Roanoke Church of Christ

Month: May 2011

“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 23, NO. 9&10 – THIRTEEN DAYS AND COUNTING

This is being written on May 9. According to a fellow named Harold Camping, the end of the world will arrive on Saturday, May 21. I’m not sure about the time, but my guess would be about midnight. That way the event could light up the sky and the actual “rapture” would be on Sunday, the day of the resurrection of Jesus. (I have since learned that it will be at 6:00PM.)

This day is not to be confused with the day of destruction which, according to some, the Maya Indians predicted. That date is December 21, 2012.

In a recent article I read about the May 21st end of time, there was a picture of one of the adherents of this idea who was handing out warning material in Washington, DC. It said he worked for the Department of Homeland Security. I don’t know about you, but I feel a little shaky being protected from attack by a guy who can’t see past May 21. I also wonder how his bosses will feel on Monday, May 23, when he has to decide to come to work or not. It might be a good time to ask for a vacation, starting with the 21st. After all, if he’s right he’s not going to need it, and if he’s wrong a few days to get his explanation together seems wise.

I know I’ve commented on this need for the end of time before. If you do a little research you will find that it goes way back in time. I don’t know when the first time was, but it is a continuing passion through the centuries.

I can’t help those who believe Mr. Camping, but as to the Maya prediction, according to National Geographic scientists who have studied the Mayas, they say their rather amazing calendar simply ends the “long count” on December 21, 2012. What happens next is a “rollover” and everything starts again. Of course, like any scary idea or conspiracy theory, facts mean nothing because facts only get in the way.

There is also the “Galactic Alignment” theory that goes with the Maya calendar. It is that the planets are going to line up on that date in such a way as to cause the catastrophe. According to NASA scientists this alignment happens each winter. So much for that, if you believe NASA.

I’m sure there is a psychological explanation for this “end is near” mania. As an amateur observer it seems one of the limitations of being human is the inability to believe the world will not stop when we get off. It’s as if on one hand some Christians say they can’t wait to get to whatever their idea of heaven is, but they can’t imagine the rest of us not going when they go. The most common expression of end time expectation is that it will happen in the person’s lifetime who says it’s coming. As I’ve said before, that seems a bit selfish and egotistical to me. Why deny others the opportunity to experience both the joys and the challenges of life?

Research done among college women during the time of potential nuclear holocaust, (the 60s) indicated a substantial number of them were willing to have casual sexual encounters because they believed they would never live long enough to have a marriage and a family. If you think that was just an excuse for promiscuity, here are some of the feelings that have been expressed in light of Camping’s prediction. CNN followed Camping’s evangelists in Florida. Some had left jobs, wives and children at home. One of them, Ariania Ramrajie, of Ocala, Fla., said on that day the sun will turn red like blood and the earth will open up and bodies will be strewn everywhere. She says,”It scares me that some people are going to die, and I think I’m one of them. I’m trying to do good things, but I’m afraid I’m doing something bad.” Ariania is seven years old. Some women have said they’ve thought about killing their children because they don’t want them to have to go through the pain of the end. Others are avoiding having children at all.

In trying to analyze this trend, I would say there is a correlation between the person’s age and degree of happiness as to their end time views. In a recent article about the May date, in a survey taken, by the Pew Research Group, 41% of Americans (Christians) believe the end will come before 2050. What was not revealed was the age and economic situation of those polled. My guess would be that a very large majority of those polled believed they would live, barring some accident or illness, until 2050. I don’t hear many people who are financially comfortable or securely retired talking about the eminent end of the world. I know Harold Camping is well into his 80s, but his followers appear to be much younger.
I think one word determines our view of the future. That word is “imagination”, or perhaps theologically, “vision”. When people have no imagination or vision, their view of life stagnates and dies. Are Camping’s folks imagining the end of time? No. They are letting Mr. Camping’s idea become theirs. Putting what he has said together with their world view, it is easy for them to accept what he and others like him throughout the ages have said.

