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Escape from Hell and the Almighty White Guy with a Beard by James La Croce

Escape from Hell and the Almighty White Guy with a Beard

by James La Croce

276 pages
A devoutly devastating swipe at traditions about God and Son.

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Category: Religion:Christianity
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About the Book
Belief in God as an almighty presence on planet earth is terrifying when the almighty is seen at “his” almighty best as the architect and CEO of hell. But belief in God as an almighty presence is most disturbing when seen in light of the parable of the Last Judgment told by Jesus shortly before his death. In it God sends to hell all who do not treat the least as if they were Jesus, accepting no excuses such as “I did not know that bum was you.” That is one mighty almighty judgment.

What’s a believer to do? This memoir tells how one believer escaped from his fear of hell, a fear drilled into him when he was a child and young man. It is also the story of how the Last Judgment parable radically changed his life for about ten years, and how he finally settled for taking this parable as a kick in the butt given to help him get his priorities straight, not as a threat to be taken literally.

Though the author was trained to be a theologian, the voice used is that of a friend talking to friends. He tells how his escape from the fear of hell began with a radical change in his life style. He rejected the offer of a bigger parish and accepted his bishop’s permission to work with the poorest of the poor in any territory he found acceptable. His search for such work took him to the slums, to Indian reservations, to the mountains and jungle of Peru, to living and working with the poor in Washington, D.C. as an anti-Vietnam War activist. On the road he came to believe that Jesus gave his ministry and life to put an end to hell on earth, to usher in the kingdom of God on earth. He no longer saw the mission of Jesus in light of John 3:16, believing that God so loved the world he sent his son to save those who believed in him while all others and planet earth could go to hell. He saw the mission of Jesus in light of Luke 4:18, believing that God so loved the world that he sent his son to save those for whom life is a bitch and then it ends. On the road he came to believe that the world in this cliff-hanging third millennium needs more Luke 4:18 Christians than it does John 3:16 Christians. Jesus’ mission is now in human hands, not in Almighty hands.

His decade on the road ended in twenty years of teaching Religious Studies on a college campus. It was here he worked on two key concerns: Christianity could not dismiss hell simply by not preaching it from the pulpit, by just saying “fuhgheddabouit”. Christianity has not served us well by focusing on the divinity of Jesus. For help in doing this he thanks his students. He claims that because of them he taught more than he knew.

His mother died as he was retiring from teaching. His retirement pondering, the source of this book, began as that of a bereaved son not as a probing theologian.


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About the Author
Ordained 1954 in Rome. Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. Assistant Chancellor seven years, Pastor five years in Harrisburg, PA. Activist in anti-war and anti-poverty movements ten years. Professor of Religious Studies at the College of Notre Dame, Maryland, twenty years. Married twenty-eight years.



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