Friday, July 10, 2009

Quoted in an article on MJ and Heaven

I was quoted in an article by Jason Boyett today on "Is Michael Jackson In Heaven?" on The Daily Beast. You can read the article here:

I'm not unhappy with the segment of my larger statement that Boyett used in the article, and I think he did a great job with the article (despite most of the commentary, Still, I thought I might post my full statement here, for whatever its worth.

My friend Matthew Paul Turner forwarded me following request from Boyett:
I'm working on an article assigned by the Daily Beast ( The angle: ask pastors what they think about the faith of Michael Jackson. Raised a Jehovah's Witness, married to a Scientologist, converted to Islam. The big question: Is Michael Jackson in heaven? How do you -- as a pastor and Christian -- look at him in regards to eternity or the afterlife?

Here's my response:
I'm a Christian and a full time preaching minister for a faith community in South Carolina. I think I'd respond to the question by pointing that Biblically, I don't find it to be a terribly helpful question. What I mean is that I can envision absolutely nothing good or helpful, in terms of God's mission in the world, resulting from pursuing that question on its own terms. Biblically, I think that those who follow Jesus are actually prohibited from definitively attempting to answer it. Scripture is quite clear that judgment is above our competency, and is frankly inappropriate for those who have accepted grace, mercy and unconditional love from God. Theologically, I think we are called to view "the other" through the lens of view them from the standpoint of a creative imagining of their future as one redeemed by God, regardless of what we are presented with in the moment we live in. Understand, I'm making no comment and engaging in no speculation on the "eternal destiny" of Michael Jackson, and I believe it would be inappropriate for me to do so. That being said, if we who would follow Jesus celebrate Michael Jacksons' pain, his death, or some presupposition of eternal torment, I think we discredit the very Gospel we proclaim.

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