Here’s the CONCLUSION to the short-lived but lively as a rodeo-clown-with-diarrhea three-part series, “The Daily Rapture”.
Q: WHY, not-so-anonymous ghostwriter Toews (if that’s even your real name—sounds made-up)… why did you take the time to grind out this spotte-fest? Why bother? Do you have a shit-disturber disorder? What skin have YOU got in this game?
PREFACE: Not long ago I happened to catch a TV show featuring an interview with an evangelical fellow who claimed to have been to Christian heaven and back. Okay… He was taking on-air questions and hawking the vanity press best-seller “he” had authored. Right…
Did I want to reach in through the television set and pinch his money-grubbing snout in a rhetorical way? Yes. Yes, I did, brothers and sisters.
This evangelical-du-jour went into great detail about THE RAPTURE and I found it comically similar—minus the F-bombs, weed, and gross sex jokes—to Seth Rogan’s over-the-top apocalyptic movie, “This is the End”. It is hilarious, and telling, that the evangelical, super-uber-earnest, book-flogger dude and Seth Rogan’s druggy, Hollywood religio-romp came down about the same on the facts and figures of the big ol’ round-up in the sky, the tribulation, and to a degree, heaven.
How many evangelicals would allow their children or grandchildren or those in their care with a less-than-adult ability to discern between fact and folly to watch an apocalyptic movie like “This is the End”? N-O-N-E, with a capital kliewe de, that’s how many. It is worth noting too that Rogan & co-producer Evan Goldberg created their film for mentally fit adults only.
Remember, many of these same end-time extremist folks* prohibited kids from watching “The Simpsons”, and yet, they force-feed the horrors of the rapture to unqualified, unfit audiences without care or compunction.
*Spot them dancing “Gangnum Style” at Sunday morning services. “Put yo hands in the AY-YAH!”
So, with that as the groundwork, here is some other bitchiness I am seeking to vent:
- Why was this rapture business not a big deal when I was a kid? I grew up in a God-fearing town, where Die Owlah’s vengeful nature was known and preached with some regularity—in homes and from the pulpit. Sure, there were some “end times” conversations and we all knew “Revelations” was not bedtime story material unless maybe your dad was the Marquis de Sade… But, other than that, the RAPTURE was not common fare among the religious set, within whose margins (and abodes, sometimes) I resided. I don’t know much about the growth of evangelical influence in respect of rapture preaching within Steinbach churches, but something tells me that the correlation factor would be high. For me, at age seven years (1962), when my Grandma Toews led me to Jesus’s warm embrace, I can guaran-damn-tee you I would not have gone if that rapture shiet was being tossed around like a live grenade! No way. Even back then, my trusty bullshit barometer would have been at ELEVEN on a scale of ten.
- The Snake Oil Factor. Why, with any caricature in the wide world to choose from, would I have created a Main Character with the persona of the Hee-Haw host? (Minus the gitar-pickin’ skills.) Why not pattern “Pastor T” after a solemn student of scripture, an academic, ecclesiastical show-jumper with a pedigree a Molotschnan mile long? Eh? Well, I just felt like the rapture is more suited to the big-lunged revival tent gang: “COME TO THE FRONT, BROTHERS AND SISTERS… COME TO THE FRONT AND REPENT… THE BUSES WILL WAIT… COME TO THE FRONT! (We take VISA!)” You know the type.
- The “Of Mice and Men” factor… As I alluded to in the third installment (“The Daily Rapture — Act Three”) I find it cruel and irresponsible to put a child or any person of diminished intellectual or emotional capacity in the line of rapture fire. What will the rapture message do to a person deep in the throes of depression? How will thoughts of the rapture allay despair? To hear that you yourself, or your loved ones, your more-sinful friends, or even just the wide world of random strangers (billions of people, according to a fast Google search) are going to be left behind to suffer the whole mess promised in the good book… Nah! C’mon! If you want to circle dates on the calendar and scare people, pick someone your own size.
- You get what you pay for. A problem I have is accepting the transactional nature of some teachings. (If it’s a transaction, where’s the faith?) Okay, in all of life on earth, actions have consequences. Mostly. You let your guard down at the water hole and, BAM! Your ass is grass. See you later, alligator. We are tempered by the harsh reality of physics, chemistry, and “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”—we’re taught that the world will kick your donkey if you’re not careful. Soooo, it follows then that our eternal address must be purchased, cash on the barrelhead, in advance, right? Like insurance or guaranteed seating at a concert? NO, I DON’T THINK IT DOES FOLLOW. I can’t swallow it…can’t believe that this much-promoted eternal entity made of pure light and love and blah-blah-blah is there at the wicket, handing out tickets like a carny huckster. I think the hucksters are the human beings who try to sell us on this tit-for-tat confidence game that the whole rapture biz is based upon.
- The people I love have a brain, a big heart, and a firm spine. The misguided few who put up with my pap—especially since I started this whole Toews-prose shake-rattle-and roll in 2015—are people with whom I don’t always agree. They are individual members of a broad, diverse, and eclectic cohort. They are collectively non-collective. While they might not agree with my personal take on the RAPTURE, they probably get why I might have some issues with it and some might even agree with me, at least in part. If they do or if they don’t, I’m certain their eternal fate will not change one bit, because that is my faith. In return, I pledge my friends and relatives my ongoing, unaltered friendship, love, and respect even if I disagree with their rapturous viewpoint. Like the staunchly adversarial disciples of Ford and Chevy, Coke and Pepsi, keto and carbs, etc.—we can disagree and still have a cordial (lite) beer together. And so…
- It’s a free country—with one caveat. Everyone should believe as they wish, as long as no one else is harmed. Can this be a rule for religion? Can we agree to curb our fervour at the point where others are involuntarily involved?
6.1 It’s a free country—not a magic country. I see prayer calls for people in dire straights… I get this and have no complaint—fill yer boots! This action comes out of caring and an honest desire for good; a human reaction to hardship. Empathy. Part of faith that can do no harm. (Well, except for gun violence, where prayer can supplant real, effective action, but that’s another whole case of huckleberries.) Another example: I see prayer calls for a nicer house, a pay raise, or for a certain motorcycle to pop up on the Buy & Sell and I am not impressed. That’s an easy one, right? Many people disavow this kind of shabby, picayune, bent-knee self-serve. I also see directives from influential clergy calling for their congregations to prepare for the rapture by modifying earthly activities as though the rapture was an absolute certainty with a specific date. Hmm. In light of all the prior FAILED FORECASTS, that is magical thinking of the highest order and it may well cause some harm. Harm for whom? The poor, the vulnerable, the marginalized in the flock. Not the preacher—he just pencils in a new rapture date and checks the Buy & Sell for that bike he wants to buy. What I don’t see are prayer calls to re-grow a severed arm or leg. Why not? Because, deep down, even the most devout and the most earnest and the most cynical can all appreciate the difference between faith and magic.
LAST: We are already in a period of rapture, with nature, if only we would recognize it and stop screwing it up.
“God doesn’t need to come down upon a mountain, for the mountain itself is the revelation. We only have to look at it and we will know how we should live.”-—John Moriarty