Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don't like christianity   by Roger Wolsey

published January, 11 2011

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Chapter 10

 The End – or is it?

 

It’s the end of the world as we know it  - REM

When soldiers put down their weapons and monarchs step down, the messiah will be rescuing us, and that means sorrow no more.

Sorrow - Bad Religion (see Revelations 21:1-4)


It's over and not going further.  (paraphrased) – The Future,
Leonard Cohen

 

The line about us not starting a fire and noting that it’s always been burning since the earth was created.  -  We Didn’t Start the Fire, Billy Joel

 

Waiting on the world to change  - John Mayer

 

If by some miracle and all our struggle, the earth is spared, only justice to every living thing (and everything is alive), will save humankind.  Alice Walker

 

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven,

nor the Son, but only the Father.  Jesus, Mark 13:32

 

Non-judgment Day is Near! / Jesus is coming look busy! / Come the Rapture can I have your car?

bumper-stickers

 

 

In 1999, many people in the U.S. got worked up and anxious about the potential end of the world because of Jesus coming back in 2000 and/or because of the “Y2K” computer[1] glitch.  I couldn’t believe how so many people were alarmed by what seemed clear to me to be superstition, mass paranoia and ignorance. 

Around that same time, I was utterly dismayed that so many people in the U.S. were so enthralled with the “Left Behind” book series.  I read the first book and didn’t care for the retributive, “us versus them” theology and anti-intellectual arrogance it exuded.  I couldn’t relate to it and found its lack of compassion and love disturbing.  The idea that people who read those books may’ve thought that what they presented was authentic Christianity is troubling....

......

       Progressive Christians believe it when we say, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again”[1]  Yet, rather than spending our time and energy waiting and planning for Christ's return, we think the world would be better served by reducing his level of disappointment when he does.  Many of us share the view expressed in this assertion: “I am not as concerned about when the moment will be as I am about the fact that the moment is coming.  I want to encourage you to get off the ‘Planning’ Committee and get on the ‘Welcoming’ Committee.”[2]  We’d rather see ourselves as being on the street team (like promoting an upcoming band gig or theatre show).  Instead of informing folks about Jesus with lots of information, we seek to simply be Jesus.  We seek to be part of the incarnate, living Body of Christ – helping people experience his love and his Kingdom here and now.

       Progressive Christians also resonate with the late Catholic Henri Nouwen when he said, “Where will you find the Messiah?  - He is sitting among the poor covered with wounds…” as well as Emergent Christian pastor, Brian McClaren’s observation that “The Gospel is a transformation plan, not an evacuation plan.” 

We agree that our hope is in the future, but let’s embrace and be present to the present moment.[3]

It’s hard to embrace the present without a sense of hope for the future.  As Christians, we believe that God is actively seeking to move Creation toward a beautiful goal.  Like Paul, we have “our eyes on the prize”[4] and we “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us.”[5]  We sense deep in our bones that things will turn out okay – in fact, far better than we could ever imagine. 

Progressive Christianity affirms Martin Luther King, Jr’s remarks, "I refuse to accept the view that [human]kind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brother[/sister]hood can never become a reality ...I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word,” “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” and, Martin Luther's hopeful assertion, "Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”

Progressive Christians have hope in the conviction that somehow, despite all sorts of evidence to the contrary, love wins.



[1] A common litany that is part of the liturgy in mainline Protestant denominations.

[2] James McDonald, http://blog.harvestbiblefellowship.org/?p=3699

[3] I’m reminded of the song Right here, Right now by the British alternative rock band Jesus Jones.  See: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/j/jesus_jones/right_here_right_now.html

[4] Based on 1 Corinthians 9:24 and the Civil Rights era folk song, Keep Your Eyes on the Prize.  See also my description of this at http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_All_eyes_on_the_prize_definition

[5] Philippians 3:14



[1]   Specifically, a calendar issue pertaining to IBM based computers.  Macs didn’t have that issue.

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