What I Know [And Don't Know] About Hell

by Erika

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Let me tell you what I don”t know about hell:

I don”t know if this hell the Good Book tells us about is a literal place or a metaphorical mystery; an eternal torment or temporal purgatory. I don”t know if there will be blackness and brimstone, flesh-eating flames, teeth-gnashing, weeping or loneliness big enough to block every kind of light. I don”t know if it”s none of those things at all, or something totally other and unfathomable. You won”t see me stomping my foot down or dying on a hill of hell-certainty. I am okay with not knowing or “landing” because I believe unequivocally in God”s goodness (mercy and justice). How that ends up being defined, I can”t imagine from within the confines of my finite mind. So, can I gently ask you to spare me your scriptures? I revere, honor and take each one very seriously, but I”ve already pondered every hell-related text you could speak my way. And I”ve heard the verse-backed-arguments for and against this point-of-hell-view or that point-of-hell-view and neither is the actual point I”m looking for. Because anyone can reinforce their arguments with carefully selected Bible-lines, hmm? And additionally claim that God directly confirmed their beliefs through the Spirit during last Sunday”s quiet-time – an old Christian trick, often used for the purpose of proving ourselves “right” about something.

(This isn”t to say that I don”t have my leanings or understandings or [indefinite] beliefs about life on the other side of the grave for the [un]believer, cause I do. But that is for another post perhaps . . . or, not. Because I just said that wasn”t the point for me, eh?)

Let me tell you what I do know about hell:

I know that hell is a real place and real people live in it. Every. Damn. Day. Right here, right now, hell is on this earth for scores and scores of humanity.

Suffering and oppression are ageless and dreams die with each tick-tock of the ancient clock. Every 3 seconds a child starves to death, but not before their bellies burned in agony for Lord knows how long. We have emergency rooms that ring with wailing and prison cells institutionalizing the ugliness of tormented convicts. Crusades and concentration camps and Tutsi”s and Hutu”s and LRA-type movements represent age after age of mass annihilation and bloodletting savagery. The list of depravity and stupor is endlessly long, from domestic violence to divorce courts to school shootings to the men who rape little boys and girls right down the road from where you live and around the whole world, taking their childhood in a single sickening stride and I wish to God for a swift and harsh judgement for such evil . . . But, I am not the Savior and I do not know how wide His eventual mercy or is . . . (Not many of us want Grace to be big enough for Hitler-types, or believe that Jesus could still catch such men before they fall into an eternal customized torture chamber.)

THIS orbiting globe is Gehenna and who will stop the spinning of madness? There are hordes of earth-dwellers who don”t need their carcasses hauled off to hell because they”re already hounded by Hades hour after hour after hour; their daily lives dripping with demonized distortions. And we should go to hell regularly, too, just knowing our brothers and sisters are licked and scorched by life-fire, their souls being burned down to nothing more then a pile of ash inside a structure of skin and skeleton; “the walking dead” you may as well call them.

The hell Jesus came to save people from is perhaps the hell of our own making and the only hell we should be troubled with right now. I, for one, will say it again: I am not concerned with the heated dialog over what future hell may or may not be. I”m for being a vessel by which God saves broken and burnt people from the hell they”re living in right now (by doing so, will we not also impact the age to come?). I am for the message that saves me from the westernized hell of complacency, numbness and distraction.

That”s the point I”m looking for. Will you? And I? Choose to bring heaven in the midst of people”s hell? Will we make hell our workplace? In any and every or maybe in just one [more] single way? We, in the name of Jesus, could see an end to affliction and anguish and I do not design my words to pile you high with guilt. Goodness, NO! None of us need more guilt on our proverbial plates. I”m not asking that anyone live in daily dread or spend every waking moment being reminded of the hell in full circle around us, but when it is that time for you imagine hell, let it be the one you can actually touch, like the homeless man”s shoulder or a widow”s emptiness. Let”s defuse the I-don”t-believe-this-or-that-about-hell argument – the argument we can”t win – that distracts us from being ministers to people who daily live a hurting and harmed existence.

