The End of Which World?

In about 4th grade, the kids in my Christian elementary school began reading Left Behind. I never picked up the books myself; I remember a vague sense of confusion about how the authors knew the names of all the people in the future—even in the Bible, when the prophets made prophecies, they didn’t know the names of all the people in the future. I remember a sense of indignation and injustice that God might stop the world before I grew up. Someone said to me once, “Jesus is going to come back when no one on earth is expecting it.” So I spent my spare time thinking about Jesus’s return, trying to buy myself more time. (Let me clarify right here that Left Behind is fiction, and if you read Revelation you’ll notice there is no mention of rapture at all. Zero. It comes from a poor interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 4:17.)

Nicolas Cage = not actually in the Bible.

Nicolas Cage = not actually in the Bible.

I got relatively little rapture theology—I call it theology with some trepidation—in my childhood. In sixth grade, one of my friends doodled “the end is near” on her science notes because it was almost the end of the class period, which was right before lunch. (Since then, I’ve been much more relaxed about the apocalypse.) The kids I work with now are steeped in the apocalyptic—not just Left Behind, but Divergent, The Hunger Games, Godzilla—and that’s just in 2014 box office releases. You can’t hardly go to the movies without the world ending. Continue reading

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