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Will Heaven Be Boring?

A Conversation about Beauty & Good Taste

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Taste matters. Most people understand this instinctively. We become the things we watch, read, and listen to. Art shapes us. Nonetheless, shallow music is very popular these days, as are trite television shows, vapid movies, and soulless books.

 

While bad art can be found everywhere, young people in particular tend to have bad taste. This is true of Christians and non-Christians alike, and it is also true of Christians who attend classical Christian schools. The same students who tepidly discuss Milton and Virgil at school go home to listen to Drake and watch The Outer Banks. The way they spend their time makes them bored with classics, bored with church, and eager for whatever fashionable thing the world does next.

 

What can teachers, parents, pastors, and youth pastors do about this?

 

You know that should talk with students about about their taste, but it's a difficult conversation. Where do you begin? What do you say? Telling a 16 year-old, "The music you like is trash - you should listen to something good for a change!" won’t get you very far. Neither can you expect a few quotations from St. Paul about “whatever is beautiful” to immediately upend the heart of a young man or young woman who is infatuated with pop culture. You have to be a little more subtle, a little more patient, and a lot more reasonable than that.

I wrote “Will Heaven Be Boring?” to help adults talk with young people about issues pertaining to taste.

“Will Heaven Be Boring?” is a conversation between a teacher and a student. The conversation begins with the student’s concern that heaven will be boring and quickly branches out into a host of related matters, many of which concern the affect that our tastes in music, film, and books have on our perception of church. During the conversation, the student asks a number of questions that adults often struggle to answer: Does it matter what we watch? If so, why? Is a song or a movie worth watching simply because it’s “clean” or “there’s nothing bad in it”? Is taste completely relative? Is beauty relative? Is it okay to listen to music with “bad content” provided it doesn’t affect you? How do you know if music is affecting you?

Adults who are responsible for teens will benefit from reading “Will Heaven Be Boring?” on their own, but the pamphlet was written to be read aloud by an adult teacher or leader during class, Sunday School, or youth group. While teens will be able to understand most of the pamphlet on their own, they will definitely have questions as they’re reading (or listening) and the adult leading the discussion will have ample opportunity to banter back and forth with students while moving through the conversation. The entire conversation can be read by the adult, or you can choose a student for the student role. 

Teachers who have used the pamphlet in class have reported a high level of interest and engagement from students. Given the confessional nature of the pamphlet, the topics covered (romance, church, music, movies, the freedom which comes after high school), and the dynamic mood of the conversation, students track with the pamphlet. “While I read, they were rapt,” said one teacher who used the pamphlet in a high school aesthetics class.

 

Find out how to purchase and read "Will Heaven Be Boring?" below.
 

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PURCHASE

Purchase

"Will Heaven Be Boring?" is 15,000 words long and is available in two versions: as an e-book and as a printable PDF.

 

E-Book

If you would like to read a single copy of the pamphlet, the e-book is available on Amazon for $5.99.

 

Printable PDFs

If you could like to print multiple copies to distribute in a class, Sunday school, or youth group, "Will Heaven Be Boring?" is also available as an easy-to-print PDF in two formats: an 8.5" x 11" full-page document and a 5.5" x 8.5" folded booklet

Both versions of the PDF will be sent to your email address within 48 hours of making a purchase. Each license that you purchase grants you the right to print and distribute one copy of the pamphlet in whichever length and format you prefer.

Licensed copies can be purchased at the following rates:

 

20 licensed copies: $60

50 licensed copies: $100

100 licensed copies: $180

250 licensed copies: $350

Licenses are granted on the honor system. We recommend printing all of your licensed copies at the same time for distribution and purchasing more licenses when your printed materials run out. For more information about printing the PDF, please see the FAQs.

To make a purchase, please use the PayPal link below. The PDFs will be sent within 48 hours to the email address that you provide during the checkout process. 

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READ EXCERPTS

Excerpts from the beginning of "Will Heaven Be Boring?"

