I'm also a bit of a skeptic. I'm the first to check Snopes.com when I read one of those "unbelievable" stories people send me in email forwards. After all, they are "unbelievable" for a reason! (I've also caught a couple of preachers using faulty illustrations this way, but that's for another blog.) In other words, I try not to be gullible.
I just finished reading Heaven Is For Real. I won't give a synopsis, because you can find several of them online, both by those who accept this book and those who think it is a bunch of hooey..
Here is what I want to say about the book:
- Very interesting story, easy to read, captivating page-turner.
- If the telling of this story is honest and truthful (that is, not made up or embellished by the author or his editor), then this is a pretty amazing story.
- I say "If" because I know people exaggerate (since I do) or tell stories with a personal bias (since I do). On the other hand, I know some Weslyan preachers, and I have a hard time imagining they would make something up just to make lots of money from writing a book. One honest question I have: how did the Burpo family keep track of all that their son told them over the 18 months he revealed his story? Did they keep a detailed notebook with careful entries written as soon as the conversation with Colton was over? I ask that because I know we all have faulty memories and often can't get the details precisely straight after only a few days after the event.
- Having said that, I'm going to now say that, unless evidence appears later to the contrary, I accept this book as an honest account of what happened to the Burpo family.
- Having done that, I can now say that I found many parts of the book very inspiring to my own faith: Jesus really, really loves the children. Jesus has a cousin. Satan isn't in hell yet. Jesus wouldn't let me have a sword because he said I'd be too dangerous.
- I was a bit disappointed when I went to their website to see that now there will be a kids version, and a DVD Bible study version. What next--tee shirts? Ah, that smacks of making a quick buck and cheapens the actual story, IMO.