9/11/11 Javier, about 40
"We're going through hell right here on earth" is what a man named Javier told me when I asked him about his beliefs at the park this morning. He told me he believes in heaven but not hell. Javier grew up Catholic and admitted he picks and chooses what he wants to believe out of the Bible. He was surprised when I told him that Jesus had more to say in warning about hell than he talked about heaven. We agreed that it is an uncomfortable subject to talk about, but then again, it isn't meant to be comfortable and if it is true then ignoring it or disbelieving in it won't make the reality of hell go away. Javier had a noncommital attitude toward faith in general and I could see a connection - he thought Jesus' death on the cross saved all people regardless of their response, so why bother thinking much more about it either way? I talked with him about our sin and the importance of appreciating all that we have to be thankful for in this life rather than feeling it is a "hell on earth". I hope our conversation helped Javier to see that there is much more at stake in this life than his day to day concerns; there is something and someone to live and die for.