Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Advent of Apocalypse

Like the weather, everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it. Or worse, they think they understand it, and, understanding it, imagine they are in control of it, or on the right side of it. That much, at least, might even be appropriate. Because apocalypse is about giving power to the powerless:
APOCALYPSE is the cry of the helpless, who are borne passively by events which they cannot influence, much less control. The cry of the helpless is often vindictive, expressing impotent rage at reality. Apocalyptic rage is a flight from reality, a plea to God to fulfill their wishes and prove them right and the other wrong. Apocalyptic believers could hardly think the saying, "Go, make disciples of all nations," was addressed to them. Had apocalyptic believers dominated the church since the first century, there would have been no missions to unbelievers, no schools, no hospitals, no orphanages, no almsgiving. The helpless cannot afford to think of such enterprises; they can only await the act of God, and then complain because that act is so long delayed. The gospels and epistles rather tell the believers that they are the act of God. (John L. McKenzie)

Apocalyptic language has become the favorite style of the "losers" in the last election, because it provides an easy answer: justice will be done, and it will be done with a mighty sword, and all "our" "enemies" will be brought down, and all valleys raised up, and all mountains brought low, and the glory of our vindication will at last shine forth, if not on all the nations, at least upon this nation. And people will finally know that we are, if not God, at least right.

And isn't that what it's all about?

Apocalypse, in other words, is sometimes nothing more than the last hope for power by those who think power is the ultimate answer.

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