There may be other reasons for this desire for it all to end soon, but to me the lack of imagination is a big one. Contrary to indications, many Christians can’t imagine or believe the earth could be millions of years old, if we can even use the term “years” to describe it. Tell a Christian that you can imagine a time when the very things we now feel are absolute scientific truths will be replaced by new “truths” and watch their face. I’ve seen it time and time again, that shake of the head and furrowed brow. Those kind of ideas are too big for them. But if we ask who the people are who have advanced humanity, we always end up with the dreamers. Those who can imagine, who can visualize. When we remind ourselves that God’s ways are not ours we need to apply that to the end of what we call time.

Poet Robert Browning wrote, “Oh that a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” When we can’t reach for more than we can grasp, we are not what we were created to be, and that includes imagining the unimaginable. Keith kswre@aol.com

CONCERNS: Josh Brown, Mike and Sandy’s son, is in the hospital in Huntsville, Ala. suffering from dehydration from a yet unknown source. Janet McWhorter is now home from rehabilitation for a breathing problem. Joanne Elder started a new job on Monday! Erma Williams is still looking. Those remaining on the prayer list are Eleanor Crush, who is being treated for cancer, Jamie King, auto accident, Maci Winebarger (recovering well after cancer surgery. Randy Conner, terminal cancer. Remember also his wife, Debbie and the children. Mike Breeding and his wife. Joni Beach’s mother (cancer), Helen Nicklas, heart related problems. Joyce Matney is feeling some better. Connie Crites’ father, heart related problems. Roger Fisher’s nephew in Florida has responded a little to cancer treatments. Wilma and Jenni Cullum and Tim Elder. Pray also for the workers at Health Talents Int. and Bread For A Hungry World.

OUR DAILY BREAD: MAY 16-21
Monday: I Peter 1-11
Tuesday: Luke 2:1-10
Wednesday: Proverbs 2:1-15
Thursday: Romans 15:1-13
Friday: I Thess. 5:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 115:1-18

OUR DAILY BREAD: MAY 23-28
Monday: II Thess. 1:2-12
Tuesday: Matthew 1:18-25
Wednesday: John 2:1-11
Thursday: I Thess. 1:2-10
Friday: II Timothy 2:1-13
Saturday: Isaiah 40:1-11

FROM VIVIAN DUGAN AND FAMILY
Dear church family,
Words can’t express our appreciation for all you have done for me and my family during Myron’s illness and death. The many visits to the hospital, the beautiful cards, the lovely floral arrangement and especially your prayers. I feel blessed to have such a wonderful church family.
The spread of food for us was delicious as well as beautiful. Many thanks to all who had a part in it.
In Christian love,
Vivian & Family
A DONATION
A donation in Myron’s memory was made to the church by a relative of the family.

SUPER SUNDAY
Today, May 15, is Super Sunday. That means good food! Next month Super Sunday, as always, will be on Father’s Day. So, fathers get ready for a big meal that day.

BLINDS
Measurements have been taken and prices examined to hang venetian blinds on the foyer windows. The heat from the summer sun makes it hard to cool that area as well as the auditorium. Placing blinds on the windows will keep out the heat in the summer and when raised will let in the sun’s heat in the winter. The repaving of the parking lot is still moving forward as well.

THE ANNEX
One of the things this church wanted to do when it built the annex was that it be used for things other then routine church activities. It has been a busy place this spring with Joanne Elders Kirous group using it as well as a Wild Flower group and a wedding shower as well as training local people in using Vacation Bible School material.

THE OFFICE
The office will be unmanned this week while Keith and Jo Wagner are gone. Wayner Phlegar will speak in Keith’s absence. Keith will speak again on May 22. Thanks to Wayne for filling in. Richard and Connie Crites will also be gone a few days. If any checks need to be written see either Mike Branch or Wayne Flora.

THE DIRECTORY
The elusive directory is stranded. We have determined to get family pictures of two or three more families, but various things and activities have prevented getting them in one place at the same time. As soon as we get those picture we will be on our way.