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This Week's Issue: Rethinking Heaven

Just in time for Good Friday, Easter and Passover, we have Jon Meacham’s essay on the debate in the religious world about the meaning and definition of Heaven. This is a worthy complement to his cover last year on Hell. Jon writes that more and more theologians are saying that heaven isn’t a place you go, it’s how you live your life. It is the idea that heaven is not some paradise in the clouds, but the reality we create here on earth in service of others. This speaks to the sense of social justice in Christianity, Judaism and Islam and echoes Jesus’ exhortation in Matthew 25 to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and welcome the stranger. It will be much talked about in churches and synagogues this weekend.

The story I love in this week’s issue is Ben Wallace-Well’s profile of the social scientist Charles Murray in the wake of his provocative new book Coming Apart. Murray has been mostly quiet since the furor created by his 1994 book the Bell Curve. But in Coming Apart, Murray writes of an emerging white underclass, and a growing divide in America between the elites and everybody else. Until the last few decades, America saw itself as a classless society—everyone, working class people and high earners, saw themselves as middle class. It was both aspirational and real. Now we have less social and economic mobility than Europe. Murray is something of a prophet without honor in his own land.

And, as we bill on the cover for Joe Klein’s story, “It’s Mitt!” Romney has basically secured the nomination, but at what cost? That’s what Joe writes about – and he says the cost has been high. And of course, there’s Mark Halperin, shrewd as ever.

- Rick Stengel
TIME Managing Editor

On the cover: Photograph by Rodney Smith for TIME. Styling by Renate Lindlar
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