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close up photo of woman with gold glitters on her face

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Dross is, “the scum or unwanted material that forms on the surface of molten metal.” I have actually never seen gold dross, but I have seen silver dross and many other impurities in assorted forms of molten metal. “Scum” is a good word for it, dross is all the scum you don’t want, the metal bleeding out it’s impurities.

I had trouble with the concept of heaven as a kid, I simply wasn’t going there. Paintings, art, music, the woefully inadequate words of people, had all worked together to convince me I’d have to become a cherub, a fat little ugly baby, glued down to a cloud for all of eternity. It seemed like an eternal time out, just endless torture to me. I promptly informed God I just preferred death. Do not wake me up, I rather enjoy complete oblivion.

I have to laugh sometimes at atheists who like to accuse me of having, “an invisible sky Daddy to cure your existential death anxiety.” But I laugh at mean spirited religionists too, pharisees forever threatening people with hell.  Like, is hell the place you AREN’T going to? Sign me up, because any place as far away from you as possible, is my kind of place……

I can kind of chuckle about these issues today because I’ve talked to God for a long, long  time, because He’s assured me I will not be spending eternity as a fat little baby superglued to a cloud. He also sent me a sweet pastor once who had the right heart and the right answer just when I needed it.

As a teen, I just could not abide what I saw of so many Christians all around me, abuse, dysfunction, cruelty, selfishness, mean spiritedness. The drunk down the road, the wife abuser, the pedophiles, the gossipy women who resented their children and hated their husbands. The self absorbed martyrs who never lifted a finger to change anything, alas, our job is just perpetual suffering, come quickly Lord Jesus and save us from this vale of tears….

And so I thought if that’s what it means to follow Jesus Christ, if that’s what heaven looks like, I’d rather just be dead. You can’t scare me with tales of hell, I’ve already survived close quarters with some of you people……

So this guy was telling me that heaven will be glorious, a place of no more tears, and I promptly informed him I just wasn’t going. “I like Jesus very much, but His heaven, not so much. Have you seen the kind of people that are going to be going there??”  And he laughed and he said, “Yes, I have seen those people!  I wouldn’t want to go either. In fact, I wouldn’t even want to spend eternity with my own self.”

And He said, people will not be the same, they will be new creatures and the dross will have come away from the gold. What you see of them now will have fallen away, because far beneath the surface is what God intended them to be.

That was new idea for me, the idea that the dross could come away from the gold. I still like that concept very much and the way that Jesus can give us the eyes and the vision to peek beneath the dross and to try to see some of what God sees.


ancient antique architecture art

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