Monday, March 28, 2011

Local Girl’s Near Death Visit to Heaven Contrasts Colton Burpo’s Account in Best-Seller “Heaven is for Real”

SAN NARCISO, Calif. -- Last week, a four-year-old boy named Colton Burpo made national headlines when his father, Todd Burpo, appeared live on TODAY to describe his son’s extraordinary account of meeting Jesus and John the Baptist in Heaven after a near-death experience in 2003, caused by a ruptured appendix. Colton’s story, which frames Todd Burpo’s best-selling book “Heaven Is for Real,” has reached 1.5 million readers since its release in November. The intricate details and straightforward delivery of Colton’s narrative have convinced over a million people that the Christian version of a perfect afterlife truly exists. But a local girl in San Narciso County, who also experienced a supernatural near-death event prior to being revived by paramedics, recounted a much different tale of Heaven. The provocative details in the girl’s story have forced a wave of righteous outrage throughout countless Christian groups in the community.

Colton Burpo’s Visit to Heaven
For five days preceding Colton’s brush with death from appendicitis, his family believed that was suffering from a stomach virus. Their delay in admitting Colton to the hospital nearly cost the boy his life. But months after recovering, Colton gave his parents another shock when he matter-of-factly detailed the wonders of Heaven.

According to Colton, angels sang to ease his anxiety, he spoke with John the Baptist, met his deceased grandfather, and sat on Jesus’ purple-robed lap. The boy also confirmed that every being in Heaven had wings. The most compelling evidence, however, was Colton’s ability to describe seeing his father praying and his mother crying on the phone.

Todd Burpo -- a pastor at the Crossroads Wesleyan Church in Imperial, Nebraska -- told the hosts of TODAY that he still marvels at how Colton could have known so much about biblical events, the environs of Heaven, or how the boy could have predicted that both of his parents were off crying and praying during his struggle to survive.

Local Girl’s Conflicting Version of Heaven
The success of Todd Burpo’s “Heaven Is for Real” has reinvigorated the Christian base and allegedly proselytized former non-believers. But Wendy Chousmatison, a 14-year-old student from Bennington Vale, offered reporters a much different depiction of Christ’s Kingdom this week.

Wendy was rushed to the hospital on New Year’s Day after she was discovered passed out on the kitchen floor by her parents.

“My husband and I had just returned from a New Year’s celebration away from town,” explained Maribeth Chousmatison, Wendy’s mother. “We don’t know how long Wendy had been like that, but we called 9-1-1 right away. The doctors told us that Wendy had somehow inhaled an almost fatal amount of model know, the liquid glue kids use to build toy planes and things? We never knew Wendy was into models. We’ve never seen any around the house.”

Maribeth, through welling tears, said that her daughter was clinically dead for three minutes before medical teams managed to resuscitate her.

And Wendy, like young Colton Burpo, also claimed to have ascended to Heaven during her moments between life and death.

“Heaven is for real,” said Wendy Chousmatison, “but it’s not like the Burpo’s book paints it.”

According to Wendy, Heaven is a boundless realm of social equality, androgyny, and other religions. But most of the biblical figures mentioned in the New Testament did not appear.

“Jesus was there, in a way,” Wendy continued, “but he said that he had many names, and Jesus was just one of them. He looked like a dark-skinned homeless man. But kinda asexual. He could’ve been a woman. Hard to tell. Really, everyone in Heaven looked like that. And poor. There was no wealth, and no one had any possessions. But then, they didn’t need anything. I met people who had been Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Native Americans, Druids, you name it. There weren’t any Scientologists, though. After a while, Jesus introduced me to the Buddha and told me what a great influence he had been. I guess Jesus traveled to India to learn about his teachings at some point. That’s what he said, anyway. Then he reunited me with my Uncle Carl, who was gay. I was blown away. But Jesus said that God was gay too, because God was all things. Then he whispered in my ear, ‘I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also.’ It was truly a gorgeous experience.”

But Wendy’s vision has riled nearly every Christian group in San Narciso County.

“It’s aberrant and jarring,” said Elijah Malstrom, leader of the largest evangelical church in the county.

“Homos in Heaven? God is gay? This girl accused her Lord of being some sort of perverted sodomite and then called it a moving experience? It makes me sick just to think about it. And Heaven’s some sort of communist nightmare too, where everyone is destitute. Terrorists mingle freely with saints. It’s an outrage. Where is God’s wrath and punishment? Where are the fires to consume the sinners? If you ask me, little Wendy went straight to Hell and was just too ignorant of Christ’s teachings to understand the difference. If I were the Chousmatisons, I’d be dragging my little girl to church straight away, before it’s too late. A little fire and brimstone to set her right. I’ve talked to them, and they’re just as concerned as me. Maybe if Wendy spent more time in church instead of hanging around the seedy North Viaduct area by the soup kitchens and thrift shops and shelters, consorting with that unclean rabble, her classmates wouldn’t tease her so unmercifully. And the real Jesus, not this dirty anti-Christ she claims to have met, might welcome her back into the fold.”

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