Roberta Grimes is a Christian or former Christian, I’m not sure quite how she describes herself these days, who had a couple of spiritually transformative experiences (STEs) that led her to do an in-depth study of the afterlife, lasting for a few decades. She’s a former United Church of Christ attendee. After that she became a devout Catholic. Roberta has read the Bible cover-to-cover several times. So, in many ways, her life is similar to mine. And we’ve come to many of the same, life-affirming and freeing conclusions.
She has come to the conclusion that the Christian doctrines are mostly poppycock and that the Bible has a lot of things wrong. The one thing she thinks the Bible gets right is the words of Jesus which dovetail very nicely with her studies of the afterlife. She’s laid that case out in a couple of previous books. Roberta has written about this extensively in Liberating Jesus, The Fun of Dying and The Fun of Staying In Touch. I’ve read all three. If you’re in the process of deconstructing Christianity or you’ve already torn it down to its foundation, I recommend them highly.
Her most recent work, The Fun Of Growing Forever, has been highly anticipated by me. Roberta says she “gave her life to God” at about the age of 65 I believe it was. Remember this if after being a devout Christian her entire life. She went through a radical transformation by combining what she had learned about the after-life with the teachings of Jesus. he took a fresh look at the words of Jesus and distilled his teachings into a simple path she could follow that led to amazing rapid spiritual growth. I’ve listened to every one of her Podcasts and she alludes to this many times, so I couldn’t wait to get the book to see how she did it
Basically, Roberta has distilled Jesus’ two commandments (which He took from 10) into three easy steps. The two commandments are, of course, to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. Roberta says the key is to start with an attitude of gratitude, move to radical forgiveness and then to radical and unconditional love. That’s it.
In the book, she gives techniques she has discovered to accomplish each of these three steps in a way that is simple to follow and doesn’t require an awful lot of effort. And the motivation is there to change yourself, change the world, make life more fun and to store up treasures for yourself in heaven.
Jesus’ words are simple, but not easy. What He commands is easier said than done, particularly the love God part- if you’ve been raised to fear God. Fearing someone and loving them are incompatible because they are polar opposites. This was the bane of my existence as a child. I knew I had to love God so that he wouldn’t send me to Hell, but I couldn’t love Him because I knew He was capable of sending me to Hell. I pretended to love God, but I knew He could see through the charade. I just could not love someone who would torture me, or anyone.
The book is a short easy read. About 40% of it is appendices which refer to material that will help you understand why you shouldn’t fear God, why you should believe you are an eternal loved child of God and why you should not fear death because there is no judgment.
Full disclosure: I did receive a copy of this book for free and I consider myself to be a friend of the author.