After hearing some of my recent ponderings on life after death, a friend loaned me his copy of The Great Divorce in which CS Lewis explores the issue. This book isn’t meant to be Lewis’ full description of what heaven and hell might be like. Better described, it reveals where some of our current selfish forms of thinking, when played out for eternity, would take us. Simply put, Lewis describes hell as a place where one completely has all their wants given to them, and heaven as a place where one is completely emptied of self.
While living and participating in a consumer culture is not inherently evil, it is scary how easily it can become all about self. Even moreso, it is quite easy for us to teach and fashion a faith styled after consumerism — come to Jesus and have your best life now, or discover what your life purpose is all about. Though it is never what people want to hear, starting with me, the church must continually be helping people understand that at the center of following Jesus is an emptying of self, not a great benefits package.