"Flaming Meteors"    [ 05 ]   
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Aug 2011

A friend and I were facing similar struggles about ten years ago, so we would often share inspiring Bible verses about God's promises to guide, protect, and provide for those who place their trust in Him. However, circumstances still felt as though Flaming Meteors were bearing down upon us — literally only an Act Of God could shield us from annihilation! One might ask the other how he was doing any given month. Our standard answer became a not-so-subtle code during those days: hold up one hand, palm toward face, and cut loose with an abject shriek of terror to indicate how close the 'meteor' seemed that day ...

I made a mix-tape at the time featuring some upbeat tunes from U2, ELO, Daft Punk, Boston, Rush, Journey .. stuff like "Vampires in the Sun" (Spin Doctors) and "Action Movie Hero Boy" (Lemon Demon) to remind us NOT to take everything so dang seriously... (◄─ see cover)  God would provide!  ~  And He most certainly did, setting each of us up to achieve extraordinary successes in a wide range of personal and professional aptitudes. Super cool!

But lo . .. now there seems to be a Brand New Threat – from the skies, no less!  Like some crazy sci-fi movie script bleeding into real life, apocalyptic disasters are sweeping the entire globe with increasing frequency: record-breaking earthquakes and tsunamis, hurricanes, tornados, floods, volcanoes, and surprising new tectonic fault lines -- most of them in highly unusual locales. And to top it all off, mysterious objects are now tearing through our inner solar system 'from out of nowhere' a little too close for comfort for our already beleaguered earth.

Yes the (now infamous) Mayan calendar predicts an 'end to this age' and the dawning of a 'new era' right around December 21, 2012 -- a little over a year from now. Depending on which conspiracy website you stumble upon, folks have advanced the End Of The World concept by a full year . . dating the next couple of months, to be precise, for all manner of chaos to erupt like never before. Some Hopi prophecies about a "blue star" coincide with (alleged) recent planetary discoveries . . . Some call this whole Age-of-Aquarius transition "the Quickening" . . something about [quote] "the rising of our planet's vibrational frequency" whatever that is supposed to imply... (Sounds like some turquoise-adorned shaman in Sedona hawking crystals from his hardwood, Narada-flute-music-filled studio/craft shop)  Have you hugged your vortex today?  Common low-key astronomer types are also geeking out over all of this. For a nice waste of mental energy, try googling the "NASA Buzzroom Conspiracy".

What * cannot * be denied are the catastrophic headlines popping up all around the world, events never before recorded in the sum of human history with the kind of increasing regularity we now see daily on the news. For you students of eschatology, this sort of acceleration of cataclysmic events certainly seems to fulfill Jesus' own prophecies concerning what is commonly referred to as "The End Days". Skipping a host of prophetic Biblical signs, here are a few specifics Jesus described that might be worthy of consideration in light of today's topic:


“When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things
  must happen first... Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against
  kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in
  various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven...”

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will
  be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People
  will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for
  the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”

—  Luke 21:9-11 & 25-26 
   Chicken Little

Jesus spoke candidly to His followers, repeating (in Matthew 24:6) "See to it that you are not alarmed" when upheaval of this magnitude occurs all around the world. (He offers even more encouragement through passages like Luke 21:28, Matthew 24:37-44, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, and John 14:1-4!) Rather than just running around declaring, "The sky is falling," His followers are expected not only to maintain order, but extend and live by a healthy trust in His provision. In fact, He says that we are to make ready for His return when we see these things happening! In a strange way, the entire '2012 scare' / changing-of-an-era thing is sort of a goofy-rough reflection of certain aspects of expect-them-they're-real events as described in the Bible. I've got an idea why this is so . . but will save that for another entry sometime — maybe to commemorate the dawning of Year 2012!

Anyway... when I first learned about all of this a week or so ago, my pastor requested a list of 'resources' for rumination:

Hey there!

Here is the info you requested:

The gist of the deal is this -- There * is * something swinging through our solar system in the next few weeks, culminating in a ‘first threat’ intersection directly between the sun and earth on or about September 26, 2011. Depending on what source you choose to believe, it is either:

a rogue comet
planetoid ‘Planet X’ (like just a large asteroid or something)
a neutron (or collapsed / ‘brown dwarf’) star, of some size, with a supposedly immensely powerful magnetic field

Here is a link that provides a general overview of the situation, valuable mainly for the orbit animation you can stop, advance & rewind with a click of the mouse, keeping an eye on the changing dates: elenin.org

It is referred to as ‘Elenin’ after the guy who discovered it in Dec 2010 (…or ‘Nibiru’ which I believe is a misnomer, as that object is something different entirely – also something supposedly heading toward earth from beyond Pluto … ~ gotta love this stuff..)

