By David Lindeman
For the Troy Daily News
Many people probably think about life after death. Some people might even think about it a lot.
But few people have thought as much about it as Joe Fletcher.
In fact, Fletcher has thought so much about it that he has authored a book entitled “Crashing Into Heaven.” It’s all about that mystery that lies beyond our natural lives.
Fletcher is a graduate of Troy High School. He will be at Jay and Mary’s Bookstore beginning at 5 p.m. on July 28 to sign copies of his book, which he describes as Biblical fiction.
“I’ve been a pastor for 33 years and heaven has been a topic I’ve always have been exceedingly interested in, almost obsessed with,” he said. “I don’t look at it as sitting in a cloud playing some kind of musical instrument.”
Instead, Fletcher sees it as a world of inventors, musicians, historians and others doing what they do here every day.
The story begins with an ending – the death of the book’s hero in an auto accident. It then follows what happens to him as well as what happens to the loved ones he leaves behind.
“It’s a novel,” Fletcher explained. “I’m not saying it’s inspirational like the Bible. It’s more along the lines of, if I died, what would heaven look like to me?”
While Fletcher emphasizes heaven, he also takes time to tell the other side of the story.
“When someone dies, we’re left with the loss and don’t think at all of what the people we love gain,” he said. He hopes that providing a glimpse of heaven will help those who mourn be able to handle their loss better.
Why write a book now? Fletcher said the idea germinated from a post on Facebook.
“It started with 300 words on Facebook,” he said. When a number of people shared his ideas, he added a second post on Facebook. When those ideas also found a good reception, he decided, “I might have something here.”
So Fletcher expanded his ideas on heaven into “Crashing Into Heaven.” While the book is fiction, Fletcher is quick to point out it is based on many years of studying the Bible and serving as a pastor of a church in the Bronx.
Fletcher’s interest in the Bible goes back to his days at Troy High School. “I’ve always wanted to be a pastor,” he said.
After graduating from Troy High School in 1975, Fletcher attended Bob Jones Bible College, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He then moved to the Bronx, where he founded the Bronx Bible Church in 1983. That church merged with another church in 2013 to become the Infinity Bible Church, where he serves as co-pastor. He and his wife Christine have one daughter and one grandchild.
Fletcher was last in Troy for his high school reunion last year, so his return on July 28 will be a homecoming of sorts — and a chance to share his vision of a place he has spent so much time studying.
Reach David Lindeman at firstname.lastname@example.org