Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rambling Rant on Doom

My grandad, viewing earth's worn cogs,
Said, "Things are going to the dogs."
His grandad, in his house of logs,
Said, "Things are going to the dogs."
His grandad, in the Flemish bogs,
Said, "Things are going to the dogs."
His grandad, in his old skin togs,
Said, "Things are going to the dogs."
There's just one thing I have to state:
The dogs have had a good long wait.

This poem, attributed to Anonymous in my battered old edition of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, has been much in my mind of late. I started thinking of it when a good friend of mine at work, my boss in fact, expressed his concerns that, with the rising cost of food, the increasing incidence of natural disasters, and what he believes is a serious possibility that Barak Obama is the Antichrist, perhaps Armageddon is imminent. I told him that if that were the case, as good Christians we should welcome the fact, as it would herald the Second Coming of Christ and the final defeat of evil.

He looked dubious at the idea that the final battle between good and evil would be a good thing, and no wonder. Many evangelists and doomsday cults have used the End of the World as a stick to beat fear into people ("Come into my cave," said the fox to Chicken Little and his friends, "and you shall be safe."). I have even gone so far as to hear some people offer financial plans on how to prosper in the coming evil times, and some advising people to have a good hiding place and stockpile supplies.

This, as the juggler would say, is all balls. When the Last Battle goes down, there will be no place to hide, although you call the mountains to cover you, and no box of soup cans will help you on Judgement Day. At that time the only thing that will avail is being right with your God and Redeemer.

On the other hand, we may be in for a spell of tough times--in other words, business as usual. And as usual, things are going to the dogs, as they always are. And as usual there are decent people who will fight to keep the dogs from pooping on the carpet, tearing up that beloved old book, or barking all night at nothing.

The General Doom (as Shakespeare calls it) may or may not be nigh. But any day (and hard times makes us realize it more than usual) could be our own personal Judgement Day, and we all stand under a sentence of death, date of execution unknown. How, then, should we live? I offer another quote from Anonymous, though many famous people have offered their own form of it:

"Live every day as if you will die tomorrow, but plan for the future as if you will live forever."

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