Friday, October 21, 2011

Some thoughts about the fact the world is ending today

Harold Camping
Today the rapture might happen, the world as we know spinning into chaos. I type this while sitting in a Starbucks in downtown Orlando. Guess if I can't be in Chicago then the land of Mickey is as good a place as ever. It's unfortunate though because Baylee and Jaxon were anticipating the Magic Kingdom on Sunday. [insert churchee crack about the real Kingdom here].

Harold Camping predicted that this would all happen on May 21, 2011.  It didn't.

Mr. Camping explained his error and then rescheduled things. For today. Oct 21, 2011.

I'm going to bet my kids will be able to take a picture with Mickey this Sunday afternoon.  

A few thoughts on Mr Camping and end of the world predictions:

Jesus Himself said that Mr Camping doesn't know the day
Let's pretend a bunch of us are in a hallway about to enter a huge convention center type room that is completely empty. Before entering, our guide explains, "We are going to play pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey inside the convention center. The way we'll play is quite simple. You will all be blind folded out here before we enter. You will all be guided into the center of the room, where we will then spin you each around 50 times. Once you are good and dizzy we will turn off the lights so that you have no chance of peeking or seeing anything. The poster of the donkey is hanging on one of the walls, so you will need to find your way to one of them and make your mark. You are not allowed to feel along the walls, so you must make your mark whenever you find the wall. The person who pins their tail exactly on the X that has been placed on the poster will win. However, you must get it exactly on the X. Even a half inch away from the X is still a loss. Best of luck to each of you." 

Is it impossible to win in this scenario? No. Really, it's not.
It is improbable to win in this scenario? Yes. More than likely you will miss.

Predicting when Jesus will return would by exactly like playing this game. The Bible says that no one knows when it is going to happen: But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. Matthew 24:36. It is something completely unknown to every single person walking the planet.

But Mr Camping disagrees. He says he has it figured out. He's basically saying, "I have complete confidence that I can go in and find the X." 

Let's say the rapture does happen today. If it does, then Mr Camping wasn't right - he was lucky. Walking into the above explained room and finding the donkey poster wouldn't be because he knew where it was, but because he happened to stumble into it. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Don't use Mr Camping as your example of Christianity:
All of the late night talk show hosts are probably very thankful for Mr Camping, as he has given them quite a bit of material to work with. People were making rapture pictures last May; even Tony Hawk got in on itFor me, the humor is great. If I was still doing youth ministry we would for sure have "Rapture Picture Night." This is my favorite joke of the ones I've seen:
But in the midst of the laughs what is unfortunate is that right now the media is showing Harold Camping as the face of Christianity. And that is not funny. Myself and most all the people I know who love Jesus and are trying to follow Him the best we can scratch our heads at this man. Or roll our eyes.  

You'll never find a perfect example amongst those who follow Jesus. Everyone who loves Him still messes up. But please don't point to Harold Camping as your Exhibit A. Every village has their idiot.

Realize he does have it partly right (even in the midst of his error):
Jesus will be returning. We should live today in that reality. These two things Mr Camping has correct. These two truths give perspective on daily decisions, how we see our stuff, and how we will live our lives. There are indeed callings people have on their lives that will require them to quit a well paying job, sell a house, and move to the other side of the world. But a calling from God is something different than a radio broadcast from Harold Camping. It is incredibly unfortunate that he's convinced so many people that the rapture is exactly today. It's unfortunate that so many people didn't test what Mr Camping said against the whole of scripture. It's unfortunate that jobs have been quit, houses sold, and saving accounts emptied because of error and not calling. 
Jesus forgave me of my sins. Jesus died to pay the penalty I owed for my sins. Because of that I've surrendered my life to Him. We've entered into a covenant. For my part I will live faithful to Him, obedient to the way of life He has explained in His word, and will tell others about the life He offers and provides. For His part He forgives me of my wrongs, is faithful when I am faithless, gives me life as it was meant to be, purpose, and the future hope of knowing I will be with Him in paradise. This covenant is worth giving up everything for.
I long for the day the crap of this world ends and we are with Him.
I know that Mr Camping is wrong today.
But I wish he was right.

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