Where the Dinosaur Archangels Roam


May 15, 1991|By KATIE SHERROD fTC

FORT WORTH, TEXAS — Fort Worth, Texas. -- I had a long theological discussion the other day with a 7-year-old. He had just written a book about heaven and hell, and he wanted me to see it. Now, this book is largely drawings because he hasn't learned to write well yet, but as I interviewed him about the drawings, some really interesting information began to emerge.

The first part of the book is entitled ''Heaven.'' In it he illustrates an angel (in neon yellow) with a big crown that stands for God and Jesus. The next page is, as he put it, ''a plain old angel holding the Gospel of St. Mark, because that's my saint. They had the Last Supper at his house.''

One of my favorite parts of the book is a drawing of a tree that died. You can tell it's a dead tree because it has a big halo, and an angel is getting an apple off a branch.

The next chapter is ''Now you can see what it is like in Hell.'' The first illustration is of one of the Devil's helpers, who, interestingly enough, is a ''wicked priest.'' In the next drawing are some dinosaur archangels. Well, why not? After all, dinosaurs loom large in the lives of 7-year-olds.

Anyway, these dinosaur archangels have plucked one lucky soul out of a burning lake and are carrying him away. At the bottom of the drawing, Hitler is being chased by vampires, and one of the dinosaur archangels is saying, ''I'm not going to take that guy. He's Hitler.''

The next drawing is of a guy who ''has been so wicked, he's falling into a big lake of fire to suffer.''

Next we get to ''This is what it's like in the afterlife. Heaven Part II.'' Again, we have lots of angels, including Gabriel. Then we get to ''Hell Part II.''

As we go along, it becomes clear that it is much more interesting to draw hell than it is to draw heaven. The first drawing in this part, for instance, shows ''a guy, he's looking around hell to see if he enjoys it or not, and a plain ghost. Then there's a hamster angel moving around in his magic bubble so he won't get hurt.''

Then there's a drawing of Satan and his head ghost, and then a picture of ''a guy drowning -- the devil put this guy in a box, drilled a hole in it and threw him in the ocean.''

Now we get to ''Heaven Part III,'' where we encounter an angel eating watermelon -- clearly this 7-year-old's idea of heaven. Then we have the Archangel Gabriel, and then, at last, a drawing of God, who, it turns out, is tall and green, and a boy. Apparently there's no deep theological meaning to the color green. It was the only color marker the artist had available.

Anyway, God is holding a staff that's also a cross, ''because the Devil stands for evil and He stands for peace.'' The next page shows an angel choir singing with a flock of birds.

Then here we are at ''Hell Part III,'' where we encounter ''one guy stabbing another guy and the guy quite enjoys it. And here's a devil ghost, a Tyrannosaurus Rex chasing this guy.''

And then, in big block letters, the words, ''They who have ears to hear God's words.''

Then we get a drawing of Maleficent (a character from ''Sleeping Beauty'') who is, it turns out, great friends with Satan. Now, she's a pretty terrible person. Here's how the 7-year-old described her: ''She has spider webs growing in her hair, she has thorns and spiny thistles growing on her cloak, she has knives on her shoes, she has four arms, horns, horns on her neck, 20 claws, a magic glowing wand, and a wicked raven.''

Then he said, ''Let's see. What else is terrible about her? She has spider legs instead of eyelashes, glowing bubbles instead of eyeballs, snot runs out her nose followed by some other terrible stuff such as slime, amoebas and fried worms, and stuffed worms. And she has two archghosts on each side.''

Archghosts -- for such a terrible character, it seems obvious.

But then comes my absolute favorite part of heaven: Rick the Archdog. Here's how the author tells it:

''Rick the Archdog is over Gabriel even. He's second place to God, so when God is out on a mission to send a flood and other things, Rick the Archdog takes over. And he's pretty strict.''

Then he cleared his throat, and said, ''This is the most important part of the book. Rick, the second-place dog, the Archdog, can fly and is the guardian angel for most living children in America, including the author and his brother, except bad kids, of course.''

There it is, one boy's view of heaven and hell. I kinda like a God who has hamster angels running around in magic bubbles, angels eating watermelon and Rick the Archdog as His best buddy. Beats running around in a long robe and singing all day, doesn't it?

Katie Sherrod is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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