Rev. John Price's Corner
Spiritual Food For Thought
Rev John Price has a new book due out 2/19/12. You can check it out by clicking here.
Rev. John comes to NDERF
When you read the NDE accounts, inescapably, one cannot miss the spirituality inherent in the core accounts. Many readers find it difficult to integrate what they experienced in their NDE with their religious/spiritual beliefs. Therefore, we are bringing a wonderful and spiritual fellow who can help with coping and the integration process. Although NDERF does not promote any one religion, we do heartily embrace the wisdom and spirituality contained in the NDE truths. We also recognize that we have a high reader base of devout Christians. Therefore, we are honored to have Rev. John Price with us to answer questions that readers may have about NDE and spiritual growth within the framework of the Christian religion. Rev. John is an ordained priest of the Episcopal church and has been working as a reverend since 1965. He is a spiritual director as well as an Episcopal priest and does a lot of teaching in the area of spiritual development. Rev. John has been actively involved in Chaplain work, counseling military members since 1965. His credentials are extensive and he is truly an amazing spiritual leader. (For the biography, click here) Rev. John has been actively counseling his parishners on NDE and is an avid believer in the truth of NDE.
He serendipitously came across the NDERF website by asking the question "What about a soldier? How does God/The Creator view someone that has to kill for their country?"
The ensuing e-mail
dialog is profound and one answer is from NDEr
who experienced an awesome NDE where he was able to return with knowledge
gained from the other side. (William's NDE account can be found by
clicking here). As a result of this
exchange, Rev. John has consented to answer questions which we will post on
the website for others to benefit and grow from.
Either scroll down or click the link below for more:
Rev. John's Beginning NDE Interests
NDE Insights on One Soldier's Story
#145 Controversy, Dialogue with Rev. John with a Fundamentalist Reader Against Gays
Hellish NDEs - Commentary on Meg A's NDE #373
Grief - Its Five Components, By Rev. John Price 3/5/05
THE BEGINNING OF NDE INTERESTS:
I became the rector/pastor of this Episcopal congregation in Austin TX in 1968. It did not deserve the title, "Church," as they had run off all 5 of their clergy in the congregation's 18 years before I arrived. They ruined the priesthood of 4 of the 5, contributed immensely to the divorce of 3 of them and put 2 of them in the state hospital with nervous breakdowns. There were 3 warring groups, each at war with the other 2, rather like the Balkans.
I arrived, not knowing a bit of this, 29 years old, ordained only 4 years. I learned the history of the place when my immediate predecessor came to call on me. He looked like he had died the week before, as his skin was grey, as was his hair, and his eye sockets were black. He called on me in the house we'd bought and told me the awful news about what had been going on, the vicious things the people had done.
I preached the next Sunday on "Love God, love your neighbor as yourself." It went well, and I thought it was really the answer to the problems as I understood them, so I kept on preaching on that topic. I worked the official lessons into the theme, which is not a bad theme to follow in talking about biblical passages.
I managed to quiet the fighting by preaching about the love of God and God’s requirement for us to love God, neighbor, and self – and the place calmed down. One woman left with 5 followers who had tried to keep the fighting going.
The Church just took off, growing in every respect: attendance, membership, programs, money, and spiritual strength, now that the fighting was over. Her group had been holding the place back.
After some spectacular growth in every respect, 8 years later, they came back, docile, loving, and cooperative. I was as amazed as anyone. Three months later, one of the women came down with an inoperable cancer and learned she only had a few months to live. I helped them set up a sort of hospice in her home a few weeks before the end, so family and friends could come be with her. As she got closer to death, I began praying that she would be released soon from this body that had failed her.
One Sunday afternoon, her husband called, would I come right away. When I got there, she was looking around the room with far more energy than she'd had the day before. To make a long story short, she had had an NDE of several minutes. An RN there said her pupils were fixed and restricted, could detect no breathing or pulse with a stethoscope, and said "She's gone." The husband and daughter came and cried for a while, then he started dialing my phone number when the RN let out a gasp, and he turned around to see his wife moving her head and looking around the room, bug-eyed.
I got right over there, and she was looking at me like I was the President of the USA. I was told what had happened, and she could only nod her head that this was so.
