...in which an explanation of the site's title is offered.

I work for a company which runs a Students Union for Cardiff University in Wales.  My job in the events department is planning, overseeing and orchestrating events which take place in and around our building, including club nights, exhibitions, live music and comedy.

The latter events usually consist of a main act, the 'headliners', but prior to this there are often several 'support' or 'warmup' acts whose job it is to get the audience ready to watch the main act.  These 'warmup acts' are employed so that, by the time the headliners take to the stage, the crowd is comfortable enough in a large group to enjoy the performance of the band or artist, singing along to all their favourite songs.  Sometimes good, on rare occasions abysmal, the life of a warmup act is not necessarily a great one.  There's absolutely no shame in opening for a more popular talent, and sometimes they even exceed the performance of the headliner, but no support act can say they're at the top of their field, yet.

So here we have this performance - it's not what people have come to see, it's not why anybody bought their ticket, it's not why the concert was put on in the first place, but nevertheless the audience usually try to enjoy it as best they can, safe in the knowledge that sometime soon the main act is going to come on and vindicate whatever dross they've had to endure first.

Life, I feel, is much like this.  I have often thought of this world as a warmup act (hey, that's the name of the site!), in which we are all trying to enjoy ourselves, and might even find temporary happiness once in a while, but it's not why we bought the ticket.  All of us, those of us who believe in an afterlife, anyway, are in this waiting room of a world, kicking our heels and looking forward to the 'real life' that will begin with the ending of this one.

Death, the great enlightened say, is just a part of life.  This is true, but it's only really as true as saying that arriving at a destination is just a part of the journey, when surely the whole point should be what happens after you've arrived?  I think they are missing the point - journeys are traversed with a goal in mind, an aim to get from one place to another.  So, too, for those who, like me, believe in life after death, life is merely a journey.  Death is the arrival, but the destination is so much more important than the arrival.

As this site tries to examine where my beliefs meet those of the world, it should be noted that the belief in 'heaven' is probably not the most out-there of the claims of Jesus and of the Bible, less-so than, say, God coming to earth and offering humanity a second chance by dying on a cross.  Sure, lots of people don't believe in any sort of 'afterlife', and they obviously have their reasons.  I often think of the bit on Alan Partridge's Radio Norwich show where they're talking about life after death:

"Frederick emails to say he has four children, is the proud father of a new
baby boy Joshua and his daughter, Susan, five, has just started school and
he thinks that after death, there is nothing." 

That always makes me chuckle; the ensuing laughter on the show highlighting, I feel, the arrogant disbelief of some people.  But if you really think about it, it becomes a lot less funny.  I can't imagine living life without believing there might be something better.  The cynic in me would say that maybe believing in life after death presents choices that some people don't want to deal with if those choices mean them living a life by someone else's rules, but that's another discussion entirely.  But I still believe that, even amongst people who don't necessarily say they have a 'faith', the belief in an afterlife or heaven is probably not all that uncommon.

I've only been to one funeral, and as my Grandfather was a faithful Christian the service was obviously all focused on his new life in Heaven.  But what of other non-faith services?  Do such a thing exist?  I can't imagine anyone going up to give a eulogy and saying 'Terrence lived a wonderful life, fathered seven brilliant children, cured cancer and now is nothing and nowhere.'

Of course, I'm not saying that a belief in the afterlife negates any experience in this life, on the contrary.  I believe that life after death is not something which can be offered free of charge (a discussion for another time perhaps), and so as we have been bought by the blood, we should really try our best to be good faithful servants in this life while we wait for our real life to begin.  I'm not saying we can 'buy' our way into life after death via good deeds, but we should perform good deeds because we have been bought and saved from eternal death.

And so the title of the site stands, basically reminding me that whatever I experience in this life, and I hope to experience an awful lot of good things, it is merely a waiting room, the support act before the headliner, a set which will never end.  Like a Coldplay concert, only better.


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