Thursday, October 20, 2011

Que Sera, Sera

I almost forgot! According to Harold Camping of Family Radio, the world will end tomorrow (as opposed to last May 21st when obviously it did not).

(Big Sigh)

100% of all end-of-the-world predictions have been wrong. It's like playing a lottery you have no possibility of winning. Has Mr. Camping ever read Matthew 24? Perhaps he is really trying to predict his own passing?

When I was in junior high one of my friends told me the world was going to end on such-and-such a day. She knew because there had been a speaker at her church and the speaker showed them all the signs from the Bible that had "come true". My friend told me to read the Book of Revelation and that it would scare me to death. I did read it, or tried to, but found it too confusing and gave up. Decided to pray instead. And wouldn't you know, here we are +/-35 years later, still waiting for the world's demise.

Whatever will be, will be. The future's not ours to see. Que sera, sera. What will be, will be.

UPDATE: There was a 4.0 magnitude earthquake near the Family Radio headquarters!!! I cannot imagine the reaction inside that building. ROFL

I tried to find something about end times predictions in the late 70s to pinpoint what my friend was talking about  and I found this list of predicted dates of the end of the world on Wikipedia (Martin Luther made the list!).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Christian by Grace. Lutheran by choice.

Two epiphanies in my life:

I was raised in a conservative, by-the-book United Methodist Church. When I left home I was surprised to discover that not all UMC's are the same and my home church was one of a dying breed. I starting attending a very big UMC that was nothing like the church at home. It had a praise band, three pastors, drama troop, gazillions of clubs & activities. Worship was nothing like my boring old home church. Professional musicians were regular guests and there was always something new and exciting.

I was very happy one weekend when my mom came for a visit and I could take her to my new church and show it off a bit. It was a great service featuring an oboist from the Chicago Symphony. After the service, mom looked at me and asked, "When does church start?" (Awkward pause) I answered, "That was church." And she said, "No, that was people putting on a show."

Epiphany #1: Mom was right. And I realized that what I liked about that UMC was that it was cool and I felt that by going there it made me cool too. And I also realized, that even though they were singing about Jesus, and preaching about Jesus, it wasn't about Jesus. Scripture was not the centerpiece - the performance was. We were not gathering to hear God's Word, we were gathering to be entertained by skits and musical numbers - and (worse) to see & be seen.

The second epiphany I'm thinking of happened before the first one. While in college my friend Ellen invited me to Sunday worship at her Wisconsin Synod Lutheran Church. It was the campus WELS church and the congregation was mainly college-age people like myself. The liturgy totally lost me. I felt like I was juggling the hymn book and the bulletin and had no clue what I was suppose to be doing. Even though I was a life-long church-goer it felt totally foreign. I looked around and was amazed to see there were some people who didn't use the hymnal - they knew the service by heart. One young guy even had his eyes shut.

Epiphany #2: This was true worship. There was something mystical and transcendent and authentic in that liturgical worship. A raw spiritual energy. I couldn't put a name on it, but I felt it and part of me yearned for more. However, it was several years before I returned. That's how the 2 epiphanies tie together -- after my mom made me realize how shallow my Methodist Church was, I sought out a Lutheran Church to see if liturgy was the answer. It was.

That is why my short answer to why I converted to Lutheranism is, "I came for the liturgy and stayed for the doctrine."