According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Great Disappointment

by Rachel Held Evans
May 20, 2011
Repent! Jesus is coming soonphoto © 2011 Ben Sutherland | more info (via: Wylio)

In 1831 a Baptist preacher from New York announced that careful study of Scripture revealed that Jesus Christ would return to earth sometime between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. Before long, William Miller would draw over 50,000 followers to his cause. Dubbed "Millerites" by a skeptical public, the group would spend the next 13 years preparing for Judgment Day.

Miller’s first two projected dates for the Apocalypse (March 21 and April 18) passed without incident. Undeterred, he recalculated and prepared his followers to expect Christ’s return on October 22, 1844. This time, he said, he knew without a doubt.

People made final arrangements, gathered together, and waited to be raptured.

But October 22 came and went like any other day, and as soon as the sun set the devastation among Miller’s followers took hold. As one Millerite reported, "Our fondest hopes and expectations were blasted, and such a spirit of weeping came over us as I never experienced before... We wept, and wept, till the day dawn."

They called it The Great Disappointment.

Now it looks as though history is about to repeat itself.

As I’m sure you’ve heard, Family Radio broadcaster Harold Camping has garnered quite a following by predicting that the Rapture will occur on May 21, 2011. Many of his followers have quit their jobs, emptied their bank accounts, and travelled the country handing out tracts and pamphlets to warn others of their impending doom, news reporters in tow.

The nice thing about completely crazy religious people is that they make slightly less crazy religious people like you and me feel better about ourselves. Oh I’ve had some fun at Camping’s expense—retweeting jokes about requesting pagan airline pilots on Saturday, sharing weather reports that include “rapture” in the weekend forecast, giggling at the plan to leave empty pairs of clothes at notable places around the country, and speculating on what Camping and company will do on Sunday morning when the sun rises once again.

And yet, deep down, I know the difference between us is not so great.

I confess that beneath my playful derision lies a hint of fear, not that I’ll be “left behind” but that I’m already caught up—in a delusion, in false hope, in a God of my own making…and perhaps, in a looming Great Disappointment.

Like it or not, Harold Camping and his followers make us laugh because we see a small piece of our faith in theirs. They are exaggerated caricatures of ourselves.

We too are guilty of projecting onto God our expectations and desires.

We too can get overconfident in our interpretations of the Bible.

We too expect God to judge the way we think he should judge, act when we think he should act, be who we think he should be.

And, you gotta admit, there’s a chance that we too might be absolutely, devastatingly, irrecoverably wrong.

If disappointment is about thwarted expectations, then we have all been disappointed by God at one time or another. My hope is that when the sun rises on May 22, Harold Camping will repent of his overconfidence and delight in a God who is bigger than his expectations and whose plans for this world far exceed anything he could ever ask or imagine.

My prayer is that I do the same.

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