Camping, Potter, and the End of the World

Thank you Mr. Camping, No, I’m serious. Keep reading. I would like to take just a moment to put this out there. As much as I am disgusted and (I’ll be honest) a little embarrassed at the moment to be associated with the title ‘Evangelical Christian,’ I have had somewhat of a revelation about myself while pondering the “end of the world” according to Mr. Camping. Mind you, eschatology and apocalyptic literature has never interested me, especially in seminary. I find it somewhat entertaining when people talk with such piety and authority when discussing such matters, especially those of whom share the same faith as I. How ridiculous (and a little frightening to be honest) to hear others when they suggest they speak for God or understand the mind of God. I digress. If anything, for me the more I have studied sacred texts and served as clergy, the deeper my awareness of my own ignorance. The way I see it whatever happens, happens and there is not a damn thing any one of us can do about it. If God did indeed create the world (which I believe God did) God and God alone will draw it to its intended conclusion. For me, Mr. Camping, I do not object to your proclamation of the physical return of Christ, my objection is that you believe to have had some foreknowledge. I too can quote scripture, sir, and with two degrees in religion I can assure you (and any one else who believes to have attained some kind of precise time and date) are indeed liars. I understand how for some the return of Christ is to be anticipated but it has been suggested his return is imminent since the birth of the early church. You sir are another voice singing an old song. Ok, I need to stop here.

For me the present is what I have been gifted and it is in need of my attention. However, in the spirit of the day I took my coffee to the beach early this morning to consider how I might spend my last day. Well, so far it’s coffee and breakfast at the beach, a long drive down the 101, writing this little piece and probably a little later a movie. Now, I know what you are thinking—she’s boring, and I agree with you because it’s what I thought. But as I was driving I had a thought and it made me laugh out loud because it was about Harry Potter. According to some in the religious right (with which I am assuming Mr. Camping is affiliated), Harry Potter is considered witchcraft and sorcery and, of course, evil. Good thing we do not burn at the stake anymore because it is maybe what Mr. Camping would suggest for me. My thought was about the Mirror of Erised. The Mirror of Erised (‘desire’ spelled backwards) is a mirror Harry stumbles upon while roaming around the castle one night. At the top of the mirror are the words “I show not your face but your heart’s desire.” Harry of course saw himself with his deceased parents because more than anything Harry misses his parents. Ron sees himself as Head boy and Quidditch Cup champ because Ron struggles with being the best friend of Harry who is the most famous wizard of their time and has a desire to prove himself. One night when Harry is visiting the mirror Dumbledore appears to him and gives him both advice and warning about the mirror. Dumbledore tells Harry that the mirror shows the “deepest and most desperate desire of our hearts. The happiest person in the whole world would look in the mirror and see a reflection of exactly the way he or she is.” He goes on to tell Harry “Men have wasted away before it, not knowing if what they have seen is real, or even possible.”

I know others have been joking and making sarcastic remarks this whole week about the end of the world. I know this because I am one of them and will do so again the next time another prediction is offered. I think often about my life as I work hospice, and being surrounded by death makes one think about life on a regular basis. But it has been interesting to hear others—especially those in the media and other public areas openly process their life and the quality of their lives. It made me think about the mirror in that I planned to do everything on May 21, 2011 the way I normally spend my Saturdays. But…what about the mirror? I wonder what it would reveal. For me, no burning desires to do anything today differently than yesterday (that I know of) and for those hopes/dreams of the “what if’s” I feel as if I have made my peace if they never happen. But I question if I really have. It would be interesting to see what the mirror would reveal but then again I would really have to consider if I would want to know about my ‘hidden desires.” Something to ponder…

So thank you Mr. Camping for this little exercise. Seriously, I appreciate the opportunity to think even though I am sure this was not your intention. So out of my appreciation I would like to offer something for you to ponder, how do you intend to explain May 22, 2011?

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