If I were a certain kind of person, which I am not, I might be a little spooked by the fact that just a week after I picked on the “Jesus is coming soon” folks, the newspaper reports there is a group that is now sure of it. It will take place on May 21, 2011. I’m not sure of the time but it will probably be after midnight when it is dark or as the sun shines from the east to the west.
I know these folks do not represent main line Christianity, even though there is a large number of people who are sure it’s soon, but not sure of the date. However, this group, lead by an 89 year old “prophet” (Remember I said some people can’t stand the thought of dying without taking the rest of us with them. This guy doesn’t have that much longer) named, Harold Camping. He is a retired civil engineer, which only means that he is not uneducated, even if he is going to be sadly wrong. How do I dare say that? Because I have my own calculations. All I can say is that if any of those folks own a house in south Florida they will not need after May 21, I’m open for taking it over on May 22 regardless if they go or not.
They are not a large group, but they still have the resources to use traveling caravans of RVS and renting billboards across America, as well as spreading the word in foreign lands.
Now all this is not new and I certainly don’t want to curtail their freedom of belief. But this quote from one of the adherents really bothers me theologically. Allison Warden, of Raleigh, NC, says, “If May 21 passes and I’m still here, that means I wasn’t saved. Does that mean God’s word is inaccurate or untrue? Not at all.”
On May the 22nd I’m not sure what this young woman is going to do. If you are not saved, do you go on believing in God when there is no hope for you? Or do you readjust your ideas about the Bible? I hope she, as well as her leader, change their understanding of scripture. However, when the attitude is sealed in stone, “My understanding of God’s word is accurate and true” there is little hope for change. What often happens is giving up on the Bible altogether. There are any number of atheists who were once believers with a wrong understanding of the Bible.
Anyone who grows in grace and knowledge has to also grow in the way they understand God and scripture. On a simple level, I once was sure how big heaven was. It was literally a 1,500 mile cube, only I used cubits back then. In fact, I’m not sure if 1,500 miles is correct and I don’t care. Because I now understand that to be a figure of speech rather than a literal city. That goes for the street of gold and wanting a mansion that is silver lined as well.
There is the constant need to revisit the views we hold about God. After all, few if any of us got them by revelation. We got them from those who taught us, just as I did the size and literalness of heaven. We are told the Bible is true even before we can absorb it for ourselves. We are told how the Bible is true and warned not to fool with it. It is presented as an untouchable document. Of course, just as these “end times” folks are doing, we accept some person’s idea about what it means. All of us have eaten what someone else cooked for us. Does that make it bad? No. But it must be tested. If we accept Jesus as the one who reveals the nature of God, then we start with discovering who and what he was. That in and of itself is not easy, as anyone who observes the Christian religion can see. We make him in our own image and in our own social and political ideologies. This started soon after Jesus’ death and can be seen in the letters of Paul and it will continue.
What we continually have to do is realize we understand God as we understand the world around us. There is an evolutionary quality to human knowledge and understanding. It takes place in medicine, science, music, art and social interaction. But in the area of God, and all kinds of religions concerning a deity, such an evolution is often considered heresy.
For example, there are those who still defend slavery because it is part of the cultural scene of the Bible. To do so is to miss and to misunderstand the nature of God as revealed in Christ’s teachings. As Elvis sang, “I’m (you’re) caught in a trap.” But it’s not cause I love you too much baby.
CONCERNS: Mary Smith spent some time in Pheasant Ridge undergoing rehab after her back surgery. Hopefully she will be home by the weekend, but if not, she is in room 609B. Judy Hall is mending well after injuring her elbow. Remember the Hall’s neighbor who has cancer. Also Mike Breeding and his wife, Trisha, the Bolin’s friend, Joanne Elder and Erma Williams as they job hunt. Joni Beach’s mother got a good report. Her cancer has not advanced, but it is still serious. Connie Crites’ father. Helen Nicklas is not doing very well at this time. Little Isabelle Simmons has responded very well to her treatment for Leukemia. Debbie Conner, a friend of Erma’s that some of us know, husband, Randy, has cancer that seems to be quickly spreading. Continue to remember Roger Fisher’s nephew in Florida who has cancer, Barbara McCauley, Jenni and Wilma Cullum, Tim Elder, and the work of Health Talents Int., Bread For A Hungry World, the unrest in Egypt and in other needy spots in the world.
OUR DAILY BREAD: FEB. 7-12
Monday: Genesis 12:1-20
Tuesday: I Samuel 3:1-8
Wednesday: Philippians 4:8-23
Thursday: I John 4:7-21
Friday: Romans 7:13-8:11
Saturday: Ephesians 3:7-21
OUR DAILY BREAD: FEB. 14-19
Monday: John 10:1-18
Tuesday: Matthew 13:24-43
Wednesday: Psalm 90:1-17
Thursday: Luke 14:15-24
Friday: Amos 5:18-6:1
Saturday: Psalm 71:1-24
Our Sympathy is extended to Judy McWhorter and Jan Overstreet in the death of an aunt who died in Georgia. Also, former member, Rhonda McRoy’s grandmother died. The funeral was in Alabama.
For those of you who receive the bulletin beyond the congregation, there was no mid-January bulletin due to the Wagner’s being on vacation.
Also, if you have E-mail and you do not receive the bulletin that way you can go to the church website and at the place under the minister’s name there is a “subscribe” button. However, if you already receive the bulletin via E-mail, and you have a new E-mail address, let Keith know and he will see that the old one is deleted and the new one added. This will keep the list from filling with addresses that are no longer valid. As the new directory is completed all E-mail addresses of members who currently receive the bulletin via E-mail will be checked against the new directory. As to the directory, Erma Williams will be taking the new pictures in the weeks to come, probably up till Super Sunday.
Several of our young folks will once again be attending Winterfest in Gatlinburg, TN the third weekend of this month.
If you noticed some parts of trees near or behind the annex, the weather has kept the man doing the work from being able to put his truck on the soft ground. As soon as the ground hardens several more trees behind the annex will be removed.
Since Judy Hall has injured her elbow she will be on the sidelines of knitting the scarves she will distribute to the various groups she has been working with. She needs at least two more knitters to help finish this up. If you can help please see Judy.
Famis Plus is Virginia’s Health Insurance (Medicaid) for children under 19 in low income families. Depending on income, this service for children can be either free or at a small cost. This program is not well known, so if you know someone who needs such help, see the downstairs bulletin board for information.