A group out of Philadelphia called eBible Fellowship, which does all its worshipping online (“All right, users, let us bow our heads and tweet”) said recently that the world was going to end Oct. 7.
Trusting soul that I am, I took them at their word and figured I could skip writing a column this week because chances were pretty good that you would not be around to read it, and even if you were, you would likely have other things on your mind — like where you were going to spend eternity.
Now Oct. 7 has come and gone. We are still here, and so are the editors who are looking for my column. I am scrambling like mad to pull some subjects and predicates together, along with a few adverbs, some participles, a couple of prepositions and to make sure everything fits the proper syntactic category while tossing in a bunch of commas for good measure. Thanks for nothing, eBible Fellowship.
The founder and leader of eBible Fellowship, a guy named Chris McCann, seemed pretty sure of himself and of the date. He said, “God destroyed the first Earth” — I was not aware that there had been more than one Earth; the things you learn worshipping online — “with water, by a flood in the days of Noah and he says he’ll not do that again, not by water. But he does say in 2 Peter 3 that he’ll destroy it by fire. It’ll be gone forever. Annihilated.”
McCann went on to say, “According to what the Bible is presenting, it does appear that 7 October will be the day that God has spoken of in which the world will pass away.”
Right there, I should have been suspicious. I know for a fact that God doesn’t go around revealing scary stuff like that to just anybody, and never online. If he really was going to deep-fry the world, chances are that Dr. Gil Watson, the World’s Greatest Preacher, would have known about it first. It is a theological fact that God likes Dr. Gil a lot. And for good reason. Dr. Gil doesn’t go around predicting the end of the world and embarrassing God, whom I am pretty sure will be solely responsible for deciding when to pull the plug on us, and not some online Bible bunch in Philadelphia.
You may recall that when Gov. George E. Perdue was dealing with a severe drought in Georgia in 2007, he asked the World’s Greatest Preacher to come to the Capitol to pray for rain. Of course, since it was Dr. Gil doing the asking, God answered his prayer almost immediately, and the state has been pretty much mildewed ever since. Even the atheists were rumored to be building an ark, although unlike Noah, they were having trouble convincing animals to participate with them. There are some things even a goat won’t do.
I am worried that Dr. Gil is going to ask me why I was listening to what some dude in Philadelphia was saying online about the end of the world when I ought to be listening to him on Sunday mornings, where I am usually slouched down in my pew looking guilty as — well — sin. I do listen to him; I just don’t always do what he says I should do, which is to be kinder and gentler and more compassionate and more understanding of my fellow man.
I could do that, but I consider my role as a perpetual lost sheep to be a public service because as long as I am around, Dr. Gil Watson, the World’s Greatest Preacher, will always have employment. Trying to save my sorry soul is a full-time job.
Besides, if I got all warm and fuzzy, you might think the world really was coming to an end. (“Hey, Maude, your favorite columnist just said he thinks Obama is doing a terrific job, that schoolteachers get paid way too much money and that broccoli doesn’t taste all that bad once you’ve eaten a couple tons of the stuff. I always thought the guy was a nutcase. This proves it.”)
OK, so what happened? How come Earth isn’t a charcoal briquette, as predicted? Who knows? I just know that the next time the online worshippers of eBible Fellowship pull this kind of stunt, I hope God will send them to eternal junk mail and have locusts eat their passwords. Can I get an amen?
Contact Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139; and online at dickyarbrough.com or facebook.com/dickyarb.