When Harold Camping recently recalculated his failed End Times prediction to propose that the Apocalypse that didn’t materialize on May 21 is actually, really, certainly, and definitely coming on October 21, I must admit, even I began to lose interest in the prophet from Oakland, California.

But the lessons of Harold Camping, particularly for Christians, just keep coming. There is so much to learn if we are willing to pay attention to the crazy circus that is Harold Camping’s world.

Take Lodro Rinzler’s “An Open Letter to Harold Camping” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lodro-rinzler/an-open-letter-to-harold-_b_865813.html). Lodro is a Buddhist writer and teacher with Shambala International.

In his letter to Camping, Rinzler puts his finger on one of the most important morals of this story that Christians would do well to heed. Rinzler writes to Mr. Camping,

You’re a fear monger.

You trade in fear. You use it to manipulate good people to believe what you believe and tell them that if they don’t they will die a horrible death. Earthquakes, locusts, you name it. You have claimed that if I don’t get all of my friends and family into your specific branding of God’s plan, then they are screwed. Utilizing the people who would believe that, you attempted to strike fear into the heart of our great nation. For weeks we would hear that millions of lives would be lost if we did not follow what you believe. That is why I believe that you, Harold Camping, have terrorized America.

Here’s the thing: you thought you were doing the right thing. I get that. I really do. You wanted people to seek God’s love and then be saved. It’s the whole “If you don’t do exactly what I believe, you are damned” side of the coin that I think is really aggressive and hateful.

It’s a shame we live in a culture where thousands, if not millions, of people nervously checked their watches at 6 p.m. on May 21. We live in a culture of fear. You’re not helping us move beyond fear. You’re indulging in it.

The kind of fear that is generated by the threat of cataclysm does not work to open and soften peoples’ hearts.

At a recent screening of Velcrow Ripper’s documentary in progress, “Evolve Love,” newly elected Green Party member of Parliament Elizabeth May was invited to address the audience. She spoke briefly, passionately, and eloquently. She said,

Fear, anger, even bitter deep loathing don’t work to bring about positive change. Healthy change only comes by turning our crisis into a love story.

Harold Camping is not the first Christian preacher to have stooped to using fear as a blunt instrument to bludgeon people into making the changes he thinks are necessary for them to merit God’s favour. But we will never get to the right place using the wrong means. Fear, anger, and terror can never produce love. They lead only to more violence.

The often quoted John 3:16 represents the heart of the Gospel. The verse begins with the words, “For God so loved the world.” The God of Christian faith is a God who loves all of creation. Motivated by this love, Jesus says, that God “gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” The Gospel tells us that the centre of the universe is a force of self-giving Love. Our only task is to trust that power of Love.

There is nothing to fear. If we put our faith in the reality of the Love that Christians find revealed in Jesus, our hearts will open to the deep reality Jesus calls “eternal life.” We will experience a dimension within ourselves that is indestructible. We will not fear the Apocalypse. We will not tremble in the face of disaster, chaos, confusion, or doubt. Most of all, we will not be drawn into the foolishness of preachers who peddle in fear and manipulate with terror.

Love will lead us if we open our hearts. Love has the capacity to transform the world in which we live. We do not need to scare each other into the kingdom of Love. We need only to open our hearts and allow Love’s reality to flow out to embrace all of creation. This is the way to a transformed world.