I've been reading Rachel Held Evans' memoir Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions. The author grew up in a conservative Christian environment that encouraged the development of an airtight worldview and viewed doubts and questions as threatening at best and sinful at worst. In the midst of her own crisis of faith, she found herself wondering about the eternal destiny of those who had never heard about Jesus, those who had died in the South Asian tsunami, etc. John's vision in Revelation 7 was an encouragement and a, well, revelation to her:
"I wondered what exactly John saw and heard to convince him that the kingdom of God includes people from every nation, tribe, people, and language, people from the north and the south and the east and the west. I imagined that he must have seen women wearing glorious red, green, and gold saris beneath their white robes. He must have seen voluminous African headdresses of every shape and color. He must have seen the turquoise jewelry of the Navajo, the rich wool of the Peruvians, the prayer shawls of the Jews. He must have seen faces of every shade and eyes of every shape. He must have seen orange freckles and coal-colored hair and moonlike complexions and the lovely flash of brilliant white teeth against black skin. He must have heard instruments of all kinds -- bagpipes and lutes and dulcimers and banjos and gongs. He must have heard languages of every sound and cadence, melodies of every strain, and rhythms of every tempo. He must have heard shouts of praise to Elohim, Allah, and Papa God, shouts in Farsi and Hindi, Tagalog and Cantonese, Gaelic and Swahili, and in tongues long forgotten by history. And he must have seen the tears of every sadness -- hunger and loneliness, sickness and loss, injustice and fear, tsunami and drought, rape and war -- acknowledged and cherished and wiped away. In one loud and colorful moment, he must have witnessed all that makes us different and all that makes us the same."