May 20, 2011

Mimosas at Harold Camping's Family Radio Studios on May 21, 2011?

I thought bringing champagne to Harold Camping's Family Radio headquarters on Hegenberger Road in Oakland on the morning of the Rapture was an intriguing idea, and set up a private facebook invite for it months ago. However since then, after discussing it with other practicing members of the Mimosas Witnesses, we've sort of decided it was a bad idea for several reasons:

-Difficulty of getting people to Hegenberger Road for any reason.
-Possibility of offending or confronting people over there during a time full of expectations.
-Possibility of being cited for public drinking, or worse.
In regards to the first point, I was just reading relevant sections of the Gospel of Matthew, and Jesus makes the following warning about False Prophets: "Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not." -Matt. 24:26. Hegenberger Road is a barren trafficky street between the Oakland Coliseum and the Oakland Airport, and if any urban location qualifies as the wilderness, it does. Therefore I would recommend taking Jesus' advice and not letting a false prophet entice you to go to the desert. (This is a bit of a tangent, but the next verse, Matt. 24:27, describes the arrival of Jesus thusly: "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." What does Camping make of that bible verse, as he has said Judgment Day will be a slow moving earthquake which will move from East to West and hit every time zone at exactly 6pm? a bit slower than the speed of light.)

I've been invited to no fewer than three other rapture parties in the next 24 hours, but I still desired some sort of pilgrimage on Saturday to see the scene. Especially after I read SF Chronicle journalist Justin Berton's 2010 article about Harold Camping, "On Sept. 6, 1994, dozens of Camping's believers gathered inside Alameda's Veterans Memorial Building." (That was the last time he predicted Judgment Day on an exact date.) Not finding any evidence of a Camping-sponsored party myself, I e-mailed Berton asking if he knew of a gathering or if Camping was having a press conference somewhere some time, and to let me know if he heard anything. Berton wrote back and said that Camping had advised his followers to stay at home with their loved ones this time around.

That e-mail exchange continued for a few more e-mails, and I mentioned my idea of having mimosas in the parking lot of Camping's studios. I think I was fairly vague about actual plans, and told him our updated plan was to ring in Friday night (Tonight! when the giant earthquakes are supposed to first hit the Pacific Rim) in a cemetery, and attempt to call my friend Shani in Jerusalem, who agreed to go to the Mount of Olives for a live report. However, he mentioned it in front page article in the Chronicle yesterday, "May 21, 2011: Rapture or Party Time?"

Mocking and concern

A few nonbelievers have suggested throwing a party outside Family Radio's headquarters Saturday night, mimosas in hand. Other skeptics, however, say the fact that Camping has assembled a dedicated following is nothing to laugh at.

I think I can assume I inspired that paragraph. It leaves me in a bind tho, because I don't want to throw a party on Hegenberger Road, especially not Saturday night, and we intended no "Mocking" or "concern." More disconcertingly, the article's main objective is to create a false dichotomy between "Rapture" and "Party Time," and lumps us in with "a few nonbelievers."At least he got the key word "mimosas" right, otherwise "nonbelievers," "party," and "night" seem to be invented by the journalist. (I definitely said "pilgrimage" in my e-mail to him.) Anyway, I don't mean to parse words, it was otherwise a great article by Berton, and it was awesome he mentioned mimosas at Family Radio Studios.

I'm mostly composing this blog post and posting it on Rapture Eve in case anyone read that in the Chronicle & was wanting to know more. The Mimosas Witnesses are not organizing a gathering at the radio station, however we might still make a pilgrimage sometime. If anyone out there is inspired by the idea, and wants to go to Hegenberger Road of their own accord, please do, but at least consider my hesitations listed above. It might be fun to cause a scene there, anyway. But remember the Mimosas Witnesses is an inclusive religion of peace, and over all a religion of AM cocktails. If you'd like to know more about the Mimosas Witnesses, please read my pamphlet below.

False prophets with multi-million dollar budgets have the ability to do massive harm. Jesus said they come in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. In Harold Camping's case, he looks like crap. Many people are taking this seriously (as has been well reported this week in articles in the NY Times and NPR), selling off their life savings, &c. The U.S. has a high population who believe the Second Coming of Christ will occur in their lifetimes, and many are highly suggestible. Interestingly, I was looking through the Wikipedia's list of previous exact dates set for Judgment Day, and many of the previous Prophets of This-Or-That-Day were not wholly cast out by their followers. They include such luminaries as Swedenborg, William Miller (of the Adventists & also Baha'i,) Charles Taze Russell (of the Jehovah's Witnesses,) Joseph Smith Jr., Benjamine Creme, Sun Myung Moon, &c &c. So this could not be the end of Harold Camping, depending on how he spins the results of the events tomorrw. (It wasn't the end of him in 1994.) In any event, Camping suggests going about business as usual tomorrow, so please have mimosas with your loved ones somewhere.

Update: According to Scott James in today's New York Times / Bay Citizen, Family Radio Studios has been empty since Monday:

Inside the sprawling, threadbare Oakland headquarters of Family Radio Worldwide the staff has prepared for the end of the world this weekend — and it appears they mean it.

“There’s so little time left,” a smiling elderly woman said, hugging a colleague.

On Monday, the last day outsiders were welcome inside the gated compound, recording studios sat empty. Current programming for the independent Christian broadcast ministry was produced weeks ago. No more shows are needed.

1 comment:

tom sheepandgoats said...

The formula was simplistic. The notion (nailing the day) was presumptuous. The baggage (trinity and hellfire) was typical. And he sure did flummox a lot of followers. But he is 'keeping on the watch.' No one can say he's not doing that. As so many before him have done. As you pointed out.