(Editor's note: This is the second in a three day series discussing the Mayan apocalypse/end of the world. See yesterday's story about what the hub-bub is all about. Check back with Lakeville Patch later today—Dec. 21—to see if we're still all here on what's supposed to be doomsday.)
David Cobb, the pastor at Lakeville's Spirit of Joy Christian Church, is taking today's whole "Dec. 21 is the end of the world" thing pretty seriously.
He said he's going to have REM's "It's the End of the World as We Know it" playing on loop all day long tomorrow.
"Or just once. As I work out," he corrected. "I'm not taking it all that seriously."
But the Mayans. They predicted it ...
"If the Mayans could predict things and the future so well—they couldn't see the demise of their own culture?" Cobb said.
Ok. Fair enough, but there has to be some advice for the believers.
"Take the next 24 hours and find somebody to be nice to," Cobb said. "It doesn’t hurt to live every day as though it were your last."
What are we talking about?: The Mayans, according to a historians and experts, kept three separate calendars. The “long calendar” ends today, on Dec. 21. Some say this constitutes a Doomsday prediction—that the apocalypse will literally occur on Friday.
People have even called NASA and asked: "Should I worry about finishing Christmas shopping on Saturday if the world is going to end on Friday?" As a result, NASA has created a page on its website devoted to debunking the Mayan apocalypse idea.
“Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012," NASA wrote.
Cobb, for one, hasn't thought much about the seriousness of Friday being the end of the world.
"I do see all the humor in all this though," he said.
But he also sees the seriousness. While Cobb said he hasn't actually spoken to his congregation (Spirit of Joy draws followers from all over Dakota County, including Farmington, Apple Valley, Rosemount, and Burnsville) about the Mayan doomsday idea, some children among his congregation have been worried.
"Some kids—they're literalists—have been pretty concerned after hearing from friends and seeing stuff on-line," Cobb said. "We've had youth leaders telling them not to worry."
But for those who really are concerned the apocalypse looms before the weekend?
"The end of the world—it confronts you with two questions, I suppose; how to treat others and how you live your life.
"We really don’t know how long we’re going to live. I could be hit by truck crossing the street today," he said. "I hope it doesn’t happen, but I would sure want the last thing—or the thing I’m remembered for—to be good, not selfish."
Cobb has a doctors appointment on Friday, and he's not cancelling. Also, he said his son is on his school's speech team and he's hoping to see that this weekend.
"I hope the world doesn't end," Cobb joked. "I want him to get a chance be on speech team long enough so he can critique my sermons."
And assuming the we're all here this weekend, Cobb said all people are welcome at Spirit of Joy on Sunday morning.
"You and your questions are welcome," he said. "We’re not in business of deciding who comes and goes. You really are welcome for who you are.
"Whatever your faith journey, someone here can walk that path with you."