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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Carried Away

I have been carried away.

Not to heaven, heavens no. But I've been carried away about this craziness of the Rapture occuring today. A strict scientific study concluded that of all the users of social media, especially facebook, I have made a bigger to-do of this goofiness than anyone else with the possible exception of my friend who-shall-not-be-named Stuart. He posted the "Blondie" video; I passed.

One might wonder, reasonably wonder I would add, why I am so obsessed with this nonsense. I have a clue. Two of them, in fact.

First of all, from as early as I can remember, my mother told me about her love of hellfire and brimstone sermons. Seriously. She ate them up. I think they must have been the 1935 equivalent of Nightmare on Elm Street, The Omen, or Friday the 13th. She lived for that crap. She said she sat in the front row of the balcony at the Evangelical Free Church and was thrilled to her toes at the fright of burning and steaming and pokers with fiery embers.

My primary memory of hearing her tell these stories was thinking, 'what the hell is wrong with my mother?'

2) The Rapture was not a really big topic in my church but it sure was at camp. Before "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" (the song) and its accompanying movie came out in 1972, I saw another movie at a junior high retreat weekend with the same basic theme. Kid is left behind. Alone. Scared the living shit out of me. Didn't scare me straight, just scared me out of the church. I was smart enough to know manipulation when I got mowed down by it. It made me mad.

Then I went with friends to see the Late Great Hal Lindsay of the Late Great Planet Earth speak. And a host of other cool surfer dudes who made the Christian Youth group circuit in the 60's and 70's and to use their humor, virility, and implied sexuality to attract/terrify all God's children into the peculiar corral they were tending in the great Kingdom of God. What a pile. We sang some song in Sunday School about "one will be ready and the other left behind," and that always merited a sermonette to go along with it. We made a joke of it and someone always stepped behind the rest and made a sad dog face.

Anyone out there on the same page?

And of course, we sang, "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" a million times around the campfire and watched that movie too. I loved camp because I got to spend my days there cleaning toilets and sweeping out the dining hall; I didn't love camp because of the mush-brained swarmy Jesus theology we heard.

I was SO ready for the reasonable study of theology and philosophy when I finally got to college. No more God the Puerto Rican laundry attendant indiscriminately, capriciously moving us around like toys. But God, a gracious giver of life, of love, of mercy.

No Rapture. No Tribulation. No manipulation. No more scare the shit out of 'em. I'd figured that out already; it was just good to be free from the crazy-making influences that tried to cram that stuff in my head.

So. This mock-the-Rapture obsession of mine. Maybe it's payback. Catharsis. Maybe it feels good to make fun of the devil -- because these scare tactics are devilish. Maybe I have a really warped sense of humor after all these years. Maybe it's yet another form of rebellion against my mother (added to, 1) be happy; and 2) make the most of life.)

At any rate, I apologize to anyone I've offended but I also stand by everything. I won't be played with. I will play with the plotter of the panic theories.

So, in case you notice my empty shoes on your front porch tonight around 6 MDT, dry ice steaming out of them, or a pile of my clothes left behind by the mailbox, I'm not making fun of God. I'm making fun of the mockery of God.

And just in case I am totally wrong about all this, and my mom was right, and Freddy Kruger is actually in charge, I don't know where I stand. If God is gracious, as I expect, then it's not to worry. I'll be hoovered up with the rest of y'all. Pie in the sky for dessert.

If all of the rules in Leviticus really count, God will need only a very small bus. Very small. A micro-mini. Just for Herself.

If I don't make the cut, I get your car. That's you, I mean, you with the sweet gold Jaguar convertible. But I won't take care of your pets. Sorry. Oh, wait, I want a horse.

Meanwhile, depending upon how this goes, I would like to thank all of you for being such great earthmates. It's been fun sharing the planet with (some/most of) you. Thanks so much for all your support and friendship and maybe we'll get assigned to the same dorm or whatever it is up there. At least I hope we can go out (well, not way out) for coffee sometime.

For those of you in earlier time zones, you're in big trouble if you don't save some chocolate mousse for us latecomers.

Dave mowed the lawn so it will look nice left behind for the (pagan) neighbors. And I'm getting highlights so I look good for eternity.

The other good tip I got was to wear loose-fitting clothes. You really don't want your pants to pinch for all eternity.

And Jennifer, just in case, since we'll miss your bridal shower, I got you a

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