:::

Speaking of . . . and more importantly, have you heard of The Exodus Road? This is an organization that makes hell their business. The Exodus Road is a network of investigative organizations who work and exist to fuel the rescue of victims of sexual slavery. Operating primarily in Southeast Asia, they are currently working with 15 operatives, representing seven different investigative organizations. Collectively, their team’s past experience has played a role in the rescue of over 600 victims and the prosecution of nearly 350 legal cases. (You can read more about their numbers here.) They believe that a major component of fighting human trafficking and child slavery lies in working with local law enforcement to find situations of trafficking and to then assist in the rescue of victims and the prosecution of criminals. By decreasing the profitability of the trafficking industry for the criminal, we will eventually slow the mechanisms that make the exploitation of women and children so lucrative.

The investigators for The Exodus Road are the heros of today, storming the seedy trenches of hell night after night to gather evidence, build cases, make raids, rescue victims . . . In response to a invitation from my friend, Laura Parker, and the good folks from The Exodus Road, I have chosen to become a voice for the voiceless, sharing the stories of vulnerable and abused children who live in the hell we know of as the modern day sex-slavery industry. This is my “jusone [more] single way.” Would you check them out today? Maybe ( or – please, YES and “Thank you!!!!”) make a donation and when you”re done, “LIKE” them on Facebook!

:::
{Image via weheartit}


60 Responses to “What I Know [And Don't Know] About Hell”

  1. Steph P. January 9, 2013 at 6:30 am #

    this is what i like best: if we focus on the hell people are living in here, will we not also impact the age to come? hmmm. i think: yes.
    as always, you take something that is so ingrained in traditional thinking, grab it by the horns, wrestle it around. . . and somehow come out winning without having beat up anyone in the process. grace and beauty you are–through and through.
    love you,
    steph

    • the life artist January 9, 2013 at 6:55 am #

      Steph, I am so honored that you find grace here . . . Thank you for seeing me. You bless and humble me, friend.

      Love you,
      Me

  2. rain January 9, 2013 at 7:09 am #

    Grace is the only way we make it through this subject alive and in the spirit of the One who loves both the abuser and the abused, the gracious and the graceless, the one who judges and the ones being judged, you’ve set your heart on love and melted us all in. Brave, beautiful post.

    • the life artist January 9, 2013 at 7:18 am #

      You should know that I got out my moon and galaxies ring the other day, wore it and thought of you. Thank you, Rain. Your comment just gave me sight for the day.

      Love you [still] to the black holes and such,
      Me

  3. carolynew January 9, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    Oh, Erika, yes, Amen! Love your words here (and everywhere else!). I will join you in doing all I can to bring heaven to earth right now, for right now. Thank you for this, Carolyn x

  4. Bethany Bassett January 9, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    It was only a year or two ago that it finally clicked for me–the shocking, game-changing, how-did-I-not-see-this-before realization that Jesus came to save in the present tense. I had always looked at salvation as an admission pass for heaven; it had honestly never occurred to me before that there was more to Jesus’s work, that the Kingdom of Heaven wasn’t reserved for the celestial future but was already here, already operating to transform our experience on earth. Your thoughts on hell fit exactly into that perspective, and just like the concept of heaven-as-present-tense, the thought of hell-as-present-tense adds so much purpose and relevance to our identities as Jesus’s lights on hilltops.

    • the life artist January 9, 2013 at 10:25 am #

      What YOU said, EXACTLY!!!! YES!!! That is a beautifully concise way of putting how I believe about hell. Thank you so much, my lady Bethany. <3

      Love,
      Me

  5. Shane Dodson January 9, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    “So, can I gently ask you to spare me your scriptures?”

    Ask away…but the answer will always be “no.”

    Are you a born-again Christian?

    Christians don’t set aside Scriptures because the word of God will be around a LOT longer than your opinions.

    Blessings!

    - Shane

    • Shane Dodson January 9, 2013 at 10:55 am #

      “God’s WORD will be around a LOT longer than your opinions.”

      Sorry for the bad typing.

      Blessings!

