Sticky post

The Falling Towers of the Doomed City

A while back a friend shared a vision she was given which I think is incredibly relevant to what is going on in the world right now. Even if you’re not a Christian and don’t believe in anything, this will be interesting to you. The person who was given this vision shared it online but has since taken it down. So I’m sharing it from … Continue reading The Falling Towers of the Doomed City

What’s the Deal With Prophecy?

In the bible, a prophet doesn’t predict the far-off future. Instead, their gift is an ability to see and explain the reality of what they see happening all around them. These are the people who have heard the voices of those who are being silenced. They see through the agreed upon lies and narratives for why things are the way they are. They are able … Continue reading What’s the Deal With Prophecy?

Sticky post

And Now For Something Weird in the End Times

In today’s edition of signs of the end times, we’re going to talk about vanity, the anitchrist, lion’s teeth and Marian apparitions. Among other things. Because part of my calling is to make your brains hurt. But don’t worry, it’ll be fun! And fun is good until somebody pokes an eye out. But I promise I’ll be careful not to poke your eye out. So, … Continue reading And Now For Something Weird in the End Times

In the End Times No One Listens to Their Pastor

Remember me writing about the church’s inability to deal with the reality of the world rather than clinging to their ideas about the world? Well, if you would like to see what this looks like in action, ask a pastor why people leave church and then ask 20 people who have left church about their experience. The overlap will be non-existent.

Oh, I get where the church people are coming from. It’s easy enough to take “I never felt accepted” and hear “I’m unwilling to engage with people who don’t think like me”. Or hear, “I was turned off by the church’s fixation on sex and politics” and hear “I just want to be able to sin without anyone holding me accountable“. Or “I found peace in my heart when I walked away from the church” and hear “I just want to engage in navel-gazing as spirituality”.

I get the temptation to interpret people’s words in such a way as to affirm our assumption that they are in error. But what if we just took people at their word? What if we accepted at face value that people don’t find acceptance at church, are turned off by the church’s fixations and have found peace by walking away? What then?

I believe that people are being drawn away from the church by God. I think that people are leaving and have peace about it because they know that they know that they know that they are on a path towards God that has taken them out of the church. At least for now. The rise of the nones and the spiritual-but-not-religious types is actually a sign that we are seeing the fulfillment of scripture.

The bible tells us to expect a time such as this: Continue reading “In the End Times No One Listens to Their Pastor”

In the End Times, We All Tell Our Story

Remember me raving a few weeks back about Humans of New York? Well, I want to share a picture and the quote that went with it which was recently posted on their Facebook page:

“I had forty acres and a new home out in California. I was working as a stone mason. I could bring in $6000 cash some weeks. Then I was walking home one night and someone tried to kill me. I got brain damage. I lost my sense of smell, my sense of taste, most of my hearing, and now I can barely stand without getting dizzy. I must have fallen and cracked my head open thirty times since then. Everything I knew has been washed out into the water. I’ve tried to commit suicide several times.”
“I had forty acres and a new home out in California. I was working as a stone mason. I could bring in $6000 cash some weeks. Then I was walking home one night and someone tried to kill me. I got brain damage. I lost my sense of smell, my sense of taste, most of my hearing, and now I can barely stand without getting dizzy. I must have fallen and cracked my head open thirty times since then. Everything I knew has been washed out into the water. I’ve tried to commit suicide several times.”

The comments under this post were FILLED with various versions of people saying, “I always assume that the homeless people I see on the streets are there because they’re lazy drug users. I guess I shouldn’t be so quick to judge.”

Now, this picture and this man’s story isn’t going to change the world all by itself. But there’s something powerful going on here nonetheless. Because it’s not just this one picture and one story. Right now, millions of stories that have never been told before are being told for the first time. And those stories are challenging long held assumptions about people who have long lived under the weight of humanity’s condemnation. Continue reading “In the End Times, We All Tell Our Story”

There Are No Secrets In the End Times

So, did you hear what NBA team owner Donald Sterling said to his mistress? Did you happen to see Prince Harry in his birthday suit a while back? Have you seen the video of family-values Congressman Vance McAllister kissing a staffer (who was not his wife)? Or maybe you gawked at pictures of the mansion and private zoo deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych bought for himself with bribes and money stolen from government coffers.

Within living memory, part of being rich and powerful meant having the freedom to behave abominably in private without having the public find out. At least not until you were dead. Today, all the money in the world won’t keep your secrets from being exposed.

And it’s not just the rich and powerful whose secrets are being dragged into the light. Divorce courts are filled with people whose marriages are ending because of deception revealed by cell phone records, text messages, emails, instant messaging and internet browsing histories. You can now discover which of your neighbors have arrest records with a quick internet search. If you exclude a friend from a get-together, you’ll get caught when one of the attendees puts pictures up on facebook. And all you have to do is watch a true crimes detective show on cable to see how hard it is to get away with murder once science gets involved.

This loss of secrecy and some would say privacy is so obvious and so commonplace now as to barely be worth mentioning. It’s just a reality of our age. What is shocking to me is how rarely it is mentioned that this is exactly what the bible said was going to happen:

^There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.” ~ Matthew 10:26

“For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light.” ~ Mark 4:22

“But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.” ~ Luke 12:2

Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts ~ 1 Corinthians 4:5

There are many other verses which say that the time will come when what is done in secret will be known to all. It’s a concept which is found all throughout scriptures. And it’s a promise we are seeing fulfilled  in real time right before our eyes.