Student: This might sound a little dramatic but I’m on a quest for knowledge and truth. 


Teacher: Sounds important. How can I help? 


Student: There is something I’m afraid of and I want to know if my fear is reasonable or not.


Teacher: Go on. 


Student: Before I tell you what it is, you should know I’ve spoken with several other adults about this, all of whom I respect. I will be comparing what you tell me with what others have told me. 


Teacher: I’m impressed. Most teenagers ask their friends tough questions, but their friends aren’t any wiser. 


Student: A lot of my friends have the same fear. 


Teacher: Alright, let’s hear it. 


Student: I’m worried that I’m going to find heaven boring. 


Teacher: I see.


Student:: Do you think that’s a reasonable fear?


Teacher: Let me make sure I have this right. You’re not asking me whether heaven is going to be boring. You’re asking me whether it’s reasonable to be afraid that heaven will be boring?


Student: Yes. 


Teacher: Before I tell you what I think, you should know that you’ve asked a highly unusual question. A genuinely helpful answer to your question isn’t going to be quick or straightforward. 


Student: That’s fine. I’ve got time. 


Teacher: To answer that question, we’re going to have to talk about many different things, some of which will seem unrelated to the issue at hand—at least, they will seem unrelated at first. The fear that heaven will be boring is a theological issue, but it’s also a philosophical issue, a psychological issue, and a matter of taste. In fact, nearly any human concern of real importance (and maybe a few unimportant ones) could be roped into your question. How much time do you have?


Student: Plenty. You’ve got me curious. So, do you think it’s reasonable for me to fear that heaven will be boring?


Teacher: Yes and no. 


Student: Interesting. You’re the first person who has said that. 


Teacher: What did everyone else say?


Student: They all said it was unreasonable. They said I didn’t need to worry that heaven will be boring.  


Teacher: Did they say why?


Student: They all said that heaven was going to be a place of perfect joy and happiness. They also pointed me to passages in the Bible which describe what heaven will be like. 


Teacher: Do you believe those passages?


Student: I do, but I’m still afraid heaven will be boring. 


Teacher: Why?


Student: I don’t know. It is hard to say. 

..........

Teacher: How often do you get bored with a movie you spent an hour picking?


Student: Oh, quite often. I spend an hour picking a movie and then turn it off and pick something else after just ten minutes or so.  
Teacher: Would you say most of the books in a book store look interesting to you?


Student: What do you mean?


Teacher: If someone randomly selected a book from Barnes & Noble for you to read, what are the odds you would find that book enjoyable?


Student: Very, very low. When I shop at Barnes & Noble, there are very few sections I even browse. 


Teacher: Doesn’t it seem strange that you are worried heaven will be boring when you find so many things on earth tiresome and dull? Even your favorite things are only enjoyable under very particular circumstances.


Student: I see what you’re getting at, but it doesn’t alleviate my fear that heaven will be boring. It simply proves I find most things in this world quite boring. Still, there are things in this world I can’t live without. 


Teacher: Like your stuffed animals?


Student: Very funny. 


Teacher: Was there a point in your life when you couldn’t live without your stuffed animals?


Student: Yes, but that was years ago. Many years ago.  


Teacher: And the things you can’t live without now—do you think you’ll still care about them in five years? 


Student: It’s hard to say. 


Teacher: What can’t you live without now?


Student: My friends. 


Teacher: That’s a very common answer in high school, even though you’ll graduate soon enough, leave your friends behind, and make new friends in college. The high school heartbreaks that devastate us now become the stuff we tell funny stories about three or four years down the road.  


Student: Perhaps, but the fact remains that I’m not bored by everything in this life. 


Teacher: True. However, there is one very particular thing about life on earth that you do find boring, and it’s the fact you find this thing boring which makes you fear heaven will be boring, too. 


Student: What’s that thing?


Teacher: Church. You find church painfully boring. 
 


 

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Excerpts
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