Monthly Archives: July 2012

Left Behind and Loving It

This column is my version of beach-read fantasy/fiction because the other day I was cut-off in traffic by a car with one of those Jesus-fish bumper stickers and I started thinking about what life would be like if there really was a rapture.  I imagined a world without those annoying, judgmental, Evangelical Christians.  I’m not quite as vindictive as they are because I’m not wishing they would be damned, like they wish on us.  For those who believe in a rapture of the righteous just before the end of the world, I do wish for them that they go to the happy place of their dreams.  For me, personally, it would mean much smaller family reunions with an open bar.

And then there could be life without Chick-fil-A.  I worked a banquet for those wing-nuts once.  The tips were puny and their idea of rewarding our exemplary service was to make a great fuss about providing a plastic travel mug with coupons.  (I don’t eat chicken.  I do use money.)  The “marketing director” gave a testimonial about how generous he was in a “tithe” he gave to his church.  His talk had absolutely nothing to do with chicken or marketing.  It was just a rambling self-aggrandizing tale that also said nothing about God and everything about the culture of the company.  Chick-fil-A closes on Sundays and has a reputation for considering marital status and religious beliefs in hiring (see link for 2011 story below).  It would be lovely if this entire company would be raptured.

http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/01/31/controversial-chicken-chick-fil-a-gay-rights-rumble/

I would also be thrilled if all televangelists would be raptured.  That would save money for the poor slobs that keep making donations.  Those people would be better off buying lottery tickets.  Without televangelists there would be additional cable channels for more “Law and Order” reruns – because we can never have too many of those.  Come to think of it, the odds of winning the lottery would be better because I don’t believe for a minute that those rapturees never bought lottery tickets.

Some of the rapture wannabes have a Web site to get all their documents in order and archived before the rapture with messages to be sent in their absence to those who will be, you know, left behind.  It’s only $14.95 a month.  (I’m not posting the link because I think they are serious and they creeped me out.)

There are two statistically smaller categories that I look forward to being raptured: KKK members and Pentecostal snake handlers.  I would give a lot to see the face of Klan folks when they get raptured and find black folks next to them.  As to those batshit crazy snake handlers – I know they are just getting freaky with each other, but I really don’t like snakes and I hope they take some along with them.  (I wrote about them on my Web site on 7/10/2012 at  http://allthingsreligiousonline.com/.)

If you are rusty on your Evangelical Christian theology I’ve blogged about the rapture before in two different columns with outside sources if you want to know more.  The links follow.

“Read before rapture”: https://allthingsreligious.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/read-before-rapture/

“The Sky is Falling”: https://allthingsreligious.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/the-sky-is-falling/

In preparing for this blog, I downloaded a free sample from the Left Behind series on my Kindle.  It is mean-spirited, juvenile pulp fiction and one giant “I’m right and you’re wrong” escapade.  Hey wait, if there’s a rapture, no more Left Behind books, movies, or Web sites.  Yipee.  Left behind and loving it.

Last week cable TV ran Bill Maher’s movie, “Religulous,” a must buy movie.  Of course, I’ve watched it several times before, but he makes me laugh every time.  What I envy is how comfortable he is asking very obvious questions regarding the ridiculous nature of many religious beliefs and practices, and he does not squirm one bit.  That is not at all easy for me.  I was aggressively force-fed fundamental Christianity my entire youth and it’s taken many more years to shake it off.  Every holiday I return to that culture and have to work to re-center myself as I return home.

But even when I am safely home, I admit I don’t really like going to the basement at night.  A Left Behind kind of religion is the ultimate boogeyman in the basement.  Confronting this kind of thinking is unsettling, but not because God is speaking to me.  It is unsettling because of how many people attempt to manipulate others with fear of the unknown – which they don’t really know either.  So, thanks Bill, for being fearless and making me laugh.  I don’t want a religion that needs a Boogeyman or a Rapture.  Life is hard enough, thank you very much.  Left behind or not. –J.B.

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