Posts Tagged ‘Eschaton’

Of course the world’s not ending tomorrow, but not so fast…

May 20, 2011

I'm not laughing about this family's story. (Photo courtesy of the New York Times.)

Like fellow blogger Fred Clark, I find this hysteria among a very small number of American Christians about the end of the world—and the very large media firestorm having fun at their expense—too sad and depressing to laugh about. I like what Fred said:

Fortunately, Camping [the self-styled theologian who is predicting the world’s end tomorrow] is not as widely influential as LaHaye, so we’re talking about only thousands of followers, not millions. But that’s thousands of people, thousands of families experiencing one kind of trauma now and due for another, existential, shaken-to-the-core trauma come Saturday. That some of this trauma is self-inflicted or that, like most victims of con-artists, they are partially complicit in their own undoing doesn’t change the fact that we’re still talking about thousands of people in pain, fear and despair.

These people who are setting themselves up for this kind of existential disappointment are are still my brothers and sisters in Christ. The family profiled in this New York Times article (whose snarky headline doesn’t match the more evenhanded tone of the article) hardly seems like a bunch of lunatics. Nevertheless, I profoundly disagree with their theology and outlook.

Of course the end of the world isn’t happening tomorrow. Or maybe I should qualify it by saying that, even if it were happening tomorrow, it wouldn’t be because some guy has calculated the date from scripture. It can’t be found there. We can know this in part because, among many other warnings in scripture, Jesus teaches us that when the end of this present age comes, it will come unexpectedly (Matthew 24:42-51). Jesus said explicitly that he didn’t know, and he didn’t tell his own apostles. If anyone presumes to know today, therefore, he or she will surely be wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

Sermon for 11-29-09: “Hope”

November 30, 2009

Sermon Text: Luke 21:25-36

Here we are: the season of Advent. It’s a season that is technically a lot like Lent: It’s a time when we get ourselves in shape, spiritually speaking, for the upcoming Christmas season. The Christmas season officially begins at 12:00 a.m. on December 25. Of course, you wouldn’t know this if you’ve been to the mall or a department store. Outside the church, the Christmas season is in full swing. The Christmas season unofficially begins when Santa Claus makes an appearance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Now is the place where you might expect a good Methodist preacher like me to get on my high horse about how wrong our pop culture is to celebrate Christmas so early; to complain that Christmas is over-commercialized; to complain that we should focus more on Jesus and less on Santa Claus; to complain that we overemphasize Christmas at the expense of Easter, et cetera. But you know what? Read the rest of this entry »