, 2009

What Is It?

The follow up book to his best selling “Tuesdays with Morrie.” In this book we follow the last half hour of Eddies life. He is a matince man an amusement park. Then when he is killed in a random ride accident, we go with him to heaven. We find out that in heaven you meet five people (thus the title…) . Still they are not the people you would think of at first, maybe Peter, Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, and C.S. Lewis. It turns out that you meet five people who affected you life (or you affected theirs.) And from each one you learn something about your life. They are each in there own personal heaven and you work your way through to your own.

How Was It?

It was very simplistic and fun in it’s style. Eddie died on his birthday. So between sit downs with the next heavenly host, you get flash backs of eddies birth day through the years. It turns out that they are all very significant and thus look very orchestrate.

Then the people he meets. The first is a Blue Skinned man from the freak show followed by an army general. This sets you up for knowing you can go anywhere with this. Not only do you hear about Eddies life, each time you get a character sketch of the hosts life. This is interesting and further points out the interconnectedness that is at the heart of the book.

Is It Good For Kids?

It would be a fairy easy read for even younger kids. The concept are heady. Still there are a lot of dark situations at time. The end of the book even has a moment of down right gruesome. There is also a fair mount of the Lords name in vain.

How about Spiritual Issues?

You can’t get around spiritual issues in a trip to heaven. This is a fictional account, but it is the type of book that, for some reason, people like to hang on to as fact. Hoping that if they believe it enough then maybe they can will it into there existence.

(Though they can’t even will anything good onto TV, I don’t know how they will create a heaven.)

First of all there is no mention at all of Eddie having a relationship with God, but here he is in heaven. There is also no mention of Jesus. John 14:6 Here, sins are sins of disconcerting from other people (witch can be true) and are resolved by asking forgiveness in heaven.

Then we find that people pick there heaven, from something that they liked a lot on earth. This to me seems like a bum deal. This is HEAVEN and the best you could do is something that was good on earth! I’m disappointed with movies like that… forget the ultimate reward.

We are told in the Bible “However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” 1 Corinthians 2:9

I can see what’s here, and I can hear what’s here. I have a prity wild imagination, so my mind can conceive a lot. (It’s also been bolstered by the imaginations of Tolken, Lewis, M. Knight, and many others.) Further more Jesus said, about 2000+ years ago, “I am going there to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2 So this book would have you believe that the place Jesus was working on for 2000+ years is just a nock-off of this place that he bumped out in under a week!

All this considered, the tragedy of the book is the information Eddie gets in heaven. He finds out what his life was about and how he should live it. This seem “to little to late.” Sure some people may find this inspiring them to be nicer to others (which is always good) but it also seems to be calling for a rash of laziness. You will find out what the point is later so don’t worry about it now. That just seems like you are paving your path with good intentions.

This is a picture of cruel universe where you are expected to live almost a hundred years with out knowing what you are supposed to be doing. Then you get to heaven and find out “you should have been looking at it this way.”

Then, here is the kicker, after you are dead and find out that you were supposed to be doing… that it’s all about relationships with each other; you are put in your own “personal” place where you sit around enjoying you little bit of earth on heaven and wait for other people to kick off so you can pull the same cruel cosmic joke on them.

We are supposed to believe that this life that is to be lead by investing in others, has been set up by a God that remains distant and then puts you in a pretty little cell for all eternity.

What Is Your Recommendation?

I have three (pick the one that is best for you.)

If you know God – You still may want to read it because I think it will influence the society that we live in, you will better understand where people are coming from and the hopelessness that they are being offered as paradise.

If you don’t know God – Read the book of John instead… see God made flesh, invading our reality now, and offering not only meaning to life, but connectedness in relationships, starting with a real relationship with God.

Finally, if you are MITCH ALBOM – How about a re-write with a twist ending. After the fifth person, Eddie realizes that he should have known this a lot earlier. He finds that he doesn’t have the contentedness to people or to God. So where is he…Not Heaven !

Sort of like Alice Coopers song “It’s Much Too Late”


Now it’s much too late

My time has passed away

All my plans and dreams have all ended

Now it’s much too late

To try and plead my case

And I don’t know the God I’ve offended

It’s too late


The Movie “The Five People You Meet In Heaven” was exactly the same.

