• Heaven Is For Real, A Review

    This week, Amy reviews the book Heaven is For Real. With the movie being released to coincide with the Easter season, we thought you would be interested.

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    I’m guessing it’s a safe assumption to say that not many of us have visited Heaven and lived to tell about it. I know I certainly haven’t. But, in Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo, he tells the story of his 4-year-old son, Colton, who claims to have been through the pearly gates during a life threatening illness and subsequent surgery.

    Following a misdiagnosis and an untreated ruptured appendix, Colton (a pastor’s son) finally underwent an emergency appendectomy through which he was not expected to live. When he miraculously emerged, his Christian parents were beyond overjoyed.

    Four months later, Colton continued to astound his parents, leaving them speechless, with his revelation that he had left his body during the surgery and spent a total of three minutes in Heaven. Being a pastor, Colton’s father Todd (the author) worked carefully and cautiously to piece together Colton’s account of Heaven in the following several months.

    The tale that emerges is endearing, profound, and amusing at times as it is recounted in a four year old’s terms and understanding. While the book is a feel good story for the Christian reader, it honestly left me feeling unchallenged. The writing is simplistic enough that I was able to read the book in it’s entirety during a few sessions of riding the stationary bike at the gym. In other words, as my mind wandered occasionally to a breathless “oh my goodness, is my time on this bike almost up?” or “please tell me I’ve burned a billion calories in the last ten minutes,” I still found myself completely comprehending everything I was reading in my scattered focus. That’s abnormal for me. Typically, if my mind wanders, I’ve got to reread the last page or two to understand what I’ve just read. This time, that was not the case.

    Just as it was not intellectually challenging for me, nor was it spiritually or emotionally challenging for me. As I said, it was an easy read. Other than the warm fuzzy feelings I received while reading it, it did nothing to actually confirm or discount my own beliefs of Heaven. I’m sure we are all well aware that folks interpret the Bible in many ways… often to suit or justify their own fleshly thoughts or desires. The thing is… either you believe the Bible or you don’t.  Either you’re a doubting Thomas or you’re not. Reading a novel about Heaven doesn’t change that for me one way or another, and I kind of hope it doesn’t change anything for you, either. Because, truly, the Bible is the ultimate authority. It just so happens that what Todd Burpo has to say on the matter lines up pretty well with my belief of the Bible. I suppose it might have been more of a challenge if it didn’t.

    So, if you’re looking for a quick, easy read that likely validates everything you’ve hoped for about Heaven, this is the book for you! Sure, I enjoyed Heaven Is For Real, but it will not be added to my list of favorites. Hopefully the next book I pick up will challenge my emotions, intellect, or even my beliefs. As with anything, I’m a firm believer that growth comes from challenge… so long as you have a good head on your shoulders. ;)

    About Amy Coffey

    Amy is a Texas based 30-something living the life in Comanche, Texas: population 4,259. Who says you have to live in the big city to live your dreams? Her soul’s hankerin’ to create has nurtured her love of writing, photography, design, daydreaming, and, oh, a billion other creative outlets that have caught her fancy at one time or another. Amy's crafty, clever, and conversational writing style is riddled with her quirky internal dialogue, not to mention raw emotion, introspection, and depth.
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    7 Responses to Heaven Is For Real, A Review

    1. pamela says:

      Maybe it’s because i’m facing a serious illness, but I found this book very comforting, Yes I’m a christian that believes and I know where I’m going. I wanna go but I don’t want to go today. Years have been taken away from my life expectency and I may be viewing this totally different than Amy. It’s amazing what lies ahead and I’m glad this book was written. I am now reading another wonderful boo 90 minutes in heaven, this man wa d.o.a. and came back personally I have to read through tears of joy. Heaven is for Real to me was a great read.

    2. Amy Coffey Amy Coffey says:

      Hi Pam! First, I work here at the office with Stacy, and she has told me some wonderful things about you!

      Second, thank you so much for your insight. I have not walked in your shoes, and I didn’t even think of what this book may mean to someone with a serious illness. I did think it was a good book, and it can absolutely be comforting as it reiterates what the Bible says about Heaven. I, too, am glad this book was written if for no other reason than it has brought you comfort.

    3. Ryan Huett says:

      Amy,

      I always enjoy your articles. You always stay true to your style and opinions even if they may not be widely accepted at times. Never stop doing that. You make a very valid point when you imply that meaningful growth can only occur when one’s beliefs are challenged or even upended, as the best possible path to awareness(“heaven” if you will), is through a conscious effort to shed conditioning, and embrace what follows, after doing so.

      • Amy Coffey Amy Coffey says:

        Hey Ryan,

        Thanks so much for the encouragement! I don’t know any other way to be except for true to myself. :) Hope all is well!

    4. J. Cop says:

      I loved loved loved this book. It was very inspiring to me because it reaffirmed my belief that God is still alive and active and very involved in our lives. Not only was this boy healed, but God did something amazing by showing him heaven. He uses things we don’t think he would use…like a small child…to profound us all. My husband has not read it, but his reaction would have been much like your reaction. He would have wanted more meat, more intellect. But, I loved the simplistic faith that is shown here. So glad they have made a movie and I can’t wait to see it. Thanks for the review.

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