Posts tagged ‘harold camping’

The last thing I’m going to say about the “last days”

Oh great, yet another person talking about end-times.

 If the above is your sentiment, I completely understand. I’m pretty sick of it myself. But if I didn’t address this one last thing, I wouldn’t sleep tonight. Oh, and I wrote this in an hour this morning with no coffee. I won’t be doing much proofreading. Sorry to all you anal-retentive English majors out there 🙂

 There’s been a lot of weirdness in human history lately. Osama got whacked, the Jews and Pallys aren’t getting along, earthquakes, tsunamis, Oprah is ending her show…

Most recently we’ve had everyone’s new favorite nut-job Harold Camping still insisting that the world will end in October. And we’ve also had the worst tornado in modern US history devastate Joplin, MO. It’s tempting, and maybe even a little logically permissible to look at all this and think, “Wow, is all this a precursor to something else?”

And then there’s the belief that all this is the wrath of God, or his means of trying to get our attention. I would like to (hopefully in respect) address two different misconceptions that have popped up about all this. Here goes.

I was discussing the Joplin and Minneapolis tornadoes with a friend at work. He shook his head and said, “Wow. God’s trying to get our attention”. It stunned me a bit. Was God really trying to get our attention? Does God level homes and kill over 100 people just so we’ll stop and pay attention? Is he that wrathful – or that big and clumsy?

The answer, in which I’m unequivocally convinced, is no, no, no, nope, no way, no chance, not even close.

And if it is your opinion that all this destruction is God’s will, I understand and respect that. We’ve been taught a lot of things throughout our Christian history. We see a lot of crazy wrathful things in the Old Testament. And I have to admit, a lot of it makes me scratch my head and say, “God what were you thinking?!” But we don’t see this kind of thing after Jesus’ death and resurrection. We just don’t.

I believe this opinion is also a byproduct of people desperately wanting to hear from God. We are always hearing that God is speaking to us. And if you hear this long enough, but never experience God speaking, then your mind is going to go to other places. You’re going to start believing that death and destruction are the ways in which God communicates. Let me say this, and if there’s only one thing you take away from this article, let it be this: “GOD DOES NOT WORK THROUGH EVIL. BUT HE CAN WORK IN SPITE OF IT”.

Let me put it this way. It is not God’s will that a lot of people died in the Joplin tornado. It is not God’s will that your aunt has cancer or that your child tragically died. All the world’s suffering, the hate, the devastation – God has nothing to do with it. But there is one thing that he will do. In the midst of extreme suffering, he CAN work it out to bring some good. He’s just that awesome. BUT HE DOES NOT CAUSE THE SUFFERING IN ORDER TO MAKE GOOD. That’s putting God in a very small box.

And yes, God speaks to us if we let him. The problem is that we struggle with a very secular mindset and much of our thoughts and actions and plans revolve around working, making money, entertainment, and just being way too busy with projects and responsibilities. And it’s hard to fit God in our daily schedule – and more importantly – in our thoughts of every minute of every day. But the closer we get to having days where our thoughts are constantly on Him, that’s when he speaks to us. And it’s not destructive. When God speaks, it’s awe-inspiring, heart melting, soul shivering – and it changes our perspectives, worldviews and our life. And no tornadoes get created in the process.

The second misconception is that with all this recent activity, the world is coming to an end. The truth is, no one has the slightest clue of when, or even if, this will happen. In my own theological order (which has about 2 members) we’re amillenialists, which is just a very big word for believing that the end of days isn’t going to play out like it does in the “Left Behind” books. Now, I pay a lot of respect and consideration to the other side, because hey, I can admit that I could be wrong. But the point is, no one knows, and the Bible commands us not to freak out about it.

 The reality is, every time period in throughout history has had weird events and devastation. This time period is no different from 10, 20,100, or 1000 years ago. Every decade in modern times has had events in to which people were absolutely convinced that the end was nigh. But the end never happened. And in this case, history will probably repeat itself.

But who cares what people believe right? What does it matter? It’s not hurting anyone!

I believe this misconception matters a ton. If you see the suffering going on around you and your thoughts do nothing but constantly dwell on this being evidence of the end-times, then you’re missing the point of the gospel. Jesus commanded a lot of things to do in the here and now. We’re commanded to feed his sheep and take care of the poor and love each other to the point of self submission and sacrifice. NOW. Not later. Caring too much about when the world is going to end distracts us from that.

So what should we do whenever the world experiences devastation? Two things. The first one is simple: help out. God calls us to play an active role in his redemption. Helping out is God’s will. Besides, it’s common sense.

If you find you don’t have the resources of time or money to help out, the other thing you can do is pray. If you’re looking for some cryptic, epic, mystical weirdness in your Christian faith, look no further than prayer. Prayer is so much more than giving lip service to God as he arbitrarily decides what to do. Don’t look towards the end-times if you want a little mystical drama in your faith. Read Daniel chapter 10, and then go pray with that in mind. It might change the way you do it.

But don’t…PLEASE don’t sit idly by and try to decipher God’s words or actions in the world’s sufferings while doing nothing to contribute. There’s little more that makes Christianity look ugly.

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My Last Night On Earth (Contributions and ideas welcome!)

EDIT: I’m breaking a rule here.  You’re not supossed to tell your audience that your article is a satire piece, but I’ve had a few people take me seriously on this one.  It was awkward.  Ergo…WARNING, THE FOLLOWING POST IS SATIRE. 

Since tomorrow is the day Jesus comes back, I’ve been thinking about what I want to do on my last night here on planet Earth. 

You know, I was thinking that it would be appropriate to have one last big family time where the four of us cozy up on the couch in matching snuggies and watch Disney movies all night.  The boys wouldn’t have a bedtime and we’d eat all the ice cream we want.  But then it hit me; that’s the very last thing I’d do.  Obviously there will be no bedtimes and all-you-can-eat ice cream buffets in heaven.  So why spend your very last night doing something you can do for all eternity?

So I’m going to do things that won’t be in heaven.

So here are some things we know about heaven.  First off, there’s going to be no sex in heaven.  EVERYONE knows that, right?  My condolences go out to Christian couples who are getting married tomorrow.  But this could be an opportunity for us married men.  If the wife claims a headache, counter with the fact that it’ll be the VERY LAST TIME. Or make a compromise.  Say you’ll clean the house from top to bottom this weekend.  What sound-minded wife would turn that down?

Also, since heaven will be filled with days where we’ll do nothing but worship God set to Chris Tomlin and Hillsongs music, there will be no place for all my favorite classic rock bands.  Bummer.  A word of advice for all you audiophiles.  Before Jesus comes back, get rid of all your illegally downloaded music…you know, just in case Jesus was really tight with the MIAA. 

I’m thinking I should also watch my favorite movie:  the newest Star Trek.  But then again, since God has perfect qualities, I’m pretty sure he’s a Trekkie.  I bet he’s also a fan of Joss Whedon’s Firefly.  And I’m hoping he will work out a deal with the original cast to make some additional seasons.   But I’m convinced that God is not a reality TV fan.  So that won’t be in heaven.  And that’s cause for celebration.

What I’m curious to know is when this is all going to happen tomorrow?  Which side of the International Date Line is God going to respect?  God used to be all about the Jewish people, but I’m pretty sure God’s an American now.  I just don’t want it to happen while I’m asleep.  It’d be creepy to go to bed and wake up in heaven.  But how are we going to get to heaven?  Are we going to float up there?  Imagine waking up and being suspended in space.  I think I would cuss.  But cussing might make you stop floating.  I don’t want that.  Hopefully God is a morning person.

These are just a few thoughts.  What are YOU planning on doing on your last night here?  Reply and contribute!

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