Two days later, she was finally able to speak and told her daughter the following story:
She was lying there in bed when Jesus came thru the ceiling and held his hands down to her. She lifted hers to him and went with him. Of course, no one in the room saw this. Suddenly there were her parents, a brother who'd died in the war, and several friends. She reviewed her life, and as she was going thru that portion of her life in which she'd participated in running off my predecessors, she was shown how bad that had been for her to do. Then when she got to those portions of her life in which she was hearing my 1st 3 years of sermons over again, as she put it, "God told me John Price was right, God does want us to pray for our enemies, and not work against them." I had made the very point in sermons, among others. Then she was told it was not her time, and she simply woke up in her body. Nothing had been done to resuscitate her.
She lived another week, in which she told this story to about 15 women. After the funeral, some of the women came and asked me if we could talk about what she had told them. We gathered the next week, and I asked what She had told them. They relayed just what I'd been told. I explained that I had spoken with several other people who'd had this experience also, and how life-changing it had been for them, which I had certainly seen in their lives.
Well, my stock just took off in that parish. As great as things had been, they became even greater, as word got around that she had come back from the dead and God had told her "John Price is right..." I stayed 20 years in that congregation.
Another story which had a great influence on my thinking and ministry:
I baptized this baby at about 7 weeks of age and the family didn't come back to Church. Later I learned what had happened the next week. The baby developed an upper respiratory infection and just went down, down, down. Then one day the mother was nursing the baby and she suddenly went limp in her arms, eyes rolling back in her head. I suppose she had been stopped up, that her O2 levels were low and as she was nursing, she slipped away from lack of O2.
The mother yelled at the father, "there's something dreadfully wrong with the baby, call the doctor." He did, and the MD told them to meet him at a nearby hospital. They rushed the few blocks to it as the mother gave mouth-to-mouth respiration to the child. The ER team met them at the curb and whisked the baby away and resuscitated her. They went home later that week.
They did not come back to church, did not tell the baby about God, Jesus, or her death. Then, 3-1/2 years later, the mother was driving past the same hospital with the child in the front seat. The girl looked up, saw the hospital, and said, "Look, Mommy, that's where Jesus brought me back to you."
The mother nearly wrecked the car and pulled over, astounded. "What did you say?" she demanded. The child, puzzled at her mother's reaction, said, "You know, Mommy, Jesus came and got me, but he brought me back to you there."
The mother drove straight to my office, told me about this, and never missed church after that. On 2 occasions before the child was 6, she was in a Sunday School class when the grandmother of another child had just died, and the teacher took the opportunity to explain the Christian concept of death. "Oh yes," the child said on each occasion, "When you die, Jesus comes and gets you, but if it's not your time, he brings you back."
I have used this story very effectively in dealing with families who have lost someone and with staff here in the hospital when someone they've been working hard on dies in spite of everything. It is very comforting to most, puzzling to others, maddening to a few that "I believe that stuff." It's amazing, the resistance I run into on spiritual issues.
These accounts and many others are to be found in my book, Revealing Heaven: the Christian Case for Near-Death Experiences. HarperOne, 2013.
William Sillyman's Response to What About a Soldier?
I want to thank you for contacting Jody at the Near Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF). She asked me to send my response to you also to the site so that it can be shared with others.
The question that you have, on "How does God/The Creator view someone that has to kill for their country?" That question can be also asked as to anyone that has to take the life of another either to defend their country or way of life.
When I was on the other side and was watching my life review, there were also other questions that I had pertaining to many different things. And it is interesting to note that one of these questions, was the taking of another life. Another discussion regarded Adolph Hitler and those like him who have been a part of our history, made notorious for their actions.
What I was shown was that each one of us, including Hitler, have all been shown what our "mission" on this earth would entail. We saw all that would occur during our life. However, we were also shown various paths that we could take during the course of our life. None of these paths are predestined. But instead, we (not God) put specific signposts along the way to trigger decisions that we should make. Sometimes we recognize them, other times we don't.
One thing that we do know, whether we choose to come to this earth as white, black, Oriental, Mexican, Christian, Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist, we also know and realize that there may be times we will have to defend our way of life and our personal beliefs, even to the point of taking a human life while we are here. That is our freedom of choice. We also know that when we come here, we may be called to exercise our duty as a citizen of a particular country, to protect and defend that way of life.
