Saturday, December 4

If You are in the CoC, Your Brain is About to Explode

I just finished a paper about Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone. You know those guys. The ones who led the Restoration Movement. You know, our claim to fame in the church of Christ. You know.

But what you didn't know MAY SHOCK YOU!

Though they teamed up to lead the same movement, AC and BWS were as different as Cher and Willie Nelson. Their personalities were different, their worldviews were different and their lifestyles were different. A lot of learned folk say this is why there was an eventual split in the Movement in 1906 that resulted in two groups being formed: the Christian Church and the Church of Christ. My paper was about one of the many differences between these two ancient manfolks: Their radically different views of the millennium.

Have you thought about what you believe about the "millennium" talked about in Revelation? Maybe you've read those Left Behind books. Maybe you've never heard of this millenni-thing. What do you think about life after death? Straight to heaven or hell? I don't know. But I know what AC and BWS thought.

Campbell was of the opinion that before Jesus returned to earth, there would be a 1,000 year period characterized by peace, justice, good weather, easy farming and general warm and fuzziness in which everyone in the world would be a Christian. He wrote that this Millennium would start because of human efforts. He thought his Restoration Movement could be the spark that started the 1,000 year period. He thought that all of the advances in technology made in his lifetime were indicative that human progress was reaching the pinnacle of greatness that would usher in the Millennium. That's why he came out with a journal called Millennial Harbinger, which means, "Bringer of the Millennium."

Stone, however, was convinced that Jesus could come at any time, and that only the return of Jesus would start the 1,000 years of peace and plenty. He carried a worldview that was a little more pessimistic toward humanity than Campbell's. Stone looked around and saw slavery, poverty, arguing among Christians and other social ills that led him to believe that the world was crumbling and had been dying since it was born. To Stone, humanity would not be the bringer of the millennium, but God alone.

Each of these guys lived a totally different lifestyle that probably contributed to the way they interpreted Revelation. Of course AC would be optimistic about the world- he was rich (when he died, his estate was worth the equivalent of $20 million today) and popular and important. Barty had every reason to be Eyore, since he was poor, unknown and had given his everything to the promotion of the Movement and the end of Slavery, only to see nothing come of it.

As the story goes, everyone eventually sided with Campbell's view and persecuted people who followed Stone's view. Then, when the Civil War came and the country started going to poo, they left AC's theory behind as well. As a result, today the Christian Churches and the Churches of Christ are not POSTmillennial (like Campbell) or PREmillennial (like Stonesie), but Amillennial (meaning, the wast majority of churches in these fellowships don't believe in a literal millennium). Most people in these fellowships see the second coming, judgment, the destruction of earth and assignment in heaven or hell all happening at one single millisecond (not a biblical conclusion).

To conclude, neither Stone nor Campbell thought that one's view of the millennium should be a test of fellowship. They didn't think this was such an important issue that it is worth arguing over and neither should you. However, you should take the time, as a Christian, to develop your own eschatology, that is, your view of last things, or what happens at the end of time. If you roll Romans and Thessalonians and Revelation and Peter Jesus together, you may be surprised about what they are all saying about the end.

If you have more interest in the millennial views of Stone and Campbell (you shouldn't), and would like to learn more (why?!) you can read some of the work done by Richard Hughes (don't!). Or if you want to read my 25 page paper (you don't) just leave me your email address (you are insane) and I'll send you a copy.

Pictured above: Barton W. Stone with spectacles hidden in his windblown hair, Alexander Campbell, probably the scariest father in-law ever, and the cover to the Backstreet Boys 1999 chart-topping album, Millennium which featured the #1 hit, "Larger Than Life," which is ironic because AC's eyebrows were larger than life.

Wednesday, December 1

That's the Power of The Home Depot

You might not have known that I work part-time at The Home Depot. I started working there at the end of August. I've never worked in retail before, and I'm enjoying it. I realized last week that it had been almost two months since my last post, so I promised myself a week ago that I would blog about whatever might happen the following week. I now fulfill that promise.

I work in flooring. Mostly, I talk to people all day about how to lay tile, how much it will cost them to carpet their house, what they should use to clean their laminate and why they should never put solid wood down in the kitchen. This past week, I did all of those things, but the noteworthy experiences happened outside department 23.

On Monday, a customer needed help finding picture hangers, so I took her to hardware and pointed them out. Then, as I made my way back to the flooring department, another customer reached up and touched my elbow. I stopped and she whispered in my ear, "You might want to watch that guy over there. He's acting drunk and reeks of beer." I thanked her and walked over to the man at the end of the aisle. I asked if he needed any help finding anything and he responded with a "No, thanks," that smelled like a warm draft from a pit of vipers writhing in crude oil.

I went around the corner and told Jack, the department head of hardware. Jack is the human version of a lawn gnome. Note that I did not say he looks like the human version of a lawn gnome. I said he is the human version of a lawn gnome. Four foot something with a huge gray beard, always wearing a Home Depot hat. Glasses. Gnome. Anyway, I told him about the guy and when he peeked around the corner at him, he saw the guy shoving drill bits down his pants.

Yes, we got thiefed. Since we'd be fired if we tried to stop the guy, all we could do is watch him and wait for a manager to come. No one came in time. He just walked out with drawers full of merch and we had to just watch him go. Thiefed.

The next big event happened on Tuesday. I went over to the kitchen and bath area because I heard someone raising their voice. It turned out to be a customer arguing with Kathy in kitchens about what product to use on a piece of granite. He somehow came into possession of a two inch thick slab of granite that he'd been using as a turntable. He was not satisfied, however with the inconsistency between the polished look of the top of the granite and the unpolished cut around the edges of the slab. Kathy told the man he should buy a granite polish to make the sides look right. He as convinced he needed to "make the sides wet," as evidenced by his repeated action of licking the side of one of our sample pieces of granite.

Kathy was getting nowhere, so I brought the man over to the flooring department and tried to explain to him that he needed to buy the polish. In the middle of my spiel, he saw a $20 bottle of sealer and became fixated on it, convinced it was he product he needed. And he kept licking the sample granite.

Finally, he said he knew he was right and he was going to buy the $20 sealer. "Ok," I said. Then he started to open it. I told him if he opened it, he would have o buy it, because we couldn't sell an opened hazardous material. He nodded really hard and said he just wanted to show me that he was right. You know what happened. He opened it. He was wrong. Then he put it back on the shelf and left. And he took the granite sample. Thiefed.

Finally, on Wednesday I was cornered by a lady on a Hover-Round who had just bought two cans of paint for her daughter's house. She started talking and just wouldn't stop. I learned she was 85 years old with a boyfriend who was a nice guy, but not as fun as the man she dated thirty years ago who took her fishing in the ocean, but that guy turned out to be a little scary, which reminded her of her traumatic childhood in which she was thrown in the cellar by her om's boyfriend and left for hours and hours and hours and hours all by herself for hours and hours and hours and now this post is starting to resemble our thirty minute conversation so I'll stop here.

My week at The Home Depot.