A Four Year Old NDEr, Now on the Big Screen

Just read, an article interesting for the LOE Research I do here:



His Résumé Before the Age of 4: ‘I Saw Jesus on a Horse’

‘Heaven Is for Real’ Stars Greg Kinnear


Connor Corum, left, and Greg Kinnear in “Heaven Is for Real.” Credit Allen Fraser/TriStar Pictures

The wooing of religious moviegoers — a delicate operation, as the “Noah” backlash attests — has been ramping up lately, with major players like Ridley Scott and Ben Kingsley mining the Bible for box office gold. But if there’s such a thing as a safe bet in this genre, it’s “Heaven Is for Real,” a Christian sermon that even the most doctrinaire believer can applaud.

Already successful as a book in 2010 (and a children’s book the next year, both runaway best sellers), the story of Colton Burpo, the almost-4-year-old who returned from a near-death experience claiming to have detoured through heaven, is a faith-based find. (Colton’s father, Todd, a Nebraska pastor wrote both books with the assistance of the ghostwriter Lynn Vincent.) As the caboose of this franchise, a movie about Colton’s celestial experiences was as likely as the big-tent inoffensiveness of its message.

Working with hushed choirs, tasteful beams of light and an ethereal aesthetic, the director, Randall Wallace, and his cinematographer, Dean Semler, transform their Canadian locations into a verdant prairie poem. This earthly paradise may feed the spirit, but it doesn’t fill the bellies of the pastor (Greg Kinnear) — who doubles as a volunteer firefighter, wrestling coach and carpet hauler — and his picture book family.

A softball injury and kidney stones help neither his bank balance nor his faith, but luckily both are eventually salvaged when Colton (Connor Corum) surfaces from a ruptured appendix, insisting that he saw seraphim and a horse-riding Jesus.

Preachy and pretty, “Heaven” is a classy-looking product with a vanilla flavor and a pastel palette. What friction there is occurs mainly among Todd’s friends and church board members (led by the reliable Margo Martindale and a subdued Thomas Haden Church), who worry that Todd’s public pronouncements will garner a snake-wrangling image for their quiet congregation.

Unaddressed are the theological implications of Colton’s description of a Jesus with blue-green eyes — and, according to a painting by a Lithuanian-American girl seen in the film, who makes claims similar to Colton’s, lovely blond highlights.

Cleverly circumventing any parental influence, the film allows Colton to deliver his visions in the first person, leaving doubt only in the reliability of everyone’s hearing. What remains could be proof of the Divine or simply the prelude to a tale of how one financially fragile man turned his son’s imaginings — and maybe some of his own — into a phenomenon. This film, at least, has made up its mind.

“Heaven Is for Real” is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). It presents heaven as a place where winged entities float in the sky, old people become young adults, and the unborn grow into happy children.


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. donsalmon
    Apr 16, 2014 @ 15:27:30

    Dr. Ian Stevenson studied reports of rebirth over many years. The majority of his subjects were small children. This was partly because the younger they were, the easier it was to prove that they didn’t overhear evidence of a deceased person – that their memories of having “been” another person were genuine. But the other reason was that, as he himself speculated (and which makes perfect sense from an Integral Yoga perspective) younger children were not yet conditioned to believe they were purely physical beings in a purely dead, material universe, and so were much more receptive to past life memories.

    One of the interesting and perhaps most important values of the growing popular interest in near death, lucid dreams, out of body and rebirth stories, is that it might increase receptivity to inner or “subliminal” realities among the general population.

    I’ve noticed since the late 90s there’s been a dramatic increase in the success of parapsychological experiments. Some, like those conducted by Dean Radin, are directly studying the effect of changes in collective consciousness. Even the most hardened skeptics have been retreating.

    yet another relevant observation in this issue of collective change is Peter Russell’s observation that evolution appears to be speeding up. He refers to it as “a white hole in time.” Certainly, if you look at just human evolution, you see almost no change for over a million years, then perhaps one or two major shifts over the last several hundred thousand, then suddenly, about 10 thousand years ago, you find major changes occurring every several thousand years. Then, the major changes occur in terms of 500 years (2500 BC, 100 BC, 500 AD, 1000 AD, 1500. Then i think it speeds up in terms of centuries. Everyone knows much of last century was characterized in terms of decades, and just yesterday, I was at the vet, and mentioned something abut a “blackberry”, and she noted that that is now so old fashioned, and we both laughed at how things are shifting massively almost week to week.

    Some might think this is a matter of assuming things change fast because they are close to us in time. I don’t have time in this post to point out contrary observations, but I assume most people who lived through several decades of the 20th century can recognize the dramatic difference in the pace of change that has occurred in the last 14 years compared to the last half of the 20th.

    Which brings me back to near death and rebirth and increasing openness. i’ve been following public and scientific attitudes toward non ordinary phenomena for almsot 50 years. I also have tried to have an historical perspective, looking at how these things have been viewed over the centuries. At least from what i can see, it’s just stunning the changes that have been occurring -at least in the Western world – in terms of greater openness to all these things over the past 15 years or so.

    It’s wonderful, but will no doubt be dangerous as well. We may look back with great fondness at the relatively easy to solve things like massive ecological destruction and global financial meltdown, once we start opening to unthinkably vast inner planes that have forces that make the Koch brothers look like 2 nice guys by comparison!



