This is the end…
…or not. Tomorrow (Sunday) night is the next total lunar eclipse, something that everyone should see at least once. Many years ago I saw one from start to finish on a nearly deserted Caribbean beach far from city lights; yet another example of “suffering for Jesus” on the mission field. It is supposed to be cloudy here in NC but NASA is going to have the entire thing live on the internet so times have changed.
One interesting things about the eclipse of this “super moon” is that, according to some Christian prophecy buffs, this is the end of a string of four “blood moons” that they are sure is a sign of a great catastrophe God is about to bring down on us. They are receiving a good deal of mocking about this and many people are ready to shout with glee if/when they are proven wrong.
At least one Christian leader who has been selling thousands of “blood moon” DVDs is already hedging his bets, saying that God’s timing is not ours so it might take a little while before anything happens. I rather suspect that sooner or later there will be some natural event, stock market setback, political crisis or something that will let him say “Ah ha! I told you this would happen!”
For me, as a long-suffering Mets fan, knowing that they are sitting in first place with an 8½ game lead and a magic number of 1, I am not ready yet to say that catastrophe won’t strike. In any event, if that great calamity does not befall us, or any other mundane calamity like an asteroid strike (one of the options being proposed) does not take place, I pledge not to join the chorus of mockers.
I’ve been seeing a lot of failed predictions recently. Remember the assurance that e-books are going to make printed books obsolete? It turns out that for the last couple of years the sale of e-books has been declining. That dire prediction then is, at the very least postponed. A few years ago we were assured that the honey bee was headed for near-certain extinction. I saw TV reports of empty hives and hand-wringing worry that their loss is going to be an ecological horror. It turns out that, for three years now, their numbers are growing steadily. I saw one article yesterday predicting a shortage of bee-keepers.
Of course there are hosts of people getting well-paid making predictions about sports, the stock market, politics and whatever who are wrong more than they are right but go right on being paid to make failed predictions.
So what do we do about John Hagee and others if Monday morning comes and the world goes right on spinning? Well, if you are a biblical literalist you may need to kill him. At least that is what Deuteronomy 13:1-5 seems to say. I admit that predictions like this, which have been coming along with regularity since the founding of the church, always make me wince. They strike me as expressions of prideful human authority. There is no line between belief in an inerrant Bible and the claim that “the Bible says what I say it says so you must listen to me as if I am God.”
So, on this last day before the final blood moon I issue a call for grace and humility in biblical interpretation. Unless of course, just before I am consumed by the fire of an exploding asteroid tomorrow evening, I am forced to say “Darn! It turns out he was right!”