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My Descent Into Death: A Second Chance at Life Hardcover – February 15, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Although numerous studies and books have explored near-death experiences, the phenomenon has been viewed with caution by many Christian denominations. So it is intriguing to read a first-person report of such an event from the perspective of a pastor in the United Church of Christ. While visiting Paris on a European tour nearly 20 years ago, 38-year-old Storm, then an atheist and art professor at Northern Kentucky University, was stricken with an almost lethal attack of peritonitis. In this necessarily subjective but absorbing chronicle of what is essentially a conversion, the writer describes a descent into Hell, where he confronted his anger and self-centered personality. After praying for the first time, he was rescued by Jesus and brought to heaven for an extensive conversation with Jesus and various angelic beings on topics that include the Holocaust, God's plans for the earth, angelology and, of course, what happens to us when we die. Blending traditional Christian theology with a doctrinal eclecticism more common to New Age philosophy, Storm's book may appeal to readers hungry for reassurance, both about the possibility of eternal life and the meaning of our choices here on earth.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“This is a book you devour from cover to cover, and pass on to others. This is a book you will quote in your daily conversation. Storm was meant to write it and we were meant to read it.”
—From the Foreword by Anne Rice
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As the author said in his interviews, the dark place where he was tortured during the near death experience was not necessarily "hell", as he had not seen fire in the abyss yet. It sounded more like the Valley of Death where he was still able to seek the Light (refer to Psalms 23:4). It showed the importance of our relationship with God - without the Shepherd, we won't be able to find the gate of heaven. The part about the saving of Jews from concentration camp tells us how loving and forgiving God is to mankind.
The later part of the book sent an important message about our submission to God's will in our lives as followers. We might face a lot of hardships by walking the path that He leads us, but we'll always find comfort and peace if we have faith. Like the author said, we certainly cannot blame God for every suffering that we experience and forget about all the graces that were granted to us throughout our lives. I learned from the book that if the Spirit is in us, we shall also see goodness in others, as we are all in one, and not judge people by blindly quoting the scriptures.
If the readers are interested in NDE and experience of hell, I recommend "Placebo" and "Demons: An Eyewitness Account" by Howard O. Pittman.
It seems like death is continuation of our state while alive, with the difference it is revealed for its true nature. We go through life most often oblivious to our negative states and selfishness, rarely warmed by the feelings of love and peace in our heart. And when we die, we continue existing into those states.
I thought it was so painful how people don't realize when they die, but just continue in their own ways struggling, fighting into our own hell. Yet hope is there, Love is there to turn to it. But we have to turn to it now, it will be too late after we die for then we'll reap the fruits of our lives. If it was a life of pain, emptiness and fights, what can we expect to have as a result?
"And it shall come to pass after this, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy: your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions."