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Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back summary Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, series Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, book Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, pdf Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back 77fa12ce7b 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 BackColton, 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 ReadWith 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 You The Chance To See, And Believe, Like A Child

10 thoughts on “Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back

  1. says:

    Oh Boy.I am reluctant to review this since I have friends who loved this book, and my mother recommended it But this book bugged me so much I just have to have my say.This is a book about a three year old boy, Colton, who comes close to death never pronounced clinically dead, as in most near death experiences , Claims that he hung out with Jesus, God, John the Baptist, Gabriel, the Holy Ghost I ve always wondered about the holy ghost , his great grandpa, his dead sister, and Jesus s rainbow horse, and the ubiquitous men in white beards on giant thrones.I do not doubt for a second that this child experienced something, be it a near death experience or an illness spawned delusion, but I take issue with how his story comes about I have an open mind about this kind of thing, but..awe c mon.So Colton gets really really sick, vomiting every 30 minutes His parents eventually get him to a hospital where tests are administered Even though the Burpos question whether it is appendicitis they have a strong suspicion it is the incompetent doctor informs them that all the tests are negative for appendicitis Instead of ripping the child out of bed and heading to a different hospital immediately, they wait 3 or 5 days can t remember which By the time they get it in gear and get him to a new doctor the boy is very close to death His appendix has ruptured and the poison circulated through him He was dehydrated, and of course he hadn t eaten in days Ripe for delusion I say.He was taken into emergency surgery, during which he has his NDE out of body experience Some compelling things do happen that a lines itself with an out of body experience, he knows what his parents are doing in other rooms for instance When Colton is in Heaven He sees dead relatives he had never met before This is all I can buy.Whenever someone reports a NDE, they are usually consistent with that persons belief system If you are a Christian your experience will follow what you were taught from the bible If you were raised to believe or not believe in another manner, your experience will follow what you were taught Did I mention Colton s father, the author Todd Burpo, is an evangelical preacher Slowly Colton s story comes out, by means of a myriad of questions by his father leading ones no doubt Colton would mention stuff like what color cloths Jesus wore purple if you wondered and his dad s jaw would drop this happened often because no one had ever told Colton that Jesus wore purple How could he know this his dad wondered I ll tell you how Todd, he heard you say it You re a preacher, I d gather the conversation is pretty bible heavy in your household My question is how could he not know it Three year old brains are super spongeshe heard this mentioned a some point and that s how he knew it Todd, no great mystery.As I was listening to this book I kept trying to keep an open mind, but where this book completely jumped the shark for me was during a part where Colton is with his dad and family at a funeral Colton points at the casket with a stern and concerned look on his face and says Did that man have Jesus in his heart daddy He had to have Jesus in his heart or he won t go to Heaven insert drama sting here and Todd s jaw dropped once again During this I m standing in Aldi looking at the cauliflower and said out loud AWE C MON I got a few stares, so I dropped the cauliflower and said spots.This book is written by a guy who really believes in his evangelicalism He rummaged around in Colton s memories and got answers that he wanted to hear and then believes proves his evangelical Christianity If you don t believe what he believes folks ya aint gettin into heaven peoplesorry.

  2. says:

