Friday, May 20, 2011

Oh, Rapture! Here Come the End Times - Again

I don't think I'll be grilling burgers this weekend.

Not because I think I'll be whisked up in the predicted Rapture.

Not because I think I'll be wailing and gnashing my teeth at being Left Behind.

I don't expect to grill burgers because rain is predicted Saturday and Sunday, here in central Minnesota. Also lightning.

Which, if I was inclined to take a particular retired civil engineer seriously, I might take as signs and portents.

(Oakland Blog, via SFGate, used w/o permission)

You've probably heard or read about this already.1 Folks in Florida have been seeing billboards telling them that Judgment Day is coming: May 21, 2011. That's tomorrow.

I'm pretty sure that Mr. Harold Camping takes his prediction seriously. At least, I hope so. I'm also pretty sure that Mr. Camping's 'Bible prophecy' has convinced at least some folks that they'd better get their act together by tomorrow.

Which isn't, I think, an altogether bad thing. I'll get back to that.

I'm also about quite certain that tomorrow isn't Judgement Day, the Last Judgment. I'll get back to that, too.

What?! Putting Faith in Man and Not Trusting GOD?!!!

Like I said, I don't expect to be grilling burgers this weekend, because the weather forecast says it'll keep raining.

I'm a practicing Catholic. I also check weather forecasts. I don't see a problem there.

I could be wrong about this, but I don't think so.

As far as I can tell, it's okay for a practicing Catholic to check the weather forecasts. I'm also pretty sure it's okay to check traffic at crosswalks and fix the roof as needed. (May 11, 2011) As I said in another context, we're called to holiness, not stupidity.

Impending Doom and Focusing Attention

I think that major events - like a flood, fire, or Last Judgment - help folks focus on what's important and what's not. America's perennial 'End Times' predictions may focus the attention of people on the state of their soul, and their relationship to God.

Reflecting on how I'm going to look to my Lord, if I die this moment, is a good idea. In my opinion. I'm not talking about morbid dwelling on impending death: it's the sort of memento mori thing that Father Lombardi talked about a couple weeks ago:On the other hand, I don't think that yet one more prediction of imminent End Times is prudent. After a while, folks who don't take the predictions seriously may start associating Christianity with none-too-accurate wannabe prophets and dubious marketing techniques.

And that, I think, is not a good thing.

Tomorrow Could be Judgment Day - Or Not

I'm about as sure that tomorrow isn't the Last Judgment as I am that I won't inherit a gazillion dollars from some uncle I never heard of. At Resurrection plus two millennia and counting, I'd say the odds of any particular day being the big one are - slim. Very slim.

Besides, there's the whole Matthew 25:13 thing - which may not be considered all that "Biblical" in some circles.

I plan to get back to this topic again tomorrow.

Unless something more interesting comes up.

Or that retired civil engineer is right.

Somewhat-related posts:
Post in another fellow's blog:
More:In the news:

1 From the news:
"Christian radio group marks May 21st as judgement day", via Weird News, The Miami Herald (May 20, 2011)

"If you believe a fringe Christian radio group, then you’ve got a little more than 24 hours to either party it up, or repent for your sins. Because according to the 'Family Radio' network, 6 p.m. Saturday will be when the 'rapture' begins and the end of days begins.

"There have been billboards across the Sunshine State for months proclaiming the rapture is near. CBS4’s Jorge Estevez profiled the billboards when they first started popping up earlier this year.

"But what exactly are the billboards referring to about the rapture? Well, the Family Radio network’s founder, 89-year-old Harold Camping, said Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. will be when the rapture of the church takes place....

"...So how did Camping come up with his dire prediction?

"He based his theory for the rapture and second coming of Jesus on two Bible passages. The first is in second book of Peter in the New Testament.

"Camping said the 2 Peter passage says that 'One day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years is one day.' By his deduction, Camping implies this to mean 7,000 years from the great flood will be the end of the world.

"He also cites the book of Genesis. Camping said Genesis states, the flood began on the '17th day of the second month.' In his interpretation of the Jewish calendar, that date is May 21...."

"D.C. Department of Transportation Warns No Work After 'Rapture' " (May 19, 2011)

"A loosely-organized Christian movement that believes Jesus Christ will return to Earth this weekend has attracted some unusual followers, including the official Twitter account of the District of Columbia's Department of Transportation.

" 'Sorry, we will no longer be able to fill your potholes after Saturday,' read one Tweet posted on the agency's account at about 1 p.m. Thursday.

"Minutes later, someone with access to the agency's account posted: 'I guess I should have been a little less subtle. I was kidding. Or was I?'

"The original message was reposted by at least 19 other Twitter users as of Thursday afternoon. One user playfully responded by asking the department to make a swift repair before Jesus returns....

"..District Department of Transportation spokesman John Lisle, who said in a local 2010 interview that he set up the Twitter account in an effort to more quickly address the city's numerous pothole complaints, told that the messages were an 'attempt at humor' and were not intended to offend anyone.

" 'Occasionally, we post humor, or our attempt at humor, for the folks who follow us on a regular basis,' Lisle said. 'No offense was intended; it was intended to try to be funny. Whether it was successful or not, I don't know.'..."


Brigid said...

... What? "I don't think that yet one more prediction that End Times is prudent."

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...


Oops. Fixed that. Thanks!

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Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.