Hermits Rock

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On the first day of class, we were discussing the possible authorship of the book.

You should know, though none of the memebers of my class have attended, and I sincerely pray to God that they won’t, Tim LaHaye’s School of Prophecy, they are some non-descript, inter-denominational mush that, sadly, get most of their understanding of Revelation from Daystar and wackos like Jack van Impe or Chrstian Radio. (I really have no qualms about calling these people wackos… it’s actually a Christian duty. It bolsters their faith. It helps convince them that indeed the end times are upon us and that they, despite controlling the country, are persecuted.) One guy, though, was raised in a church where the pastor would do a summer lectureship where he would decipher world events for them. Curiously enough, he’s never gotten anything out of Revelation.

But more about him later.

We were introducing the book and proposing various possibilities as to the author… I stated that I agreed with the proposal that this was not John, the “Beloved,” or, at least, not John who wrote the gospel—the grammar and vocabular are too different. And, I stated that I agreed with the later date of the early 90s rather than the earlier date of the early 70s for various reasons.

At this point, someone raised their hand and rambled on for what felt to be 5 minutes. I’m sure it was more like two. In the process he informed me that Jesus had been given the power to grant immortality upon those whom he chooses to grant immortality; that in fact John, the Revelator, the Beloved disciple of Jesus, the author of the gospel, and the letters, was such a person; that indeed he most likely was walking somewhere on the earth as he himself spoke; that due to John’s incredible longevity, he no doubt could’ve written the book at the later date of the early 90s rather than the early 70s.

I just stared at him mouth agape. Fumbled with my white board marker. Furtively glanced across the room, just to break eye contact with him. And stuttered, well, the jury’s still out on who the author is. I was just proposing one theory, with which I happen to agree; however, a venerable tradition ascribes the authorship of the book to John the disciple… so I have no problem with you continuing to believe that he wrote it.

I’ll write on hot summer sermons later. ‘Cuz I gotta go read Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice.



He’ll go home to his young adults devo, and tell them how this snobby, godless professor was insulting the bible, and he prayed for the Lord to give him the wisdom to refute you, and that He did, and you stuttered and meandered, and changed the subject. Then the church will praise God for the powerful things He is doing in the world today.


One of the most surreal experiences I’ve had came from teaching Rev. My grandparents are missionaries in Romania and invited my wife and me to come over a week after the Bar exam to hang out with their teenagers and for me to teach a class at night through the week.

“What’s the class on?” said I. “Revelation,” said they. “Why?” “Because they keep clammoring for it, because we need to teach milk right now instead of meat, so you’re just the guy to help us get it out of their system.” Fantastic. Thanks for the gig, Papa.

Thus, not only did I have to teach Revelation in a four night series, it had to be interpreted into Romanian. The house was packed and got fuller every night. Of course, that may be because I kept deferring questions about 666 and dragons, night after night, as I spent three nights on letters to seven churches. Call me a coward, but I thought my interpretation of apocalyptic, prophetic imagery would be weak enough in front of an audience in the American South, much less translated across language and culture in a week long survey.

(I think they were disappointed when I dodged whether Ceausescu was the antichrist.)

JRB: Coward!!!!

yeah, i don’t know what to make of that guy and his comments. he grew up mormon (and i don’t think he has officially left… he just married a “christian” and sporadically attends our DoC with her)and every time he says something, it comes straight out of some of the more esoteric LDS ideas… filtered, of course, through a 40 year-old man’s recollections what he learned in VBS. however, he also does this in a very contentious way. i don’t know if it’s that he likes to question “authority” and he sees me as such, or what.

I immediately assumed that this story occurred in a university setting, never asking myself why you, the Spanish and Latin American lit scholar, would be teaching Revelation in class.

I’ve had some bad experiences teaching in church classes anything that even smacks of modern criticism. No outbursts, just very confused, hostile faces. And some murmuring too. They really do love to murmur, those.

yeah, i’m a renaissance man :)

much like….

yabba habba, it’s fright night!

Is that…him?

that is none other than tim lahaye… prophet extraodinaire, visionary of future events, the vates of earthly fate.

i walk into class today, not bible class, but intro to the study of literary texts class… and this is greeting me…

Some days I begin to understand why it is that most of my friends are atheists (I myself am but a failed atheist—I tried very hard at some point in high school not to believe in God, but it didn’t take).

I wish I could give you a summation of Marilynne Robinson’s take on Revelation, but unfortunately my notes are not terribly illuminating. To wit:

Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars: “the first 7 or 8 Caesars—a progressively stranger lot”

(around ch. 17-18) “All war is a downpayment on ultimate war.” Thus, this talks not about a specific war but about a model of war—a model of history


(ch. 18) “an ultimate view of the morality of economics”

In other news, we had a blizzard here last night. It doesn’t compete with a tornado, but it was pretty impressive.

8: How apocalyptic! I’ve never been in a blizzard. A tornado, on the other hand…

Well, when it comes down to it, why believe you and not him? Why not believe that John the Beloved Revelator (having been granted immortality) moved to the US, purchased a condo in South Beach, and now hangs out all day watching reruns of the Golden Girls and Judging Amy? God is, after all, omnipotent and His ways are not our ways.

I think that John the Beloved Revelator spends his time teaching bible classes on Revelations, and teaches that the author is actually not John the Beloved Revelator. This is to throw them off the scent and keep his coveted immortality secret.

And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids.

i have it from a rather credible source that one cannot speak about John’s immortality without speaking about the principle of uncertainty…

indeed, he could be sipping mojitos on miami beach in nothing but his loin cloth and boring all the passers-by with stories of that time he tripped up into heaven…

he could be covertly spreading misinformation regarding his own whereabouts and how he achieved immortality…

he could be the guy who stands, green fedora on his head, at the rotunda in downtown with a brass, cross-tipped staff in one hand, a leather bound bible in the other, and sermon taken from his own writings issuing forth from his mouth, whom i walk on my daily circuit from office to classroom…

but as soon as the deictic finger flies and the j’accuse leaves the lips, you can be certain that he will no longer be there.

john is much like

This idea begs for a throwaway novel written in The Historian/Da Vinci Code genre. The comical surprises would be limitless and the TV-movie deals guranteed. Or, umm, maybe not on the latter.

Don’t forget John the Mariner, sans albatross…