by Bil Aulenbach

“One Minute After You Die”

I was on my way to my spin class when I saw a pamphlet entitled “One Minute after You Die” on the ground. I picked it up and read it. Yikes!

It promised that one minute after I die, I’ll “either be enjoying a personal welcome from Christ or catching [my] first glimpse of gloom as [I] have never known it.”

Reality says that one minute after I die, I will start to decompose, and nobody will welcome me to the afterlife.

I wonder if the organization that writes these pamphlets, Good News Tracts, has heard that the universe contains are two to four trillion (that’s twelve zeroes) galaxies, and not one has been identified as heaven.

The tract promises “a personal welcome from Christ.” Which Christ? The historical Jesus? The Christ of money and power? (I use Christ as a description, not as a title, last name, or cussword.) I then wondered if the Christ who is supposed to welcome me after death speaks English and knows my name, address, social security number, and entire life history. My record has a few black marks.

Will this Christ say to me, “Welcome, Rev. Dr. William H. Aulenbach, Jr.,” or just “Hi, Bil”? He might even say, “Who invited you?”

The author of this tract, Erwin W. Lutzer, is a pastor at the Moody Church in Chicago. He holds degrees from Winnipeg Bible College, Dallas Theological Seminary, and Loyola University, Chicago. I suspect Erwin is a fundamentalist.

In “One Minute after You Die,” Lutzer suggests that if I don’t think the same way he does, I could find myself “shrouded in darkness in a region of deprivation and unending regret.” Seriously?

I have donated my body to the Anatomy Gifts Registry. As soon as I die, Anatomy Gifts Registry will take me to a medical facility to harvest and sell any useable body parts I still have. (I wish them luck with getting anything good from my elderly body.) My brain will go to the University of California, Irvine, Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, where I hear researchers are already fighting over it!

According to Lutzer, I’m going to miss seeing “God on His throne surrounded by angels and redeemed humanity.” Damn. I always wondered what she looks like. What color is her skin? Does she have a good figure? Would she find me attractive? Then I remember I’m eighty-seven.

Next, I read that I’m going to be a judged—again. I’ve spent my whole life being judged! I hope I won’t be judged by Erwin, or I’ll be doomed.

Lutzer’s pamphlet then claims that “though Christ was perfect, God made him legally guilty of all our sins” when Jesus was crucified. I’m tearing out what little hair I have.

Here’s a new take on Jesus’s execution: “Christ was considered to be a sinner when he took our sins on himself.” Huh? The pamphlet continues, “God has exceedingly high standards, but thanks to him, he meets them for us through this amazing exchange.” What in the world does that mean?

Erwin ends with a prayer that is really a minisermon reminding me what an SOB I am. This is supposed to be good news?

Here’s what I learned from that pamphlet: (1) Erwin lives in la-la land, (2) Good News Tracts does not spread good news, and (3) in the future, I should be careful what I pick up.

Image is in the public domain courtesy of Michael Pardo

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