When it comes to judging, God does not judge as so many religions practice, they do a really good job of guilting you to death. Guilt for looking at a woman or man, for taking a drink, smoking, etc. However, for you to defend your way of life, you are rewarded and praised.
As I mentioned earlier with Adolph Hitler, our history books teach hatred. We are to continue to hate this man for what he did and for what he ordered. Why can't we look at it in a different point of view of what the man taught us? Hitler�s message is that if we (mankind) do not watch what we do and how we act, this is how low mankind can really go.
His actions and those who followed his orders tried to wipe out a whole race of life, simply because it was different than theirs. And as such, because of that lesson, look at the appropriate response that American soldiers were called upon to perform. The U.S. was attempting to stop, not merely a way of life but a threat to all life. The big picture is to realize that it doesn't matter what walk of life a person may have chosen, we are all "Children of God." We just have different points of view and that is ok.
When it comes to the 9/11 incident, my point of view with that is, those that lived were not meant to die that day. Those that did, it was their chosen day and time on that day and in that way. Why? What could possibly be the reason?
Our nation and those of all nations have recognized for a long time that individuals have terrorized our way's of life. Just like it took the 6 million plus to die in the Concentration Camps at the hands of the Nazi's, it took that many to make a strong enough impact to wake us up� not just the U.S., but the whole world. So it is the same with 9/11. Sure, we have had a small bombing here and shooting there, but it took something this dramatic to make the impact and for us to realize, Enough is Enough.
At the end of WWII, it took a few years to help the German people to see Hitler's point of view. They realized that it was not a threat to Germany but had been a threat to Hitler's point of view. The same is with ben Laden. I have many friends that are also Muslim that do not feel the same as al Quaida or ben Laden. Many religions believe they are the only true religion on this earth, so do these particular Muslims.
Since my three NDEs, my point of view has dramatically changed. Religion, all religions, were created by man and man is the one that wrote and created the laws that govern how you should feel, what you should do and what you think. God is NO RELIGION, HE/SHE IS JUST GOD. HE/SHE IS THE GREAT I AM and that is it. We are a part of the Great I AM. That will never change. It doesn't matter whether or not what name He/She goes by, He/She is still GOD.
When mankind gets the clue that to stop all the MADNESS, we just simply have to realize that God is God, and that we are all, literally, a part of God. Our human bodies may be a part of our parents with all its generations, but our spirit has only one generation� You as the eternal Child of God.
When mankind understands the continuity of the soul, mankind will also realize that we no longer need to force others to change individual points of views, because it won't matter. Individuals will be accepted for who they are.
There will finally be no more killing, no more sickness and possibly no more dying. However, dying is just a rebirth another transition from this existence back to the existence from which we came.
So, back to your question. God will not judge those that have had to take a life to defend themselves or their country. If an individual holds guilt for an action, it is their own self-judgment. Before I end this, let me try and share a small part of my NDE with everyone.
As I was passing through the tunnel, I could sense the spirits that were in the shadows beyond the tunnel of light. I could feel the torment, the fear, the guilt and shame that they were feeling. I asked my guardians how could God condemn these spirits to this realm. I was told that God did not put them there, They Put Themselves There.
I asked what they meant by this. (I'm going to be a bit on the blunt side here.) So many times religions will teach that actions and words can admit or restrain a person from entering the presence of God. These types of teachings, teach guilt and shame. For instance, if you say the words, �Shit, Damn or Hell,� that soul will not be worthy to stand in the presence of God. If a person chooses to live a different lifestyle than the norm, many religions will outcast the member from the group by scapegoating that individual and reminding the rest of the congregation how this individual will be cast into Hell and will never see the Light of God.
When I stood in the presence of my Creator, I had done things in my life that were not the Norm, but I felt no shame for them, I just felt loved. While I was there, I was able to see 4 old friends that I had had on this earth. These friends had all been killed in a car wreck after they had been hit by a drunk driver. Some would think that that was o.k. because they had been innocently killed. The drunk driver had also been killed. Yet he was there also. Why? Because the guys had all forgiven him for his actions. All five of them knew and agreed that their missions on this earth ended on that particular night.