    For a while now people have been asking me to read and comment on the book Heaven is for Real written by Todd Burpo Todd Burpo writes the book as an account of the experiences of his four year old son, Colten For some reason, because I am a pastor, people think I am going to love this book about a little boy who went to heaven, met Jesus, and then Jesus sent him back like you put your unfinished cookies back in the oven.Well, here goes and don t hate me for being honest I did not like this book what so ever This book plays into our current climate of people going to spend pick your amount of time minutes hours seconds in pick your place heaven hell purgatory Burger King in an effort to pick your reason grow your faith make you feel good make some money It is not just the writing style of an adult trying to sound like a kid who sounds like an adult trying to sound like a kid, it is the poor theology that people are so willing to buy into First, let me just say that Todd Burpo sounds like a Christian, I am not questioning his faith for some reason people who have commented on this review think I question His salvation, but that is not my place I simply want to say to so many Christians out there, please use discernment in what you allow to shape your view of heaven and Jesus We should be very careful when we start to build theology based solely on our experience especially that of a 4 year old As an example, scripture teaches that Jesus won our victory on the cross, he said our sins were paid for, Jesus actually used the words, it is finished in John 19 30 In Heaven is for Real we are told that Jesus still has to fight pg136 139 My question is why If Jesus is all powerful what is the point of him handing out swords and bows and arrows It seems much of the book is written to fit into a particular mindset and belief structure Colten the boy will say something and the dad will interpret it with a verse that seems to make it all make sense but it doesn t When trying to describe Jesus, Colten is convinced that his style of dress is still from the 1st century and has never changed He has brown hair, a beard, a white robe with a purple sash like a beauty pagent contestant Jesus is the only one who gets to wear purple by the way , a crown, and red marks in the center of his palms even though that is not where the nails would have gone and on his feet page 65 66 This goes on and on from people getting wings, to God and Jesus apparently sitting in their big chairs all day except when Jesus is going up and down like an elevator oh, I almost forgot all Angels also have to carry swords to keep Satan out of heaven Page 133 I do not just want to blast the book, but this is the problem with what Christianity has become according to the book the reason Jesus died on the cross was so that we could go to heaven.Question, is that why Jesus died Modern Christianity makes salvation all about us, when salvation is about Jesus Jesus died because we were so awful, our sin so great, that we destroyed everything Jesus death pays for our sin not so that we could go to heaven but so we could be a redeemed people living redeemed lives in Jesus name Jesus rose from the dead conquering our enemies of Satan, sin, and death Jesus death and resurrection are about life, bringing heaven to earth in how we, as God s people, live this life.Never once did Jesus, in the scriptures, talk about the goal being to get out of here and go somewhere else The purpose of His coming was to restore relationship between God and us again by removing what stood in the way, namely our sin As Christians we must get away from the idea that Jesus died so we could get out of this place and watch it burn Jesus died AND ROSE the heart that Jesus had for this world should burn in us with a passion and intensity to see the lost know Him.Heaven IS for real, but heaven is NOT the point The point is Jesus that is what we should remember.

  3. says:

    Dear America,This is why people think we re stupid Knock it off.Thanks,Kristen

  4. says:

    As a true memoir astounding As a novel an okay read As an audiobook kill it with fireThere s two ways to go about this review Either 1 discuss the theological impact and connotations or 2 discuss the quality of the novel.I will be going about route 2 therefore I won t be getting into the whole did it really happen sort of or how this affected my personal beliefs Note As a rule, I don t like it when such events are capitalized to this extent books, movies, merch, etc it just rubs me the wrong way Therefore, I am judging the book solely as I would a story. Please keep that in mind when reading my critiques.Most notably, the plot was just a pile of meh It wasn t terrible, but it also didn t stand out I read this book a few years ago but remembered next to nothing I have a feeling in another few months, I will forget it again.Three year old Colton Burpo undergoes surgery for a 5 day old ruptured appendix Months after a rather risky surgery, Colton starts saying some very unique things ranging from rainbow ponies to crying about a miscarried sister he never met.To summarize the entire book Colton says something amazing, his father marvels, his father finds references in the bible, marvels again and they move on That was literally it.His father a preacher maintains that most of Colton s revelations came to the family unprovoked and over the course of several years The fact that most of these moments come months, if not years, after the initial surgery, really makes me wonder how much the kid actually remembered vs how much he thinks he remembered years later.When you re a kid, your memory is fluid You can t remember if you don t like broccoli but your parents say you did last time so you try eating it again and are disappointed again You can t tell the imaginary from the real world until you are around 5 ish according to a cursory google Yet, plot hinges on the kid remembering a long, complicated series of events from when he was three Frustratingly convenient.His father also firmly maintained that most of the things Colton said are things that he had no way of knowing.Judging this as a novelI have to say that most of these crazy amazing things Colton said seemed like they could ve been overheard if not from his parents then from others in the parish Is it really so unexpected that some well meaning parishioner didn t describe what heaven was like to the pastor s son Or that Colton may have overheard two old ladies gossiping about his mother s miscarriage Kids are perceptive they listen than you think And while his father constantly maintains that the kid could not have known x, y, and z religious concepts I kept wanting to say, really The Pastor s son isn t going to parrot back than the average kid about religion Then there was the sheer amount of precociousness stuffed into the child Young Colton was like all six of Anne Of Green Gables s children rolled into one.Everything the child did was adorably religious from feeling bad about fighting Jesus wouldn t like that to his scream cry fit at a funeral Colton needed to know whether the dead man had Jesus in his heart I just couldn t get into the style of writing and the way the characters were portrayed All I can say is thank goodness they had the based on a true story angle otherwise this book would ve tanked The 2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge a best seller from the year you graduated high schoolAudiobook CommentsDO NOT LISTEN TO THE AUDIOBOOK.I cannot emphasize this enough I have listened to many, many audiobooks but this one grated my nerves the most I knocked off an extra star because listening to it ruined the experience.The narrator Dean Gallagher did an okay job narrating from the dad s perspective his voice had decent tone and inflection.All hell broke loose when the narrator attempted Colton s voice Every time 3 year old Colton spoke, I cringed Like physically cringed There is something so, so wrong about a grown man was mimicking the voice of a three year old His voice went high, breathy and had the grating on your nerves whine to it especially when he said Mommy and Daddy And Colton says Mommy and Daddy a lot Like a lot, a lot To the point where every time the narrator wailed Mommmmeeeee I wanted to turn off the audiobook After all the hundreds of thousands this family made from this book and related paraphernalia , they seriously couldn t spring for a child actor Or someone other than a old man to represent their child It was maddeningYouTube Blog Instagram Twitter Snapchat miranda.reads Happy Reading

