"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." “When I hear people say politics and religion don't mix, I wonder what Bible they are reading.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6.8

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4.19

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2.12

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The End of the World: 21.05.11 and a haircut.

I've put up with this all week.

Sir. Sir, right. Is the world going to end?



Yes, of course......Eventually. Do you remember when we talked about cosmology...?

No Sir. This weekend.

I shouldn't think so.

But it says in the papers ....

Stop reading tabloids. I tell you what. If the world ends this weekend, I'll give you all a £1,000 on Monday.


The story made it into the Guardian today, although interestingly not under "International News", which I felt was an omission - not that they were buying into it. Anyway, I felt I ought to be a bit better informed. For those of you for whom the imminent end of the world is something of a surprise, let me run a few factoids by you.

Harold Camping, 89, resident of - you guessed it - California, has calculated 6pm today as the end of the world based on his reading of the book of Ezekiel. He has gone so far as to print posters proclaiming "The Bible Guarantees it." Anyway it's all because of those gays again. Seemingly God just can't rise above it. Poor, petty, capricious little deity that Camping's God is.

Oh good. Someone else who will have me, as a Christian, tarred with the same brush of religious lunacy and intolerance.

"Dad! We don't listen to Americans in religious matters." (Daughter2)

It gets worse. He made the same prediction in 1994 and covered his tracks then by saying that he got the maths wrong. That Old Testament eh? You just can't rely on its figurework. Perhaps he forgot to carry the one.

Now call me a cynic but if God wanted us to know the date of the end of the world, why bury it in the mysterious maths of Ezekiel?

Anyway Mr. Camping intends to watch the end of the world on T.V - Fox, by any chance? This surprises me. Isn't he expecting to be raptured then? Clearly not if he's still going to be at home watching T.V. He doesn't say how the T.V. networks in California will survive the massive waves of world shattering earthquakes to beam this event into his home but let's not be picky.

So, 6pm. Is this GMT? Surely it is, after all the Bible was written in English and The King James' version would, presumably, have had GMT in mind.

I went for a haircut this morning.

My barber, a personable young man called Janek and I got into conversation about this.

"That's a shame. I'm working until 5 and I'll be owed a week's wages. Still the least I can do is give everyone a good cut so that they'll look good in the divine presence. Shame about 6 o'clock though, I was going for a meal and there's a new bar opened on Cardigan Road I was going to try out. Will you be mentioning it in your sermon?"

Well I was thinking of waiting and seeing how things go.

Now, where else could you go for a good haircut and an equally good conversation about books, films, music and eschatology?

What would I be doing during the conflagration before I'm raptured above it all? Singing Verdi's Requiem in Leeds Town Hall. That seems pretty appropriate. At least I'll be in the right mood: "Day of anger, day of terror. All shall crumble into ashes" (The Dies Irae) Seems on message.

Bugger! I've not cancelled the papers.

Oh well, see you next time.

"Possibly not - or tomorrow in the queue for the Pearly gates."


  1. BST, GMT, Eastern Standard Time ? etc. It's a "Rolling Rapture" - it happens at 6.00 p.m. Locl time. Try and get your facts right. Quick chorus of "Rollin', rollin', rollin, keep that rapture rollin', tho' you're disapprovin', roll on!"

  2. Harold Camping, 89, resident of - you guessed it - California


    JCF, "Born&Bred (in the Golden State)", *objects*.

    Mayan end-of-the-world (and/or "end-of-man's-time, beginning of Natural Time". Yes, I've heard this O_o) fantasies are more typical here on the Left Coast, than is your bog-standard Bible-Belter Camping's. >:-/

    FWIW: we here, who know from earthquakes, didn't get any (of any significance) here either! See y'all at church for 5 Easter: Alleluia, He is Risen!

  3. Am glad of the internet. First I was able to read my local paper in NZ where Camping said it was all going to start and find that 6pm had passed without any great earthquake. Probably Christchurch had another little tremor but that is commonplace nowadays. Then I saw that Sydney 2 hours behind was all as normal and now I have woken and it is after 9am Sunday in Madrid and all is fine, the only tremors are the young people shouting against their government on election day. So I can continue looking forward to setting sail for England tomorrow afternoon and finding London much as the same as always. So relieved.

  4. still here then? Tell Janek I'm sure God was impressed with the cut regardless.

  5. I suppose if the end of the world is to come a good haircut might just tip the balance.