The web is crackling with conspiracy websites, ominous videos (featuring equally ominous music), and slightly conflicting ‘reassurances’ from NASA.

The projected trajectory of this object should result in the following dates of interest:

alignment—sun earth comet (2.099 AU) *
perihelion – visible with naked eye
alignment—sun comet earth (.392 AU)--possible tail interaction
10/16/2011 closest (.24 AU) -- possible interaction with earth (tail?)
11/6/2011 debris field -- possible interaction with earth (tail?)
11/22/2011 alignment—sun earth comet (.586 AU)
4/21/2012 debris field ?
12/25/2012 alignment—sun earth comet (5.242 AU)

Theories of how this thing may affect us range from nominal electromagnetic disturbances to -- no kidding -- the earth tilting completely on its side as the sun’s gravimetric field is usurped by Elenin and our south pole is drawn inexorably toward the powerful intruder, causing a mid-day sunset in Israel (a ‘hard science’ realization of Amos 8:9?) and a number of days of darkness for the northern hemisphere while the southern hemisphere essentially fries . . until the thing sweeps past us and ‘rights’ the earth back into a shaky N/S position. Even if there is ‘just’ a magnetic switch, solar radiation normally fended off by the earth’s magnetic field could bathe the world in radiation. Gravitational tidal shifts of entire oceans might endanger coastal cities around the globe. Then there is the suspected debris field we’re scheduled to pass through in Oct or Nov, which of course would rain down cataclysmic ‘fire and brimstone’. (Imagine 75-lb meteorites streaking down upon the earth – nowhere to run to ♫ nowhere to hide) Even if it’s large enough to eclipse the sun for a time, and there is any kind of debris field fallout we will pass through, then Matthew 24:29 and Revelation 6:12-14 would certainly seem to provide an accurate description (the moon taking on a blood-red cast when caught in shadow, as in a lunar eclipse):

“The sun will be darkened,
  and the moon will not give its light;
  the stars will fall from the sky,
  and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”

So .. you get the picture.

The main reason I’m even bringing this to you is because of what I encountered during our Friday night Bible study just prior to the May 21 “the-Bible-guarantees-it” End of The World and rapture, et al. To my surprise, some of the younger Christians in our group (and their children) were Really Scared! I abandoned our regularly scheduled program in lieu of revealing what the Bible and Jesus have to say about such things, leaning mostly on Paul’s description of the rapture and his reminder that we should “encourage one another with these words” – and of course, all that Jesus says about such things in Matthew 24, leaning heavily on verse 6 where He insists that we should not give in to fear, as there really is no need since He is the LORD, He’s telling us the Truth, and it’s all a part of His plan!

“The Destroyer Cometh!” and conspiracy theories detailing government excavations of new underground bunkers by the thousands are all over the web. Our daily news features earthquakes & new fault lines in bizarre locales / global floods / new erupting volcanoes / unusually strong tornadoes & hurricanes in just as unusual locations . . . nation-wide famines & pestilence, wars and rumors of wars, etc etc . . .

One of the calmer takes on this from the Alarmists’ camp may be found in this 6½ minute video (August 7) which offers a reasonable fulfillment of Revelation signs-in-the-sky prophecies based on an occurrence of this magnitude, should it occur through this vehicle. ( I recommend muting the Cherokee rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’ but it’s your choice )

NASA’s official Elenin F.A.Q. calls it nothing but a comet: NASA's FAQ

And here is NASA scientist David Morrison providing a slightly condescending video assuring viewers of the same info.. kind of Andy Rooney-esque in flavor. (5 min)

Odd then, how on June 10, 2011, NASA’s Administrator Charles Bolden released a slightly off-tone, threats-from-“outside”-forces, for-employees-and-families-of-NASA Preparedness Video encouraging them all to get their Survival Kits and Family Emergency Plans in order. (2½ min)

I checked out the little in-house NASA videos and instructional materials just for kicks. Seems pretty serious .. but the timing of it is a little . .. weird.