  5. says:

    I am already on the 11th chapter I am just get chills when I read this book Last night, I spent time reading comments from Goodreads I was shocked of all the one stars and negative comments These are the topics that kept coming up I just have to vent about it1 WHY DID THE PARENTS WAIT SO LONG That the parents waited to long to take him to the doctor.Well, they did take him to the doctor The doctor told them no thing was wrong expect a stomach virus This can reoccur plus when the sister got sick it just made sense Being a parent I put or did trust into the doctors I know how it is to feel helpless and not knowing what is 100% correct with a sick kid I feel they did what they thought was right It can be confusing when it comes to sick kids 2 THE BOY GREW UP WITH A DAD AS PASTOR The boy knew what to say because his dad is a Pastor and he grew up with all the imagery and around Christians The way it comes across to me is HE IS 3 YRS OLD at the time this happen It was so branded in his mind he still remembers till this day and How can they explain how he saw his dad crying in the room and mom praying on the phone I am sorry if my 3 4 year old son told me this in such conviction I would believe him 100% I feel this boy is innocent he did not make up stories just because he knows who Jesus is and Heaven He went into detail about what Jesus was wearing and etc in so much detail that the dad could actually pull out Bible Scriptures relating to it.3 PROPAGANDA Comments were left also about how the book was too preachy and how he makes it come across that the only way to Heaven is through knowing Jesus Well my opinion there is nothing wrong with TOO PREACHY This book was written, I believe, as a witness tool This may have happened to this boy, so his dad could write a book God wants everyone saved I think the Pastors job is DONE if only ONE person gets saved JUST ONE As for the only way to Heaven I am not going to get into debate about theology But I will say this this book goes by the Bible and YES, the only way to Heaven is through the relationship of Jesus Period 4 MAKE BELIEVE I see some people just slamming this book without reading it These people are leaving remarks about how we shouldn t believe there is a man sitting on the clouds I know some people just like to spread their opinion but don t slam it just because it is about Heaven or Jesus or God I am continuing to read this book I should finish by the end of the week I am so full of joy and I can t wait to go to HEAVEN UPDATEI just finished this book late last night All I can say is I can t wait to go to Heaven to meet Jesus.

  6. says:

