A friend of mine, who professes not to believe in any god, recently asked me how he should deal with bad news when it came his way. His assumption was that because of my faith, I would take, for example, the death of a loved one, or a diagnosis of serious illness, a lot easier than someone who had no belief in God.
“Because, you know, you think everything will be OK, even after death, right?”
Well, yes and no.
Explaining concepts of heaven, hell and purgatory to someone else is something every Christian should try – and then read about so that next time they make a better fist of it. Trying to talk about the afterlife to somebody who flatly refuses to acknowledge its possible existence is a proper test. And great training for ordinands.
In the past 12 months, my mates have been much more willing to share their own questions, and some of their own answers – rather than just asking me what I believe. It’s gratifying to see that things which might seem insignificant to some are still being pondered.