Christian groups join Y2K bug – for inspiration
“For The Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other.” Luke 17
“I’m getting out of here – too many religion freaks.” – Bud007, on the Bridge to Y2K chat room forum.
Shaunti Feldhahn knows a good thing when she sees it.
A former marketing director for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the founding director of the Pacific Institute for Business Management, Feldhahn, it can be argued, has the perfect background for the nation’s new national obsession – Y2K.
But is she taking a strictly hard-line, technical approach to the Millennium Bug? Nope. Feldhahn is riding the crest of an even bigger millennial wave – Y2K prayer. She is the founder and President of the Joseph 2000 Project, and author of the book “Y2K: The Millennium Bug – A Balanced Christian Response.”
According to many Christian religious leaders, this Y2K thing is bigger than all of us. So you had better get in good with The Big Guy, or suffer the consequences.
That’s just one slice of the overall trend, of course. Of the hundreds of Christian Web sites currently offering Y2K religious perspective, the majority tout a balanced response to the potential computer problem.
“The Y2K challenge is an opportunity for individual and collective psychospiritual growth,” claims the Spirit Challenges Web page (www.co-intelligence.org/y2k_spiritchallenges.html).
“It is vital that faith communities and religious institutions involve themselves in dealing with Y2K, empowering them to prepare their communities.”
But there is also much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the Christian community, as Y2K anxiety moves out of the corporate board room and into the place of worship. Most corporations have declared themselves on track for Y2K compliance (the current term, actually, is “Y2K ready”), and frankly are no longer afraid of the consequences.
“What I have found recently is that a lot of Y2K conferences and meetings are being held in churches,” said Patrick Sullivan, a computer consultant from Silicon Valley who now operates Y2K Online, a Y2K supply clearinghouse.
“People are looking for answers, and it is only natural that they in some cases turn to religious institutions for that.”
It’s a bit ironic that Christians who once avoided computer technology are suddenly becoming experts on Y2K and its technical implications. Though the problem is secular by nature, many Christians have reinvented it in religious terms.
A veritable floodtide of books, videos and sermons have been coming out of the national religious community concerning Y2K, with such notables as the Rev. Jerry Falwell and televangelist Pat Robertson weighing on the possible dire consequences.
“(God) may be predicting to confound our language, to jam our communications, to scatter our efforts,” said Falwell in an August sermon broadcast on his “Old Time Gospel Hour.”
“He is preparing to judge us for our sin and rebellion against his lordship. We are hearing from many sources that January 1, 2000, will be a fateful day in the history of the world.”
“We’ve got a digital hurricane coming,” said Michael S. Hyatt, author of the book “Y2K: The Day the World Shut Down.” “That it hasn’t been raised to a national emergency is amazing.”
It’s beginning to sound to many Christians like it’s time to build an ark. IBMs and Macs, two-by-two?
“A lot of Christian fundamentalists are looking at Y2K as an Apocalyptic kind of thing,” said Bill Thorpe, a possibility consultant from Placerville who gives Y2K lectures throughout El Dorado County.
“I give a lot of my public presentations in churches,” he said. “People fall into several camps over this issue, and the fundamentalists are one of them.
“What I’m finding most, however, is denial. Around here, a lot of people don’t worry about Y2K at all.”
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