    So I ll preface this by saying the following 1 I would have never read this of my own accord I read it only for book club.2 I was skeptical going in.3 Though I m a born and raised Catholic, I would classify myself as an agnostic, at best.4 I ll also admit I skimmed huge chunks of this book It was the only way I was going to get through it at all It was worse than I expected Things that Bothered Me in no particular order 1 The first half of the book is the father rambling about his illnesses Yes, I m very sad the guy had kidney stones and breast cancer and some other ailment I can t remember but I don t see what any of that has to do with the kid getting sick 2 If this was all so moving, why did they wait seven years before writing the book 3 The kid is 11 now Don t you think that s old enough that he could have wrote the book on his own Or at least contributed a chapter in his own words 4 Others have said this, but it bears repeating isn t it convenient that this miracle happened to a pastor s kid The dad keeps going on and on about how Colton just couldn t have known about so much of this religious stuff Really Kids are remarkably perceptive I would find this all much moving if it had happened to a kid who had never heard the good word 5 The parents only dragged the story out of the kid over the course of years As a parent, this is extremely odd to me If my kid started telling me one day he d been to heaven, you better believe I d be asking some questions, and right now, not five years later.Finally and this verges on a rant , it kind of annoys me how many Christians are saying that this changed their life moved them to be better parents etc I m sorryyou have the Bible The WORD OF GOD isn t enough for you It takes a fairy tale as told by a three year old to convince you that maybe you should get your act together and start acting like a Christian Fundamentally, I was just the wrong person to read this book I am not its target audience A belief in heaven presupposes a belief in God Until you can sell me on that, there s not much this poorly written, highly questionable book is going to do for me.ETA 2 2012 I think it s pretty clear I think this particular book is crap However, if you re interested in first hand, post death experiences, I d suggest reading, 90 Minutes in Heaven It s similar in its premise a man dies, spends 90 minutes in heaven, comes back and tells his story , BUT it s experienced by an adult and told by that same adult Unlike Heaven , which is merely the dad s retelling of the kid s story I read it several years ago, but remember being much impressed by it I will offer the caveat that I was a much better Catholic Christian at that time than I am now, so that likely colored my perception of the book However, even accounting for that, 90 Minutes is certainly the better written book.

  7. says:

    First of all, this is a book I would never in a million years pick up on my own I read it b c one of my students brought it to me and told me how much he loved it, and that he wanted to lend it to me so I could read it So, yeah I read this b c I care about my students and the things that are important to them But I am also an atheist, and so of course I couldn t read the book through any other lens than that.I honestly tried to balance being skeptical with having an open mind, but, as so many others have pointed out, there s just too many big flaws, such as He s the son of a preacher and so OF COURSE would could know all this stuff that his father seems baffled by him knowing, young kids are imaginative and he doubtless started to learn that he got lots of positive attention whenever he d talk about Heaven, the memories were revealed over several years and I find it hard to believe that the parents asked NO leading questions and even if they somehow managed not to, we re back to issue one and the fact that he is growing up in a religious environment and is not completely ignorant of scripture , etc See the various other one and two star reviews for a comprehensive discussion.More than anything, this book disturbed me I m not trying to be dramatic or sarcastic here, but the levels of indoctrination going on are unsettling When a four year old kid starts freaking out at funerals about people who didn t know Jesus not going to heaventhat s alarming to me And I grew up Catholic, so it s not like Christianity is scary b c it s foreign I guess what s scary is how closed off some religious people are to other religions and myths I don t know.To summarize I don t believe this and I didn t like it the casual sexism sprinkled in didn t help, you know , but I m certainly glad the kid didn t die The incompetent doctor is another scary thing, too EDITED TO ADD Annnnnd a book on psychology that I m currently reading just reminded me that when it comes to memory, kids under the age of 5 often can t distinguish things that actually happened to them vs things they were told Not that I think my skepticism needed even justification, but, there it is.

  8. says:

    I m not sure how I feel about this book When I lost my son last year, I got a lot of the he s in heaven now, and you ll be with him again some day comments And I wanted to believe, I really did. But I ve always had a problem with faith It would be so much easier for me to accept losing him, if I could truly have faith in him being safe and happy in a better place But it s a hard thing to believe Try though I might.Several people in a Compassionate Friends support meeting recommended this book to me, and said it might help me find some faith. Might make it a little easier for me really believe that my son is in a better place So I read it. And I m not sure what I feel.First of all, I m not quite sure that this is a book that a parent who lost a young child should read It tells the story of a family that almost loses a young child, and that alone triggered a lot of emotions Longing for my son. Sadness at his loss. And jealousy Because this family almost lost a son, while I did lose my son There s a line near the end, that really upset me Speaking of Colton s experience in heaven, people have said to us, Your family is so blessed In the sense that we ve had a glimpse through the veil that separates earth from eternity, they re right But I also think, Blessed We watched our son almost die.I read this and I think Yes, you are blessed You watched your son almost die But you have him with you now, he s growing up and is healthy and happy You are blessed beyond belief.While it did give me a lot to ponder. It also did wonders for the guilt I feel because of my loss and the circumstances surrounding it And I mean that in a not so good way. It goes on and on about how they prayed and prayed, and God granted them their wish, God let them keep their son I didn t pray, because I had no faith, I didn t believe, or at the least I didn t care I saw no need to, I didn t know he could be taken from me Is my son gone because of my lack of prayer Because of my lack of belief Because I didn t appreciate his mortality If I had prayed the right prayer, could I have saved him Was I not a good enough person to save him I know these questions are silly in a way Scratch that, I know they are silly in every way But reading this story brought the questions repeatedly into my mind, it wasn t something I could help And the questions, of course, don t stop there. Beyond those questions, were the questions that those questions inevitably led to If the answer to those questions is yes And it s my fault because I lacked faith. The question isn t Why me it s Why my son Why did he have to be punished for my wrongs and for my lack of faith But like I said These sort of thoughts aren t new to me These are questions I deal with every day, and eventually hope to work through Reading this story just amplified them for a short period of time.For that reason, I definitely wouldn t recommend this book to anyone who has lost a young child and is still dealing with the grief and guilt associated with that loss Beyond that. I need time to think about this story, to process it, discuss it, research it I want to believe. I want to make the right choices so I can be with my son again one day, if that s a possibility But to make the right choices, and to believe. I have to do it right I have to find real faith, not conditional faith faith based on the condition that I ll get to be with my son It s not something that can happen over night. But I hope one day to find peace With that, I ll end this review It s been a revealing one, and I m hesitant to post it But It s a part of who I am now I have to embrace it or hide it. And I won t hide Lucas.