Oh, I also forgot to mention, the four friends of mine, shouldn't have been in Heaven at all, because religion had condemned them to Hell. All four of them on this earth had been Gay. They had no shame or guilt for their way of life. Society had the shame and guilt. These were great guys, they never hurt another human being. Three of them even had younger siblings, and they not once ever Molested or Defiled them, in fact they protected them, even up to the day they died.
When we pass to that side, when Jesus went to those in Prison, he was talking about those that were in the shadows. Those through their guilt and shame felt they were unworthy and incapable of being loved by God. They are who we are to help. To teach those who remain tortured in the shadows to awaken and realize that their turmoil was of no need. God is pure LOVE. The experiences these souls had on earth was just that, an experience and part of their mission. When they learn to let go of the guilt and shame they will return back to the light.
I hope this helps and attempts to answer your question. Please feel free to
write me anytime.
Thank you so much for your long and thoughtful letter to me in answer to my question. I so appreciate everything you wrote and agree with you thoroughly about religion, even though I have been an Episcopal clergyman since '64. I function nicely where I am and help people get over their guilt and shame they or religionists have heaped upon them, including gays. I am not the least surprised that your 4 gay friends are over there. What I observe in talking to 77 people now who have had a NDE, is that those who seem truly to be Hell-bound are truly mean persons.
I know a Disciples of Christ pastor in Ohio who, before his NDE, was a truly mean person and an atheist. In his experience which is on the NDERF website, he explains that he was being tormented and torn apart by tormenters who began screaming at him when he yelled out "Oh, God." They began screaming at him "there is no God, there is no God;" so he started screaming all the religious words he could think of, and finally called out "Help me, Jesus!" Jesus suddenly appeared, scattered the tormenters, and took him back to his body in the hospital room.
Later observations after sending the above comments to Bill Sillyman:
I�m impressed that so many people who have not been properly introduced to Jesus in their lives also have good, pleasant NDE�s and OBE�s. I�ve long been sure God�s Love is the single most important thing to know about God, and that God loves his entire creation, and wants us to love one another and ourselves. Then comes the frequent observations of mean people not having the beautiful NDE, but a terrifying one. Read the terrifying experience NDE accounts and see what they say about themselves prior to their NDE and their demeanor afterwards. Now THAT is a conversion experience indeed. I've talked to some of those.
I talked to one young man who'd dropped out of high school, went to California for the drug scene and one night at a drug party in L.A., took a pill he said gave him the worst trip ever. He then began to describe a strange experience he'd had which was identical to what I'd just read in Life After Life. I realized he'd died, and that was the first time I believed one of these accounts, and the 4th one I'd been told about. This was 1976, right after Life After Life had been published. In his NDE, he was shown how he was wasting the gifts God had given him when he was sniffing glue in elementary school, smoking dope in jr. high, and going to the hard stuff in high school. He was told it wasn't his time, work up, and walked away cold turkey from the drug scene, went back home, apologized to his parents, got back in high school, graduated, and joined the Army where I met him and heard his story. Since him I've talked to 73 more people with NDE's, many, many of whom turned their lives around afterwards.
NDE Insights on One Soldier's Story
Dr. Jeff Long points out, it is "most graphic and frightening." The
description of "Gareth" in the account is in keeping with what I've seen in
common with the few people I've talked to who had hellish experiences: he was
mean, really mean.
I suspect most people who've returned from such hellish experiences would not want to talk about it because of how it reflects upon themselves, as to what a bad person they had been.
I do know people who've not made a personal decision to follow Jesus Christ who have had the beautiful experience, but they were not mean and did live the loving way Jesus commanded us in the Gospels: "Love one another as I have loved you," the only "Commandment" he gave.
The anonymous author of this account asks us to accept Jesus, give our hearts to him, and I would say to those who've not had a positive experience with "religion," living that loving life is what Jesus was asking.
But the anonymous author did contradict herself on one point: it's never too late. She even asked God for help while in Hell and it came, and others have related this as well. She "gave up" her own attempts to control and then was brought out of it.
I think she needs to pray forgiveness for Gareth, for him to ask God for help, for forgiveness. Prayer works, even at that point after someone's death. God's will for us is health, joy, peace, love. As she described him, Gareth lived the opposite of all this. It's never too late to pray for him and others who are in their own torment.
Copyright1999 by Dr. Jeff and Jody Long
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