Choking on My Scone

“Honestly, this has to be the end times.”

“I know, it’s almost exactly like the Left Behind books.”

“They said everyone would swoon at the antichrist and be captivated by him.”

“It is so scary.”

“I heard on the news today that all of the world banks have come to an agreement. That’s a sign too you know.”

“Oh, I hope we don’t have to suffer.”

“Did you know that Muhammad’s father’s name was Barack?”

“You are kidding!”

“People have no idea.”

“I think we are definitely headed into the end times.”

“So Grace, you’re kind of quiet. What do you think?”

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62 thoughts on “Choking on My Scone

  1. So… was your silence because you’d already choked? Or were you busy chucking the scone down so you *could* choke, hopefully changing the subject?

  2. trouble is – they’re deadly serious
    Join the Multiply network and read some of the Blogs from the ‘Christians’ [you’ll find me there – I’m one of them deceived liberals].

  3. cameron,
    Yeah, something like that. ;)

    smudge,
    I wouldn’t even know where to begin. With what I think about the end times, Left Behind, the anitichrist, politics, right wing evangelicalism?

  4. I typically stuff food in my mouth when I am trying to avoid these types of conversations. I am convinced that is why I have gained five pounds since the election season kicked into high gear.

  5. Crap, that means I got my flu shot for nothing! ….except if I don’t get taken because I’m no longer under authority…..I guess it was a good move after all. Nothing like having the flu and being left behind in the same week.

  6. So, I volunteer with people like that. Really nice people, but then they say things where all I can do is KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT and continue to do the work.

  7. Very true Mike.

    LOL barb! Maybe we’ll be around long enough for you to get the most out of your flu shot.

    jim,
    I wondered if others are running into these kind of awkward conversations. I’m looking at a weekend full of them. Maybe it’s inevitable just before an election. My plan is to keep my mouth shut too.

  8. My response?

    To swallow my scone slowly, and say something like … “This all sounds like holy gossip, perhaps we can talk about something else, hmmm?

    But then I have a reputation for saying things like that, so I can get away with it.

  9. “… these dreamers … reject authority and slander celestial beings … they speak abusively against whatever things they do not understand … remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus foretold … “In the last times there will be scoffers…”

    You people had better be careful about scoffing against the signs of the end times and those who so clearly see them. These people are on a mission to “… snatch others from the fire and save them; to show others mercy, mixed with fear …”

    (These very select statements are taken from the book of Jude and isolated from context in order to make my point)

  10. So Mr. Troll, were you around for the past 150 years or so since the inception of the Rapture theology to see where time and time again the ‘end times’ that were predicted did not come to pass? I was held under the grip of fear for all of my childhood by this doctrine. I make light of it now but it created the most ungodly hold over my life and millions of others. You are right, we should not scoff. We should instead be very angry.

  11. sonja,
    I have a reputation for quietly choking on my scone. Sunday evening we’re getting together to drink wine. Hopefully I can still hold my tongue after I’m all “liquored up.” ;)

    blogg troll,
    I know that these people are very sincere in their beliefs about the end times.

    barb,
    I don’t like bursting people’s rapture bubble or their God Loves Americans Best bubble. :)

    erin,
    I didn’t. If I remember right, the conversation soon shifted to why I’m not going to church and maybe I should watch christian TV or at the very least try to catch some good programming on Christian radio. Apparently I need more sermons in my life.

  12. I hope you didn’t hurt yourself with that scone!

    I know exactly what you are talking about with those conversations. I usually make some innoculous comment like, “Well, we’ll all find out the truth for sure when we get there! Won’t we?” Or, “There sure are a lot of questions I want to ask God when I’m done with this body!”
    That usually confuses them enough that we change the subject.
    Unfortunately, also like with you – the subject often turns toward my absence at a regular church meeting… BOTHER!

    Bob

  13. Just had an awkward phone conversation with my mother yesterday about the upcoming election.

    They tell me I’m not adopted, but I really hope that I might find out some day that I really was adopted.

