No, this post is not a throw back to my 1984 touring days with the LDS musical “It’s A Miracle.” It’s about a book I recently read that triggered some religious philosophizing on my part: “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven.” Having been raised very religiously, it is not a big surprise that a book about a child who has died, experiences time with God and/or Jesus, angels, returns to life and receives continued visitations should peak my curiosity. It’s an interesting read, and I recommend it, strictly from the perspective that it is always good to remember that no single individual or religion has the corner on truth. Truth takes all forms. Religion takes all forms. God takes all forms. And most of how that comes to life is as individual as the belief itself.
I’m reminded of my time as a missionary in Japan, when myself and my “companion” (yep, white shirts, ties and a bicycle) visited Meiji-Mura, a westernized colonial town reconstruction near Nagoya, Japan. Within its confines were several Christian churches that had been rebuilt and moved to this location as part of the museum. One of the churches was incredibly simple in its construct — nothing special architecturally. It had housed a Christian minister and his Japanese congregation in its prime. But what interested me more was the overpowering feeling — the spirit — in that building. I let it wash over me, confused and curious that another religious edifice could move the same spiritual roots in me that some of my own religious upbringing had the power to do. However, I always assumed that my religion was the only one that could do that. Apparently, not so.
Leaving the building, I was a little uncomfortable, thinking that something in my world was now broken. Then my “companion,” who toured the building at the same time as me, stopped and said: “Did you feel that?” And I knew exactly what he meant. And we shared a brief glance that spoke volumes. We didn’t have the corner on the market. We had something special, something wonderful, but that didn’t mean that the rest of the world didn’t have their own something special and wonderful, either. It was a good lesson for a 20 year-old to learn.
So, back to “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven”… Truth? Fiction? Does it matter? Maybe so, but maybe not. Maybe all that matters is that it represents a higher power — whether that power comes from within, without, or “above.” Recognition of that power works for some. And I say, more power to them.