Saturday, May 21, 2011

Last Days Liars

May 22, 2011. Add Harold Camping's name (again) to a long list of false prophets proclaiming the end of the world.

I grew up with this viewpoint. Jesus was coming soon. Mine was the "terminal generation"/"Revelation Generation" and on and on it went. I'm happy to report my eschatological views have changed and I'm no longer thrown into emotional turmoil with the latest sensational proclamation from these doomsday seers. It infuriates me that another generation of young people are being fed this stuff. I know better now, but there was a time...

I could have drawn out in great detail the "prophetic events of the last days" - the Rapture, the Great Tribulation, the Millennial Reign, the Last Judgment. I knew all the steps in this dance, however I now believe if Scripture is the tune then that dance is not in time with the music!

There's a book by Francis Gumerlock, "The Day and the Hour" that reviews 2000 years of conjecture on the last days disclosing the dreams and delusions of those who believed their sect was the 144,000 of Revelation 7; that the 1290 days of Daniel 12 had expired in their generation; that the "Man of Sin" of 2 Thessalonians was reigning in their time; that the Rapture of the saints, Great Tribulation, and Battle of Armageddon were just around the corner; or that a millennial kingdom was about to dawn.

This is a great antidote to the Harold Camping's of the world. And if The Last Days is something that causes you anxiety, get a copy of Gary DeMar's book, 'Why the End of the World Is Not In Your Future."

This fiction continues in the church through repetition and assertion. In most circles it's accepted as absolute truth and people never know the Church hasn't always believed this. As Christians we are to search the Scriptures to see if something is true.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Book Review: The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood

Ann Hood lost her daughter to viral strep and learned to knit following this tragedy. The Knitting Circle is her semi-autobiographical novel that follows Mary Baxter, and to a lesser extent her husband Dylan, in the weeks and months after the loss of their five-year-old daughter Stella. Mary's idyllic life is ripped apart with Stella's death and she finds going on overwhelming. Reluctantly following her mother's advice, Mary joins a knitting circle and as she gets to know the other members, all of whom have their own story of loss, the reader realizes what is being knitted is not just wool. With each knit or purl, the members are re-knitting their lives together.

I don't know how people without a strong faith survive loss. How do you process the unexpected death of a love one from violence, disease or tragedy? How do you make sense of it all? Strikingly, on several occasions one or more of the book's characters refer to each stitch as a prayer, almost as if they look at their project as a woven rosary. Faith imagery was applied to the knitting process throughout the book and I was struck by this given the lack of discussion of loss in reference to God. None of the characters are sure of heaven, but all want to believe it exists.

The book draws you in and it will make you weep, it will make you laugh, and it may make you uncomfortable at times as you encounter abortion, casual sex and four-letter words. The supporting characters weren't as well-developed as I would have liked and the ending is a little cliche'd, but overall I liked the book.