Personally – I’m not quite sure what to make of any of it, since I lack access to a powerful telescope, the knowledge to properly read the skies, or the current means to stock up on staples, long-term supplies, rifles and shells .. let alone dredge out a 100-foot-deep bomb shelter. FACTS are: [1] there is something about to pass by earth too close for comfort (and possibly even something much more egregious in a year’s time ~ of course: 2012), [2] Jesus records in His Word three times (Matthew 24:33, Mark 13:29, Luke 21:31) stating clearly that when the kinds of signs He describes (same chapters) begin to come about, they will increase in frequency and intensity (which we are seeing on our daily news) and we are to Look Up, for our redemption draws near!

This is indeed Very Good News, and something I am personally very excited to experience. Whether all of * this * described herein is a part of that, or we’re still years (decades ? centuries) from the “End Times” is yet to be determined. I believe our charge is to minister to those around us regardless of the ‘age’ or signs of the times, with the ultimate goal of demonstrating and sharing the Gospel message as best we can, so that “none may perish” as much as we have a chance to advance His Kingdom. Just as there were certain real, actual calendar dates when specific miraculous events took place in the earth’s history, the Word of God is not void, nor errant – what God declares will come to pass * WILL * come to pass … it’s just a matter of time. If that time begins in the next 30 days, well then, I pray to God we’re prepared to do as we must to endure, or (hopefully) experience the Rapture! And if not – if the next two years pass without so much as a Y2K hiccup or two, well then, praise God we’ve got all the more time to be about His business!

Ha – sorry to get on my soapbox there .. I kind of get excited about this stuff! Anyway, there you go .. enough to check out if you want to, to address or not to, as you see fit as the leader of our church. I’m just reporting from the ranks that, while you and I can arbitrarily kick this sort of thing around no matter the outcome, there are a LOT of people out there who really get unhinged over this stuff . . as I have learned. (Very surprising to me .. but you can’t argue with people’s real reactions)

Oh – one final PS to consider: The magnetic north pole has been skipping around for quite a while now, not by a little bit, but by hundreds of miles... It has affected the way airlines conduct flights. The first 2½ minutes of this video is pretty much newscast, then the last 4 minutes feature some old Inuit guys talking about how they’ve noticed differences in the sun’s position and prevailing weather, if you’re interested. — I don’t really know much about animal migration patterns, but there seems to be a remarkable number of mass-deaths among various fish & fowl these days as well … it could have something to do with this erratic north pole business . .. which, of course, is also attributed to the aforementioned Celestial Influences . . .

Oh wait ... I forgot one last point:

Even if there’s nothing but electro-magnetic mayhem, say it just ‘wipes’ all of our systems, just imagine how this would affect our modern society... That in itself could cause untold amounts of global chaos …

 — One final cheery astronomical fact —

An asteroid (“2005 YU55”) will pass earth * inside * the Moon’s orbit on Nov 8, at around 4:28pm our time (as best as I can figure based on Coordinated Universal Time), and sail past the Moon from 11/8 into 11/9 (just after midnight).

Here’s NASA’s orbital animation and -( for what it's worth )- Wikipedia's take on 2005 YU55.

Everyone is saying it should ‘graze’ our space, but there are some who believe Elenin’s gravity may affect it, causing it to impact the Moon.

Wouldn’t that be interesting ?

Well, that’s about it from me. Quite enough, I’m sure! Just strange all these things sailing through the Cosmos all of a sudden, eh? I hope you have a great week, my pastor/friend, and will see you at church as always. :-]

~ tom

* Au = "Astronomical Unit": average distance from Earth to Sun (approx 150,000,000 km or 93 million miles)

The following information is provided by the 'Sydney Star Gazers' website, which may alleviate some concern regarding Elenin's proximity to earth:

Using comet’s Elenin’s current orbital elements, it is expected that Elenin will reach it’s closest point to Earth on 16th October, 2011 at a distance of roughly 34.9 million km from Earth.

Is this close?

No….. considering that this means Elenin will be 90.94 times further away than our Moon while also considering that at its closest distance Venus is 38 million km away from the Earth.


An 'overhead view' of Elenin's perihelion (nearest orbital point to the Sun)
Path: Left (below the orbital plane) to Top/Center (above our orbital plane)
 Elenin trajectory
 Elenin trajectory
  •    Elenin's trajectory   •
 Elenin trajectory


Click here to view NASA's Family/Personal Preparedness video and PDF plans.


But wait - there's more!