    Whether it’s politically or religiously, I just don’t fit in at all with my family anymore.

  14. Barb,

    scoff – to mock or jeer

    I am merely scoffing my pseudo-self. I was taught by the self-proclaimed prophets of the past 150 years how to isolate scriptures in order to 1) promote self-importance and 2) scare the hell out of people.

    Please don’t be angry with me. I don’t enjoy playing the part of blogg troll, but somebody has to do it!

  15. *Sigh* That’s so awkward, I wouldn’t even begin to know what to say. Sometimes, I’m at a loss for words at some people’s perspectives.

    Being the nerd I am, this piqued my curiousity regarding the meanings of his name. Barak is a Hebrew name. It means “flash of lightening.” And he’s the guy who cooperated with the prophetess Deborah in scripture. But that’s probably just more proof that he’s the antichrist, coming as an angel of light or pseudo-savior. ;) His middle name, Hussein, is Arabic. It means “good, small, handsome.” And Obama is Dhuluo (a Kenyan language) meaning “bent” and usually refers to a breech birth.

    Good luck having some wine and keeping your opinions to yourself! :D

  16. you mean… you didn’t hear what Louis Farrakhan said? you didn’t attend the Nation of Islam Saviour’s Day parade?

    ok I’m having fun here, but I wouldn’t condone people who have a cautious concern for their leaders and how that might fit in with God’s kingdom plans. After all, I have heard a lot of crazy assertions re George Bush.

  17. Perhaps I might say…Since we’re to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and he suffered, I think we may too? … or if liquored up, i might say….I think it’s a load of ahem.

  18. That’s it!!!

    Us rednecks have said this for years!!! No one would listen ..

    I’ve grabbed by banjo …I’m off to hide in them there hills unles I get raptured fir…………….

  19. BTW – re choking

    The majority of protocols now advocate the use of hard blows with the heel of the hand on the upper back . The number to be used varies , but is usually between five and 20.

  20. oh I cannot believe you mentioned theif in the night!! now I’m going to have nightmares again. That movie almost ruined my relationship with God – seriously. I was forced to watch it as a 3rd grader!

    see, this is why you are “grace” and I am not…I totally would have gave them a piece of my mind and told them where to shove their vitrol…maybe that’s also why I was kicked out of leadership…hmmm…

  21. Mak, the Thief in the Night series gave me nightmares too. I didn’t watch it until the 6th grade though – that was when my mother started to turn into a loony and freak out about computer chips.

    I recently saw much of it’s available on Youtube. Not sure if I want to go back there though.

  22. Here is my thing, Grace.

    Shouldn’t your friends vote FOR Obama since his emergence as a cult leader would propel us closer to the Rapture, which is what we all want?

    So why campaign against Obama and slow down the time table?

    Obama Today, Rapture Tomorrow. Obama For President!

  23. Grace,
    Great post! Love the truth within the humor. Good stuff.

    It is sad to me that so many Christians are “afraid” of Father’s coming. I, for one, am delighted for His coming. Am I delighted about the events that are prophesied that are awful and painful during end times? No. However, my heart is not upon that. My sight is upon God’s Love. For Love casts out all fear. The moment we begin to fear, we are actually not Trusting Father to comfort us and bring us through whatever circumstances or situations we may face. Fear is a choice. Fear is also a sin. That may sound “hard to swallow” for some, but it is true.

    In all the bad new of our plunging economy (which is valid and justified), I think it’s good and refreshing for us to post blogs that remind us Who to rest our hope in…the Person, Christ Jesus…and our Heavenly Father to walk us through the storms. He will be our provision, our security. We have the hope of His joy, His Love, His care amidst the “chaos” that may be surrounding us.

    Blessings,
    ~Amy :)
    http://amyiswalkinginthespirit.blogspot.com

  24. I’ve had some of these “conversations” with my parents… Usually pretty one sided because when I say something they usually end pretty quickly!

    I usually just say something about Jesus saying that only the Father knows the day and the hour, and that we are not supposed to be worrying about these things (whatever these things are).