Walk The Line

January 19, 2009

What Is It?

The long awaited (at least by me) bio-pic of Johnny Cash and his rocky relationships and eventual redemption. The story starts with him as a child, where we meet his hymn loving mother and alcoholic father. We follow him through his early years and his rocket to success, all leading him to June Carter.

How Was It?

The story was intricate and interesting. The acting was superb. There are a lot of people calling for Oscar nominations, and I have to agree. These people become the historical figures that they are portraying. They will take you on a sometimes fun, sometimes tragic, always emotionally engaging ride, with a whole lot of great music along the way.

Was It Good For Kids?

This would be very hard for kids to follow. Younger people may find the story “boring” for that reason. (Though, they could be hooked by the fabulous music). I think the main problem is that we are shown Mr. Cash springing down into depravity. It is shown as bad, but he is still the likable hero. Most children will not be able to separate the “value judgments” made about his actions from the actions themselves.

You can get a complete breakdown of what is on the screen at

What About Spiritual Issues?

In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Bono of U2 said that the songs that most “get him going” are the ones about people running toward God or running away from God, because both “put God at the center”. I kept thinking about that throughout this film. God seems to be a constant looming presence in all the activities. His brother wants to be a preacher, his mother gives him a hymnal, and Johnny is running, either moving away or toward God.

On the way to a concert, Jerry Lee Lewis says something to the effect of (I can’t remember verbatim): “We are all going to Hell. We are not supposed to eat the forbidden fruit, we are not supposed to touch it, come near it or sing about it. (It was much better worded in the film.). This idea permeates the film. Most of the characters (or people portrayed in the film) come out of a church culture. They see what they are doing as sinful, but then handle it differently. Some feel separated; others are still looking for something. Johnny suffers from a feeling of inferiority, that he cannot do any good, because he is not good enough.

The other great thing about this film is that they show sinful behavior, but only enough to make the point, not enough to be tantalizing. Particularly with his extramarital affairs, they show you that they are happening, or have happened, but we never need to see the actions themselves. They also show that it was “fun” but that the joy of the sin is fleeting. It was one of the best depictions of sin I have seen in a long time.

The problem is the dichotomy between salvation from God and salvation from finding human love and morals. It may be that they are saying that the God thing was a part of his life, but it was more about morals and June Carter. Though Johnny, in real life, never strayed away from the darker side (hey, he was the Man In Black), after his conversion/ re-dedication his faith was always a constant part of his life and music. They seem to have taken a lot of the emphasis off his spirituality (especially in the short portion they showed of his Folsome Prison show).

When he was alive, he and producer Rick Ruben came out with a 3 disc retrospective of his life. The discs were called “Love, Murder, God” because they felt that all of his music could be categorized in those three. It seems the producers of this film lost there third disc.

What Is Your Recommendation?

This is a very, very good movie. Brian Godawa charges the filmmakers with “raping the story of its spiritual content”. I would have to see it again to agree or not, but he does make a lot of great points.

The movie defiantly puts less emphasis on his spiritual life than was there (from what I know of the man). Though, the way the spirituality is there, brooding under the surface, reminds me of one of Johnny Cash’s own albums.

I’m not sure if it is a positive movie. I don’t know what Mr. Cash would have thought himself, but this movie defiantly brings up a lot of issues surrounding God and grace. This movie could spark some great thoughts and great conversation. If you go, you will be very entertained. You’ll also get a lot more out of it if you go with someone willing to talk it through afterward.

B000E8QVWY Walk the Line

P.S. If you see it, and then are scrambling for some of the music, I suggest “The Legend Of Johnny Cash*” “American IV: The Man Comes Around” and “My Mother’s Hymn Book” After that, if you need more, just start with his Final album and work your way back.

*You will want to shield your kids from the photo under the disc and the song “Delia”.


When he was alive, Mr. Cash did make his own movie about life, sin and redemption.

B000E8N8SE The Gospel Road

Ok, This may be unrelated, but here are his last two music videos:

and this was my take on “Hurt”