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Maybe Ben did not go in when Hurley invited him into the church because he is not yet dead, or accepted of it, because he is still being the Jacob on the island. I took his and Hurley's conversation to mean that Hurley pretty quickly turned it over to Ben (he really did not want that job - and Ben has always been perfect for it) and Ben is still serving the island...not ready to go on.
It's possible that, at some point, Ben took over for Hurley, but I think he is dead, as evidenced by his awakening moment. I think he has more to do, though. I think he'd like to "leave" with Alex. He was there to get Locke's forgiveness, but still needs the same from Alex. I'd imagine that he will seek to awaken her and attain her forgiveness.
But the sideways reality has nothing to do with the real world. It's a place for the dead specifically. My interpretation was that he was not ready to let go of Alex and that relationship, he is waiting for Alex to be "awakened" so they can move on together. Another interpretation could be that he was afraid so as to what was going to happen to him once he moves on considering the number of evil things he did in the real world.
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