    I’m expecting more of these comments again this weekend…

  25. I think whenever there’s a contest, there’s a need to vilify at least one of the participants, no matter how silly the charge. That’s the plus side.

    On the other side, I worry that the kind of comments you heard are racism masked as spirituality.

  26. Hi, Grace, et al

    Weighing in from the other side of the table, I am puzzled. I admit I don’t understand the philosophy of Christians who can not only vote for a man who thinks it’s okay to kill babies who have been born alive despite an earlier attempt to abort them, but who are mystified that other Christians would not be willing to vote for this man.

    Mind, that’s not the only reason I would refuse to vote for Obama, but it’s a biggie. Yes, I think this is important and I know, as a registered nurse, that abortion is, in fact, the killing of a pre-born human baby. It just is. I’m sorry if that offends you, but you can’t scientifically deny it unless you do a lot of twisting of language first.

    Second, I don’t understand that you don’t see how Obama’s heroic reception might look a little spooky to people who think only Jesus should be worshiped. No, I don’t think Obama is the anti-christ. He might be an anti-christ; he might even be the anti-christ, but I don’t think so. He’s not Roman or even European. And Nadine, I really expected the anti-christ to be more than 50% caucasian. Is that racist? I suppose it is, and there’s really no scriptural basis for that preconception. He could be half or even mostly black–no reason not to be.

    Anyway, you must realize that this whole thread is bewildering to “those people” (like me). As bewildering as “they” are to you. First, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I never took the whole Left Behind series as non-fiction. I don’t know when the rapture will take place, but I’m puzzled that you don’t see it in the scriptures at all. So here are a couple of honest questions for you–really honest questions. I want to know what you guys are thinking. Sorry if I sound like a total rube, but here goes:

    Do you think the world will go on forever? Or that it will end in a catastrophic heat wave or some other man-made disaster? Do you guys believe that Jesus isn’t really going to come back physically at all? Do you think the signs He told us to look for are all bogus, or must be “spiritualized” so that they don’t really mean anything like what they look like they mean? Do you think they were already fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans? Do you believe in a physical resurrection of the dead? A final judgment? Heaven? New earth? Hell?

    Please forgive all my questions, but you see, you are as puzzling to me as the people you are talking about are to you. Somehow this subject came up at work, and I obviously said something wrong because my liberal friend was just staring at me, saying nothing. I laughed and said I must seem very strange to her and that I didn’t mean to make her feel uncomfortable.

    (We don’t mention politics–the subject was the financial problems and that my brother (a big democrat, btw) had advised me to stock up on food.)

    She just shook her head and said that no, she wasn’t offended–just taking it all in. So I really don’t know where she’s coming from and she doesn’t seem eager to enlighten me though as far as I know I’ve never ridiculed anything she’s said to me and I’ve always taken her seriously though I don’t always concur with her thoughts. Maybe you folks will be less reticent. But you’ll have to not talk in code if you want me to understand you.

    I write this as your loving sister,

    Cindy

  27. Cindy, I write this in hope
    [as you wrote you never took the ‘Left Behind’ series as fiction].

    I hope you will make the time to read this in depth [I know how it is to be busy with kids or something else…please, if you comment on deep stuff – take the time]

    you wrote
    I admit I don’t understand the philosophy of Christians who can not only vote for a man who thinks it’s okay to kill babies who have been born alive

    my response…to do with, actual Facts, is…

    http://www.matthew25.org/paf/index.htm#infanticide
    please click on this and read when you have a quiet space
    [and the rest on that Christian site]

  28. oh, I hate html!!
    why can’t these Blogs be like phpbb forums where we can edit silly little mistakes in typing which might confuse those we really hope to communicate to.

