Who will feed the cat if I am raptured?

I was checking out ship of fools as I do from time to time. And I saw this

There are usually a few things on the site that make me laugh. There are such rich pickings in the American mid west if you want to find some weird Christian stuff to stretch your eye-brows at.

This particular clip asks the real question of what happens to our pets should we rise with a trump and fly unexpectedly.

For those who are not familiar with the concept of the ‘rapture’, check out Wikipedia’s entry on the subject. If (like me) the concept of living a life in eager expectation of being sucked into God’s big hoover is unappealing, then feel free to not bother. However the article includes this list of previous predictions as to when it was going to happen-

  • 1792Shakers calculated this date.[citation needed]
  • 1844William Miller predicted Christ would return between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844, then revised his prediction, claiming to have miscalculated Scripture, to October 22, 1844. The result of their being no second coming was referred to as the Great Disappointment. Miller’s theology gave rise to the Advent movement.
  • 1977William M. Branham predicted in 1962 that the Rapture could take place by 1977[citation needed]
  • 1981Chuck Smith predicted that Jesus would probably return by 1981.[47]
  • 1988 – Publication of 88 Reasons why the Rapture is in 1988, by Edgar C. Whisenant.
  • 1989 – Publication of The final shout: Rapture report 1989, by Edgar Whisenant. More predictions by this author appeared for 1992, 1995, and other years.
  • 1992 – Korean group “Mission for the Coming Days” predicted October 28, 1992 as the date for the rapture.[48]
  • 1993 – Seven years before the year 2000. The rapture would have to start to allow for seven years of the Tribulation before the Return in 2000. Multiple predictions.
  • 1994 – Pastor John Hinkle of Christ Church in Los Angeles predicted June 9, 1994. Radio evangelist Harold Camping predicted September 27, 1994.[49]
  • 2011Harold Camping‘s revised prediction has May 21, 2011 as the date of the rapture.[50]
  • 2060Sir Isaac Newton proposed, based upon his calculations using figures from the book of Daniel, that the Apocalypse could happen no earlier than 2060.[51][52]

If Newton is right- you have time to make sensible preparations for the care of the goldfish.

Just make sure that the proposed carer for your pet is not exposed to any tracts, lest conversion robs your poor moggy of some cat-mint…

By the way- this article by N T Wright makes very good reading on this subject…

God’s great big hoover, revisited (with a bit of help from Tom Wright.)

I posted earlier about my memories of growing up as a young Christian in the shadow of apocalyptic theologising about the ‘end times’, and in particular the fearful spectacle of a rapture, which a friend of mine (Janet) likened to God hoovering up his chosen ones in a great spring cleaning exercise. The earlier post is here.

I heard recently that there was a new rapture film, based on the hugely popular Tim la Haye ‘Left behind’ series. I have not seen it, so do not know if it is any good. I wonder if it has terrified a new generation of Christian kids as the earlier films in this genre (mentioned in my earlier post) did me?

This is the new film;

lbtm

The lovely theological term used to describe ones view of the future is eschatology. My friend Ali always cackles that the word is just too much like scatology– perhaps in the case of films like this, he may be very close to the truth!

But what are we heading for?

Here’s a bit of Bishop NT Wright on the same subject;

Gods great big hoover. Or the last noo noo.

When I was but a lad, growing up in Nottinghamshire, I watched this film…

We attended a local Anglican church, and things started swinging with a bit of Holy Spirit revival. We sang choruses rather than hymns, I learnt to play the guitar, we had healing services and people ‘spoke in tongues’. All in a C-of-E church in small town Kirkby-in-Ashfield.

And there are memories that I cherish.

And some that I do not. Some still make me twist inside with that old faithful adolescent companion- pervasive raging cringing embarrassment.

Some of the memories that I shelved as just plain dysfunctional I have in recent times reached down, dusted off, and managed to look at through the eyes of the 41 year old man that now I am. And some of it, I can now even laugh at.

One of these things is the aforementioned film.

You see, there was a lot of fuss about the ‘end times’ in the 1970’s and 80’s. I suppose there always is a section of people somewhere in every generation, in some part of the planet, who are proclaiming the imminent return of Jesus, and the time of judgment and tribulation.

So in our church- the chick cartoons were circulating. If you have never had the pleasure- check them out here– you can still buy them. There was one spelling out the ‘truth’ about the second coming, along with rapture, tribulation, and most memorably, the lake of fire in which sinners (like I surely was- I was a teenage boy after all) would burn for eternity. Here is a sample;

There was also Chuck Smith, who I believe still is a big cheese in Evangelical circles, who told the world that Jesus was coming again in, I think, 1980. Jesus did not, but Chuck seems to have been able to recalibrate. We watched a film that came from Calvary Chapel in those days all about the end times, and the signs of the coming age that could be seen in the world around us- particularly in the re-birth of the Jewish nation. Compelling stuff- most of which was nonsense, and this is not the film that I am talking about.

We were also taken to see a film in a church hall. Where this was, I have no idea- because I remember having to travel in the church mini-bus to get there.

And this too gave me nightmares.

The film began with a song by the late great Larry Norman. Should have got him to sing it…

…and then the terrifying story unfolded. All ‘biblical’ and straight from the pages of the book of Revelation, or so we were told.

A woman wakes up, and her husband has gone. Rapturously raised up to heaven by (as my friend Janet described it) God’s Dyson.

And so came the rise of the beast, and the time of tribulation. All in cheesecloth.

Quite why people thought this was good material for kids, I have no idea.

There are still many who would use versions of this story to frighten people into the pews. Babylon is built anew each time they do, say I.