If the word on the street is true, and the rapture will occur on May 21, then today is the last Easter. Easter celebrates the anniversary of the resurrection of Christ with bunnies, easter eggs and enough sugar laden candy to send our children well on their way to early onset diabetes.
And it’s also the day of the year when I stop to wonder if he ever had second thoughts. After all, Jesus left his followers with one commandment, that we love each other as he loved us, and for the most part we’ve done a marvelous job of ignoring him or rationalizing that one commandment away.
The history of Christianity, for all of the good we’ve done (and, in truth, we’ve done a lot) seems more about “We’re right and you’re not” than loving each other. And it’s hard, I have to admit. After all, evangelicals think of Christians like me as condescending pompous stuffed shirts and we think of them as hillbilly retards. When the stereotypes are that well-defined, it’s hard to feel the love.
Here’s the thing. When I talk to Christians, truth seems to be a higher priority than love. With more fundamentalist Christians it’s truth, then obedience, then love. I became Episcopalian because they profess to be members of one catholic church (not Catholic, but catholic as in “one body united). Then the whole women in the priesthood thing pushed them to the verge of split, and the gay bishop thing sealed it.
The Catholic catholics will most likely undergo a similar split between orthodox and progressive wings and Neo-Catholics who align themselves with the religious right. It may be fifty years or more down the road, but the fissures are developing.
Baptists, who raised me, split at the drop of the hat and will most likely continue to do so until there are more denominations of Baptist than there are Amway distributors.
So here’s the thing. We have a month before the rapture and the first and possibly last official post of this blog. We can continue to harp on each other, bicker, and judge ourselves to be the only Christians who will make it while the others miss the ball. And, whether it’s May 21 or much later, Jesus can return to a trashed out planet with no one to welcome him but obsequious Christians waiting for him to declare them the official winners of truth.
And that is the doctrine of the rapture. Jesus is going to trash the planet and the sinners with it, so why keep it nice for him?
But a hundred years ago, before pre-millennialism and the doctrine of the rapture captured the evangelical consciousness, even evangelicals believed we were supposed to make bring this planet to perfection and usher in a thousand years of love.
So why not show him a circle of smiling faces with the message, “It doesn’t matter which of us got it exactly right, we all welcome you home?”