Monday, May 23, 2011

The Rapture

With the kind permission of my friend Dave, I am publishing a post written by him about the recent "rapture that wasn't,"  that is being simultaneously published over at his own blog: Rolling Around in My Head

I know that it may be controversial here, but if it is a point of view not thought about before or even necessarily agreed with, that surely is one of the reasons why we write; not to convince, but to cause to consider.  
Blessings! Belinda 

By Dave Hingsburger

I'm going to say this all wrong but I'm going to say it anyway.
Here goes ...

Everywhere I've gone over the last couple of days people have been talking, lightheartedly, about 'the rapture that wasn't' ... the big 'uh oh'. Someone tried to talk me into a kind of sympathy for those who gave up their life savings, their life pursuits, in the false belief that the world was going to end. Part of me, of course, felt a kind of sadness and sympathy for their ultimate disappointment.

'But wait,' says the bigger part of my brain, 'they're disappointed that they weren't selected to fly to heaven and all the rest of us in the world aren't writhing in pain and torment.' They actually expected earthquakes and disasters to wreak havoc on humanity, well on the part of humanity that didn't have membership in their little club. I have trouble with that. I have trouble with that whole idea. I have trouble with 'them' against 'us and God'.

When the concept of 'the rapture' was first explained to me, I understood it instantly. The idea of 'the chosen' and 'the left behind' is a constant in human history and a constant in my life. Anyone who endured high school knew that there were those that were raptured into smugness and all the rest of us who were uninvited, unwanted and unacceptable. There has always been a standard that allowed some to be selected and others to be shunned. 'The rapture' always seemed to me, not so much as to be a sense of being transported by noble emotions as it was to be a kind of self exultation of those with privilege.

As a young gay man, living with the terror of discovery. I saw the self satisfaction of heterosexual couples, who paraded their relationships, drew hearts over their 'i's, and branded overpasses with initials and kisses, and felt their assumption of normalcy, their arrogance in staking out and claiming love as acts of violence and intolerance  Their rapturous proclamations of God's blessing and God's plan made their God a God of 'ynah, ynah, ynah' rather than a God of love. Oh, I know 'the rapture' exists, I know what it is to be left behind.

As a man with a disability who has had to fight off those who saw healing of body, not change of society, as God's will, I know what it's like to live a life considered 'unblessed'. I have turned down the 'laying on of hands' and the opportunity to confess the sin that crippled me - I have spurned offers of love that looked a lot more like hate. 'There but for the grace of God' is said in one breath, 'I'd rather be dead than in a wheelchair' is said in another. Um, yeah, thanks. Thanks for telling me that God graces you and damns me. Thanks for telling me that my life isn't worth living. Oh, I know 'the rapture' exists, I know what it is to be left behind.

So its hard for me to feel sorry for those who feel let down that they aren't having a milkshake in heaven while the rest of us are wallowing in sewage and waste here on earth. It's hard for me to crack open my heart, the one I'm told is sinful, the one I'm told is prideful, the one I'm told has crippled me - to feel anything much at all.

And yet, and YET, I believe. I believe in God who loves me. I believe in God who cares for us. I believe in He who walks beside me. I think I believe, because, when the dust settles, He and his ways, He and his love, He and the message of his life, were left behind too. I know this because I met Him, here, in the life I was given - and that, to me, is rapture.

12 comments:

Dolores Ayotte said...

Belinda....Dave gave us all much "cause to consider". I love your use of this expression and I love the fact that Dave bared his soul. He makes a lot of sense to me.

Belinda said...

Dolores, thank you.

Theresa said...

My heart grieves for the "victims" of Harold Camping. A false prophet who destroyed many lives and maligns the gospel.

It is interesting though in this world how the only people not "tolerated" are Christians, because we are not "tolerant".

Belinda said...

Yes, Theresa I agree. The false prophecies of "the end" serve to numb people to the truth and add to the caricature of Christianity that many already hold to.

Marilyn said...

I was eager to comment as soon as I read this, but was on my way out the door, so I took Dave's thoughts (expressed here) with me on my daily runs through town. Good company all!

I applaud the existence of safe places where ALL voices can be heard.

Belinda said...

Marilyn, that was why I was so glad Dave allowed me to co-publish his thoughts--the gift of presenting a perspective that is different.

Another friend has sent me her own rapture story, which will appear tomorrow!

Dave Hingsburger said...

Belinda, thank you for opening your heart (and your blog) to me. I was deeply touched that you wanted to publish these words. I was also amazed and the gentleness of the comments. Thank you Belinda, Thank you comment writers, Thank heavens for conversation, not conflict. KYAL, Dave

Belinda said...

I thank everyone too. Thank you Dave for allowing me to share the post here.

Bonnie Gilpin said...

Hi Belinda

Just read Dave's blog on the rapture and as one too who has felt left behind because of the way I looked, I just want to say that as Christians we must be very careful when we judge who belongs to our "clique" and who doe not. Only God knows a person's heart and who has availed themselves of His salvation. I would dare to bet that we will all be surprised at who is actually in heaven and who is not when the time comes.

Bless you Dave and Belinda for the courage to speak out.

Bonnie Gilpin said...

Hi Belinda

Just read Dave's blog on the rapture and one too who has felt left behind because of the way I looked, I just want to say that as Christians we must be very careful when we judge who belongs to our "click" and who doe not. Only God knows a person's heart and who has availed themselves of his salvation. I would dare to bet that we will all be surprised at who is actually in heaven and who is not when the time comes.

Bless you Dave and Belinda for the courage to speak out.

Belinda said...

Amen, dear Bonnie. You have always been a treasure to me.

kiwiaussie said...

Wow. I came over here via a link on Dave's blog about Easter. And this totally sums up how I feel about the rapture. I could never understand how so many couldn't wait for it to happen, when it meant so many would suffer.

Also, his comments about repenting of the sin that put him in the wheelchair! I have heard so much of this garbage spouted by Christians. One person I know was told the reason her son has Down Syndrome was because he was born out of wedlock! When my own daughter was born with Down Syndrome, I was told I needed to pray for the faith for her to be healed. In other words, if I couldn't muster up the faith of a mustard seed, then she would be 'cursed' for the rest of her life with this condition!

BUT, I had another friend, a beautiful Christian lady, who when she found out about my daughters diagnosis, said to me 'don't take this wrong, but congratulations. How awesome to be chosen by God to have such a wonderful blessing in your life'. I must admit, at the time it didn't feel like I was blessed. But, it didn't take too long to realise how right she was.