      - Shane

      • Laura Parker January 9, 2013 at 11:17 am #

        Shane,

        I think the idea here is not a “setting aside of Scripture” but a re-evaluation of what those very Scriptures might really mean. It’s not that we throw out the Bible, but rather that we are brave enough to ask questions of it and be open enough to different interpretations of it.

        I think what Erika was saying was just the opposite of “setting aside Scripture” because she clearly talked about how she has studied it in-depth, especially on the topic of hell. I think what she was saying was that sometimes people use the Word as a weapon to batter other people into thinking the way they think about an issue . . . and I think it was this that she was asking to be spared from in this discussion.

        • Shane Dodson January 9, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

          Laura said…

          “I think what Erika was saying was just the opposite of “setting aside Scripture” because she clearly talked about how she has studied it in-depth, especially on the topic of hell. I think what she was saying was that sometimes people use the Word as a weapon to batter other people into thinking the way they think about an issue . . . and I think it was this that she was asking to be spared from in this discussion.”

          My interpretation of what you said, Laura, is this…

          “I think we should all eat more cabbage.”

          Are you brave enough to be open to that interpretation?

          Blessings!

          - Shane

    • Erika January 9, 2013 at 11:11 am #

      Shane! I’ve been waiting all morning for a response like this and you didn’t disappoint! :)

      I think you missed the point, however . . . I never questioned the scriptures, just mans’ interpretation and [sometimes] abuse of them.

      Love,
      Erika

      • Shane Dodson January 9, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

        So…before we go into the foundational issues with the “that’s just YOUR interpretation” reasoning, I have to ask…

        “They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from1 the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,”
        - 2 Thess 2:9

        “And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire.” – Matt 18:8

        ““Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” – Matt 25:11

        “just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire,1 serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.” – Jude 1:7

        …based upon these texts, you’re saying that the Scriptures are unclear as to whether or not hell is a place of eternal fire?

        Blessings!

        • Dan McM January 9, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

          Shane – I think you’re misunderstanding Erika’s point as well. It’s not that she wants to ignore the scriptures, it’s that she doesn’t want to focus on a debate over scripture, but rather wants to focus on meeting needs and loving those that are hurting around us.

          Want a scriptural basis? In Luke 4:18, Jesus announces his mission, the mission that he later calls us to join him in:

          “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

          Do you see anything in there that talks about heaven or hell? Do you see anything that distinguishes between the here & now and eternity in those scriptures? Me neither.

          What I think Erika is suggesting is that, by focusing on meeting needs for people in the here and now – preaching good news to poor, releasing the oppressed, etc. – we will have an impact both here and on eternity. And, debating about interpretations of hell does NOTHING to meet the needs of the poor, to release the oppressed, etc.

          I wouldn’t take Erika’s post as an argument that hell in eternity doesn’t exist, but rather that it’s not what she wants to focus on. By insisting on making an argument about it, you’re distracting from her main point — that people are in hellish situations all around us, and we can do more to help, to aid in Jesus’ ministry to the needy.

          And by the way…. Questioning whether Erika is born again? Responding to Laura, who left a thoughtful, caring comment, that you interpreted that comment as “we should eat more cabbage”? Don’t be a douche bag. Why? It’s sort of like Paul says in 1 Cor 13 — if you can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, but have not love, you’re just a banging gong or a cymbal, or a douche bag. (That’s a paraphrase, if you weren’t sure.)

          • the life artist January 9, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

            Thank you, Dan, for your insights and for being with us today. :)

            Love,
            Erika

          • Shane Dodson January 9, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

            “What I think Erika is suggesting is that, by focusing on meeting needs for people in the here and now – preaching good news to poor, releasing the oppressed, etc. – we will have an impact both here and on eternity. And, debating about interpretations of hell does NOTHING to meet the needs of the poor, to release the oppressed, etc.”

            “Preaching good news to the poor” Spiritually poor people NEED to hear the “good news” that Jesus came to die for sinners in order save them from the wrath to come (1 Thess 1:10). Unforutnately, according to Erika’s paradigm, this is actually a “bad” thing because preaching such a message would by necessity involve a warning of God’s wrath and anger against sinners.

            “I wouldn’t take Erika’s post as an argument that hell in eternity doesn’t exist, but rather that it’s not what she wants to focus on. By insisting on making an argument about it, you’re distracting from her main point — that people are in hellish situations all around us, and we can do more to help, to aid in Jesus’ ministry to the needy.”

            You employed a false dilemma fallacy. It’s not simply a matter of “if you warn them about hell, you’re ignoring the situations they’re in right now!”

            Far from it, actually. The very reason there are “hellish situations” right now on earth is because of one thing:

            SIN.

            Christians have a wonderful message for those trapped in sin. Jesus Christ came to save sinners! We can adopt the ministry of Jesus/Peter/Paul by PREACHING about sin, judgment, hell, grace, mercy AND by meeting their needs right now.

            “And by the way…. Questioning whether Erika is born again?”

            I did? I thought I asked her if she was a Christian. A simple “yes” or a “no” would suffice.

            “Responding to Laura, who left a thoughtful, caring comment, that you interpreted that comment as “we should eat more cabbage”?”

            Are you saying I have the wrong interpretation of her comment? That’s just your opinion, man. Please don’t force your interpreation on me.

            Blessings!

            - Shane

  6. Laura Parker January 9, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    Erika,

    I loved reading this, and I too loved Bethany’s response. I loved that you ended with:

    Let’s defuse the I-don’t-believe-this-or-that-about-hell argument – the argument we can’t win – that distracts us from being ministers to people who daily live a hurting and harmed existence.

    I so agree with this. We create heaven and hell right here on earth, by our human choices, and I so want to be a bringer of heaven, of Kingdom, not hell to those around me. You beautifully wrote what has been stirring in my own head and heart over the past two years.

    Thanks for your bravery.

    And thanks, especially, for your upcoming work/writing with The Exodus Road. I can’t tell you how encouraging it is, to me personally, to have YOU on board.

    • Erika January 9, 2013 at 11:41 am #

      Laura, I am honored to be a part of your “people”. Thank YOU for letting me come alongside. Love you, my “real-deal” Lady.

  7. Tony Fundaro January 9, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

    Awesome article and one reason I love reading your work is that you deal with the spaces in between in our lives…the unknowns, the difficulties, and the mysteries. Plus you don’t let us off the hook with some kind of false covering of our own responsibilities…you call us to find a very practical solution for what we say we believe and move our life around those realities. Very brave stuff!

    Here’s my paradox with hell. If it is a real literal eternal place then that changes everything and if it is just here on earth that changes everything. Think about how much those views change everything for us… In other words it is difficult to leave in the “spaces between” for such at topic…very difficult for me.

    Second is that Jesus spoke about hell a lot…a whole lot and through all the interpretations and arguments it seems to Jesus it was not parabolic fluff or something internal in our souls but rather a “reality” he was very familiar with. He spoke of it as somewhere he had been…something he had seen himself. Actually one time he said to “do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” He actually makes a distinction between the “here-the body” and the “there-the soul”. Jesus was always pointing us to the beyond as means of defining the now.

    I do ultimately trust God’s mercy and justice and know that HOPE is a pillar of my faith. Hope that in his great Love all will be well then when we see as we are seen.
    XO
    Tony

    • Erika January 9, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

      Tony! I SO love that you came out to play today! :) And I appreciate your grace and gentleness more then my words will communicate. Thank you, friend. I value your thoughts and opinions–especially–for the Biblical background you have.

      I don’t have the time or inclination to push and pull around the cultural, historical and man-made, finite-driven interpretations (including my own!) and nuances of ancient texts . . . We could go around all day if we did that (maybe have fun while we’re at it, too! :) ), but that would feel like a diversion from the “point” for me.

      You mentioned: “If it is a real literal eternal place then that changes everything and if it is just here on earth that changes everything . . . ” And I wanted to say that either belief in hell would not [personally] change anything for me. I want people to be relieved of suffering and know Jesus just as much right NOW and REGARDLESS of what the age to come looks like. My present passion for His message doesn’t change based on the future. Make sense?

