Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Keeping the Faith - Hope over Hysteria

ronniemcbrayer300 orangeKENTUCKY (10/27/13) - Seventy five years ago this week, millions of ordinary Americans were convinced that the world was coming to an end. They came to this conclusion, not because Hitler was rattling his sabers in Europe and the entire world teetered on the verge of war. Rather, these fears were fueled by a broadcast aired from a small CBS radio studio in New York City.

Orson Welles took to the airways on October 30, 1938 as the usual host of the Mercury Theater, and using the science fiction book, War of the Worlds as his script, described in dramatic and fictional detail – with that unmistakable voice of his – how Martians had invaded Earth, landing in Grover Mills, New Jersey.

There were 32 million radio listeners that evening, and none with 24-hour news, Twitter, Google, or text messages to learn from the world around them. Thus, the nation was thrown into a terrifying hysteria that simply could not be duplicated today. Telephone lines were clogged; police stations were overrun; anxious mobs filled the streets; churches ran over with impromptu prayer meetings; and citizens barricaded and armed themselves.

There is a Christian equivalent to this kind of unnerving fear and panic. It pours from radio and television stations, podcasts and pulpits, from books, periodicals, and websites. The oft-presented Christian version of the Apocalypse is initiated not by a Martian invasion, but by Jesus’ violent and destructive return to earth.

“Jesus is coming back!” they say. “There will be few survivors, but if you do survive the initial onslaught, you will be left behind to suffer the vengeance of the glory of the Lord, as he tramples ‘out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.’” These Orson Welleses of our day sell millions of fictional books, movies, computer games, CDs, audios, videos, T-shirts, calendars, and greeting cards with their shrink-wrapped, pre-packaged, fear-mongering.

Personally, I’m very well acquainted with this kind of mania. Growing up in the revivalistic tradition, almost weekly the pastor would tell us how the universe was about to come unwrapped and how very few of us were going to make it through the Jesus-invasion. As a self-centered child and teenager, I felt that if Jesus had waited all these centuries to show up on earth at this particular blip in history just to interrupt my life, it was fairly discourteous on his part to do so.

As I have gotten older, however, I see a more pronounced difficulty with constant “end-of-the-world” preaching. Entire congregations of people become so obsessively convinced that we are living in the final chapter of human history – on the last page, if not within the last sentence – that they begin to give away the future.

Ultimately, it is extremely difficult to give one’s self to today, to incarnate God’s love for the world, to alleviate the grotesque levels of suffering on this planet, or to practice justice, peace-making, and grace when one’s attitude is, “Why bother? It’s all going to burn up in ashes any minute now.”

Unbalanced apocalypticism simply makes it easy to give up on today. It fosters a view of the future that is dark and sinister. It creates a kind of apathy and hopelessness toward the planet. We become little more than caricatures of today’s politicians who choose to kick the worst problems down the street for another generation to wrestle with, long after they have left office. We become freakish doomsday preparers, who misunderstand that the best preparation is joining God in his transforming work rather than watching the clock for the end of the world.

No, “God is not slow about keeping his promises,” but the truth is that Jesus will probably not return today, and it’s not likely he will return in our lifetime. Therefore, we have to be more than prepared for his imminent return. We must be prepared to persevere. We must trade in our misapplied hysteria for living out a very real hope, the “Blessed Hope.” We must learn to live in the actual here and now, not the hypothetical tomorrow.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Posted on 2/2/14
2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
button coupons
2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
button classifieds
2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

December 24, 2014 12801

Christmas Eve Bloody Brawl Erupts on Dulin Street

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis
December 25, 2014 8855

Gift Returns Done Right

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
December 25, 2014 6340

Arrests Made After Dulin Avenue Christmas Eve…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Officer C.P. Haynie
December 25, 2014 4571

Crime Stoppers Top Most Wanted - December 25, 2014

in Video by Crime Stoppers
December 23, 2014 4184

Couple's Alleged Dispute over Blanket Leads to…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 22, 2014 4106

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Dec. 22, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
December 23, 2014 3655

Alleged Theft at Walmart Sends Two to Jail

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 23, 2014 3271

Disturbance Results in Vehicle, Foot Pursuit,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Officer Tyler Russell
December 26, 2014 3120

5-Year-Old Boy Kills Buck/Doe

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Randy Adams
December 26, 2014 3111

2014 Looking Back: World Mourns Watson Family…

in Top News For All Sites by Paul McRee, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Today

December 27, 2014 2430

John Prine to be Recognized at Grammy Awards

in Top News For All Sites by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
December 27, 2014 2014

2014 Concludes with Record Investments for…

in Top News For All Sites by Angela Blank
December 28, 2014 1739

Patriot to Idle Two Mines Tomorrow; 600-700 Jobs…

in Top News For All Sites by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
December 27, 2014 1470

Four Time Management Tips for the New Year by…

in General News For All Sites by David Taylor
December 26, 2014 1410

Simple Ways to Maintain Your Mental Acuity

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
December 27, 2014 1265

The Dangers of Belly Fat

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
December 27, 2014 1249

How to Live as a One Income Family

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
December 27, 2014 1237

What to Look for in An Investment Property

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
December 27, 2014 1236

Women's Heart Attack Symptoms Can Differ from…

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
December 27, 2014 1155

Keeping the Faith - 'The Puzzles of the Past'

in General News For All Sites by Ronnie McBrayer

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss