So I got a call from Spencer on Thursday night saying, "You need to watch The Colbert Report tonight. N.T. is his guest." I would love to have heard Tom's reaction to the invite to be Colbert. It must have been priceless.
Tonight at 11pm [PST], CNN will be exploring this question on Anderson Cooper 360. As a part of the segment, they'll be interviewing Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Jim Wallis of Sojourners, and Dwight Hopkins, a professor of divinity at the University of Chicago.
Could be a refreshing discussion. Here's a little taste of where they're heading...
[A Pre-Post Update - Our time away was really, really good. Usuall this time of year Palm Desert is like "Gehenna hot", but we lucked out. Mostly high 90's. It's amazing how good it feels to unplug and just chill as a family.]
Anyway, upon returning I found this. I was hoping it was a joke, but unfortunately it is not. [I especially like the added byline, "The prophetic speedometer of end times activity."] Apparently catastrophic world events are all given a number rating [I find it interesting that "wild weather" is given a 5... Hhhmm, what does that say about the wierd weather we've had in So Cal lately?]. Anyway, the higher the added total, the closer we are to the rapture. [Really, I'm not making this stuff up.] Think of it as a high tech rapture calculator, kind like the one they use to figure out your car insurance... both of which are oh so accurate.
Who comes up with this stuff?
It's things like this that remind me of the natural consequences of our "theology of escapism" [which seems to be all too pervasive today]. This kind of thinking sees the goal of the Christian life as to somehow "remain pure and unspotted by the world" [read "retreat into a artifically plastic Christian subculture"] readying ourselves for some future eschatological event. God is merely reduced to a creator who does not care about the entirety of his creation, just merely the rescuing of the chosen. His goal is not one of the restoration of all things, but the commander in charge of the escape plan. "Followers of Jesus" are therefore reduced to a passive recipients of rescue, gathering weekly to bemoan the condition of the world and await the future eschaton.
Could anything be further from the truth?
All this does is breed a lack of concern and hope for this world.
[A Post-Post Comment - Nothing can be more poignantly profound that to see the Rapture Index fall into the hands of Jon Stewart... oh, yeah! You can see the video here or here. Enjoy.]
After feeling like the only person on planet earth that has never seen 24, my wife surpirsed me with the DVD of the first four episodes of the first season. Yes, you read that right... the first season. [I guess I needed to start somewhere, and the first season sounding like the logical place to start.]
Last night we settled in together on the futon in our room to begin our adventure. The show is pretty good, I think it might make it through the first season. [Ah, yeah...] Anyway, after the first two episodes my wife needed to pry the remote from my hands and send me to bed...
I bet you can guess where I'll be after our community group tonight...
I have to admit it, I'm kind of a CNN junkie. Over the past few weeks of so, there's been this CNN exploration of a "fundamentalist Mormon" sect in Colorado City, Utah that practices polygamy. Their leader, Warren Jeffs, is wanted by the authorities and has now gone into hiding.
Okay, so that's not the observation. But it led to one.
The use of the term "fundamentalist" is fascinating. What is it that we are trying to communicate by using this word? More importantly, why is it that when the term "fundamentalist" is applied in some places [like "Islamic fundamentalist"], it is equated as being a person who is over the top in an almost fanatical extremism, completely out of touch with who things really are.
And then when the term is applied to Christianity, all of us sudden it becomes something "good"?
How is it that one form of fundamentalism is labeled as extremism, while the other is embraced?