Facing up to the Apocalypse


It has always been a huge frustration in my Christian life that I feel I have to make choices between concepts and styles when actually I don’t want to.  For example I loved the freedom of thought and belief of the Anglican Church but found the worship dull and irrelevant.  I enjoyed the exuberance and confidence of charismatics but longed for beauty and mystery.  I was moved by the otherworldliness of the Russian Orthodox Church but felt I was a passive observer.  I wanted the social action of the Salvation Army while still enjoying a pint!  But why do I have to choose?  In order to fulfil the greatest of the commandments, which actually encompass all the others, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and your neighbour as yourself (Matt 22:37-8) surely all these attributes and expressions of faith are equally valid and necessary?  In David Dark’s book, 'Everyday Apocalypse' he addresses this very question.  He says, “We apparently have the word ‘apocalypse’ all wrong.  In its root meaning, it’s not about destruction or fortune-telling; it’s about revealing…When we bring our wits to bear upon apocalyptic expression, we find that it has a way of unmasking the fictions we inhabit by breaking down, among other things, our constructs of public and private, political and religious, natural and spiritual.  It’s annoyingly resistant to our short-sighted either/or propositions and refuses all abstract…divisions such as sacred/secular.”  So I am no longer going to except the choice between asking the difficult questions or getting excited about praising God, awe or engagement, love in action or enjoying a drink with friends.  I am a both/and follower of Christ – both weeping with those who mourn and celebrating with those who party (Ro 12:15)!

One thought on “Facing up to the Apocalypse

  1. David Campanale says:

    You are right in so many ways, including the refusal to accept the divide between ‘spiritual’ and ‘material’. In the next few months the Coalition’s apocalyptic welfare and local government cuts are going to be visited upon the poor, the homeless, families, disabled people and the unemployed. Will the Church find it easier to reach the ‘spiritual’ judgement that their role in the Good Society is the only response? Or will they address the matreial facts? This requires exposing the injustice of the cuts – made by millionaire politicians who are protecting their class and all their privilges and wealth?

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