      Love you!
      Erika

  8. kelliwoodford January 9, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    i love your heart for the hellish in the here and now, erika. perhaps in ministering to them we do touch eternity — what a thought.

    but these words right here are ones i wish i would have written:
    “Because anyone can reinforce their arguments with carefully selected Bible-lines, hmm? And additionally claim that God directly confirmed their beliefs through the Spirit during last Sunday’s quiet-time – an old Christian trick, often used for the purpose of proving ourselves “right” about something.”

    i am all over that one.

    thanks for this!

    • Erika January 9, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

      Thank YOU, Kelli, for hearing my heart in this post. I am mightily blessed. <3

      Love,
      Erika

  9. Errin January 9, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    Thank you for sharing these insights Erika. You help lift the fog and rebuke the spirit that encouages us to ignore such issues. Every moment spent bringing Heaven to Earth is one less moment spent in apathy. thanks.

    • the life artist January 9, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

      Errin, I am always SO honored when you show up to be next to my heart. Thank you very much, my friend.

      Love you big,
      Erika

  10. Rebekah January 9, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    I think this falls in line with what the angels said of Jesus before His birth, “He will save the people from their SINS.” I think we can all agree that sin is ultimately what makes this world so hellish.

    But I do have a question. You say we could see an end to affliction and anguish? and I hope that we will see an end to the many kinds of anguish that the sex and slave trade produce. These are things I definitely agree we should care deeply about and work to abolish. But do you mean to indicate that we should/will see suffering {as a whole} end and that Christ is the means to end it?

    • the life artist January 9, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

      Rebekah! Hi! :)

      In my estimation, Jesus is–unequivocally–the means to sufferings end. Right now, WE are the hands and hearts He uses to be vessels of it. Does that answer your question?

      Thank you for being here with me today!

      Love you,
      Erika

  11. Dan McM January 9, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    Great post, Erika.

    It’s overwhelming sometimes, the amount of need in the world and knowing we can only do so much. Thanks for throwing in the “not trying to pile on guilt” bit – sometimes, we can’t help but feel guilty because the need is so great and we contribute so little it seems. My favorite verse for doing what I can without feeling overwhelmed is Micah 6:8 — “He has shown you, o man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.”

    See a need? Meet the need, right? But don’t feel overwhelmed, just walk with God and do what he calls you to as you walk.

    Great stuff!

    • the life artist January 9, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

      That verse never fails to make me tender all over again and is probably the most quoted scripture during my prayers when I’m asking God to help me do just that.

      I so appreciate you joining this conversation.

      Love,
      Erika

  12. Mark H January 9, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    A heart of mercy and grace comes flooding thru in this post. Those who want to make it about the doctrine of hell are missing the point. Sometimes it seems that those who want to promote a particular flavor, i.e., eternal conscious torment, are actually living there. Hopefully your post wont trap you into a debate on the doctrine hell because there has never been a unified orthodox view of hell in the history of Christianity.

    But back to what I think your point is, among many: We should be liberated (as Jesus has done for us) so we can be of earthly good. Not so heavenly or hellishly minded that we are no earthly good.

    • the life artist January 9, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

      This: “Not so heavenly or hellishly minded that we are no earthly good.” I love that thought, Mark. SO much. And the reminder that there has never been a unified orthodox view of hell, puts much in perspective and I will remain (I hope) hung up on being a medium of Jesus for a hurting world.

      I am so grateful for you being here today.

      Love,
      Erika

  13. tara pohlkotte January 9, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    {wish my arms to squeeze you with the yes. that’s pouring from me.} I love that i always find you in these spaces my friend. the in-betweens, the shadow of the tree, in the ripple of the pond. moon-side, burning brightly …so wish we could sit together and talk, as i’ve been wrestling within myself this very concept of how to lead my children through a conceptual understanding of hell. for now, i leave it the absence of love. i would love to put flesh on these bones, for i know your mama-spirit could teach so much to my own.

