Parting Glances: Look homeward, pumpkin!

By |2018-01-15T23:04:12-05:00October 31st, 2017|Uncategorized|

About 130 years before Good Ol’ Charlie Brown waited on Halloween Night for the Great Pumpkin to appear, William Miller, a Baptist preacher, convinced his flock that Jesus would be returning October 22, 1844 to take them all to heaven.
Miller’s message — based on his “calculations” of Bible verses from Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelations — gave comfort to these hardworking mid-easterner folks who had little schooling and lots of simple faith.
[Sidebar: James Ussher, Archbishop of Ireland, in 1650 used Genesis genealogies — counting backward to the Garden of Eden — to “prove” the earth was created in 4004 B.C., a date still quoted in Scofield Study Bibles.]
Miller and hundreds of believers put on white robes — newly washed, neatly ironed — and gathered on a starry-night hill, praying, singing, holding hands, waiting expectantly. They stayed up ’til dawn — sadly sorry that Jesus & Company never came to whisk them away (casting everybody else into the Lake of Fire).
Brother Bill was beet red, to be sure. But 20th century “Millerites” took up where he left off, busy punching their own apocalyptic adding machines. New dates for Jesus Christ Superstar’s return became 1914. 1925. 1950. 1975. 1989. (Ticket stubs nonrefundable.)
If there’s a lesson to be learned from these numbers games, it’s: alpha — don’t second guess air traffic; and, omega — maybe Jesus has no intention of returning to our purple mountain majesty above the fruited plains — and doing the Democrats a favor in the process.
But if you’re on a mission to clone the world in your lottery image, the lessons to be learned from the past don’t count. There are many brands of body snatching to prove the point: Seventh-Day Adventist, Mormon, Worldwide Church of God, Christadelphian, Jehovah Witness, Southern Baptist, Evangelical, and Four Square Gospel Church of the New Jerusalem Welcome Wagon in Christ (Klan County Synod).
Chose the wrong 3-in-1 oil, and it’s tough going, Nicodemus. It’s our way or the highway (and that ain’t Route 666.) Make no mistake: today’s anti-LGBT, Last Days death-defying scenario earns big bucks: movies, videos, bumper stickers, comic books, ex-gay shrink tanks, and a slew of simple-sentence Left-Behind pulp(it) fictions, making some guys very, very rich.
True: everyone is — as yet — free to believe whatever they fancy. And many choose to believe nothing. God bless them! Unfortunately, those who subscribe to Armageddon Agenda America — theocratic, political, patriotic — are too often self-centered, cavalier in thinking, actions, priorities, and treatment of others.
In LGBT charity: wear their triple-A desert sandals and their polyester choir robes for a hot New York minute:
“If Jesus is coming soon, why do I need to worry about the shrinking rain forest? Why do I have to bother about Great Lakes pollution, glacial meltdown, endangered species, overpopulation, Third World countries (unless to convert them)? Why give a fig leaf about AIDS funding, Head Start programs, Social Security, war mongering, women’s health issues?
“I tithe, pew sit my fundament six days a week (resting on the seventh), update my prayer list every 30 minutes, do Weight Watchers, so I’ll look good when the final trumpet toots me home.
“And gays. Land O’ Goshen! Doesn’t God just H-A-T-E fags. They’re our misfortune. Tsk. Tsk. And it’ll be too damn-, er, darned bad for those unsaved, unwed bast-, er, pinkos once I get MY high-in-the-sky, heavenly air-conditioned, appliance-free, non-flush, white-picket-fenced-in-condo. Yes sir-ree-bob: Jesus can’t come soon enough for me.”
(Hopefully before November 2008.)

About the Author: