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Last week I was asked by a publishing house in Barcelona to do a Q&A for a book about Christ and culture. The book will eventually be published in Spanish, so they’ve given me the freedom to publish my answers to their questions — some of which were really interesting — here on the blog.
I don’t always do everything Spanish publishers tell me to do, of course, but I thought these were fun questions.
What’s the most bizarre or atypical subject you have discussed with a fellow Christian?
Once, on a backpacking trip with friends, we discussed whether or not we would be OK with cannibalism — of each other — if for some reason we were in a desperate situation with no food, and one of us was already dead. (For the record, I announced that my friends were welcome to eat me if they needed my meat for survival, but only if I had died first.) It was a classic around-the-campfire conversation.
If you could put only one pop culture figure into the Bible and make him/her interact in the Gospels, who would you choose? Why?
I would like to see Michael Scott (from the U.S. version of “The Office”) as one of the 12 disciples. If Peter and John had such trouble understanding Jesus, I think Michael Scott would misunderstand him to hilarious effect. Also, how would he relate to Judas?
If you could design the perfect afterlife for Christian souls, how would it be?
It would be a combination of the Christian heaven and the eastern idea of reincarnation — reliving one life after another but with no sorrow, pain, or evil. I like the Judeo-Christian idea of heaven except for the eternal aspect. Doing anything forever and ever, without end, sounds…difficult. But I like living on earth, and life is lived to the full more readily if you know it will eventually end. So I’d want to experience a series of earthly lives, with multiple opportunities to start over, but also with temporal limits. A new place. New experiences. New joys. Only with none of the heartache of human existence. And I’d want my loved ones to reincarnate from life to life with me, of course. So it gets complicated.
If you could give sainthood or a ticket to heaven to a non-Christian person, who would you choose? Why?
Isn’t Gandhi the default answer here? He comes to mind first, but it seems like a cliche. So I would want to confer a heavenly ticket to Christopher Hitchens. Because I like what Hitch says about almost anything, and there would be nothing more fascinating than hearing his take on the afterlife.
St. Hitch: the patron saint of cancer-sufferers, atheists, and withering pundits.
Good job, Barcelona publisher.
Now it’s your turn, thoughtful reader. Pick one of the four questions above and post your answer in the comments.