By Pastor T, with @metgohnaJake
A serialized peek at Pastor T’s mailbag as he answers questions about the rapture.
I Thessalonians 4 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord.
Editing and curation by @metgohnaJake in a hovel, near a place of strong drink and non-domestic tobacco, far from salvation, somewhere in Macedonia. @metgohnaJake is a former marketer and tends to see the world in a cynical way, where every act is specious performance and all players have ulterior motives and all motives are self-serving. He learned this while making rich people richer, so we can’t really blame him, despise him though we might for his complicity in Pastor T’s snakey-eyed activities.
In each episode, Pastor T will address reader questions about the rapture. Pastor T has, he informs us, had the good fortune to ascend into heaven on a day pass and discuss the matter with the powers that be and so is qualified, ordained you might say, to speak on the matter.
Pastor T is just as qualified to speak on the rapture as any other person on Earth. No one can say differently, and make it stick.—Pastor T
Q: Pastor T, you can call me Holthacka Hank. I’m a school Principal and a church member. I love horses and pickleball. (Don’t test my backhand!) I remember being disturbed, terrified as a matter of fact, by the Easter story. We went to our neighbours for an “Easter egg hunt” that turned out to be a two-hour resurrection camp with no snacks, but plenty of visual aids. At one point, we were handed six-inch spikes, “like the ones used to nail Christ to the cross…”
That 1965 Easter story was offered as history. Not the impending future. It was violent and binary—non-Christians committed horrific acts of cruelty, Christians heroes with rock star hair, athletic builds, blue eyes, and cool sandals suffered their pain with the stoicism of John Wayne and the steely bearing of Davey Keon. But the Easter story did offer HOPE and it spoke of a future that would be better.
So, that leads—I hope—to my question: Should children be exposed to the prophecy of the rapture? Do they have the capacity to process the dire forecasts without spiralling into a frightening world of fear and depression?
Likewise, what about those with decreased mental ability? Both those who have been diagnosed and also those who, like most, suffer unknown and untreated. A person close to me used to receive communications through the doorbell and would have me disconnect it so that we could have “a private conversation…” Those with mental and emotional disorders may not have the resilience or the discernment required to manage images of end times and all of the stone age violence promised in the rapture narrative.
What wisdom can you bring to this discussion, Pastor T?
A: They warned us about you secular humanists. How’s about I warm my feet by the bonfire of your books of iniquity? How ’bout that? And you know what else? Well, we’re just gonna shut today’s chat down—that’s what! So why don’t you all just go listen to NPR or CNN or whatever it is you do!
[Dull thump, like a microphone, falling onto the stage floor…]
“@metgohnaJake! Wind this’ere clambake down. And we gonna have us a discussion about filters and pre-screening and the like. You read me, Jake?”
“Sure do, Pastor T. Say, why don’t you just mosey on down to your dressing room while I tell the folks about our specials and bonus offers!”
[Heavy footsteps recede… a door slams like a gunshot… muffled cursing. Silence.]
“Well, seems like we broke the fourth wall there. Don’t worry, a little Vitamin W (the kind distilled in Gimli… in a bottle…) and he’ll be right as rain.”
“Holthacka Hank did raise some points though. What are the consequences for children and those unequipped to manage the extremism at the core of the rapturist vision? I know even I sometimes struggle and I’m considered uncommonly stable. I’d call myself a “very stable genius,” in fact, but that monicker is protected by copyright.”
[@metgohnaJake dallies at centre stage. A tight spotlight opens on him, and he looks up.]
“Think of two children, two earnest friends, each making a list: Those who will rise up into the clouds and those left behind. And then, like Vladimir and Estragon swapping hats, they exchange lists and each finds themself excluded from the other’s roll. Then what? A life of desperate piety to make the grade? Or a life of wanton abandon, because, well, why not? Party on, dood! Either way—both ways—lives of fear, jealousy, hatred, rancour, and doubt.”
[@metgohnaJake, walking offstage, a bag of promotional goods—travel mugs, bible covers, lip balm—drags along behind him like a dragon’s tail. He stops and in a Napoleonic voice that projects to the back of the now-empty hall, pronounces, “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”]
Spotte (schput): To deride, scorn, mock, scoff…