Tuesday, October 06, 2015

In Response to a "Blood Moon = End Times Warning" Post From My Childhood Pastor

Here's his original post: https://donfinto.wordpress.com/2015/10/06/what-about-those-blood-moons-2/

Hi Don... this post showed up in my Facebook news feed, and I thought I'd read your blog. I wanted to tell you that while I find it entirely believable that we may be on the edge of a great societal upheaval, I am dubious about it being necessarily the End Times. In part, because I have heard you and my other pastors give their congregations these same warnings, with almost identical phrases, for over 40 years. As a 12-year-old at Belmont Church, I was so completely convinced that the Seven Last Years would come at any moment, I did not believe that I would live to be an adult. Let that sink in - I was certain I would not live to be twenty. I had no hope for the future, beyond going to heaven when I was executed for being a Christian, if I was strong enough to not deny Christ. Which, after all, is what those Chick Tracts at Koinonia Bookstore told me would happen. I knew enough to know that we couldn't be certain when the rapture would take place, and so it was best to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

We were prepared to be right with God and prepared to die in the End Times because scriptural prophecies were all pointing to it happening soon... in the 70s. In the 80s. In the 90s. And now in the 21st Century. Our family looked into buying a farm way out in the country to hide away, and my mom read up on edible plants. And I tried day after day to find peace instead of fear that I would be tortured for being a Christian. Even now if I wake at 3 am, I will stay awake thinking about what I will do when our world begins to collapse. Will I literally run into the hills, taking nothing with me?

It's not that I disbelieve scripture in regards to the End Times. But I do question spiritual leaders saying that they KNOW something is about to happen. Because to this day I bear the trauma of fear and anxiety of believing I would not live to grow up, because you told me I wouldn't. Not to my face... not to me personally. But to the congregation of adults I sat within, and my parents who believed you too, and then reinforced those teachings at home. Now decades have passed, and it hasn't happened, and I have to wonder what value there is for us as Christians in being perpetually on high alert. Because all it served to do to me was make me terrified, and more focused on how I could achieve a godly death, rather than loving God and my neighbors and living out the Gospel.

You are, and always have been, a beloved spiritual leader to me. I will never cease to respect you. You married my parents, you led my dad's memorial service. But I can't help but wonder if I might have ended up leading a less fearful life if I hadn't been led to believe that I would die soon in the Tribulation.


Kathryn said...

Well written and poignant as usual. I will say, for my part, I long ago lost respect for this man, and for the cadre of others who preach similar ideas. It's irresponsible and self serving. I admire you for speaking truth to power.

Susania said...

You know what, though? When I asked him to speak at my dad's memorial service after he committed suicide, Don was so honest and forthright in acknowledging it was a suicide and not glossing it over in his homily, that I really admired that. And when I was a teenager on a youth retreat and he was there as the primary speaker, we had a long talk about my parents' divorce and I told him about what life had actually been like for us with Chuck... and he listened seriously to me. I think he had no idea previously of the emotional abuse heaped on us by dad. But I knew that I had been heard, and he took it seriously.

Kathryn said...

I'm glad to hear these stories. I knew him entirely as he was in the pulpit, no real personal interaction. Thank you for sharing your experience.