  29. Glad you laughed Jonathan.

    bob,
    I’m not great with quick comebacks, but “That’s interesting” said thoughtfully, comes in handy in most situations.

    steve,
    It is bewildering to find ourselves so far removed in opinion from people we know and love. I often wonder how it happened. It’s not like I planned on being different.

    erin,
    I should start listening to the God Journey. I enjoy Wayne’s perspective of God.

    blogtroll,
    I wondered with your first post, but I wasn’t sure.

    lyn,
    Um let me see, who is my favorite celebrity preacher these days. Hmmm. ;)

    sarah,
    Yes, a loss for words, and a sense that any attempt to explain my perspective would only muddy the water and potentially offend.

    paul,
    I haven’t heard much. However, I have heard crazy assertions from both sides and sincere concerns from both sides.

    robby,
    I think you are being pretty hard on scones. I wouldn’t put them on the same level as mosquitoes, country music, and brussel sprouts.

    Yep, Late Great Planet, Thief in the Night, and Left Behind have left behind a pretty twisted end times theology.

    inheritor,
    Your first statement is a very wise response, and I might actually use it. Hopefully I won’t use your second statement. ;)

    mark,
    You still around? Did Announcing the Kindgom address any end time issues?

    I choked on an apricot pit once before the Heimlich was invented.

    makeesha,
    These are some of my best friends, and they are absolutely sincere in their beliefs without any intent to be malicious. I’m sure that they couldn’t imagine looking at these topics from a different angle. I’m the one who has changed, but sometimes I wonder why no one else has.

    david,
    Yes, I have received emails saying that. I laughed at your last line. We should make bumper stickers. I bet we could sell a million of them over the next few weeks.

    heather,
    And computer chips would be? the mark of the beast?

    amy,
    Exactly! Do we have guaranteed immunity from pain and suffering in this world? Where is our hope, and in whom or what do we put our trust? As you said, those are the things we need to remind one another of. So true.

    rainer,
    Good luck with your conversations this weekend.

    nadine,
    Probably not intentional, but if anything perhaps islamic prejudice rather than racism toward blacks. I don’t know.

  30. cindy,
    My post wasn’t meant to support or oppose either of the candidates. I won’t do that here.

    I’m sure there are people on both sides of the fence who would be surprised at who I will cast my vote for. Like everyone else who votes that day, especially each of the christians who vote, I will vote to the best of my understanding concerning my beliefs and convictions.

    I believe that looking for salvation through a political candidate is wrong for either party, and it occurs in both parties.

    I’ll be happy to attempt to answer a few of your questions. First let me say that I am sorry if my post sounded condescending toward my friends or to you. My intention was to highlight the awkwardness of feeling so out of place in the midst of the average christian conversation. As you can see from the responses, many people can relate to that feeling.

    I really appreciate the gracious way that you have explained yourself here. I hope that my response to you carries that same tone. The answers I give only reflect my opinions, and I don’t consider myself an expert or bible scholar. I’ll try to be succinct.

    I believe in eternal life.
    I believe in the kingdom of God.
    I believe in a new heaven and a new earth.
    I don’t know if the eternal kingdom will always be on this earth.
    I believe in the second coming of Christ.
    I believe in the resurrection of the dead.
    I don’t believe in the rapture.
    I don’t believe in “the antichrist” as it has been portrayed. I believe that there have been and will continue to be those who are “against Christ.”
    I believe that there will be a day when all things will be restored to the way that God intended them to be.

    This post, The Good News of the End Times, explains some of my thoughts about the end times.

    Thanks for the conversation.

  31. Cindy,

    I won’t comment in any way about your political questions/comments. I am not an American and it is not really any of my business. I have opinions, but I’ll keep those to myself.

    However, I will comment on the “other” part of your questions…

    I grew up being taught and believing pretty much the same type of things as you do. My parents (and many of my friends) still firmly believe the “Left Behind” line of thinking. So did I until the past few years.

    So where do I stand now? I think Grace summarizes it pretty well in her reply to you.

    I started to realize that although the Bible (and Jesus) do talk about eternal life, the return of Jesus, the resurrection, etc…, the “theology” of the rapture is a recent invention within Christianity. That is just not what the Bible actually teaches (and yes, I was shocked the first time I heard that!).

