Here are my answers to the four questions I ask on the first of each month:
Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo.
Heaven is for Real is very poignant and sweetly written story from a Dad’s perspective about his son’s near death experience and visions of heaven. Todd is an evangelical pastor, but nothing in the book contradicts the Catholic faith that I could tell. In fact, he makes a point of mentioning Catholics several times in a respectful way, which I find refreshing. I did enjoy reading this quick, inspiring read after a fellow school mom recommended it (See, I actually do ask people in person, what are you reading? Thanks, Jeanne!).
What I love most about this book is not the book itself. When my 5th grade daughter saw it on my nightstand, she mentioned that her teacher was reading it, and was it okay for her to read? I said sure. Since she is a fast reader, she finished it by the next day and was ready to talk. Wow, the conversations, especially late-night conversations, we have had about this book. I also just found out in recent days that a junior high teacher is reading it with all the upper grades, and so my 8th grader has read it and discussed it as well, so we’ve been able to share a lot about it.
My husband is a theologian, and I’ve been known to joke on many occasions, well, I’m not the theologian in the family. Turns out my husband has some more competition in the theologian department. This is a fact we already knew with the Zen-like questions our son used to ask when he was 4 (such as, “Can you spell Jesus without any letters?”).
This isn’t really a think I disliked about Heaven is For Real, just an interesting point that came up in discussions with a young theologian in our house. Todd Burpo keeps mentioning that his son couldn’t possibly know some of the details from Scripture that describe heaven. What occurred to our 5th grader was that as a Catholic, even a 4-year-old would have heard some of those Scriptures at Mass, in particular around the certain feasts like we just had several days ago at Mass on the feast of the Archangels.
I truly wish I could be reading Gone With the Wind along with my 13-year-old daughter, but I’m not. I brought home a handsome new edition from the library thinking I might try to read it, but she absconded with it and I quickly realized I would not have time for this huge read right now. So I did the next best thing and asked a dear longtime online friend, author and GWTW lover, Cay Gibson, for any “content issues” I should keep in mind. And because she is dear, she gave lots of great ideas and also comfort, as 13 was the age she first read GWTW. Much as I would love to keep up with everything my kids read, sometimes you have to outsource, and I’m glad to have friends to count on for this.