Failure And The Image Of Christianity

There is good coming of the Harold-Camping-Judgment-Day fiasco.  Sure there were families destroyed, life savings squandered, and endless public embarrassment, but…

The Church is taking stock of its image.

Our society has openly mocked the idiocy of Camping’s followers in a veritable flood of tweets, news articles, and status updates. Which makes sense; nothing is more ridiculous to our sensibilities than a message of judgment or more exciting than utter failure.  Many Christians have responded by publicly distancing themselves from the Family Radio crowd and its teachings.

The criticism doesn’t stop with the May 21st prediction, however; Jesus, the Bible, and Christianity at large seem to be reoccurring topics of scorn by association.  Believers are lamenting the damage against their image this man has single-handedly caused.  There will be relationships to mend! Beliefs to define! Explanations to give!

Yet, Harold Camping isn’t the worst thing to damage our image as a Church.

This is a perfect opportunity for us to reflect on what Christ has stood for in the past, and where we’re taking him now.  What sort of picture are we painting of God with our imperialistic policies, judgmental political agendas, self-serving economics, and distracted/self-absorbed church programs?

We can either take a fresh look at ourselves, or we can laugh at this man and continue creating far more damage than he ever could.

Allen Marshall O'Brien

Allen Marshall O’Brien is the pastor of a UCC church in Northern California and co-host of the Irenicast. He believes in the importance of education, peace, and ecology, throws things to his border collie Sonata, and writes for multiple platforms.

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  • ignoblefish@gmail.com

    I’m going to read your blog properly. There are lots of questions. I want to see if you’ve found any answers.

    • I catch a glimpse of some here and there. Asking questions is so much more fun than the work it takes to come up with answers.