Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

"A beautifully written glimpse into heaven that will encourage those who doubt and thrill those who believe."
-Ron Hall, coauthor of Same Kind of Different as Me

"Do you remember the hospital, Colton?" Sonja said. "Yes, mommy, I remember," he said. "That's where the angels sang to me."
When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren't expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed-a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy's trip to heaven and back.
Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body during the surgery-and authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on. He talked of visiting heaven and relayed stories told to him by people he met there whom he had never met in life, sharing events that happened even before he was born. He also astonished his parents with descriptions and obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly, though he had not yet learned to read.
With disarming innocence and the plainspoken boldness of a child, Colton tells of meeting long-departed family members. He describes Jesus, the angels, how "really, really big" God is, and how much God loves us. Retold by his father, but using Colton's uniquely simple words, Heaven Is for Real offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, "Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses."
Heaven Is for Real will forever change the way you think of eternity, offering the chance to see, and believe, like a child.

My thoughts:
I listened to this audio book a couple months ago, but got so bogged down that I am just getting around to reviewing it now.  This book got so much press that I felt like I needed to read it.  I got a copy of it on Paperbackswap and it just sat on my shelf.  I picked it up to try to start it and didn't get anywhere, which is unusual for me.  Then I decided to check the audio book out of the library instead.  I was not a big fan of the narrator chosen for the audio book, I think I would have liked to have heard it read by the author instead as it is about real events, not a work of fiction.  Since Burpo is a pastor who is used to public speaking, I think this book would have been better with him reading it.

I believe in heaven, but I have to wonder if the experience will be the same for everyone.  I was hoping that reading this book would remove some of my skepticism about the book itself, and i feel like it should have, but some of that doubt about if this story is real or made up to help people believe more fully in times of need is still there.  Would a four year old really have remembered all those details?  Did his parents lead him on and embellish his memories without really meaning to?  I believe he was out of his body during the surgery and even that he may have been to heaven during that time, but all of the details provided in his descriptions over the course of time actually made me believe less rather than more?  The abundance of details made me less willing to believe rather than more. 

I think it is great that so many people have gotten a lot of hope out of this book and it has not lessened that I think heaven is for real, but some of the descriptions did not seem authentic to me for a child that young.  Maybe growing up in a religious family  had something to do with it or the rephrasing by his father changed things around.  I hope that Colton is right and that no one is old in heaven and no one needs glasses.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780849946158
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/2/2010
  • Pages: 163

About Todd Burpo
Todd Burpo is the pastor of Crossroads Wesleyan Church in Imperial, Nebraska (Population: 1,762) where his sermons are broadcast locally every Sunday via the local radio station. He volunteers at Chase County Public Schools as wrestling coach for Junior high school students, as well as serving as a member of the school board. In emergencies Todd can be found working shoulder-to-shoulder with the Imperial Volunteer Fire Department as a fire fighter. He is also the chaplain for the Nebraska State Volunteer Firefighter's Association.

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