Friday, November 03, 2006

Aftermath of Catastrophe

If employing typology as a prophetic tool finds the world facing not one but two divinely caused mega-catastrophes intended to topple existing belief paradigms within a three and a half year period, then the power [God] that causes these catastrophes should also warn those who are of Him about what will happen—and this is the case. However, that warning contains the less welcome warning that God will not intervene in the lives of Christians or non-Christians for these three and a half years, but that even the saints will be delivered into the hand of the lawless one, meaning that when social structures break down help will have to come from individuals not from a supernatural power, nor from government agencies. All of the help a Christian will have is full liberation from indwelling sin so that the mind and heart can reign over the flesh. Humankind will be on its own in providing for itself food, water, and shelter for these three and a half years. Then those who will be of God will have to survive by faith without buying and selling for the following three and a half years, thereby making these seven years the most difficult period of human survival the world has known.

Of course, Christians employing differing reading strategies take different meanings from the same words. Some find divine escapism either upward in a bodily rapture to heaven or outward in a place of physical safety. Few will disagree, though, that the run-up to the seven endtime years of tribulation includes wars, famines, and earthquakes. Hurricanes can be added to this list. So a Christian can expect to again see what occurred immediately following the landfall of Katrina in the New Orleans area, September 2005; or what occurred following the tsunami in Southeast Asia, December 2004. Social and civil agencies were unable to fully cope with what were really localized catastrophes.

If a second Katrina would have hit Florida and the Carolinas within a few days or even a few weeks later—still a localized catastrophe—of when New Orleans was devastated, how would a third of all Americans have fared? How would another third fare if Mount Rainer erupts violently, or if an earthquake the size of the Alaskan quake of 1964 strikes the coasts of Oregon, Washington, California? And while thinking about such natural disasters, return to typology and consider the real probability of a second Passover giving of lives. What would have been short term catastrophes now returns humankind to a pre-industrial age that has cell phones and cell phone towers but not the social infrastructure to keep them operating; that has fields planted but a broken delivery system for distributing the crop or supplying fuel for harvesting the crop; that has everyone thinking about “getting right” with God but violent disagreements about how to do this; that has the Church as the only social organization trusted enough and resilient enough to intervene at the local level to provide needed goods and services; that has one particular denomination that has prepared for such a catastrophe leveraging food into discipleship.

The contemplation of all things not continuing on as they presently are tends to produce fatalistic exasperation expressed in some variation of Oh well, nothing can be done about it so why worry about it, or the inward protection of the self found in survivalists hoarding foodstuffs, arms and ammo in isolated rural locations. And while wheat, beans, and toilet paper might well be the currency of value during a period of social chaos, emphasis on protecting the self will inevitably lead to the self being killed, for with hoarding will go looting. Additionally, even the denomination that has its members putting-by a year’s worth of everything the family will need doesn’t store enough to survive on existing foodstuffs for three and a half years, let alone seven years. Survival of the body [the flesh] will depend upon social skills and specific knowledge most Americans do not today possess, but knowledge that can be acquired.

This blog is about what it takes to survive as a true disciple in a period of social chaos and natural calamities. It is about retrieving lost skills and knowledge, developing survival strategies, sharing what can be known, and warning against trading a person’s beliefs for a bowl of lentils. If any organization requires that a person be baptized in its water before feeding and clothing the person, the organization should be avoided. Hunger is a terrible tyrant, but it is only a spiritually fatal tyrant when it causes the person to do what the person would not otherwise do. Thus, this blog is about physically and spiritually redeeming the time a person has between now and when seven lean years come upon even disciples who worship God in spirit and in truth.

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