As I said, the fact that nothing is a secret anymore is so commonplace that it’s not in the least bit shocking anymore. But consider what a radical shift this is in human affairs. 300 years ago, the average person living in areas ruled by the British Empire wouldn’t know what a British prince’s face looked like. Today, people all over the world have seen pictures of Prince Harry (and other lesser nobles) in the nude. The idea would have been astonishing to an Indian peasant in 1700. There has never been a time like this in all of human history.

So, what should we Christians be doing in light of this fulfillment of scripture? Continue reading “There Are No Secrets In the End Times”

Let’s Talk Prophecy and End Times

The parts of the bible which deal with “end times” prophecies are something I’ve always shied away from dealing with directly. Studying and researching those parts of scripture can be very entertaining, but it’s a dangerous past time. Nearly everyone who gives it a go winds up lost and led astray. And sadly, some of these people have managed to warp many people’s entire understanding of Christianity.

Part of the problem is a pervasive, fundamental misunderstanding of what prophecy is and what it does. In the bible, a prophet doesn’t predict the far-off future. Instead, their gift is an ability to see and explain the reality of what they see happening all around them. These are the people who have heard the voices of those who are being silenced. They see through the agreed upon lies and narratives for why things are the way they are. They are able to look at their present with spiritual eyes and recognize what others are blind to. Further, they understand God and his ways well enough to easily see where it’s all heading.

Which is not to say that they have nothing at all to say about the future. The ancient Hebrews viewed time as circular. What has happened before, will happened again. When a prophet shares a vision, it is a symbolic description of what they see happening in the spiritual realm. It’s purpose is to illuminate of the archetypal patterns at work in their world. That way, when a time cycles back and a time such as the prophet’s comes around again, we might better understand the spiritual reality of what we are seeing.

This is why, bible prophecies which clearly refer to a specific person or set of events in the past continue to inform us about what we see going on around us today. For example, the whore of Babylon in Revelation obviously refers to the Roman Empire. And also bears a striking resemblance to the corrupt Roman Catholic Church of the late middle ages. And is arguably a good illustration of a certain super power at work in the world today. It’s an archetype of empire at work in the world. So long as empires which rely on violence, greed, fear, idolatry and control continue to arise, the whore of Babylon will also continue to arise. Continue reading “Let’s Talk Prophecy and End Times”

About Those Tickled Ears

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” – 1 Timothy 4:3-4

As a general rule I do my best to adhere to the policy that one ought to promote what one loves rather than bashing what one opposes. But today, I feel the need to warn y’all about the ear ticklers. “Have their ears tickled” was something of an idiom in ancient Rome which meant that a person was listening for things which were pleasing to them rather than the truth. What people looking to have their ears tickled really had a preference for were ideas which were new or novel. Paul warned young Timothy that the day would come when ear ticklers would be all the rage in Christian circles. And people being people, the accusation of tickling ears has probably been thrown around among Christians who disagree with each other ever since.

Now, I must be upfront and let y’all know that I have myself been accused of being an ear tickler on more than one occasion. If you can believe it. And I’ve noticed that whenever I’ve encountered someone warning about ear ticklers, the underlying assumption is always that ear tickling starts with rejecting a wrathful, condemning, harsh God. For some reason these people seem to be under the impression that it is a common problem that human beings would desire a nice, squishy God whose motto is “I’m OK, you’re OK.” Only I’ve yet to see any evidence of any such thing. Just the opposite, in fact. Continue reading “About Those Tickled Ears”

The Power of Good vs Evil

The other day, two very different news stories caught my attention. The first was the news of a young man shooting people at a mall in Oregon, killing two shoppers and himself. The other was news that the mother of football player Jerry Brown extended forgiveness to the teammate whose drunk driving caused her son’s death. I was struck by the contrast the stories presented. But also by the likelihood that the way we think about these two very different events reveals how little we understand the nature and power of good and evil.

It is seen as almost a given these days that these are dark times we live in. The world is going to hell in a handbasket and may never fully recover. Pessimism about the state and trajectory of things is practically the default position. However, a proper understanding of the power of good and evil reveals something entirely different going on. For example, which event will have greater impact: the shooting at a mall or the mother who forgives? The mother’s forgiveness. By a long shot.

Odds are excellent that you are familiar with the bible verse which says that God will visit the sins of the father onto the sons. I had always heard it was to the 7th generation, but in scripture it says to the 3rd or 4th generation (Exodus 20:5). However, not nearly as much attention is paid to the fact that scriptures say that when we are loving and obedient to God, those blessings will be passed on through 1000 generations (Deuteronomy 7:9, Exodus 20:5). That is why no matter how dark the times appear to be, good is guaranteed to prevail. It is so much more powerful than evil. When evil enters into the system of humanity, if you will, it will do several generations worth of damage. But when good enters into the system, its benefits will remain pretty well indefinitely. And that is why despite all the attention paid to evil around us, it is not only rational to be hopeful about our world, but it’s irrational to be as pessimistic as we are. Continue reading “The Power of Good vs Evil”