The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 5, 1997 · Page 13
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 13

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Salina, Kansas
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Sunday, October 5, 1997
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Page 13
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THE Life SUPPORT GROUPS / BS ALMANAC / B7 CROSSWORD / B8 B STAIRWAYS to HEAVEN How we see heaven and hell follows not just the doctrine of our faith, byt reflects our personal beliefs as well By MAUREEN HAYDEN Scripps Howard News Service EVANSVILLE, Ind. — When 7-year-old Jessica Bivens' grandfather died last year, the Evansville girl wrote a letter to God. "Please Dear God," it said, "tell my grandfather I miss him." For Jessica, there is no question that her beloved grandpa is in heaven. But as Jessica grows up, she will learn . that the concept of heaven, who gets there and why, is more controversial. Depending on whom you ask, a ticket to heaven is either free to all, bought by faith or earned by effort. For some Christians, there is only one highway to heaven: as a true and declared believer of Jesus Christ. "We believe that hi order to get to heaven, you have to be born again," said the Rev. John Lovelace, a Cumberland Presbyterian minister, whose denomination is more conservative than the United Presbyterian Church. "To get to heaven, you have to accept Jesus Christ as your savior and repent your sins." When the Rev. Thomas Richstatter, a Franciscan priest and theology professor at St. Meinrad Seminary, is asked how to get to heaven, his answer is a question: "What is the percentage of people in heaven and hell right now?" Rich- statter asks. "How you answer says something about how you see God. If you think plenty of people are in hell, then you see God as this great accountant up there with a ledger book keeping track of what we do. "But if you think of heaven as a place that's crowded and hell as empty, you think of God as this mild-mannered parent who is a lousy disciplinarian and forgives us everything we do." That Richstatter would even ask the question infuriates some members of his own Roman Catholic faith. Before the Second Vatican Council 30 years ago, Catholics were taught to believe that heaven was like an exclusive country club where only they could go. But now, Roman Catholic doctrine says heaven is open to almost all who live a good life, whether they openly declare their belief in Jesus Christ or not. It's not that Catholics have written off Jesus, though. In his 1994 book, "On the Threshold of Hope," Pope John Paul II said that non- Christians in the world who do good are being led by the power of Jesus, but they just don't know it. What is the percentage of people in heaven apd hell right now? How you answer says something about how you see God. — Rev. Thomas Richstatter Franciscan priest and theology professor See HEAVEN, Page B4 Depending on whom you ask • earned by effort. • Christians, Jews, Muslims • Illustration by Scripps Howard News Service • a ticket to heaven Is either free to all, bought by faith or Good heavens! Just a state of mind or an actual place? By MAUREEN HAYDEN Scripps Howard News Service The notion of an afterlife cuts across faiths and is present in a multitude of religions, Christian and non- Christian alike. But the details of what comes after death vary not just from denomination to denomination, but within them as well. "I like the story I heard once that hell is a place where people are starving, because they have lots of food but it's on spoons with handles top long to reach their mouths," said the Rev. Julia Aegerter, of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Evansville, Ind. "But in heaven, even though everyone there has really long spoons too, they are feeding each other." She said her church believes heaven is more a state of mind than a place. Jewish theology and folklore offer several views of what comes after life, said Rabbi David Feder of Temple A'dath B'nai Israel. While the Torah does not speak directly of heaven, some Jews believe there is no afterlife, while others believe in reincarnation, the idea that the soul continues to return to earth, either to learn new lessons or as punishment for a previously wicked life. Jewish folklore, he said, is filled with stories of heaven as a place you can get into, but only after you stand trial. There is a prosecutor who reads off the litany of your failings and an angel defense attorney, who argues for your admission. God has final judgment but, in some cases, can send you to hell for a little while, according to these tales. "Just long enough for you to pay for your sins," Feder said. Among both Christian and non-Christian faiths, there is some debate as to whether you rise into heaven, or descend into hell, in physical form. Marwan Wafa, a Muslim, said the Koran speaks of "flesh" burning