In How Far is Heaven? Ronnie McBrayer explores the "kingdom parables of Jesus" and finds in them an urgent challenge for Christians to reassess the gospel they believe and the role their professed faith plays in the world today. He argues that the gospel cannot be reduced to apocalyptical escapism, whereby the true believers will one day be rescued from the sufferings of planet Earth; nor can faith be used as a type of benefits program, providing the individual with the privileged comfort of membership.
Instead, the gospel audaciously enters the sufferings of this present world with transforming love, as Jesus can never be locked away "in our hearts." He, his message, and his followers break defiantly free to renew and reshape not only tomorrow, but also the here and now.
Thus, the gospel according to Jesus is not just about a harp-playing, cloud-riding, pie-in-the-sky heaven. It is holistic, all-encompassing, redeeming deliverance for people today, not tomorrow. And the follower of Jesus is called to live out the active, participating presence of Christ in the world of now--right here where we live, work, love, and serve--because heaven is far closer than we think.