Saturday, March 13, 2010

13 MAR 10: Hear the Calling

(BLOGGER'S NOTE: You may find the following item humorous, serious, or a little of both - but we offer these thoughts from time to time, as we keep a seventh-day Sabbath. And we'll take Sunday off from blogging, to get adjusted to daylight time.)

Many summer vacations ago, I spent a couple of months as a telemarketer selling portrait plans. That meant going down a printed list with phone numbers and names -- then dialing the numbers in numerical gaps. The people with "silent numbers" were far from silent, when I introduced myself.

A call I received one afternoon this week was very different. A woman introduced herself as Joanne, then said she had some Scriptures to read to me. She did NOT know who I was. I had no idea who she was. And based on some of the things she said, it seemed like a high-tech Jehovah's Witnesses visit.

Joanne told me she's nearly 80 years old, and calls people at random across Columbus to share the Bible with them. She admitted some people get angry when she calls. Perhaps those people should share the Columbus "do not call" list with everybody else.

Joanne wanted to focus on the book of Revelation, and she sounded like a Jehovah's Witness when she mentioned World War I as a key point in prophecy. Joanne even specified 38 nations were involved - a number Wikipedia doesn't quite support. But this is a woman who doesn't watch television anymore, and might be scared of calling up X-rated web pages.

Joanne then had me turn to Genesis - but somehow I don't think SHE was turning to Genesis. She stated some things about creation week which didn't match Scripture - such as stating God "removed a curtain" in the heavens, instead of making stars. At least she didn't say stars are only made in Hollywood nowadays.

Joanne also claimed God made "five oceans." Then she listed them, including the Antarctic Ocean. I noted geographers tend to agree with what I was taught in public school - that there are only four. "Maybe there are four," she admitted. If global warming melts Antarctica away, that obviously will change.

Joanne led me to other verses, and said she was willing to talk about the Bible for as long as I could listen. I stopped her after about 30 minutes -- but couldn't resist asking near the end, "Where do you go to church?"

"I don't go to church," she admitted. Which is amazing, since she quoted more verses than some TV preachers do in a weekend sermon.

Joanne explained the churches of the world are "Babylon the Great," which Jesus will oppose at His second coming. One Columbus radio station tends to agree with this, claiming the "church age" ended in 1988. Apparently God decided to leave churches in that year, instead of bringing Jesus back to rescue them.

But Hebrews 10 tells me we should not forsake "the assembling of ourselves together" as the end of the age approaches. So I attend a weekly church service, even though I admittedly don't always agree with what the pastor preaches. Of course, you can't talk back to the pastor the way you can to a random phone caller....

Joanne promised to call me back next week to talk about Nimrod - but at that point, it was time to put my foot down. I told her I study the Bible every day already, and take part in worship services and discussion groups. For this unknown woman to put me on her speed dial list would be.... well, one man who did it a few years ago spent time in a mental institution.

To be fair, there were some valid points in what Joanne said. She told me she doesn't miss television because she learns more from the Bible than from "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy." Some of us have noticed how "Jeopardy" contestants tend to avoid Bible categories at all costs....

And in describing creation, Joanne said: "God done good." To which I replied He "done VERY good" - showing I can fit in with Southerners, when the moment calls for it.

Joanne told me she has more than 100 people on a telephone list, receiving regular calls. If you'd like to join them, e-mail me and I'll give you her phone number. Since Joanne doesn't go to church, she calls this her only way of fulfilling the command to "preach the gospel." But it strikes me as a method inspired by loneliness. Why be a "prisoner of Christ Jesus" when you can be corrected in person?

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