  9. says:

    Update 4 14 2014 initial review remains unchanged Now seems like as good a time as any for an update on this relevance clutching intelligence insulter, seeing as how the cinematic adaptation with all the cliches and sentimentality of a Lifetime movie and all the subtlety and critical rigor of Ken Ham is hitting theaters on that pagan holiday on which Christians celebrate a brutal execution and subsequent messianic zombification The film starring Greg Kinnear and disappointingly Thomas Hayden Church will, I suspect, take some narrative liberties as pertains to the source material and try to make it palatable to general i.e non Christian audiences This is evidenced by the casting, which is in turn evidence that some powerful casting agents were behind it But, oh well, they re just faces for hire, and they ll class up the preposterous endeavor a little bit The real reason I m issuing this addendum aside from shamelessly trying to accumulate a few votes ahem is that, if you read my original review, I took similar sneering jabs at two components of the inevitable commercial implications of this book The first was that a version of the book for kids was published Since then, we have had a version for infants, a conversation guide, a devotional, and a DVD based conversation kit This is all for that one kid s little story The second point I made was about a book that rode on its coattails called The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven Of course, that was only the beginning An entire genre of exploiting children and hallucinatory speculation flooded the shelves, testing the credulity of the American public, and succeeding wildly The publishers have made a killing on their rube based buying demographic Among these dime a dozen accounts are Waking Up in Heaven, Proof of Heaven, When Will the Heaven Begin , To Heaven and Back, My Journey to Heaven, Flight to Heaven published earlier, but seized upon after the success of the example under discussion , and I predict many, many before this nonsense fizzles out like Hal Lindsey and Billy Graham before them, heaven forbid This anecdotal stupidity has created a marketing monster, and it s about time that it is slain Reject this movie Reject this book Reject anything that strains credulity past its breaking point and demands that you abandon centuries of mounting scientific evidence regarding our world and our critical inquiry The Burpos and their profiteers are now veritable snake oil salespeople schilling an invisible product with a net benefit to the consumer of absolutely zero at least in this life Demand respect for your cognitive faculties Reviewing this book from my standpoint will probably be as functionally useful as explaining to my devout, border line senile great aunt Edna why I abandoned the family tradition of Norwegian Lutheranism for methodological naturalism critical inquiry, proceeding to suggest such an outlook to her in her twilight years, and perhaps just as surreal Even reading it seemed rather evil twin like of me.If I ever mention that I read this book to some bottom feeding bookstore lady who would gasp and go into a tizzy about how she cried and cried and now just can t wait to go to heaven and sit in Jesus lap like little baby Burpo, I may go the intellectually rapacious route and destroy her just as she thought she found a kindred spirit using such deliberately incendiary terms as brain rape, wish thinking porn, and credulity stroking, or I may just smile, and in a most covert fashion, spit out a sardonic see you there The scenario is all too possible, because it s selling better than most science books.This book is for the minds of those who are capable of taking it seriously Even going from Mitch Albom, or Rhonda Byrne to this, one might notice a spike in eye rolling and scoffing and you have got to be kidding me Several years of prodding parents and all we get from the kid is Jesus has pretty eyes , I saw mommy and daddy praying for me at the hospital while I was being operated on , I saw grampa in heaven, but he wasn t wearing his glasses , mommy, I had a sister but she died in your belly she s in heaven too , and Heaven s lighting system is different from what we re used to probably not fluorescent that d be hellish , or something like that That last one might actually be from Mitch Albom or Don Piper all this middle America, low brow nonsense tends to coagulate into one heaping pile I have to wonder if these people know that their books aren t impervious to the secular world Those who don t forego their critical faculties are going to get their hands on this I would honestly love to meet a skeptic who had a change of mind or heart after reading the Burpos tale But then again, the family has made a pretty penny, so they probably don t much care Oh, and in case you feel they need further support, or if you think you might need further inspiration or if your kids do , you can get your hands on this.Face Value Assuming Mr Burpo is telling the brimming, scrupulous truth to the best of his abilities of which there is reason to doubt , those abilities seem to be lacking He was utterly astonished at everything his son said regarding heaven Every description corresponded rather well with the white jumpsuit with wings on an endless expanse of giant inflatable fun bounce clouds whilst singing sort of clich that we were forced to imagine in Sunday school Or was it like the garden of Eden, with a landscape that only the most austere of ethereal suburbanites could maintain With the knowledge that his son Colton was never pronounced clinically dead he wouldn t have gotten away with suggesting that , he never treats this toddler s testimony with a smidgen of skepticism or scrutiny Isn t Mr Burpo familiar with the adage 90 s television series kids say the darndest things But perhaps the Bible is right when it declares unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Hey, what a great tagline for the book I wonder if it ever comes up in the contents However, I do not recall an affirmation of heaven being like a mustard seed.Literary Quality N A viz there is none to speak of Are we sure the kid himself didn t write it Am I still talking about this This book was so stupid I nearly fell off my chair veered off into a ditch spit out my coffee wrecked my segway whatever else Mr Burpo claimed he nearly succumbed to each time his son said something that his young mind couldn t possibly have known , or about what heaven was like, in attempts to convey bewilderment and profundity, which were definitely not mundane hyperbole But Hey If for some ungodly reason this didn t convince you that heaven is for real, perhaps this one will conveniently published not long after Mr Burpo s tale If none of this curtails your doubt if indeed you are incredulous about a preacher s relaying of a child s ongoing testimony, well, there may just be no saving you Perhaps we should all pray for a near death experience ourselves.

