Tag Archives: Harold Camping

The Foundation of the world (Advent 1B, 30 November 2014)

Isaiah 64.1–9
Mark 13.24–37


Today, we start a new Church Year, Year B in our three-year cycle. In Year B, most of the Gospel Readings come from the Gospel According to Mark. As usual, on the first Sunday of a new year we don’t start at the beginning of the story. We start at the End.

By ‘the End’, theologians may mean the ‘Last Things’, the Last Judgement and beyond. But really, more often they are talking about the ultimate things: the end as the ultimate purpose of the world God has made. That is, they are talking about the new world God is bringing into being, the kingdom of God.

When we look at the hope of a new world, the kingdom of God, and when we look at the present reality—Ebola, seemingly perpetual war in the Middle East, climate change, children in indefinite detention—it’s easy to say it’s all too hard, we don’t want to think about it, it’s got nothing to do with my life today. Let me just do my job, enjoy my family, get a nice house and veg in front of the TV. Let the government work it out.

But sometimes, it all gets too much for us. The world is in such a mess that we may cry out with Isaiah in frustration to God:

O that you would tear open the heavens and come down…!

But nothing happens. Our cries die in our throats. The heavens stay closed. God remains hidden. The world goes on as it always did. The rich still build bigger barns, the poor still sit on the ground outside the rich man’s gates.

So we shrug our shoulders, we go back to the little bit of life that we know, and try to forget about the rest. Continue reading


Filed under Church & world, church year, RCL, sermon

Beam me up Jesus? 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A, 6 November 2011)

Beam me up Jesus?

1 Thessalonians 4.13-18
Matthew 25.1-13


The ‘second coming’ of Jesus has been in the news this year. The American preacher Harold Camping has emphasised the second coming in his teaching. He says that Jesus will come at the ‘Rapture’, when true believers will be whisked away to heaven and those who are ‘Left Behind’ will come under the power of the Beast and face the wrath of God. He has made himself—and, by extension, the rest of us—a laughingstock by making no less than four false prophecies of the End: one in 1988, one in 1994—and two this year, on 21 May and 21 October. I feel terribly sorry for those people who sold everything they had to give to this man and his misguided message. (I hear he’s just retired. Good call Harold, but a little late.)

I mentioned a common script that people assume when they talk about the second coming. The world will get worse and worse; Jesus will come and whisk all the believers up to heaven; and then the world gets even worse still. Then Jesus comes as an enforcer and ‘kicks ass’.

Our young people have a great ministry with our church sign; they’re going with a sci-fi theme right now, so this week it’s said ‘Beam me up Jesus’. Star Trek fans will immediately recognise the phrase, ‘Beam me up Scotty’. It’s great fun and I love the sign—but it’s not great theology. A ‘beam me up Jesus’ faith is a faith that fails to hear the call of God.

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Filed under Church & world, church year, RCL, sermon

21 May

In my younger years, the ‘Rapture’ was an article of faith. I was appalled to meet Christians who’d never heard of it. Now I see it as an appalling idea, quite outside anything the New Testament teaches.

Harold Camping is having another shot at predicting the Rapture. It’s tomorrow at 6pm, no matter where in the world you are. At 6pm, I’ll be at Restaurant II in Brissie having a drink after a wonderful wedding and anticipating a fab reception.



Filed under Lord have mercy, reflection