"But just don't tell Gavin Rumney who hates Revelation intensely and frankly doesn't need any more material to moan about." Jonathan Robinson.Jonathan Robinson pens some quite good stuff on his blog, despite being a Baptist mullah. In fact, if you've got a spare moment, check it out. I mean, I quite like some Baptist preacher types, as long as they're not demon-possessed, NKJV-toting Southern Baptists like Al Mohler, and Jonathan seems to be quite a long way along the enlightened end of the Baptist bell shaped curve. As I've confessed here before, I attended a Baptist Church when living in the Taranaki in the long ago, and have some good memories - despite the culture shock for a poor Lutheran-raised lad encountering competive hand-holding prayer circles for the first time. You know the type: the group leader launches out in an avalanche of awesomes, we just wannas, and semi-orgasmic moans and groans (oooohhhh, Jesus, we just, ummmmm, thank you Lord) parading as praise. Ugh! Meanwhile the next poor schmuck in the circle is desperately thinking "how the @#$! am I gonna compete with that."
Anyway, "resident alien" Jonathan (he's from the UK) is under the impression that I'm a moaner and guilty of hate crimes against the Apocalypse. Perhaps he's right, but I have to make one small correction, I don't really hate Revelation, intensely or otherwise. No, Revelation is a nice example of the apocalyptic genre, full of the rich, fruity mix of world-hating metaphors and imagery that go into the standard recipe. That it ended up in the New Testament however is tragic, and I take some comfort in the fact that a lot of folk in the early church fought its inclusion tooth and nail. Luther was keen on bouncing it out into a kind of appendix of dubious documents, and even the late, great J. B. Phillips made some starchy comments on its value. Given those qualifications it's perfectly possible to still appreciate it for what it is, warts and all. What I do passionately abhor is the way it continues to be appropriated and misused by 'evangelicals' and deranged fear-engendering tithe farmers, and of such things I can personally attest, as presumably can Jonathan, given the apocalyptic-rich chiliastic diet that many Baptists wallow in, even in Auckland's inner suburbs.
As for all the prattle about Revelation being more some kind of ancient team-building motivational text, and that we can strip away the Scarlet Harlot, the rivers of blood and sociopathic horsemen, leaving behind a sanitary, faith-enhancing text... not so likely.