    • the life artist January 9, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

      My head and heart just go all humble with your response to this, Tara. Thank you SO and I wish VERY, VERY, VERY much that we could sit together and talk about all the God-things.

      I LOVE you,
      Erika

  14. Diana January 9, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    Oh, Erika. How do you always, always do this?? You take words and you shake them liberally and then you toss them into the air and they come down in beauty. And challenge. Geez Louize, girlie. This just sings. Thanks to you. And thanks to Laura and her husband and all those who do this nitty-gritty-hell-centered work of grace right down there in the trenches. YES. And Shane? You just completely missed the point of this post. Completely. Read it all, again. Erika has not set aside scripture – she has set aside arguing about interpretation of scripture. Two very different things. There is room at the table – and in the trenches! – for all different kinds of interpretations, so long as we put Jesus at the head of that table and try to live as he leads. LOVED this, Erika.

    • the life artist January 9, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

      “There is room at the table – and in the trenches! – for all different kinds of interpretations, so long as we put Jesus at the head of that table and try to live as he leads.” PREACH, Diana!

      Can I just whisper this: I value your response SO much. Thank you, with all my heart.

      I love you,
      Erika

    • Laura Parker January 9, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

      oh my word, I was quoting that, too-

      There is room at the table – and in the trenches! – for all different kinds of interpretations, so long as we put Jesus at the head of that table and try to live as he leads.

      that line is a keeper on so many levels, Diana.

  15. Gary Ware January 9, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    Thank YOU Erika for:
    Let me tell you what I don’t know about hell:
    I don’t know if this hell the Good Book tells us about is a literal place or a metaphorical mystery; an eternal torment or temporal purgatory. I don’t know if there will be blackness and brimstone, flesh-eating flames, teeth-gnashing, weeping or loneliness big enough to block every kind of light. I don’t know if it’s none of those things at all, or something totally other and unfathomable.

    Such an Honest Confession.

    The first 30 years of my Christian life, I discussed, debated, meditated, argued, condemned people to Hell, before coming to my conclusion that no person, other than Jesus Christ, knows what Hell is, or where it is.

    Thank you, Dan, for your response to Stan, in behalf of Erika. When a computer gets into a software loop, it consumes time without production. People get into “loops” on topics and their discussions consume time and energy with no positive results.

    Erika, I learned to minister to the person’s immediate needs, as Jesus so often did, and relieving them of that pressure allows God to draw them. As Tony mentions, Jesus did speak of Hell often, but this topic was not his introduction to the woman at the well, the cripple at the pool, etc. He healed, fed, revealed, raised from the dead and THEN advanced the conversation when appropriate.

    A ministry told me to “get the fish in the boat, before trying to clean it”. He was trying to help me refine my new Christian zeal with wisdom and patience to win the sinner or re-win the backslider.

    I finally realized, as you noted in your discourse, a real time NOW Hell is much more real than a future abstract thought. Stay on your path that God has led you too. I re-read your thought about three times, then read it again to make sure I was grasping your entire idea. I will chew on this for a long time.

    God bless you with more wisdom and depth on this.

    • the life artist January 9, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

      Gary, can I just thank you for such a beautiful, wise and gentle response? Truly, my heart felt so nourished by your words.

      I am grateful that you gave your time to be here with us. :)

      Much Love,
      Erika

    • Shane Dodson January 10, 2013 at 11:56 am #

      “He healed, fed, revealed, raised from the dead and THEN advanced the conversation when appropriate.”

      Actually, Jesus began His earthly ministry in this way…

      “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
      (Mark 1:14-15)

      The Gospel wasn’t an afterthought. He began by preaching.

      Blessings!

      - Shane

      • Gary Ware January 11, 2013 at 7:42 am #

        Hi, Shane,
        I acknowledge reading your reply. You miss my point as you did the others, so no comment.
        God bless.

        • Shane Dodson January 11, 2013 at 7:19 pm #

          And I acknowledge reading your reply. Your non-response is noted. If you wish to dialogue and reason together, it will requrie two people to participate.

          Blessings!