  10. says:

    True story 1 My husband s former boss once told him she has evidence for a past life she spoke Welsh a language she is completely unfamiliar with in her sleep.My husband asked the obvious question How do you know you spoke Welsh in your sleep She had a friend spending the night, and the friend heard her talking in her sleep, and she said I was speaking Welsh Does she speak Welsh Well, no But she said it sounded like Welsh Every time I hear someone say, This is how I know such and such is true, I think about this story I think about the people who wouldn t bother to ask any questions after hearing this woman announce that she spoke Welsh in her sleep I think about the fact that my husband s questions didn t change her mind one bit about what she believes.I think about the fact that she s deciding how the universe works based on one incredibly flimsy anecdote I think about how she might react if I suggested that what had really happened was, the government has been messing around with telepathic language education programs, and her head accidentally got in the path of one of their experiments.She d tell me I was being ridiculous, I m sure Why Why is that idea any odder than the concept of an invisible, intangible spirit that flits from body to body and retains memories of some of its voyages Memory is too strong a word for something she has no recollection of, of course But the idea that she s a very specific sort of immortal being one who collects rare languages along the way is apparently preferable to the idea that, as Charlotte says in Charlotte s Web, We re born, we live a little while, we die There s plenty of evidence for that, but nobody likes to look at it True story 2 When I was in second grade, I heard someone say something about skipping a grade in school I d never heard of this concept, and I was curious This was decades before the Internet, so when I got home, I asked my mother, How do people skip grades My mother didn t reply in a matching matter of fact tone, Oh, there s a testing process To which I would have replied, Oh, and said no about it Because I wasn t interested in skipping a grade myself I just wanted to know what it was, the same way I wanted to know how caterpillars turned into butterflies and why reptiles were called cold blooded Instead, my mother s eyes lit up with fondness, hope, and pride Do you want to skip a grade she asked warmly.I was one of four kids at the time More would come later My mother was a very troubled individual, and no one had ever taught her much about parenting or patience The only time I got positive attention from her was when I successfully fulfilled my designation as the smart one I could respond truthfully , Not really I was just wondering, and watch the glow vanish from her face Or I could nod speechlessly and feel like a fraud for let me check my watch the rest of my life.I don t blame her much for asking, since I can see how it might sound as if I were hinting in that direction but I can t much blame myself either for not having the moral fiber to answer honestly I just couldn t stand the thought of watching her eager expression go blank and disappointed.So I took the tests and got promoted a grade and listened to my parents bragging about their super smart kid and felt a mishmash of emotions I can t begin to break down even now I thought of this story all through reading HifR I thought about how my mother probably thinks she was being a supportive parent when her daughter came home begging to skip a grade True story 3 My father spent a lot of my childhood unemployed, and we were broke as often as not We never went on vacation, or even on day trips Nevertheless, my parents were able to come up with the money to enroll us all in a three day seminar sure to change our lives by teaching us the Silva Mind Control method This was presented as a matter of fact miracle factory My sisters and I were told stories of children who performed all sorts of wonders, even curing faraway strangers suffering from fatal diseases just by using their Silva taught mental powers The children s classes we took barely touched on this sort of life saving work, though Instead, we were encouraged to focus on something showier and easier to check bending cutlery just by thinking about it.Give a classroom full of children a spoon apiece and tell them how impressed you ll be by anyone who can bend that thing like it had melted in their hot little hands Emphasize this point frequently Give the kids several hours to perform Don t pressure them by watching them too closely, and of course allow them to handle the spoons as much as they like Make sure you only have one or two grownups riding herd on 30 kids Have those grownups step outside frequently for coffee breaks Oh, and if you see one of the kids vigorously pushing and pulling on the neck of the spoon bending it using brute force rather then mind powers assure the other children that this is known in the business as loosening it up What will you get You ll get 28 kids with silverware bent every which way, and two dejected, bewildered children clutching spoons stubbornly set in their original spoony curves These two will wonder where they went wrong as they watch the other kids eating up praise from the proud grownups.You might want to keep this story in mind as you read HifR P.S Yes, I was one of the two My older sister was the other After spending several years of childhood feeling like a loser, I m very proud of both of us True story 4 Carol Tavris relates a startling story from her own life in Mistakes Were Made but not by me Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts, the terrific book she co authored with Elliot Aronson Tavris favorite children s book was James Thurber s The Wonderful O, which she remembers her father giving her as a child A band of pirates takes over an island and forbids the locals to speak any word or use any object containing the letter O I have a vivid memory of my father reading The Wonderful O and our laughing together at the thought of shy Ophelia Oliver saying her name without its O s I remember trying valiantly, along with the invaded islanders, to guess the fourth O word that must never be lost after love, hope, and valor , and my father s teasing guesses Oregon Orangutan Ophthalmologist Isn t that sweet Many of us cherish similar fond memories from childhood.Oh, wait I forgot the important part And then, not long ago, I found my first edition of The Wonderful O It had been published in 1957, one year after my father s death Yup I stared at that date in disbelief and shock Obviously, someone else gave me that book, someone else read it to me, someone else laughed with me about Phelia Liver, someone else wanted me to understand that the fourth O was freedom Someone lost to my recollection Many of us have read the many books, articles, and blog posts available on how human memory really works, and how reliable it isn t I d guess that most of us shake our heads and murmur to ourselves, Wow It s amazing how flawed everybody else s memory is Stories like Carol Tavris make it a little harder to hold on to that