Friday, 20 May 2011

Riding the Bow Wave of the Rapture

I've pondered some words Church Mouse tweeted earlier regarding whether it's right that people of faith should mock the people of the eBible Fellowship for their belief that the world will end tomorrow.

And looking back I've realised that one or two of the events of the past weeks in our Community might have given the impression that we were mocking that fellowship. Although, in mitigation, I would say that we've been mocking the  fundamentalist / evangelical / rapture-believing movement for ages. (But not a significant number of ages. Just a random amount of ages that nobody need read any significance into.) And the Rapture is a literalist interpretation nobody needs. Not least because Paul says "we" as if he's going to be raptured at the same time with all the other living people. And he's not. Cos he's dead. And we mock everybody else, including ourselves. So at least this blog has been consistent.

But there's a reason for this. And it comes down to my deep and abiding belief, which has been nurtured by an obsession with the End Times, my own fanatical faith in a single original resurrection and a future (but, in my scheme, way-way-future) general resurrection. And my other deep belief in the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. And it can be summed up in this concept:

The Revelation isn't to give comfort to the people on top. It's to frighten them.

When you live in the richest country in the world, and your existence is predicated on borrowing such eye-watering amounts of money that you could never pay it all back, and therefore your way of life is dependent upon a legal fiction that your money is somehow worth something - even though it clearly isn't - the Revelation isn't to give you comfort and hope for the future. It's to scare you.

When your cheap clothes, cheap games, cheap food and cheap petrol are dependent upon the oppression, suppression and exploitation of others - and the destruction of the world's resources - the Revelation's not there to give you the cheap thrill that, after a boring run of your favourite TV show, God will provide a bit of a finale with an appearance in the skies above Tupelo, Mississippi at 6pm Central Time. It's there to scare you.

For a 1st century Christian in a hostile world, whose friend had been executed for "heresy" and whose only hope was the story passed on by that very friend that his friend, Jesus, was raised from the dead - and when that Christian was wondering how the Empire that crushed all opposition would ever be opposed - the Revelation was for her.

When you're clinging on to faith against a repressive ruling order that hates your faith and diminishes your status and silences you with hate and violence and unjust laws - the Revelation was written so you can hope.

When you can actually see the Beast and know him for who he is, see the life-destroying force that can be wielded by the Powers of  this world - you'll know what the Revelation is all about.

When you can see the way the powerful oppress the poor, and call theft "trade" and unbalanced peace "just" - you'll know what Revelation is about.

And if your faith and hope resound to the heart-beat that goes "How long, Lord - how long?", because nothing else will help - and to act yourself is suicide, but you know the Spirit you can do all things - you'll know what Revelation is about.

The time of all oppressors is short. And empires fall. And the years of a man are - give or take - three score and ten (though the years of a woman are a few more). And the Mugabes and the Pinochets and the Mubaraks all eventually know that their day has come. And even the Western, capitalist, exploitative world will come to an end. And the Ancient of Days laughs at them all, enthroned as he is in Zion. And the caveat is always there - no-one knows the hour or the day. But the word echoes through the universe. And the word is "Soon".


  1. Really good post Archdruid.
    Not your usual style. What happened, did the supply of magic mushrooms run out?

    Sound politics (and theology).

  2. Oh, I lose it every now and then...

  3. Hardly fuzzy thinking but superb. Thank You.

  4. The meaning of what you say I totally agree with (which of course means it must be brilliant!)

    But what I really love are the cadences, particularly of your last paragraph. Like the best bits of the 1662 Prayer Book, worth learning off by heart.

    If I was allowed into a pulpit (which I'm not), I would love to declaim them. Perhaps one Monday morning with no one else around?...

  5. What a superb, thought provoking post. 1st Class. Kudos.

  6. Wow! Wonderful! Preach it, Archdruid!

  7. Everyone's already said it, but I'll add my two cents - this is truly, truly inspired.

  8. Thank you. "What oft was thought but ne'er so well express'd."

  9. Thank you all for kind thoughts. I can assure you that normal fuzzy service is now resumed.

  10. And the Ancient of Days laughs at them all, enthroned as he is in Zion. And the caveat is always there - no-one knows the hour or the day. But the word echoes through the universe. And the word is "Soon".

    I got goosebumps...

    A bit late (as ever) to the party but thank you very much for writing this. What Mags said!


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