Last night (Thursday) David Letterman probably gave Harold Camping his best advertising moment — Top Ten Ways to Make the Apocalypse More Fun. So most of the people who read this blog know that a man named Harold Camping has discovered that Jesus will return on May 21st. So I just thought I would take the opportunity to share random thoughts on May 21st. Ready? Here we go…
1. On May 22nd, more than a handful of people in the world are going to be disappointed…that Harold Camping is still here.
2. My daughter Katy flies home from Bethel University on May 21st. She was going to come home on the 20th, but I found that the flights were much cheaper on the 21st.
3. In fairness to Harold, when he predicted that the Judgement Day would take place on September 7, 1994 — see his book entitled 1994 — he did put in the footnotes that if he was wrong about 1994, he was certain it would take place…on May 21, 2011.
4. I will have been alive 17,810 days on May 21st.
5. According to Camping’s calculations Judgment Day will happen at 6pm on Saturday, timezone by timezone throughout the world. It will be or at least feel like an enormous earthquake. So a rolling earthquake timezone by timezone starting around the island of Tonga and ending up at the island of Samoa. For those of us in EST — Judgement Day actually begins Saturday at 1:00am.
6. On May 21st, 1881 Clara Barton formed what later became the American Red Cross.
7. May 21st, 1994 I finished writing my first sermon as the pastor of Calvary. Preached it on May 22.
8. Harold Camping very clearly states that the Bible Guarantees May 21st as the day of Christ’s return, which simply means that if Jesus doesn’t return on May 21st, it’s not Harold’s fault that the Bible was wrong.
9. In a Family Radio memo — Camping’s Radio Stations — sent out to employees this year, Thanksgiving and Christmas 2011 are still listed as employee holidays.
10. Harold Camping is almost 90 years old. I bet there are a lot of 90 year old guys who have said things that made people shake their heads and grin.
11. Getting the word out about May 21st has been an international effort for Family Radio. 216 radio stations in the U.S. shortwave radio, satellite broadcasts, a Web site, 5,500 billboards (400 in India; 2,200 across the United States) and 100 million pamphlets in 61 languages, according to the ministry.
12. Setting dates carries with it the danger of an attitude that says, “Jesus is coming — look busy.”
13. On May 21st, 1991 Susan Lucci finally won a Daytime Emmy. It was her 19th nomination.
14. Harold Camping likes math. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a BS in engineering. He views the Bible as a code to be cracked. I wonder if a focus on the code leads to missing the narrative of God’s story?
15. The Bible in general and authors such as Peter, Paul and Jesus specifically make it incredibly clear that no one knows the date of THE DAY. They also make it incredibly clear that we should live every day as though we might meet up with Jesus today. Those who are following Harold Camping, with their eyes set on a date are going to experience confusion and heartbreak on the day after. Those who are following Jesus with their eyes on him, only him — they will make a difference in the world… long after May 21st has come and gone.
Be those people.