I just found out I’m going to miss my surgery, or that’s date has been postponed… My surgery is scheduled for May 25, 2011, but …according to an article in the Huffington Post “May 21, 2011 will mark the second coming of Christ, or at least that’s what some Christian groups believe. The date was calculated by Harold Camping, the leader of an independent Christian ministry called Family Radio Worldwide, which is based in Oakland, Calif. Camping’s date is based on his interpretation of the Bible.. Camping’s group isn’t the only one following his apocalyptic prediction though. A number of loosely affiliated websites and radio broadcasts have created a movement independent of churches that have organized to proclaim the day as the end of the world. .
So should I forget my surgery? The article goes on to say: “While this isn’t the first time that the end of the world has been predicted, there are many believers that will adhere to the date, even if it passes. “It would be like telling the Wright brothers that every other attempt to fly has failed, so you shouldn’t even try,” Chris McCann, who works with eBible Fellowship, told the AP.”
As you probably know, this kind of thing happens often. Rev. Joe Blow or his TV evangelist wife says, “We have figured out when the end of the world is”. People line up and get ready, and then boom. Nothing happens. The press covers the failure of Christianity or scripture or prophecy with an underlying tenor of “Oh, those goofy Christians again”, and I would have to agree with them: those goofy Christians again. But the implication is that I am one of “those” goofy Christians. I’m not. More importantly, though, neither are millions of Christians around the world.
I think I’ll plan on my surgery happening anyway. Maybe Jesus will come back, and maybe he won’t, before then. But, at this point, I can pretty much guarantee that Jesus won’t be returning on the 21st of May this year. How can I do this? It’s very simple. In what is believed to be the earliest record of Jesus ministry, the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 13, verses 31 to 33, Jesus says, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father”. I’m fascinated by the name of the group’s website: “We Can Know. com”, because, according to the Bible, Jesus himself says, “No, we can’t”.
Now, my liberal friends are saying, “why are you even arguing about this stuff? We don’t even believe in the whole “rapture” thing. It just sounds too hinky”. And they may, in fact, be right. It does sound hinky. Will it happen? Who knows?
The point here is that it’s not the Bible or Christianity or prophecy’s failure — it’s groups of people who — from time to time — can’t take “no” for an answer. Inquiring minds like theirs want to know and they want to know, right now! It doesn’t matter that the faith records Jesus as saying “I don’t know and neither can you”. Their logic is unassailable. ” If we keep trying, we can find out”. Their problem is that they start with “and the clues are right here”. There aren’t any clues. and they are not right anywhere. There are people who like to spend their time solving puzzles and the weirder the puzzle the more they like it. For them, the book of “Revelation” is like an all-day sucker or a New York Times Sunday Crossword with a non-erasable pen. They can spend all day there and still get the wrong answer.
Why do they do this? For some people it’s fear. They like threatening people with the end of the world. It makes them feel powerful. OK, that could be my projection, but I think it’s true. Revelation is arguably full of more chaos and destruction, terror and anguish than any other book in the Bible. What better than “We’re smarter than you are”, “we know a secret” and “it’s going to destroy you if you don’t do what we say” than the book of the Revelation to John (it’s official title) ? People with power issues can focus their wrath through that book, and they do — much more than they focus on that Jesus guy.
To be fair, many Christians think it of as “Jesus coming back to take us to heaven” rather than fire, brimstone, and death with wings. To look forward to that is a whole lot nicer and much more Christian, because it’s more Christ-focused, love-focused, and communion- with-God-focused. It depends on which day you catch me, but sometimes that’s how I think of the apocalypse\rapture thing. The whole “people driving in their car disappearing” thing seems like a “B” movie plot device so, other times, I think it’s hinky. For people who do like that, and I know quite a few, it’s cool to know the secret day-and-time-code but they don’t threaten with it, nor do they focus on it. .
Still, the point is that I don’t have any need to know what day and time. I like surprises and I trust God to get here in God’s own time. God knows better than I do. About my liberal and atheistic friends — do I worry about theirsalvation? No, not really, because I don’t see God as violent or destructive at His\Her core. Still, I know other readers of this blog who think I should be worried about them. That’s another argument for another day.
In the long run, though, I think I’ll just plan on the surgery. And if I’m saved from it before then, I’ll be literally saved from a pain in the neck. To my non-Christian friends, don’t worry that the apocalypse is happening on May 12 of this year because those people know something you don’t. They don’t know anything. Worry about it some, maybe, in general — or maybe not. That’s up to you. Whether the apocalypse ever happens in your lifetime,or at all, live every day like the treasure that it is. Give goodness and mercy to the world during your day, get beauty and awe from the world during your day. Tell people you love them. Work on yourself, make and achieve goals, spend time in your important relationships. That way, if there’s a tornado or earthquake, you have neck surgery, or you get hit by a bus tomorrow, you’ll still be ok with yourself and the world. And if that bus doesn’t have a driver, you’re still covered, I think.