May 21 – The End of What?

Well it’s almost here kids – the beginning of the end of the world! I’m referring of course to Harold Camping’s bold prediction that Judgment Day will begin around 6pm (Pacific time) this Saturday evening. The big question for me as a follower of the way of Jesus is how should I respond to this kind of nonsense?

My initial reaction to Family Radio’s “fire and brimstone” announcement plastered on the imposing billboard overlooking St. Paul Street West was experiencing a flashback to the time I lived in the southern United States. You just don’t see these kooky apocalyptic proclamations in Canada very often. My second response was one of curiosity. Was this for real? Or was this a hoax, prank or some artist’s satirical concept piece on religion?

Once I realized this was serious, the foreboding forecast raised some sobering questions for me.

How did Harold Camping’s inane prophecy based on sloppy numerology and dubious Biblical interpretation spread around the world so successfully and quickly? How did this 89 year-old civil engineer’s end-times calculation come to be posted on over 2000 giant billboards across the planet and broadcast nonstop in over 40 languages on his international radio network with over 150 outlets in the United States alone? How did his Family Radio ministry accrue tens of thousands of followers, accumulate over 120 million dollars in assets and find the resources to launch this audacious “Judgment Day” campaign?

The answer: an enormous amount of time, money and labor from true believers. May 21, 2011 would have quietly slipped by like any other Spring day if not for the thousands of volunteer hours and millions of dollars donated by his followers.

I don’t understand how people continue to fall for “prophetic” preachers like Harold Camping. Especially given his previous erroneous prediction that the world would end in September 1994. But even more disturbing to me is that most Canadians today associate Christianity with people like Harold Camping and his undiscerning herd of sheeple.

It’s characters like Camping and the Reverend Terry Jones and his small Qur’an burning congregation that unfortunately represent Christianity to the world instead of the countless Christians who have devoted their lives working for peace and justice. It pains me that the loudest and most mobilized Christian sects have made the words “Christian” and “church” synonymous with anti-gay, anti-science, judgmental self-righteousness rather than compassion, peace, hope and joy. It angers me that we’ve allowed a few bigoted Bible bullies to so passionately and arrogantly claim to speak on behalf of Jesus, that they have drowned out the actual voice of Jesus who taught that his true followers would be known principally by their love. (John 13:35)

I don’t know when the world will end but it’s definitely time this current state of the world shaped by hatred and violence, archaic tribalism, segregating ideologies, and antagonistic relationships between world religions, faith and science and spirituality and reason, came to an end.

It’s time for Christians to stop fueling these negative energies and focus on making the earth a more Spirit filled place, by seeking to develop peace and unity with all people rather than judging or proselytizing them.

It’s time for the way of Jesus to be known as the way of peace and hope again.

It’s time for Christians to stop wasting time on distractions like eschatological speculation and start investing our energy and money into making the love of God an experienced reality for all on this planet.

It’s time to once more make the Christian message about the ridiculous unconditional love of God, not what Camping and company make it out to be – merely ridiculous.

It’s time for a different brand of Christianity to rise and represent to the world around us what following the way of Jesus is really about.

It’s time for us to see the end of a paradigm (where authentic spirituality was replaced with religion) as a good thing – as a beginning of a new thing God is doing in the world.

I hope May 21 is the end of the world as we know it.

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One response to “May 21 – The End of What?

  1. That’s great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane,
    Lenny Bruce is not afraid
    Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn – world
    Serves its own needs, dont misserve your own needs. Feed
    It off an aux speak, grunt, no, strength,turn, ladder
    Start to clatter with fear fight down height. Wire
    In a fire, representing seven games, in a government
    For hire and a combat site. Left of west and coming in
    A hurry with the furies breathing down your neck. Team
    By team reporters baffled, trumped, tethered cropped
    Look at that low playing! Fine, then. Uh oh,
    Overflow, population, common food, but it’ll do. Save
    Yourself, serve yourself. World serves its own needs,
    Listen to your heart bleed dummy with the rapture and
    The revered and the right, right. You vitriolic,
    Patriotic, slam, fight, bright light, feeling pretty
    Psyched

    It’s the end of the world as we know it
    It’s the end of the world as we know it
    It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine

    Six o’clock – TV hour. Don’t get caught in foreign
    Towers. Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself
    Churn. Locking in, uniforming,and book burning, blood
    Letting. Every motive escalate. Automotive incinerate
    Light a candle, light a motive. Step down, step down
    Watch your heel crush, crushed, uh-oh, this means no
    Fear cavalier. Renegade steer clear! A tournament,
    a Tournament, a tournament of lies. Offer me solutions,
    Offer me alternatives and I decline

    (chorus)
    It’s the end of the world as we know it (it’s time I had some time alone)
    It’s the end of the world as we know it (it’s time I had some time alone)
    It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine (it’s time I had some
    time alone)

    I feel fine

    (repeat chorus)

    The other night I dreamt of knives, continental
    Drift divide. Mountains sit in a line, Leonard
    Bernstein. Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester
    Bangs. Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom! You
    Symbiotic, patriotic, slam book neck, right? Right

    (repeat chorus)

    It’s the end of the world as we know it
    It’s the end of the world as we know it
    It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine (it’s time I had some
    time alone)

    (repeat chorus 2x)

    Fine
    It’s the end of the world as we know it (it’s time I had some time alone)

    Perhaps Michael Stipe is the real prophet?

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