Captain Raymond has been conversing with me about the bible and those conversations culminated with us rendezvousing at Granite 2 (a church) for a conference about end-times prophecy. He seemed excited to see me and introduced me to several others he knew in attendance. I was taken aback by the fact that no one was wearing masks. I made the sarcastic remark in front of Ray to my kids (who were wearing masks), “I guess covid doesn’t exist in here”.
As I proceeded into the sanctuary, I forgot I was in the house of God; it felt like I entered into a game show studio. The picture doesn’t quite capture the opulence and frivolous use of money. Upon entering, everyone in the studio audience received a high gloss, high quality program/study guide, fancy pen-highligher combo, branded notepad and (I kid you not) the chance to win prizes.
They make this claim about how they aren’t like televangelist because they don’t explicitly ask for money, that everything is already covered. The thing is, there is large sums of money that could’ve better been spent helping the needy. Additionally, nowadays they don’t need to explicitly ask for money because they have merch they know others will buy plus the series will naturally cause some donations.
The message itself was standard seventh-day Adventist eschatology about predictions that supposedly came true, how they alone are the one true church and things that are to come. The best part of the service was when they did a short segment asking people on the streets what they thought about the end-times and one guy said, “I think too many people worry about the end times and don’t spend enough time thinking about how they can be better to each other”.
I later sent the following subspace transmission (text) to Captain Ray, “When I think about what Jesus wants from us, the greatest commandments come back to mind. To love God with all your soul (to have a relationship with the higher power) and to love one another. THAT is what we should be doing.
When I think of these end times prophecy series’ I think, what is the function? I suppose for some, it can reaffirm ones belief in God if you need to see that he is all knowing and can see the future. Aside from that, I’m dubious on the need to worry about what’s to come.
You could argue that you need to prepare but..if your relationship with God is good and you’re loving others, whatever else is to come is irrelevant..if anything, I believe it turns your focus outward, to the world, causing worry and anxious preparation.
Matthew 6:34 says “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. … Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
If I had a large platform like Doug Batchelor , I’d encourage people to spend time with each other, in prayer/mediation and out in the community helping others. So troubles may be coming….history is rife with troubled times. I feel these sorts of sermons just amp up fear.
Initially, I was going to try to see if the specifics in the sermon were true but everything surrounding the service disturbed me so much that I stopped caring. I also came to the rather disheartening conclusion that Raymond, as much as I used to look up to him for being intelligent, can’t be objective. I suppose I can’t blame him.. most people have difficulty accepting the possibility that they can be wrong.
For the most part, I feel alone in my quest to objectively look for the Truth. I know there are many others that are open minded as well…just…in my life..everyone I know already has their hands full with other responsibilities and don’t seem to be pursuing such questions with as much vigor or interest in conversing with me. I find myself in an unfamiliar region of space.
When I began my spiritual journey, I returned to Christianity and seventh day adventism specifically probably because it was familiar to me. I believe the lessons preached by Jesus: deference to God, living humbly, giving generously, and forgiveness (among other things). I love the symbolism present in things such as baptisms, foot washing, dedicating the sabbath to God and communion. I even came to appreciate the singing. Just..I can’t get behind the hatred of LGBT individuals, this belief that they alone have the Truth, and the end-times fear-mongering. As a result, I find myself moving away from Christianity. Now I am in uncharted territory.
There isn’t really any belief system that fits what I believe. I have started to delve into Taoism and Buddhism. I like their emphasis on balance, nature, mediation and detaching yourself from your emotions. I feel like I’m training to become a Vulcan! I’m not sure what lies ahead but at least for now my soul feels edified.