Let's Talk 2000
"The heartbeat of 2000 A.D. from cyberspace"
November 1, 1996, Volume
2, Issue 18, a bi-weekly bulletin
Topics covered in this issue:
The Millennium Doctor Speaks
News from the Field:
Talk from the Forum:
New Millennial Sites:
the pulse of 2000 A.D."
On October 24th, I woke up, happy to survived Bishop Ussher's
"End of the World." You'll recall that the 17th century bishop
calculated the date of creation as October 23, 4004 B.C. by adding up ages
in the Old Testament. Richard Landes (email@example.com) came on the forum
to say, "now it's time for all good owls to rally around the rabbinic
count of 6000= AD 2240." :-)
So in honor of Bishop Ussher, this issue of "Let's Talk 2000"
explores how the millennium is affecting religion. Our lead feature reports
on an interfaith effort out of San Francisco to create a "United Religions"
organization by 2000, parallel to the United Nations.
Our Forum section excerpts conversations we had about millennial rhetoric
in today's Ukraine and Russia. And our Web Sites department features a great
new site called Jubilee 2000, developed by Talk 2000 's own Henry Garman.
News from the
is the latest news on year 2000 efforts."
UNITED RELIGIONS PRESS FOR
Since the 50th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations charter
in 1993, a San Francisco group, led by Anglican Bishop William Swing, has
been working to establish a United Religions (UR), a permanent gathering
place where representatives from the world's religions might engage in on-going
dialogue and cooperative action to resolve the economic, environmental and
social crises that "confront us at the dawn of the new millennium."
Cooperation over the past three years from interfaith leaders has encouraged
UR Initiative leaders to move their proposed Charter signing up from the
year 2005 to June 26, 2000. Organizers hope the creation of UR will be happen
while a "walking pilgrimage for peace among religions takes place in
villages, towns, and cities throughout the world."
This century has witnessed at least a dozen proposals for a United Religions
body surface, only later to recede into obscurity. The most recent 1993
proposal was considered by the Chicago based "World Parliament of Religions"
but failed to gain the financial support it needed move forward.
Some theologians, including World Network of Religious Futurist director
Dr. Richard Kirby, feel any proposal for a UR body must not just aim at
"making a better world" but also be self-critical and aim at "making
a better religion." While embracing social and moral goals, Kirby feels
any future UR body should see its primary purpose as "advancing the
knowledge of God" through religious research. Ironically, this theological
purpose has been absent from late 20th century United Religion proposals.
Before this latest UR Initiative targeted the millennium, Pope John Paul
II announced his intentions in 2000 to meet with Jewish and Muslim leaders
"in places of exceptional symbolic importance like Bethlehem, Jerusalem
and Mount Sinai." Insiders report the Vatican feels greater commonality
among the monotheistic faiths. In his statement on 2000, the pope expressed
concern that interfaith dialogue would not "cause harmful misunderstandings,
avoiding the risk of syncretism and of a facile and deceptive irenicism."
Executive director of the UR Initiative in San Francisco, the Rev. Charles
Gibbs, admits that the United Religions proposal is still in a consensus-building
process--and has a long way to go before it gets a green light. Gibbs plans
to move the UR charter-writing process forward through a 200-person consultation
in June of 1997. The UR web can be found at: http://www.united-religions.org Source: Bimillennial Press, firstname.lastname@example.org
"A CHILD IS BORN" CAMPAIGN UNVEILED
An English charitable trust called "People and Places" has proposed
a twelve day campaign climaxing on June 21st, the longest day of the year
2000, focused on giving millennial gifts to children around the world.
"A Child is Born" managing director Raymond Hall claims the campaign
"is about heart." Halls says the motivation to help children come
from the simple fact that 2,000 years ago, a Child was born. Hall envisions
their celebrations being typified by "a toy gift given to a child in
Buenos Aires," or a "global televised fund-raising concert to
finance new medical centres in developing countries."
To date, the "Child is Born" campaign has secured commitments
from the host communities of Greenwich and Lewisham to plan a millennium
event in June 2000 "perhaps on the Greenwich Peninsular itself."
"People and Places" children's campaign is illustrative of a mounting
millennial interest in England, focused on shaping the "Centre of Time"
National Millennium Exhibition at Greenwich. For more information, contact
"A Child is Born," The Little House, 16 Belmont Hill, London,
SE13 5BD. Tel.: 0181-318-9233 Source: Bimillennial Press, email@example.com
FOX "MILLENNIUM" CRACKS DOWN ON
Following Fox's impressive debut of its "Millennium" TV series
to 32 million viewers on Oct. 25th, Fox's lawyers apparently have cracked
down on unofficial "Millennium" sites using the copyrighted show
Hotwired magazine reports Fox's lawyer, David Oakes called the dean of students
at the University of Texas at El Paso and "threatened to sue the university"
if it didn't 'take care of' an unofficial site before the weekend.
The following day, student Gil Trevizo's internet account was suspended.
Fox claims what is at issue is the use of pirated images of its TV series.
Some "Millennium" fans, nurtured by paranoia from the sister "X-Files"
series, see a more sinister motive at work. Whatever the case, Trevizo's
"unofficial site" cut back on posts of illegal copyrighted materials
from major news services this week. Read Hotwired special report on net
censorship at: http://www.hotwired.com/special/millennium
Talk from the
is a recap of recent conversations"
CHERNOBYL AND THE APOCALYPSE
Out of conversations about the 1,900th anniversary of the book of Revelations
last year, USC's professor Stephen O'Leary started a post on millennialism
in the East. His UCLA colleague, Charles Cameron firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
Stephen O'Leary writes that the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios
> applied the Book of Revelation to the ecology crisis, and that one
> topic of conversation at the conference was the synchronistic
> coincidence between the prophecy of "Wormwood" and the
> Chernobyl nuclear accident (the Ukrainian word for "wormwood"
> is chernobyl).
I suppose one could think of wormwood / chernobyl as an example of the "dark"
side of the ecological / millennial connection, which emphasizes the doom-saying
aspect of ecological rhetoric: and to understand just how persuasive that
particular verbal "coincidence" might be for Russians predisposed
to a millennial style of thought, I think we (in the US) have to imagine
living very close to Three Mile Island, and reading in Revelation of a star
falling from heaven named "Island of Three Miles" in a context
of plagues poured out upon the earth, etc.
The magical "associative" aspect of thought fairly leaps at connections
of this sort, in either a paranoid or an ecstatic manner...
There's an intriguing crossover between "doom-laden" and "utopian"
versions of apocalyptic thinking in the Orthodox notion of Eucharist, which
considers the sacrament as a "holocaust" or burnt offering, in
which the whole earth is consumed.
Westerners nowadays tend to think of "holocaust" as referring
to the gas-chambers of the Final Solution, or the immolations of Hiroshima
and Nagasaki -- and perhaps Dresden. But the word is equally capable of
a *glorious* connotation to eastern ears, exemplified by Kadloubovsky &
Palmer's "Foreword" to *Writings from the Philokalia*:
:: Inaccessible to human conception is the inexpressible glorious
:: Majesty of the most holy, sublime Sacraments and Revelations on
:: earth of the Divine Incarnation and supreme Holocaust of Love of
:: our celestial Saviour and God Jesus Christ. They open for us the
:: way to possibilities that are not of this earth, forming, purifying
:: and developing the unseen parts of our being, helping us towards
Supreme Holocaust of Love...
The imagery of holocaust is, I am told, central to Orthodox eucharistic
doctrine, which understands the eucharist as the offering of the whole world
into the fire of love, which both destroys and purifies... and the purification
of nature in this fire is (apparently) in turn viewed by some Orthodox theologians
in quasi-ecological terms....
This is a strong and optimistic basis for what we can term "ecological
hope" -- and I offer it as a counterpoise to the theme of "ecological
It also seems interesting that the word "holocaust" can serve
in both optimistic and pessimistic formulations of apocalyptic ideas...
Getting back more directly to Stephen's post and the issue of apocalypticism
in Russia -- Stephen asks:
> what is the relationship between [Greek and other] Orthodox
> Christianity and millennialism? Will Orthodox churches be any
> less susceptible to apocalyptic millennial speculation and
> movements in the coming decades, or what manifestations of the
> millennial zeitgeist can we expect to see from that corner of the
Like Stephen, I am only peripherally acquainted with Orthodoxy, and would
be happy to learn more. But I did recently come across some interesting
remarks James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress, made during a presentation
to the Woodstock Theological Center forum on "Religion in the Former
Soviet Republics", 1992, in which he describes three different religious
tendencies in the new Russia. The first of these, and the one which concerns
us here in this forum, is apocalyptic:
:: It is a time of great change. There are three attitudes within the
:: Christian community, which is predominantly Orthodox. The first
:: is apocalypticism, which is very characteristic of the intellectuals.
:: Change is always explained in apocalyptical terms. There has
:: never been such a sustained apocalyptical mood in Moscow
:: among otherwise adult and responsible intellectuals. It is simply a
:: phenomenon and by no means a comforting one. People who
:: think of apocalyptical expectations begin with Chernobyl, which
:: also means wormwood, and is therefore reminiscent of the star
:: "Wormwood" in the book of Revelation (8:11). Such thinking
:: can lead to all kinds of occult and unbelievable calculations,
:: conspiracy theories, the sense of the impending end of the world,
:: the third millennium. This mood is off to a flying start in Russia.
So there's chernobyl / wormwood again. And I'm fascinated and a little surprised
that it's the *intellectuals* whom Billington credits with apocalyptic fervor...
Anyone interested in reading the rest of Billington's comments can find
them on the web at: http://adminweb.georgetown.edu/woodstck/r-fea31.htm
are new sites in cyberspace"
JUBILEE 2000: "Proclaim Liberty
to All Peoples "
A first class web site covering how the biblical Jubilee dream of debt remission
and economic recovery is being picked up by various economic and religious
in reference to 2000 A.D. Includes graphics, sound files and primary documents
of various Jubilee campaigns.
WHITEHOUSE 2000: "Early Predictions for the Millennial Campaign"
With the '96 campaign coming to a close, here is the first unofficial Elections
2000 web site predicting the millennial year 2000 will bring a democratic
"bridge to the 21st century" with a Gore/Kennedy election win.
"Your link to the third millennium"
Talk 2000 Forum Home Page: http://hcol.humberc.on.ca/talk2000.htm
Talk 2000 Newsgroup: bit.listserv.2000ad-l
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Jay Gary, aka The Millennium Doctor
author, The Star of 2000
(719) 636-2000 Phone
Publication keywords: millennium, groups
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