comfortable sense of superiority True Story 5 My teenage son is homeschooled, so he only knows things I taught him.Just kidding He knows about how my car works than I do, though I m the one who knows how to drive it He knows about TV shows I ve never watched or even heard of, and we never have the TV on unless we re all watching a movie together He has taught himself all manner of things about electronic music production And don t get me started on Lego engineering Yes, that s a thing Stick with me We re almost there.True Story 6, and I swear this is the last one plus it s short When I was six or seven, my lung collapsed I d always suffered from asthma, but this was worse than anything I d ever experienced All morning I d been wheezing around the house, desperately hoping for some sort of improvement Finally, I told my mother something along the lines of, This is bad This is different She rushed me to the hospital On this short drive, a big part of my mind was occupied with the possibility that this could be The End for our young heroine The rest was wondering how grownups always knew how to get to important places like hospitals Several decades later, as I consistently get lost even with the help of GPS and online map services, I m still impressed by the driving feats my parents generation managed using, apparently, nothing but a compass and the stars Lots of true stories in no particular order Here s where they come in Heaven is for Real is a book whose author, Todd Burpo, spends what feels like half the story saying, There s no way my son could have known that Usually, that is something religious specifically Protestant Christian Colton, the child in question, is the son of a very engaged and active pastor He lives in a town Burpo describes as having churches than banks Colton goes to Sunday school, and is regularly read Bible storybooks at home But somehow, there s no way he could have known that angels have halos He absolutely, positively never heard about halos in church or Sunday school, and there s no way he ever saw anything about halos in a picture book See page 74 of the paperback edition if you think I m exaggerating how vigorously the author denies the possibility that his kid could know anything about what most of us consider to be one of the two defining characteristics of angels the other being wings, of course.Nearly four year old Colton spends five days in the hospital with an undiagnosed ruptured appendix He s violently ill pretty much nonstop.After the doctors finally figure out what the heck is wrong and remove what s left of his appendix, Colton looks his Dad in the eye and says, Daddy, you know I almost died Well, duh.I mean, no way Fear gripped me Where did he hear that Had he overheard the medical staff talking Had he heard something the surgical team said, despite the anesthesia Because we certainly hadn t said anything about his being close to death Sonja and I had feared he was at the brink, had known it after we learned his appendix had been leaking poison into his system for five days But we d been very careful not to say anything in front of Colton that would scare him Which I believe What I can t believe is that any parent is thick enough to think his dangerously afflicted kid won t figure out that maybe, just maybe, he s a goner That was the first place I went in my head when my lung collapsed I wasn t much older than Colton, I wasn t nearly as ill, and nobody had mentioned death or dying around me, either Funnily enough, I figured it out from landing in the hospital after I could barely get enough air to tell my mom I needed help.Remember the story about the woman who spoke Welsh in her sleep Burpo has a similar story about grabbing the phone and calling his wife with the news that Colton told me he met John the Baptist Well, yeah Technically After a lot of questions from his dad, including his dad telling Colton John the Baptist s name Burpo insists all through the book that Colton offered information about Heaven all on his own and, okay, sometimes after lots of questions from his curious parents I can t tell you how many times I stopped reading and thought or said aloud, if my husband was there , Objection, your honor Counsel is leading the witness Quite aside from that Given how much time went by between Colton s visit to Heaven and Todd Burpo deciding to write a book about it, I can t have much confidence in the conversations he relates from memory Yes, those memories would be very vivid, since they relate to his faith and his son, two things Burpo cares deeply about Carol Tavris has vivid memories about her much loved father Those memories turned out to be how trustworthy, exactly Burpo insists that Colton described things on Heaven and Earth that there s just no way he could have known about Burpo doesn t seem to mind, in one recorded instance, when Colton gets things wrong You said you went to heaven People have to die to go to heaven Well, okay then, I died But just for a little bit Except that Burpo has the postop report from Colton s surgery Colton never stopped breathing His heart never stopped beating He didn t die on the operating table.After a startled moment, Burpo remembers sections of the Bible about people who had seen heaven without dying Which is fine, so far as it goes on the theological front But Burpo doesn t seem to notice, amidst all the There s no way he could have known that anecdotes, that Colton was nudged by his father s questions into saying something completely factually incorrect And Colton is getting plenty of incentive to keep telling stories I m not saying he was lying I m saying kids go where we push them Burpo was calling people on the phone and inviting them over to hear the things his kid had to say about Heaven Later, his own church was packed with people who came to hear the story he d promised to tell about this amazing child And the actual kid was there for the sermon Bonus I ve had plenty of experience with what happens to kids who want to live up to grownup expectations My mother would swear to this day I asked her to let me skip second grade The other kids in the Silva class performed magic after being told that applying any kind of pressure they wanted to their spoons was fine as long as the result was something that would look cool in a photo for their newsletter And I m willing to bet those kids remember using nothing than the force of their mental powers on that hapless cutlery To conclude finally I do not recommend this book unless you already agree with its premise If you re a critical thinker, it will drive you nuts Also, it s not particularly well written At one point, Burpo describes the kids in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as having been deported from London when they paid their visit to the house with the magic door I do not think that word means what you think it means It s very short, and I still had a hard time finishing it If you liked this book and it made you happy good The world needs happy I m not going to throw trash all over your review Please don t trash mine Thank you.

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