This morning I was at one coffee shop, before coming to another to write about this, and I heard a nicely dressed gentleman joke about the world coming to an end in 2012. Hmmm? This is of course based on the ending of the Mayan Calendar. This is a growing contingent that is both captivating the masses and scaring the bleep out of others. This led to the 2009 film by Columbia Pictures; “2012,” which I have not seen. Anyway, how is this striking such a cord with the world? or should I say the western world?
A Bad Moon’s Rising cause It’s the End of the World as We Know it!
As I was driving thinking about what the man said, an old Creedance Clearwater song came on the radio. Hearing the voice of John Fogerty brought me back to my early childhood and the song “Bad Moon Rising.” I remember listening to that song over and over in my dad’s 1976 Scotsdale Chevy. An 8 track remarkably only had 8 tracks, so… well you get it. Lets look at the lyrics:
I see the bad moon arising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightnin’.
I see bad times today.
Don’t go around tonight,
Well, it’s bound to take your life,
There’s a bad moon on the rise.
I hear hurricanes ablowing.
I know the end is coming soon.
I fear rivers over flowing.
I hear the voice of rage and ruin.
Hope you got your things together.
Hope you are quite prepared to die.
Looks like we’re in for nasty weather.
One eye is taken for an eye.
Written in 1969, Fogerty was inspired by the 1941 film “The Devil and Daniel Webster.” There is a scene of a hurricane in the movie and John wrote “about the apocalypse that was going to be visited upon us.” How does a song like this with it’s negative and destructive tone find reservations in the hearts of people? That year it reached # 2 on US charts and # 1 in the UK.
Another song that I really listened to was by the band REM, titled “It’s the End of the World as We Know it (and I feel fine).” It starts out with apocalyptic imagery:
That’s great it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane
Then feeds into similarities with Fogerty, as Micheal Stipe sings of it being like “the eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn.” As it continues in its “happy go lucky feel” we reach the chorus:
Its the end of the world as we know it, Its the end of the world as we know it, its the end of the world as we know it, And I feel fine.
I do not know the writers heart in these songs but I am trying to convey what seems to be a negative world view. Most view the book of Revelation as a massively negative experience, from which some of these lyrics seemed to have been derived.
Where is the Future?
Why the tones? Why did these theses artist express themselves in this manner? I have my theories, but not to get too deep into Christian doctrine; I feel without the awesome relationship with Jesus, how can the world have hope? Wait a minute though, it seems most Christians preach that the same theology as these movies and songs.
Get SAVED! The world is about to END!
Where is the hope? Where is the light? Where is the Future? Why do we as Christians read the bible in negativity and then preach the same? Why would anyone want to hear that? And when they do hear it, it warps their perception of the Father’s love and the way they relate to Him, handicapping the revelation of His love they are able to share with others.
The REM song was released in 1987. Although I was young, I have heard accounts of Christianity during that decade. Books were written about the end of Earth by Christian authors explaining that Jesus was coming back at any second and, as Kris Vallatton describes “It robbed us of our vision for the future.” He went on to explain that this generation of Christians had no vision to leave a legacy for their kids and their kid’s kid’s kids. They all thought the the “rapture” could occur at any second and they would all be able to leave this wretched world.
Could this have been an influence in the music of this era? I think so. What does this message tell the world? “Hey you sinners, you all suck! The Father doesn’t love you and to prove it He is going to come snatch us out of hear while all of you suffer tribulation!” Man, I feel the love on that one (as my sarcasm explodes).
In Romans, Paul states that “all of creation is groaning for the sons of God to be revealed.” It doesn’t say all creation longs for the sons of God to disappear. The world is waiting for the sons of God, those who have a relationship with Jesus to show them His love and power, so they too can be set free. The world needs us. If we change our perspective on the Bible to a positive one it will then change our perspective on life as well. We will develop a “victorious eschatology” of a loving Father sending His son to His sons and daughters that have filled the earth with His kingdom and glory. With this view, Revelation doesn’t read so dark, and we will have hope through the storms.
One of my favorite stories in the bible is that of Elijah and Elisha. Elijah raised up Elisha to be the voice of God to the nation for the next generation. That’s how I want to live, with hope that the next generation will pick up where I leave off. The success of the future grows out or the vision we plant today for future generations.
Negative Vision of the Future
Could the 2012 phenomena be so intriguing because it is born out of what the church sowed with its negative vision in the previous generation? If hope and life was being preached would something so disastrous be so popular? The Mayan Civilization ended 1000 years ago. Hello! If they were indeed right and were inadvertently prophesying the end of the world in 2012, don’t you think they would still be a “civilization.” Now I know there are still ancestors of these people, and I am not painting them in a negative light, but empire that once was is now in ruins. Also the Gregorian calendar may not coincide with the years in which the Mayan calendar, making the date unsure. Remember too that we do not have Mayans explaining to us what this calendar meant, science is trying to piece it together.
Hollywood I am sure will continue to “profit.”
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