Sunday, May 22, 2011
Not As It May Seem...
Have I mentioned that I'm a huge Monty Python fan? I think I probably have, but if not, I am. Huge fan. I know, I know. It's mostly stupid and inane, and some of their skits do seem to kill brain cells, but I just can't help it. I love it, love it, love it.
In the opening scene of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," King Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, from the castle of Camelot, King of the Britons, defeater of the Saxons, sovereign of all England, rides up to the walls of a castle on a horse, and much hilarity ensues.
Now, I know you may be thinking, "Big deal! A lot of people rode horses!" Yeah, well, except he wasn't really on a horse. He was skipping...on foot...and his trusty servant Patsy had two empty coconut shells and was banging them together to make that "clip clop" sound. Arthur sure thought he was riding a horse, but the castle guard just would not be convinced, and Arthur would not hear that he wasn't really on a horse.
So there they were, arguing over whether Arthur was or was not riding a horse. Sounds kind of stupid, doesn't it? I mean, just watching the scene on the telly, it's obvious to anyone with eyesight, that Arthur was, in fact, not riding a horse. Now, were one to close their eyes and just listen to what was happening, they might not be so easily convinced. Patsy made a fairly decent "clip clop" sound with those two coconut halves. Does that sound at all familiar? You know, the arguing over what is or isn't?
Now, I must make a confession. I made fun of Howard Camping over the last week or so...a lot...I mean, A LOT. I'm not necessarily proud of it, but it happened, Lord forgive me. False prophet, he has been called. I think I can totally agree with that, and might even add Kook, Loonie, Betsy Bug, and any other derogatory name that means crazy. Still and all, I commend his boldness. While you can believe something with strong sincerity and be completely wrong, it is better, I think to believe in something and be wrong, than to believe in nothing. I may get hammered over that statement, but...well, yeah.
Today's lectionary text is from Acts 7, and is the last section of the story about Stephen's martyrdom. Now I'm in no way comparing Camping to any of the martyrs of our history, not even I would do that, but part of me wonders if the world thought they were loonies too. I mean, think about it, Stephen...stoned to death, when all he would have had to do is say, "Nah guys, I was just kidding."
...Or the ten martyrs in the gallery above Westminster Abbey. Surely folks must have thought they were crazy, giving up their lives for someone they have never met face to face. It just makes me wonder sometimes. I don't know what convinced the martyrs that dying really was gain, and I don't know, well, ok I do know what convinced Camping...a bad literal interpretation of scripture. I feel kind of bad for the guy because things weren't, well, they just weren't what they seemed. Still...
So, I will probably still make a jab every now and then at the non-rapture yesterday. While I'm doing that, and calling Camping a kook, false prophet, or whatever, I actually hope that I am devoted enough to a life in Christ that folks will think I'm crazy too. I hope that I can be dedicated enough to step out of the boat, to go where I'm sent, to reach into people's hurts, to spend time with the marginalized, to help make a difference, and not just show up once a week and check the box.
When you think about it, it really is crazy. Crazy good.