          - Shane

  16. HopefulLeigh January 9, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    Erika, I am bursting full with love for you for bravely tackling the topic of hell on earth, which is so frighteningly real we like to think we’re not part of the solution. And I love that you’re working with The Exodus Road! You continue to be such an inspiration to me. xo

    • the life artist January 9, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

      Oh, Leigh . . . My most humble thanks. I am blessed and brimming with your encouragement.

      Love You,
      Erika

  17. Kamille@Redeeming the Table January 10, 2013 at 7:38 am #

    Erika–you really do have a weavers spin on words. I get what you’re saying & what you’re trying to say. Even if at the end of the day we don’t view Scripture the same (I’m not saying we do or we don’t), it’s the fact that we live out the command of hospitality, “to be a light to the nations,” or a blessing. Wasn’t that the whole reason God chose Israel, that Jesus came to defeat the throws of Satan.

    I read & watch Lord of the Rings & see how I need to keep fighting here & now on this place to bring about good. Not by standing a picket line holding a sign “God sends sinners to hell.”

    All that said, I do also believe that not all hell & evil on this Earth is painted so demonstratively. It can be in the subtle things, which might appear to be good. Hence us testing it against the Spirit of the Living God.

    Love you friend

    Kamille

    • Erika January 10, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

      I love you too, my Kamille. Thank you for sliding next to my heart-space for a few beats and speaking your own soul-stirrings.

      {{{HUGS}}} and KISSES,
      Me

  18. Courtney January 10, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    Erika,
    This one was not what I expected it to be and yet just what I needed to read today. Thank you for your honesty and perspective. So many are consumed in hell on earth and we pass them in walmart and at the bank. We used to be them. Nothing but amazing grace, how sweet the sound…and when we know it, we have to tell about it because hell is here but it’s there too. It’s real and we aren’t promised tomorrow. Lost a unbelieving friend this week and to think of her facing eternal judgement—meeting needs of hell of earth and speaking gospel into eternity have to go together because the very worst hell on this earth just doesn’t begin to compare to what’s is coming for those who don’t confess. How very sweet the name of Jesus above all names.

    Also, thanks for your support of Exodus Road and all that they’re doing.

    Courtney

    • Erika January 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

      Thank you, Courtney, for being with me today . . . I’m glad this post surprised you a bit! :) I, too, need to be reminded of all the places to see Jesus – bless you for giving me your vision. <3

      Love,
      Erika

  19. Laura L. De Orta January 10, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    What a pleasure to read your thoughts. Thank you Erika

    • Erika January 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

      Thank you for saying so, Laura! <3

      Love,
      Erika

  20. Kitty January 12, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

    I got this in my inbox the other day, and put off reading it because of thoughts such as “Oh, it’s just going to be one of THOSE Christian blogs about hell”… But I kept it to read later on the off-chance that it wasn’t… And boy oh boy am I glad I didn’t! This post is exactly where my heart is at, and your writing convicts me so much because you express so perfectly what I believe and how far I fall from living those beliefs. (As for those who believe the important thing about hell is to tell everyone around us who doesn’t believe in Jesus that they are going there after they die, I would say it’s a lot easier to do that than it is to practically alleviate someone’s emotional and/or physical suffering… And Jesus never did the easy thing!!!)

    • Joan January 13, 2013 at 7:04 am #

      I loved this article, and think it’s so true. Someone once asked Richard Gere if he believed in hell, and where did he think it was. He said “right here on earth”.

      • the life artist January 14, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

        Joan – thank you so much for spending time with my heart here. Love to you . . . <3

        Love,
        Erika

    • the life artist January 14, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

      Kitty,

      Thank you!!! I’m so glad this resonates with your heart . . . :)

      Love,
      Erika

  21. Amber January 17, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    Hell is definitely all around us. The Church has much to do.

  22. Elizabeth February 3, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    I’m new to Deeper Story, and new to your words, but I feel like I might just belong here. My job brings me into contact with people living in the hell of their own making every day – thank you for reminding me that it is just as much my purpose to show them Jesus’ love as it is anything else.

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