If the Rapture really does come, please hold all my calls
You think it’s such a sad thing when you see a fallen king
Then you find out they’re only princes to begin with.
And everybody has to choose whether they will win or lose
Follow God or sing the blues, and who they’re gonna sin with
What a mess the world is in, I wonder who began it
Don’t ask me, I’m only visiting this planet.
If you’re reading this, I guess you can breathe easier.
Because if you’re reading this, that means it’s Thursday, meaning (I guess) either the Rapture didn’t happen, or we all just missed it.
(Note: I suppose you’re reading this even if the Rapture really did happen and we were all taken up, but I’m not sure what our paper’s eternal delivery policy is. You may need a subscription or something.)
Since man was created on this Earth, we have been obsessed with trying to figure out how we’re all going to be destroyed. Harold Camping, an 89-year-old pastor with a large following in California, felt he’d solved the riddle by examining Scripture and working a few math problems, ultimately settling on May 21, 2011.
Look, I’m not here to make fun of the guy. I’m no better than any of his followers; heck, I spent much of the night of May 20 in a fitful sleep, waking up to see if anything was happening in other parts of the world while America slept. You know, just to be sure.
I did the same thing on New Year’s Eve 1999, ultimately giving up and watching whatever college bowl games were playing that night. And I’ll probably do it again next year, when the Mayan calendar foretells our doom. I’m not proud of this borderline obsession, but I’d be foolish to deny it.
What’s more, it doesn’t seem I’m alone here, either. Popular filmmakers seem a tad obsessed with imagining an apocalypse of their own, as well — movies like “I Am Legend,” “2012,” “The Book of Eli” and “The Road” all hit the big screen within a few months of one another. On television, there’s “The Walking Dead” (a zombie apocalypse), and this summer TNT will treat us to “Falling Skies” (aliens, primarily opposed by Dr. Carter from “E.R.”).
If the biblical apocalypse isn’t your thing, maybe you can be interested in an environmental one. Maybe it’s climate change, which a number of pundits are pretty sure is responsible for massive natural disasters that seem to happen regularly now. Or maybe you’re into manmade disasters like nuclear explosions or oil spills.
Maybe the most disheartening thing about obsessing over End Times theology (like I do) is that it misses the point of the message contained in the New Testament. The message has less to do with constructing an elaborate puzzle for us to assemble, and more to do with giving us heart that we have nothing to fear.
“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me,” Jesus said in John’s Gospel (14:1-3). “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
Those are words of comfort, right? Maybe our obsession should be with living, not with our own destruction.
I’ll try to remember this as I’m gluing myself to “Falling Skies” next month.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
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