Friday, May 20, 2011

Considering Camping

Much humor has been enjoyed this past week at the expense of Harold Camping and his followers. It's been a long time since an end-times prediction has extracted this much attention from the media. Camping jokes are all over the internet -- everything from requesting pagan pilots if you fly on Saturday, to people offering to adopt the pets of those raptured. There's a lot of snickering going on.
But there's a lot of pain too.

The families of Camping's followers are struggling. Sometimes one spouse is a follower of Camping, and the other is not. The kids are confused and scared. Many have given up jobs, savings, homes, and whole lives, banking on the assurance that it'll all be over, tomorrow.

I wish it were true, in a way.

There's much to love in this life, on this earth, but there's much that is evil and broken. I'm looking forward to heaven, to a new earth, just as Mr. Camping is. I believe Jesus will come again, just as he believes it. I believe in a judgment too. We have a lot in common. We just differ (significantly) on his ability to predict it.

But I believe it's coming too.

I just don't live (much) as if I do.

I'm uncomfortable with Camping and his crew. He makes me squirm with a little introspection. I know he's a nutcase, but at some level I look at that devotion, that belief, and wonder if I'm lacking. I'm not the only blogger who's feeling this way.

So while I may smile knowingly with the rest of the world, when I look at Camping, and his people, I know I have a lot in common with them. We have the same hope. They're just so desperate for it to happen NOW, that they've gotten out of whack.

Because, we must ask ourselves WHY these people believe. Is it because Camping is so charismatic? Because his math is so convincing? Or because they long so to see Jesus's face, that they'll buy into it?

A little part of me wishes I longed for Jesus so much that I believed it'll be tomorrow -- a childlike belief that trusts in spite of all opposition. The Scripture says we cannot know the date. But perhaps we all should be hoping, eagerly hoping, each day.

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