in hell, but it may just be an image to give the wicked an idea of what may be to come. For Aegerter and other ministers, though, the question of what an afterlife may look like is not as important as what happens in the current one. "There's a saying among Unitarians that it's not our task to get people into heaven; it's our job to get heaven into people." T TRAVEL Guests and ghosts share inns Friendly spirits at historic hotels usually good for business By The Associated Press SALEM, N.J. — Donna Robin- spn couldn't ask for a better business arrangement. She looks after the Woodnutt Country Inn during the day, and Sarah the ghost takes over at night. Sarah doesn't mind the hours, and she has a knack for luring guests to Salem's historic district. < Sarah is a spinster lace maker Who died in 1889 at age 33 and, Qonna Robinson believes, never moved out. Sarah is harmless and seeks only men who are about her age, Robinson assures her visitors. Otherwise, travelers can relax in the guest suite in the restored Colonial home and enjoy breakfast of homemade peach and pear crepes with hot caramel sauce. It's $65 a night, apparition or no. The 1995 edition of "Haunted Hotels: A Guide to American and Canadian Inns and Their Ghosts," by Robin Mead, lists more than 100 historic hotels, motels and inns that claim at least one non-paying guest. Hauntings and hospitality may not seem an obvious mix, but some innkeepers find profit in marketing the mysterious. Sarah In brochure Ed Okonowicz, a storyteller and ghost chaser from Elkton, Md., is author of the "Spirits of the Bay" books, a series documenting nearly every shadow and shudder on the Delmarva peninsula. The Woodnutt Country Inn was mentioned in his "Presence in the Parlor." "Certain innkeepers don't want to talk about it," Okonow- icz says. "Others call me and ask if they can be included because it's good for tourism." In the month after publication, Robinson received 20 calls from readers. She decided to make Sarah a partner and now mentions her in the house brochure. In a living room redolent of vanilla candles, Robinson recounted how she learned of Sarah. In 1992, she said, a 29- year-old male guest told her he was lying in bed and saw the shadow of a woman. Others related similar stories of a figure in a long white gown. Then Sarah visited Robinson's son. "I thought with each episode, 'this is getting too bizarre,'" she said. Chris Woodyard, of Beavercreek, Ohio, writes the "Haunted Ohio" book series. "Owners are seeing the marketing value of it — the P.R. a ghost can provide," she says. No matter how popular the ghosts, innkeepers rarely bank on them totally. Sarah Sonke, president of the American Bed & Breakfast Association in Richmond, Va., says most balance them with other promotions. The Associated Press Donna Robinson, owner of the Woodnutt Country Inn In Salem, N.J., sits In the bedroom where she believes the ghost of Sarah hangs out. Sarah, a spinster lace maker, resided In the house when she died In 1889 at age 33. Sarah "visits" men about her age. T PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS Want to ask for a raise? Do your homework first You want a raise. You think you deserve a raise. So how do you go about getting one? First, prepare a history of your work in the past year. List the contributions you've made to the company. Ask yourself how these contributions have improved the company or the bottom line. If you have trouble listing contributions, this is the time to rethink why you should get a raise. Employers do not look favorably on those who consider themselves entitled to more money just because they've been working for the company for a certain number of years. Nor can you justify asking for a raise because you've moved to a bigger house and you need money. DORIS WILD HELMERING St. Louis Post-Dispatch Second, research the going rate for someone who is in a similar position in your company or industry. Having this knowledge will allow you to assess more accurately where your salary should fall. A career counselor or the U.S. Department of Labor can provide you with information about what jobs pay in your area. Don't forget to add in the benefits you are receiving in addition to your salary. Third, play out the various scenarios that could take place when you ask for a raise. Look in the mirror and practice. If you can't convince yourself, it's unlikely you'll convince a boss. Another good exercise — go over all the reasons your boss may use to discourage a raise. Then develop a counterproposal. For example, if your boss says, "Well, you know profits have been down this year," you might counter with, "That's true. But my performance has been very good. For example." Here's where you roll out those contributions. SUGGESTIONS? CALL SHERIPA WARNER, LIFE EDITOR, AT (785) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT sjswarner@saljournal.com

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