    What I have realized, as have many others here, is that what God offers us, and what Jesus has done for us is SO much more than we were taught within “Christianity”.

    I have come to realize that so much of what I learned growing up in church was very much a “gospel of fear”: a fear of hell, a fear of sin, a fear of doing the wrong thing, a fear of the end of the world, etc…

    What I have learned more recently is about a God who loves “The World” so much that he sent his son. He loves us! The gospel is not supposed to be about fear. Jesus talked about loving others. He talked about the Kingdom of God. He didn’t try to scare people into following him – ever.

    All of us welcome questions. Hey, we have a lot of questions of our own!

    That’s the great thing about blogs like this. We can ask questions, converse with others, without the fear or condemnation that often accompanies asking these types of questions in “church”.

  32. Hi, Smudge

    Thanks for your gentle response. I won’t talk further about Obama as it appears that Grace doesn’t really want to talk politics here–at least directly. However, if you want to talk to me personally, leave a post on my blog and I’ll e-mail you. I have not desire to “convert” you or anyone else to my political viewpoints, though. I simply want to understand.

    (Oh, and I realized right away that was a typo, so don’t worry. ;) )

    Grace,

    Likewise, thanks for your kindness in replying with such a sensitive spirit. I don’t know that we would disagree that much, really, if we could sit down over tea and yes, even scones. ;)

    I have to admit that I found your post on end times to be beautiful, but mysterious. To put it a little more simply–I didn’t understand it. Maybe we’re speaking a different language. As I’m sure you’re aware, groups of people who agree with one another usually develop a kind of “short-hand” that outsiders have a lot of trouble following, and maybe that’s what’s going on.

    At any rate, we’re getting seriously off topic. Maybe you’d prefer to continue our conversation elsewhere? I don’t know how you feel about keeping to the subject and I don’t want to mess up the thread here.

    Ranier,

    Again, my gratitude for being so respectful and understanding. Since you visited my blog and commented, I’ll drop you an e-mail.

    God bless,

    Cindy

  33. Hi Cindy,
    I’m happy to continue the conversation. I would consider it very much on topic. I’m not attempting to be mysterious, however I believe there is a lot of mystery in how things will play out.

    I know that you’re a fan of Frank Viola’s, so let me use an analogy. In many ways it is similar to Frank challenging the religious teaching and tradition concerning church services. He has removed the religious lens through which most of us were taught to read and understand scripture concerning church leadership and structures.

    What I am saying is that maybe the way that we have been taught to view scripture concerning Jesus’ second coming, the end times, and the final judgment has been distorted over the years with religious lenses. We can still keep all of the truths of what the scriptures tell us even though we don’t buy into the popular christian notions concerning the end times.

    I really appreciated Rainer’s reply to you also. I would much rather put the emphasis on God’s love and the kingdom, and to be honest, I think that is where Jesus put the emphasis.

    I’m not sure that my friends are as open to hearing some of these things as you are.

  34. On this whole subject of the new, previously unheard of doctrine of rapture/dispensationalism etc, Scot Mcknight has a review (posted in the last couple of days) of a fascinating sounding book called, Left Behind of Left Befuddled here:

    http://www.jesuscreed.org/?p=4400#comments

    Among some of the points made he talks about this “millenial mindset”, with themes which come out again and again in these sorts of circles:

    1. It has a heightened sense of expectation regarding the return of the Lord.
    2. It has a close scrutiny of current events and how they may relate to the Bible.
    3. It uses a “subliminal hermeneutic”: it reads between the lines.
    4. It leads to being “semiotically aroused”: it finds meaning in the most unexpected places and arouses the imagination and expectations.
    5. It gives the true believer insider information.

    I for one have added it to my reading list….

  35. Wow, even after… how long… well over a decade of my life (which at the age of 21 is quite a considerable chunk) at an evangelical/fundamentalist church I have never heard quite such a cringe-worthy conversation.

