Seven weeks later, on the first Sunday in February, the sun shone brightly. But we natives knew the weather can change quickly so I carried an umbrella with me as I walked to a local Starbucks. I ordered a large coffee and sat down in an easy chair, which was part of a four-chair setting, surrounding a large round coffee table. The other chairs were empty.
A copy of the Sunday Chronicle lay in the middle of the table. I picked it up and scanned the front page. A bold headline, “Are Christians Acting Crazy Again,” captured my eyes. I thumbed through the newspaper’s pages until I found the full article.
The journalist replayed the words of Bob and the three computer programmers in the telling of a possible nuclear catastrophe occurring in San Francisco. He contrasted the actions with what Christians were doing and saying with what Harold Camping and his zealots did a few years earlier.
Camping’s followers believed his doomsday prophecies, too. They quit their jobs, wasted their money, and then nothing happened. Although the zealots felt the pain of losing everything, their total financial affect on America amounted to less than a drop of water in the Pacific Ocean.
This time was different.
The article estimated 40,000 Christian families packed up and left San Francisco. A few, like Bob, sold their homes and their businesses at deep discounts, but most were less fortunate. The sheer glut of homes dropping onto the real estate and rental markets depressed housing prices in the city almost overnight.
Even more than that, 40,000 Christian families amounted to an estimated total of 156,000 people or 20% of the city’s population. The numbers further broke down into 60,000 job losses, $1.8 billion of gross income losses, and $400 million of tax losses for the city. The losses had already begun to fuel layoffs at schools and retail stores. The Christians shredded San Francisco’s economy into pieces by their mass departures.
“What do you think of the article about the Christians?”
I lowered the paper and looked at a middle-aged woman with green eyes sitting in a chair across from me. Her deep voice did not match her petite shape and thin lips. Although not beautiful, her face had an alluring radiance about it.
“I don’t know what to think,” I replied.
“Do you think God will destroy San Francisco because the city cares about gays and lesbians?”
“Or do you think God is just mean?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, I do.”
“Yes, I do,” she said, moving forward in her seat. “God is a God of love. He loves gays and lesbians. He loves people. He would never allow San Francisco to be bombed. Those fundamentalists are so deceived…they just make me want to scream.”
“My name is Jackson Edwards. What’s yours?”
“Do you always get so worked up over fundamentalist Christians?”
“Yes, I do. My dad pastored a fundamentalist church forty years ago. I’ve listened to a thousand sermons about how God is always angry with sinners. It wasn’t until I attended Berkeley that I learned there are progressive Christians who understand God is a God of love.”
She looked at her watch and jumped up.
“I have to go. I have a meeting at 9, but maybe we’ll see each other again,” she said, waving her hand and heading toward the door.
I watched her leave, wishing I had asked for her phone number.
Talk radio, TV, and other media ranted about the newspaper article over the next week and how San Francisco’s citizens were left holding the bag because of the Christians’ departure. Politicians jumped into the fray, adding their two bit’s worth. Some even advocated bills not allowing new churches to be opened in the Bay Area.
Everyone had an opinion about the Christians and why they left San Francisco.
(Excerpt from Deceived Dead and Delivered by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2013, Amazon eBook)
Would God ever ask every Christian to leave San Francisco, or for that matter, any city? Has He ever done that?
In 68 AD, a prophecy warned every Christian to leave Jerusalem and they did. Two years later, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman army under General Titus. The Romans slaughtered one million Jews.
(Continued in Part 10…the full series to date can be read here.)