The Grass is Always …. But is it?

I have been reading Michael Crichton’s last book lately, actually it was a manuscript that was found after his death, and it reminded me of something that has always bothered me. But I will come back to that.
In a previous life I was a history teacher, actually that is what my undergraduate degree trained me for and so that is what I did. My faith was developing right along side my knowledge of history which was a real shocker for me when my Sophomore Western Civilization Professor decided to go on an anti-resurrection kick. But for the most part this was a good experience, especially when I ran into those Evangelical Christians that would try to sway me and others into thinking that these are the end times. As a Christian I know that being with God is going to be great, and I know that heaven will be a wonderful place. However, I actually do enjoy life here on this earth and love to experience the wonderful variety and beauty in God’s creation.
This last week as seen a great deal of tectonic movement, which some people in the Seattle area perceive to be a little troubling since everyone thinks that we are one earthquake or Rainier explosion from being an archeological dig. And again we have the same group of Christians thinking (and some hoping) that this is the end of times.
Here is my take as someone that has read a little history (I emphasize “a little” for those of you that actually still teach the stuff). These are not the worst of times. First off, from a simple Biblical perspective we will not know when it is coming. Speaking of the Bible, did you know that Christians have been trying to convince others of the end times since the first Easter. There is actually a book in the Bible in which Paul talks the Thessalonian people off the proverbial ledge because they thought that they would not see their friends and family die before Jesus came back. It was not even the end of the first century yet!
So back to the Michael Crichton book, that man does not leave of the grossest of details. Sometimes I wonder if he relished the thought of his readers experiencing the accounts of peoples faces getting chewed up by rats. We tend to romanticize the past and apocalyze (Spell check has just informed me that I made up that word) the present don’t we? How many times have we thought about the old west or the swashbuckling Caribbean with rose colored glasses. I was asked by my students this week why Jesus had to be crucified? They wanted to know why that method was necessary. I said that it was both painful and public, and the Roman’s loved both.
The times before now were not that great by comparison. The Roman empire was ruled by terror, the wild west was a brutal and unforgiving place, the dark ages saw millions of people die before their 20’s because of a variety of diseases (not just the plague). Up until the late 20th century infant mortality was fairly common and now it is considered an exception. And something that is commonly kept out of that discussion with Christians is that Christianity is spreading faster throughout the world right now than any time in history. Its stagnating in the western world so it doesn’t seem so, but it is.
I know that I don’t talk about faith issues as much as some would like me to in this blog (actually I have not talked at all on this blog in a while) but this issue has been brought out into the public in weird ways over the years. As a Christian I love the thought of Jesus coming back and renewing all this, putting evil to death. The disasters that seem to sometimes define the times that we live in are horrible. But the amazing things that we have seen in our lifetime, the tremendous good that the news seems to ignore should also define them as well.