  36. WOW !!! That post made for some discussion…

    Grace said;

    I wondered if others are running into these kind of awkward conversations.

    Yep, constantly.

    The problem in dealing with this perspective (Dispensationalism…JN Darby’s curse that yet speaks from the grave) is that when you go down the line with the Bible and saw through the shoring that supports this cave of misperceptions, then stand up from your hard labor and look back and realize that every one of those shortened verticle timbers has been repositioned to support a lowered ceiling…

    Tom

  37. Hi, Grace

    I’m sorry I’ve been absent for a few days and haven’t answered your reply to me. I appreciate your viewpoint, though I’m still not sure what it is. I expect you don’t really fit into any of the boxes. Ranier and I have been talking and it’s been enlightening. My conclusion (if you can call something in transition a conclusion) is that it doesn’t really matter that much whether we agree on the finer points of eschatology.

    But I’m still puzzled. Would you consider yourself an amillenialist?

    (For anyone reading who doesn’t know what in blazes an amillenialist is (and why would you?), that’s a believer in the idea that we are presently living in the millenium (in which 1000 years= a long time rather than specifically 1000 years) and that it’s our job as the church to bring the world into a prevailing state of righteousness, after which Jesus will return. I don’t know what would happen with the unbelievers in this model. Maybe there wouldn’t be any by then?)

    Before Augustine brought this view into prominence in the church, the prevailing view was pre-millinealism, which taught that Jesus would return in the clouds, which event would occur directly following a literal seven-year tribulation. The rapture (which I gather you don’t believe in (and that’s fine)) would presumably take place at that time, after which the whole entourage would descend to earth and take up the thousand year reign of peace and righteousness.

    Modern dispensationalist premillenialism (what a name!) teaches either a pre, mid, or post tribulation rapture. I’m not a scholar of eschatology, but as far as I can see on the surface, this is pretty much its main difference from plain old premillenialism.

    Before premillenialism? The documentation is sparse. Mostly, we have the New Testament to guide us on this, and a lot of it seems to have been understood by the believers and therefore not in need of being written about. We have a few things Jesus said, some comments by Paul to the Thessalonians, and the Revelation to John (which, being apocalyptic literature, is subject to all kinds of theories on interpretation).

    So where do you folks fit here? Do you have a more or less consistent view, or is it a more individual kind of thing?

    I’m going back to my own blog now and I’m going to try to post a summary of what I, personally, believe. I don’t want to monopolize Grace’s space and try her patience by an unseemly long post (which this is getting to be), though she has been most gracious. The thing is, I don’t think you really understand what evangelicals do believe. Or else we’re a more diverse crowd than I thought, and there are all sorts of weird evangelical beliefs out there that I didn’t know about.

    My goal is to understand and to be understood correctly. I really think we have a lot of common ground, and our mutual understanding can lead to cooperation and brotherly love.

    Grace and peace,

    Cindy

  38. Cindy,

    Evangelicals are a more diverse crowd than you may realize.

    The definition you gave of the amillenial perspective combined aspects of both amillenialism and postmillenialism.

    I’m not sure that your definition of premillenialism was the prevailing understanding prior to Augustine. Actually, I tend to see from my limited reading that the early and mid-church fathers had a more thorough going ability to deal with the highly symbolic nature of eschatalogical literature than have the vast majority of Christians of the past 180 years or so. Few Believers today, in our part of the world at least, have a solid grounding in Old Testament prophetic language. Therefore, many Evangelicals have been indoctrinated in the mis-shapen eschatology promulgated by a few “worthies” of the past..Scofield and Darby in particular. Hal Lindsey revived and popularized in the early 70’s the Scofield/Darby axis. That is so well accepted without question today that to suggest otherwise seems…well, as you seem to indicated…puzzling.

    An outstanding treatment of this subject has been published by NT Wright–Surprised By Hope.

    I guess I’d call myself a “pan-millenialist”…my trust is in the resurrected Jesus who is Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Everlasting God…and because of Him in the end it’ll all pan out in just the way it suits Him.

