Eschatological (es-kat-uh-LOJ-i-cal) Thoughts

I’ve never been sure that I bought all of that Second Coming stuff.  Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection I get, sort of.  For some reason a man rising from the dead has never seemed too far-fetched, which is silly, but it hasn’t.  What has seemed just a little crazy (maybe this is because I grew up reading Left Behind) is that someday Jesus will magically descend, riding on the clouds to save us all from this rotten ol’ world and take us to the big Disneyland in the sky so we can watch it burn from really, really, for away.

Of course, that’s not really what the Bible says, exactly.

What has helped is the power of narrative.  I think one of the unique and dynamic and beautiful things about Chrsitianity is that it provides this metanarrative with a beginning, a middle, and an end.  And I’m glad there’s an end, I really do.  But God would be a terrible writer if it happened sort of ex nihilo: things are getting worse and worse and the plot is thickening and getting more complicated and then: TA DA!  Wow, thanks Jesus!

Forgive my sarcasm.

It’s just that, in a good story, the characters work to make the plot resolve.  The decisions they make in the beginning affect those in the end; they matter and give the narrative shape and substance.  I suppose that what I’m suggesting, and I certainly wouldn’t be the first, is that maybe we’ll have to work to bring Jesus back.  Maybe He’s got stuff He wants done before He’s going to come back.

I think you call that postmillennial eschatology.  More or less.

If there’s one thing that evangelicals are totally boneheaded about (and it’s just SO hard to choose sometimes), it’s eschatology.  Seriously, how many times can you incorrectly identify the Antichrist and just keep on guessing like you could possibly have any idea?  It’s definitely Hitler.  Nope.  Lenin.  OK, Stalin.  No no, it was Gorbachev for sure.  Actually, it’s Obama.

Or maybe you’re just a tool of the neoconservative movement.  Did no one consider that possibility, or find it even slightly coincidental that the Antichrist has just happened to be the political leader of America’s enemy for the past 100 years?

That being said, talking about the resolution of plot and everything, I think that instead of being on alert for the apocalypse, maybe the Church should actually start working for it.

That’s all.

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5 Responses to Eschatological (es-kat-uh-LOJ-i-cal) Thoughts

  1. William says:

    Maybe he’s already come and many just don’t pay him much attention.

  2. fin says:

    list of possible second comings we may have overlooked:
    les claypool
    the bartender down the street (he is super chill when you come in at 8am to start drinking)
    lars von trier

  3. teamchauncey says:

    Riddle me this sir: I wonder sometimes if in our efforts to enable us to participate in the reality of the Kingdom being both “among us” and “not yet” we meander into a sort of theistic humanism. “God has given us Christ.” we say with great vigor and enthusiasm, “Therefore we can make the Kingdom come.”

    The interesting thing about this is that we find ourselves trapped in a reality in which our God has become deistic. God acted in history though Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells within us, and so we do stuff to manifest the Kingdom and even bring it about. My issue with that is the “we” bit. Unfortunately for this idea, God is the one doing things. Even our participation in Christ’s life,death, resurrection and continued communion with the Trinity is participating in what God did, and is doing now. We are not the agent in the world. God is.

    I love your questions because undeniably we have a part to play in God’s plan for the world. Yet, to claim that we are the ones who bring the Kingdom comes a bit too close to some ideas I read humanists espousing. Human brokenness didn’t seem to limit Christ’s role in the world, it rather seemed to help fulfill it. What’re the implications of that for our participation in the Kingdom’s business today?

  4. ben adam says:

    Maybe, the apocalypse is now and is coming. With all due respect to Chauncey, I don’t think humanism is what Mike is speaking about. Furthermore, to intimate that only G_d was at work in Jesus is to deny Jesus’ humanity. Remember that Jesus was a person! Therefore, people and G_d are both involved in salvation. Where temptation to become humanist arrives is in the methodology of salvation. Jesus DIES. That’s how G_d and people would be saved. Death. Oddly, people want to solve world hunger, cure AIDS, preserve the family, rescue unborn children from abortion, and more without dying! I don’t mean strictly a physical death (although I do mean that), but I mean a death in all our physical being which usually is split between body and soul. We need to forget our aspirations, let our possessions die, let our nationalities die, let our political affiliations die, and more importantly, let our methods of achieving die. No longer bound by the definitions of the world, we can be a part of a Kingdom in which G_d is the King. If we are going to prepare for the Kingdom of G_d, if we are going to live as though we are citizens in this kingdom, ought we not forsake our allegiances to other kings? If we are to be reborn into this kingdom, we ought to leave behind what was in the old. Only through sacrifice will the Kingdom of G_d arrive. Humanism claims the opposite, that only through human achievement can salvation arrive.

  5. teamchauncey says:

    trinitarian theology is messy business. Mike, I didn’t think you were being humanistic. I just wanted to throw it out there that that is something that we can find ourselves in if we take the “what should we do until he comes back?” question to an extreme.

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