Rapture Day & Good Ol’ Harold Camping
I must admit that I, like everyone else who has some awareness of current events, smiled when 6pm Saturday came and went. I mowed the lawn, the boys played outside, and my beautiful wife cared for our ridiculously cute newborn baby girl. We cracked a few jokes with each other, traded text messages to ‘check in’ with our friends and otherwise carried on as usual. And then I noticed an astounding trend on my Twitter feed. Mockery. People jeering Harold Camping’s, preposterous predictions that he had somehow calculated down to the hour the arrival of Christ’s return and the impending beginning of God’s judgement on the world. But it wasn’t just from the liberal media and Bill Maher types, it was mostly from Christian’s and religious bloggers. The Twittersphere blew up as they burned ol’ Harold in effigy.
Here’s the rub. These were the same bloggers, writers, and spiritual influencers that had only a couple of weeks earlier joined an online parade to “Restore Unity”. Championing the cause of religious diversity and theological relativism you could hear a “love wins” chant echoing through cyberspace. And then the zit faced, pigeon-toed, fat kid showed up at recess, aka Harold Camping. Suddenly, the all loving, all-encompassing love fest from a week earlier was replaced with the nerdy kid, getting swirlied by the cool kids after lunch.
But I’m confused. How do we one week talk about what really matters most is “our desire to follow Christ and love others” no matter what that looks like and then the next vilify a guy who was preaching the proverbial ‘the end is near!’ mantra? Pretty sure that sandwich board has been around a lot longer than blogs or Twitter. Are we really that threatened by it? Is our faith so dictated by pop culture that we’ll do whatever we can to ostracize ourselves from the weird kid who eats his boogers and drinks glue rather than show some compassion?
This seems counterintuitive. I’m thinking that if I really believed the end of the world was this saturday I would be doing everything I could do let people know. Wouldn’t that be the “Christian” thing to do?
“He’s a raving heretic!” people will claim. I suppose. ”But he was obviously wrong!” others will say. Yes. Deluded? Absolutely.
But so are a lot of people’s interpretations of scripture, anyone been following the Presbyterian churches stance on ordained clergy?
The question is, Where do we go from here? What is the take away?
There is no question that it is less than wise to make an attempt predicting the end of the world. But there is one thing I do not do, and that is celebrate how wrong he was. Now I can not begin to speculate on Camping’s theology, though I visited his blog and couldn’t wrap my mind around his rationale or his interpretation of scripture. I’m not really sure what compelled him to decide it was his place to make the bold prediction of Christ’s eminent return based on his own studied calculations. But I do believe this; he was well-intentioned. Wrong, but with a right heart. Know this, he really believed what he was saying. All the investments in billboards, bus stops and air time on radio was rooted in his desire to let people know the end was coming. And you know what?
The fact that we don’t know is what should fuel our motivation to tell others of Christ’s amazing love for them.
Perhaps we all should be doing a little bit more “Camping” this summer.
Matthew 24:36 – 42
36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. 37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”