    T

  39. grace – I appreciate your grace for your friends – if they were my closest friends, I would DEFINITELY have spoken up. not to change their mind but to have an honest exchange of beliefs.

  40. Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to this. It’s been a busy week.

    carlo,
    Thank you for the link. That was very interesting. I was thinking that someone should write a book that contradicts the theology of the Left Behind books. It does sound like a fascinating book.

    ben,
    It actually surprises me a little bit that some of these mentalities are so ingrained.

    t,
    No tea. Double americano, perfect.

    tom,
    Thanks for your response to Cindy. I haven’t read Surprised by Hope yet, but the things that I have read about it lead me to believe that I would probably agree with many of Wright’s perspectives on this subject.

    cindy,
    I really don’t spend much time trying to figure this stuff out, and I find myself pretty skeptical of those who claim certainty regarding their eschatological beliefs and interpret current events through that grid.

    The apocolyptic details have been repeatedly misinterpreted perhaps because they are being forced into a grid of interpretation for which they were never intended.

    My passion is participation in the kingdom of God and His plan for restoration and redemption. My future hope is in His eternal reign.

    I very much agree with you that these aren’t issues worth dividing over.

    makeesha,
    I often find myself in the tension between honest exchange and silent disagreement. As conversations among women are prone to, this one moved along quickly before I had an opportunity to delve into the areas of disagreement. This particular conversation was such a barrage of politics and eschatology combined, that I was momentarily speechless. With these particular friends, I would honestly discuss eschatological beliefs, but I wouldn’t wade very far into a political discussion.

    Sometimes I leave conversations wishing I said more, sometimes wishing I had said less. :)

  41. Why do we worry so much about what it will or won’t look like and simply focus on Jesus, His Kingdom, and His work? If we do that we’ll at the same time be ready for His return.

    Cindy, I grew up completely a Left Behind kind of Christian, only because I never truly studied the issue and simply read things like Left Behind. I don’t know what I think now when it comes to eschatology, but I’ve studied all the “-isms” and think they often are our best attempt to understand an Infinite God and His plans.

    You bring up a great issue that frequently haunts us all – judgment and condescension. We’re told to love and are agents of love. the enemy will use any thing he can to get us to do anything but love. And he really loves it when we do it in the name of Christianity.

    Great conversation, all. Thanks, Grace, for sharing this.

  42. Boy, I’m glad I don’t run with crowds like that much anymore, except for a few family members. It seems so bizarre and well… superstitious.

    1 a: a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation b: an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition2: a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary

    Take out the trust in magic or chance part, and it pretty much describes much of the end-times “theology” that gets passed off these days as fact.

    MB

  43. I thinks its funny that people who belive that particually interpretaion are always trying to beat off the signs with a stick i don’t get it cos if thats what you belive you belive its god s bplan so either why bother resisting or help usher it in and lead to the wonderful end times

    as an aside i think the gentlest rebuff is to ask people to remember how before the mainstream ecumenical movement when all good protestants didn’t like catholics how much everyone said the anti-christ would be a catholic or the pope or how the catholic church was the great whore, then when world war 1 and 2 happened it was obvious that hitler was the anti-christ, then we went back to the catholic church untill the cold war really took off then we started to think the anti-christ would deffo be either russion or atleast east european (thats even in the left behind book) oh and now that we’re fighting terrorist we’re now told that the anti-christ is gonna be a muslim,

    Anyone see a patern emerging here

  44. What I find most interesting about this discussion, and the beliefs that spawn it are that the beliefs in ‘Rapture’, and the story of the Left Behind series are such weak positions.

    They didn’t exist prior to the inception of the Fundamentalist movement, and have been completely slated in academic circles. A (British) University wouldn’t even give the time of day to such future-eschatologies – they are considered in the same vein as the more extreme heresies of the first centuries of the Church.

    I realise people won’t like me scoffing at something for purely academic reasons, but if you can’t even establish more legitimacy than the Gnostics, you are in trouble.

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