11/4/14 Tom (video) 30
The man in this video is Tom, a Chicago public high school teacher like myself on his way home from work on his bike when I flagged him down in a park and he graciously agreed to let me record our conversation. Like many people, Tom believes in some sort of afterlife but is turned off by the idea of reward or punishment. Punishment is not popular, as should be expected, but why would people reject the idea of rewards in the afterlife? Many, I believe, want the freedom to do good without feeling forced into it by reward or punishment. This seems admirable, but the subtle message, however, is the pride of being able to say “I choose to do good deeds unselfishly, just because I’m such a sincerely good person, I have no ulterior motives!” I didn’t sense this in Tom, however. Although he hadn’t really pursued his religious upbringing into adulthood, he did seem impressed by the idea that Christianity isn’t so much a religion as it is a relationship. For better or for worse, we all have a relationship with God that has been spoiled by our sinful rebellion, and unless something changes we will continue that spoiled relationship on into eternity. Looking at it in terms of relationship, heaven can begin here, now, not in some distant eternal future, and our true reward is none other than God Himself, in the context of the right relationship only made possible through Jesus.