Friday, October 21, 2011

The hope and harm in mendacity

Just for the record, the world didn't end --- again. And I'm pretty happy about that. The forecast calls for a beautiful day. Whether or not the frost predicted for overnight occurred is another question and dawn will tell. For now it looks like a "no," 34 degrees and holding.

I'm not even sure how many noticed that Harold Camping, who stirred up quite a fuss among the fearful earlier this year by declaring that believers would be raptured on May 21, had recalibrated --- today was to be the end of the world as we know it. Apparently not. Poor Harold. I'm sure he intended to be helpful. But he's still 90. One way or another, his end is near.

That's the big problem with premillenialism --- start calculating precise times and dates for the end and making specific predictions and you're headed for trouble. All in all, the preterist/amillenial approach is safer if you're into eschatology --- or just don't worry about those troublesome books, Daniel and Revelation, at all. Focus on the present.

I spotted the silver birch leaves here, glowing like stained glass as the sun moved downward, along the trail yesterday --- and that was enough to clear my head, briefly at least.

I'd been thinking about, of all things, mendacity and its sometimes hopeful, although harmful, nature after waching the clip below of Randy Roberts Potts, gay grandson of the late televangelist Oral Roberts, delivering a sermon on that topic at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa during July.

It's a clip worth watching, but because its sermon length, requires patience.

Potts is talking mostly about mendacity within his own family, and the harmful results of hopeful lies. I was thinking of mendacity paired with premillenialist thinking in current GOP politics --- signs that the end is near, presentation of self in messianic robes, the promise of redemption and a 1,000-year reign if Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain or (insert your favorite candidate) is elected. Of course Barack Obama rose during the last election cycle on a wave of more secular messianic thinking with less emphasis of premillenialism.

Wouldn't it be nice if they'd all get over magic thinking and start focusing on problem-solving in the here and now?

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