Thursday, April 10, 2008

Eschatology, "Second Comings," & Goings
I've been thinking a lot about eschatology lately. Largely, as a result of a book study at church on a little tome entitled, 10 Things Your Minister Wants to Tell You: (But Can't, Because He Needs the Job) by Oliver Thomas. The last chapter is "How Does it All End?" and there's much erudite discourse on the very symbolic nature of the writings in Daniel and Revelation - the main sources of most eschatological discussion. [I know this because the very worst class of my seminary career was a course in eschatology. The professor wrote the book, and I'm sure is a very nice person, but I was so mired in boredom that I fervently prayed for the second coming of Christ to occur and take one of us away from it all . . . I didn't even mind if I was the one left behind, for even a premillenialist tribulation would have been preferable to this class. But I digress.] The result of the line of thought in Thomas' book is essentially amillenialist - which is where I find myself these days. It resolves all those silly notions of whether or not Barack is the Anti-Christ, much less the Democratic nominee for President. The church chat caused me to broaden my thought process further regarding the "second coming" of Christ (previous seminary class notwithstanding). I've been letting the thoughts simmer for about a week, and I find I'm liking the sauce better and better.

If the revelatory language is symbolic . . . and Christ is to reign for 1000 years in His second coming . . . and the Bible says that for God, "a day is as a thousand years" . . . and we will know "neither the day nor the hour" when Christ comes again . . ., then is it not possible that:

Christ's second coming is perpetual, constant, daily, and hourly, as Christians live out the Gospel in their lives? And as such, are WE not the second coming of Christ?

Could not the tribulation be when Christians cease to be a part of their world and withdraw into their own cliques to the exclusion of some in the world?

If I'm on the right track, then the second coming should be happening all around us, all the time. And "the temple" is being rebuilt in a lot of "new Jerusalems" - my church, for one - and maybe/hopefully yours. And I'm pretty sure at a little church in Austin, Texas where my almost former pastor is journeying to help them share the second coming of Christ in their community. And while for me, that "going" may feel a little like being "left behind," the truth is that I've experienced multiple "second comings" in the past nine months as a result of his leadership, a good bit of clarity, and gained a new church home. Can't hardly call that a tribulation.

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