Another rather "out there" theory about how and why the North Pole is suddenly going bonkers (for real) and all manner of chaos is rattling our planet has to do with our entire solar system cycling through the gravitational disk of the Milky Way's galactic plane!  Yeah!  If you seriously want to check that out, here is the YouTube link (13 min) – but be warned: the cheese factor is mighty ripe in this one.


Asteroid '2005 YU55'
  2005 YU55
 asteroid 2005 YU55

OK - As if all of this wasn't enough to keep you guessing, another * FACT * heading our way is "Asteroid 2005 YU55", which is due to pass by earth inside the moon's orbit on November 8th/9th, 2011. You read that correctly: this thing is going to pass closer to the earth than our Moon itself!  O.o  Now, before you go all Crazy/Survivalist, consider how its trajectory (below) ought to swing it an easy 325,000 km (200,000 mi) right on past us. And hopefully it will miss the Moon as well because, given the potential mayhem which would likely result, even a lunar impact could be considered 'bad'. The thing is conjectured to be about 400 meters in diameter. I imagine that would make quite a dent in whatever it struck, but I think we're safe with this one. Lots of celestial oddities go sailing past earth on a fairly regular basis . . . though usually none so large as this.

Asteroid 2005 YU55 (catchy name) should just pull a quick fly-by; however, it does represent a growing concern which has become so commonplace that even popular culture has been toying with possible scenarios in movies like "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon". The probability of a collision with a NEO (Near Earth Object) becomes increasingly pervasive with accounts such as these, especially in light of recent advancements in telescopic technology (not to mention the Hubble Telescope, and its planned successor, the James Webb Space Telescope). Oh - here is that 2005 YU55 orbital diagram:

2005 YU55 trajectory
 2005 YU55 trajectory
 Crazy Old Maurice

So what should a person do with this sort of information? Dive into a cave-dwelling panic equipped with dehydrated foods, potable water, and a well-stocked personal armory? I had the chance to talk some of this through with a good friend of mine last week. His take on most of it was, "Hmmm... uh-huh .. . ah . . . mm-hmmmm..." much like I felt when first hearing about this. (I imagine that's how everyone feels when considering such things) He asked, "Well, what are you doing about it?" My answer was "dishes... then I plan to organize the back yard a little later on."

What can you do, really? If an E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event) is about to wipe us all from the face of the earth, what difference are a few additional days going to make? I consider: can I live my life more effectively no matter how much time I have left on this earth? ~ [Q] What are YOU living for? Building 'larger barns' for all the cool stuff you've got so you can 'die with the most toys' and 'win'? It seems a silly analogy, but really it is appropriate to consider. The curtain will fall for every one of us eventually. (Check out Luke 12:15-21 for a keen reflection on building those bigger barns for your surplus)

 Elenin breaks up

When I composed the email above, Elenin cut an imposing form in the starry sky, shooting across the orbital paths of Mercury and Venus as it slid into position to sneak up on earth... Now, it seems to be breaking apart, or "dissolving" as many astronomers put it. No DESTROYER OF EARTH on the horizon, it would seem. Not yet, anyway. I can't say whether we just dodged a bullet, or are simply witness to a harmless display of combined gravitational forces and solar wind... (Or, considering the Bible Belt: a likely answer to prayer!)

The good news is: Life ought to go on as usual for the remainder of 2011.  Whew!  The bad news is: There's still that pesky Galactic Gravitational Plane to worry about! And I haven't even gotten started about "NIBIRU" which is due to nail us next year - - or is it 'Planet X' ? . . or wait, some are calling it "Nemesis" which is pretty cool, except for the complete annihilation it's supposed to bring . .. that's kind of a downer. Or maybe another rogue comet will pass through . .. maybe 'Garradd' . . No, that one seems OK, scheduled to veer a healthy 1.27 AU from earth on March 5, 2012 . . . might be something to watch for, though...

In closing, I thought it might be proper to send a shout-out to those lesser-known TNO's out there cruising through the dark regions of the Kuiper Belt and, who knows, maybe even the inner fringes of the Oort Cloud!  These are the "dwarf planets" of our solar system, lingering way (way) out there past Pluto like tundra-wandering nomads, pitched in crazy-angled orbits requiring centuries to complete. It has GOT to be wicked lonely, cold, and dark so far out there (some approaching 100 AU, or three times the distance Pluto is from the Sun), so here you go... something tranquil to ponder that's NOT a screaming Death Planet.    ( yet )

Earth comparison size chart (estimates)
 8 TNO's
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