<< Spark Online
October 22, 2001
I've been gone so
long partly because of my bad behavior. I'm not suggesting that you look
back at some of the final columns I wrote in the early 90s, but think
of the grief I must have caused by writing about angels doing the boot-scooting
boogie when I was asked a simple question about angels dancing on the
point of a pin. Think of the consternation in the general readership when
I suggested that the underground tunnel system at the college was being
built to protect us from terrorist assaults. Try to imagine the fallout
when I wrote at length about safe sects at Calvin, not to mention the
metaphorical theme park and cliché preserve being planned for the
east side of the campus. Mike Van Denend is a kind and gentle man, but
even his legendary patience can wear thin, especially if there are pressures
from beyond his fiefdom.
But the true reason for my long absence and silence is that I was trying to prepare for the end of the millennium and the coming in of the new end times. This may seem somewhat unlikely at this late date, but try to remember what it was like as we counted down the old millennium and moved toward the 21st.
For one thing, no one could agree on when it was going to happenwas the changeover to follow the final hours of December 31 in 1999 or 2000? Was it all right to be obsessed by it both times? Would all of our computers crash when their internal clocks had to make the first move beyond 1999? How much stockpiling would be necessary? How much survival gear? How much real estate in rural Montana and Idaho? And whom could you trust, not only with your life and goods and water supply, but also with the objective case of one particular personal pronoun, already hanging by a thread but almost certainly soon to be a dead letter?
These concerns drove
me far from Grand Rapids and the friendly confines of Calvin College,
far from the world centers of Reformed thought and practicefar from
Geneva, far from Pella, far from Sioux Center, Seoul and Lynden, far from
Scotland, Friesland, New Amsterdam and Chicago, far from all of the places
touched and imprinted by the Reformers' thought, zeal and practice. So
do not ask "Where is it?" since I will not say. But I put distance
between me and thee, hoping to find a comfortable pew far from the din
of those who knew exactly what would be happening next, far from those
of you who knew all the answers and were ready to ride if not rule the
rough beast waiting to be born. I said I was going on a tour of Internet
bed and breakfast joints, but that wasn't the whole truth.
I'm back, I think, almost seven years older and a few nanoseconds wiser. And I'm glad you asked.