Friday, May 20, 2011
On The Rapture
At first, jokes were my inclination too. I mean, dude was wrong the first time around, right? Who else, when they first heard of the May 21st-ers, immediately thought of the scene in Six Feet Under when the pick-up full of helium-filled blow-up dolls gets into a wreck and loses it’s, um, load, causing a believer to mistake the dolls for Christians being called into the sky?
Sure, there’s plenty to laugh about here. Or cry about as the case may be. Studying the Bible’s numerology is apparently big business. Even Frank Black has weighed in:
Harold Camping’s radio network is worth over a $100 million, according to NPR. People who faithfully count on his words as God’s truth, have given up on planning for the future. Again, from NPR: "We budgeted everything so that, on May 21, we won't have anything left," one believer says. Some, though, want to plan for their pets’ futures come May 22, and apparently a group of wise-ass pet-lovers come atheists (and potential geniuses) calling themselves “Eternal Earth-Bound Pets, USA” are happy to oblige for a small fee.
Eventually, as popular opinion began to strengthen into a flood of holier-hipper-&-smarter-than-thou tweets and tongue in cheek articles, May 21st started to feel less funny to me. I don’t know. I think maybe I’m cowed by certainty. And this much is certain – hivemind coalesces on this one: May 21st-ers are idiots.
I guess there’s something off-putting to me about a group of people being so certain that another group of people’s certainty is stupid. It feels stupid. It feels elitist. And it makes me uncomfortable. It even has kind of a Keyser Söze feel to it.
I grew up in a Holiness family. I saw buns shouted down. As I kid, I played church for fun. Yeah really. And you know what, that’s because all the jumping around, singing, clapping, and raw emotion was fun for a kid. There wasn’t television at my grandmothers’ house (Or pants. Or aspirin…), but church services lasted deep into the night. We kids slept on quilted pallets beneath those wooden pews. I’m no holyroller, far from it. But there’s enough of that old-time religion in my DNA to feel uncomfortable with making fun of it.
My great-grandmother died at home with a tumor in her breast because she trusted that God’s will be done. There are people who laugh about that too. I mean, not directly about my Granny Connelly because, though I’m not the fighting type, I’d kick your motherfucking ass. I don’t laugh at this stuff. And I damn sure don’t laugh about it in ignorance. Imagine the faith it takes and the difficulties the people who make these very hard choices live with, from the rest of the world, and yes, from their own inner-wrestling. Call them idiots, but first ask yourself what kind of strength and conviction it takes to live your ideals, whatever they are.
It’s much easier to sit on the sidelines or Thetwitter and laugh. It is easy to laugh about something you don’t know and could therefore never understand. It’s harder to give someone a chance to be human.
Who knows what happens today, much less tomorrow? Coming from one who appreciates irony (despite my take on this one), what would be the greatest irony of all, perhaps? For a bunch of hipsters to mistake the kind-hearted simpletons floating into the sky for blow-up dolls?
I’m no May 21st-er, that’s for sure, but I feel oddly thankful today. The May 21st-ers have given me the gift of remembering to make today count. And all the rest that we get around this sorry old beautiful planet we call home.
And finally, because what Rapture blog post would be complete without it:
[Cross-posted at Save The Matches.]