Until He Finds Them

We have already examined, in the previous chapter, the possibility of postmortem conversion, which is usually featured, at least as a hope, in most versions of inclusivism. Although there are a handful of passages that can be interpreted as pointing in the direction of this possibility, the strongest argument in favor of this proposal rests on the character of God’s steadfast love who looks for lost sinners until he finds them (Luke 15). There is simply no compelling reason to assume that God’s posture towards someone changes at their death. There are also no explicit scriptural declarations that a person’s fate is definitively sealed at death. Often those who deny the possibility of postmortem conversion point to passages that affirm that human beings face judgment when they die (Heb 9:6; 1 Cor 5:10), but these passages do not spell out what judgment consists of and what is made possible by the judgment. These passages do not say that judgment leads to an eternally-dualistic outcome, but this assumption is often read into these texts. Supporters of the possibility of postmortem conversion will certainly agree with these scriptural affirmations that all people face divine judgment when they die, but they will also affirm that God’s judgment is designed to illicit repentance and foster reconciliation. Appeals to postmortem judgment, again, do not suffice to close the door on the possibility of postmortem salvation.

— Heath Bradley, Flames of Love, p. 123

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 30, 2018

Beautiful and Unique

I have been taught by the angels since I was a child to see the unique beauty within each person, all the physical beauty that is there, as well as the beauty and love that is in their heart. Looking at a person I am always shown wonderful personality attributes, gentleness and kindness (even in people who have told me they have done terrible things). I have never ever met a person who is not beautiful and unique. But I know that so many of you struggle to believe this, just as you struggle to believe that you are pure love.

Remember, no one is perfect — I’m not, you’re not, and no one in the world is. We are all humans with our frailties, so stop setting yourself an impossible standard to live up to. We are all unique, we are all different, so stop comparing yourself unfavorably to others — it makes life tougher than it needs to be and is a big barrier to self-love.

— Lorna Byrne, Love from Heaven, p. 199

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 13, 2018

Full of Surprises

By its very nature joy is full of surprises. Isn’t the unknown an essential ingredient of a happy experience? The surprise factor brings me news that the God who is far bigger than I am is alive and well and up to His marvels.

At the heart of this book lies a paradox: While I can deliberately plan and choose to be joyful, I can never plan exactly how joy will happen. Each day it surprises me, because surprise is a part of joy’s nature. Each day I have to bob around in the waves, waiting for the big one, and when I catch it I shout and gasp with pleasure. And then I paddle out again, knowing there’s always another wave of joy where the last one came from.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 100

Photo: Paris, France, May 2001


God is a nudge. Not in the nagging, annoying sense, but in a gentle, leaning-into sense. It is indeed a challenge to abandon the long-held belief that God yearns to blame and punish us, ask us to measure up or express disappointment and disapproval at every turn. It is part of our hardwiring. But we can feel, nonetheless, God nudging us beyond our tired, atrophied complacence toward something more oceanic and spacious. We feel God’s desire for fullness to dwell in us. We are always being pushed and inched closer to the “God who is always greater,” as Saint Ignatius frames it. Or as a homie changing gears in his head from Spanish to English awkwardly but accurately blurts, “God is Big.”

— Gregory Boyle, Barking to the Choir, p. 13

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 18, 2015

Shine Like a Star

A star is a person who shines so brightly, who gives their gifts so fully, who loves so completely that everyone is drawn by the light of this star to find the way home. For us to truly know ourselves is to know that we are a star. For us to be truly ourselves is to recognize the genius in us, and to know what a gift we are to everyone around us. Stars may do very quiet things, but they shine an intense love light that burns through the darkness.

Today, recognize yourselves as a star, and allow anything that stops you from shining to fall away. Choose to forgive, or let go of any grievance or judgment that allows you control over yourselves, others, or the situation. Choose not to use anyone or anything to hold yourselves back. Choose to utterly and completely love. Nothing else will satisfy you. Nothing else is worthy of you.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 333

Photo: Lake Geneva and Chateau de Chillon, Switzerland, November 12, 2000

Cause for Celebration

Also, you remember what happened so that you can pat yourself on the back for forgiving. You deserve praise for forgiveness, for letting something go and moving on. You have succeeded on a difficult journey, and that is cause for celebration. You remember your hurts from the point of view of healing, not from that of helpless victimization. You do not need to dwell on what happened or get a swelled head because you have forgiven. You do want to acknowledge the courage and perseverance that led to overcoming the wounds of the past.

— Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 74

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 29, 2016

All or Some?

Is God in earnest in telling us that he reconciles the world? Does he mean what he says, or does he only mean that he will try to reconcile it, but will be baffled? This question often rises unbidden, as we read these statements of the Bible, and compare them with the popular creed, which turns “all” into “some,” when salvation is promised to “all,” and turns the “world,” when that is said to be saved, into a larger or smaller fraction of men.

— Thomas Allin, Christ Triumphant, p. 260

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 15, 2015