    • Bhaga
      Apr 18, 2014 @ 05:37:29

      Thank you for this great, very true comment and the overall vast and speeding up change it is underlining, besides the more specific comment about small children, which I find very true too..



      • donsalmon
        Apr 18, 2014 @ 10:32:45

        ah but the time and space of my original comment is different in its very nature from the time and space of your comment and now (now? how now brown cow) is yet different.


        sort of


        I’ll try and get to it…………

        some time….





  2. donsalmon
    Apr 16, 2014 @ 15:30:25

    i’m not sure if it was clear in the opening of my post that I was connecting children’s greater receptivity to inner phenomena with lack of conditioning toward a materialistic view. The connection is, as more and more adults overcome that conditioning, perhaps we all might see a very different world – with both wonderful and perhaps somewhat troubling qualities (some day, thousands of years from now, when all are supramentalized, there won’t be those troubling qualities either, but my assumption is we are many many centuries away from that – though of course, what “centuries” means will change too – think about that one for awhile if you want to really blow your mind. I find my mind becomes temporarily annihilated as I dwell on what it means to say time itself is changing too – what could that possibly mean? It’s changing week by week, minute by minute – but if weeks and mintues are changing in their very nature, then you can’t say that either. Isn’t that just incredibly cool!!!



    • Bhaga
      Apr 18, 2014 @ 06:00:59

      Yes, what you said about the small children was perfectly clear and correct!..:-)
      About time changing…. could we not rather say that our perception of time is changing?
      Time as we normally perceive it, that is. linear, doesn’t exist anyway, right? The only form of time that really exists, everywhere outside of such pockets of linearly perceived time as we have on Earth and other similar playgrounds in the Universe/Multiverse, is the Eternal Present, what Seth calls ‘the Spacious Present’, which includes both our Past and our Future into itself…!
      So hat seems to be happening is that our human consciousness is more and more adjuting to the true reality.
      As for the vast inner planes of the horrible kind that you mentioned in your first Comment, nothing at all forces us to open to that – especially when now we have the Suprmental Consciousness-Force right here on Earth to open ourselves widely to, which is so much more interesting and wonderful, and so much more powerful too!…



  3. donsalmon
    Apr 16, 2014 @ 15:30:42

    oh, and of course space is changing as well:>))



  4. donsalmon
    Apr 18, 2014 @ 10:35:46

    yes time is the movement of consciousness and space the extension.

    but it is more than a spacious present, which for me echoes a bit too much the vedantic/buddhist illusionist view.

    time AS a dynamic movement and space AS extension are as real as the eternal.

    but time as humans perceive it, as well as space, may be considered an illusion, so perhaps it’s not as different as we think.

    not only is our perception of time and space changing, but the dynamic movement and extension – apart from human perception, is changing too.

    can we keep up?



  5. donsalmon
    Apr 18, 2014 @ 15:58:19

    The following is from our book, “Yoga Psychology and the Transformation of Consciousness.” It is written in a very different style from the rest of the book, which was written much more simply and in more “everyday” language.

    I thought it might trigger some more “experiential/intuitive” reflections on time and space and Eternity. It’s from Appendix 2, “An Outline of Integral Psychology”

    The Dance of Consciousness

    Consciousness is… the fundamental thing in existence – it is the energy, the motion, the movement of consciousness that creates the universe and all that is in it.
    Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga

    The Divine is a radiant and joyful Reality, ecstatically bringing forth the universe from its own Being, within its own Consciousness, at every moment; playing out the infinite possibilities of its infinite Being, simultaneously in the eternal Now. It is the shift of Its attention that creates the sense of sequence in time, and the shift of its attention that creates the sense of movement through space. As the One Infinite Consciousness gazes in one way, the universe is birthed. As that gaze shifts, the stars are “born,” planets and solar systems take shape, the adventure of evolution unfolds. Beyond time and space altogether, the supreme, infinite Conscious-Being sees within Itself its myriad, infinite possibilities, and in that very seeing joyfully, blissfully, manifests the all that we see around us.

    All is the play of Conscious-Being and Conscious-Energy, Shiva and Shakti, Soul and Nature. In any act of “conscious-ing,” that which is known (the “object”) is a movement of Conscious-Energy. The movement is itself an act of will – a shift of attention of the Divine Conscious-Being (the “subject”). This movement (the “object” created by the shift of attention) is known as it is willed into being. Thus, the object is inseparable from the act of knowing it. The myriad objects of our universe – apparently separate but always one with the Infinite – are nothing more than infinite acts of shifting attention of the One Divine Being. These acts of knowing-and-willing – which manifest as the universe – exist inseparably within the Delight of the Divine Being. It is the movement of apparent separation and reunion that is experienced by different creatures as attraction and repulsion, pleasure and pain, love and hate, and ultimately as unbroken Delight by the fully awakened seer.

    All is the One Conscious-Being knowing and feeling itself in infinite ways, in infinite forms. The individual Soul is a particular focus of consciousness, the various planes of consciousness each a particular kind of interaction between Conscious-Being and Its Conscious-Force, between Soul and Nature. When Consciousness is absorbed in the play of forms, identifying with a particular part of the Field, the result is Ignorance. Over the course of evolution, there is a progressive freeing of the embodied consciousness from its exclusive identification with a small part of the Field. The essential Nature of this whole interaction between Soul and Nature, Shiva and Shakti, is infinite Joy, Ananda, Bliss.



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