Tuesday, May 3, 2011

90 Minutes in Heaven

90 Minutes in Heaven
by Don Piper with Cecil Murphy

I thought I'd follow up "Heaven is for Real" with this book, sort of as a compare and contrast project for myself. However, this book gave me a bit of a different focus than I was expecting. If I could re-title this book, I'd call it "90 Minutes in Heaven and 2 Years in Hell."

Don Piper is a pastor in a Baptist church and after an out of town conference he is involved in a fatal accident. Pronounced dead at the scene by several people he returns to life 90 minutes later after an on scene prayer vigil by another pastor.

Mr. Piper's description of visiting heaven for those 90 minutes is pretty flat and one dimensional. He spends a few pages telling of his experience but I found it less revealing than other experiences I have read about. The remainder of the book details his excruciating pain and road to recovery. He questions God over and over why he had to return to earth and gives us a lot of insight into the terrible condition he was in, how no one expected him to live or recover, and what a hellish patient he was for the months and months of his recovery. The final portion of the book deals with how God has used him and his experience to witness to others.

I had no problem getting through the book, it was an interesting read, but really not what I was expecting. And now I will tell you right up front that I am going to be petty with this review.

One thing that particularly sticks out for me is Mr. Piper's whining about how he let his twin sons down, how he wasn't there for them to take them camping or fishing or to teach them team sports. He never recovered full use of his body and many activities became impossible for him. I grew weary of these laments for several reasons. One is that many young boys never have those experiences with their fathers. Was he really lamenting about his sons or himself? He was a pastor, and as such, I think he could have called on many fathers in the congregation to step up for him and offer those experiences to his sons. Who wouldn't happily taken them camping or fishing? He could have never recovered from the accident and not been there for them at all, in any form. What he was able to give his sons was a loving father who was there to cheer them on through all their activities whether he was able to participate or not. This whining was really annoying to me. Especially since one of his stories in the book was about a man blinded in an accident who was encouraged to focus on what he could still do, and not what he had lost.

Many near death experiences I have read about recently leave the survivor with extreme peace and calm. I realize that Mr. Piper had incredible pain to endure and lives in constant pain to this day and that could be a factor, but I didn't get his sense of peace and calm from knowing heaven.

As with "Heaven is for Real" I don't doubt any of his story and I do feel that Mr. Piper has been fulfilling his mission on earth through his experience and witnessing. Unfortunately, I am just not as impressed with his book as I thought I would be.

I give it three shots of four.

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