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Not With a Bang but a Whisper

May 22, 2011

Yesterday was the day. I’ve been tempted to spirit the kids out of the house, leaving three little piles of clothing as a joke for Chris, but I have found the hard way that jokes of that ilk are better in concept than in execution, and I’m not going to include my children in this nonsense anyway.

When Ellen White had her prophetic vision of Christ’s second coming in the nineteenth century, the word was spread through word of mouth and print.  This time around, it’s a global movement. For most people, from what I can tell, it’s funny, this the end-of-the-world buzz, but with all the bad news flying around the airwaves and interwebs, a little levity is a good thing.

Apocalypticism isn’t just the province of a couple of protestant denominations; end-of-the-world predictions have always been with us. The apocalypse is regular player in science fiction,  occasionally used to great literary effect. It’s a staple of New Yorker cartoons; a search on Cartoonbank.com for “end of the world” yields 674 results, all hilarious. The end of the world prompts us to self-evaluate and focus on our priorities: Repent.

Or think about repenting, but don’t do anything besides resolve to do better, and then lapse into our same old routine.

It’s easy to get all worked up about the end of the world when it’s imminent, and beyond our control. We’re absolved of any responsibility. It’s not our fault.

It’s a fun distraction, and it’s great fodder for comedy, but it’s also 100% wrong.

Er, make that 50% wrong, because the end of the world is coming, for all of us, as surely as taxes. Within eight decades, the vast majority of people who read this blog, including me and probably my children, will be pushing up daisies.

Death may seem a lifetime away, but if you ever have the privilege, as I have had, to talk to someone who has lived a long, full life about death and dying, you will find out that it’s not long, after all. Whether or not doomsday comes yesterday, or next winter, or not at all, the truth remains that our time on this earth is short.

It’s an uncomfortable truth, and we joke about it and we duck the subject and shroud it with taboo, but at some point, all of us will embark on the next great adventure, and it’s an easier passage if we can set off with fewer regrets, with relationships healed, and with amends made.

So repent.

Or just eat some cars.

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