A teenager down the street has answered your Facebook post regarding a long term babysitting job at your house. You and your spouse have a night and morning of long needed luxury planned in a local hotel. Boy-howdy do you need it! Now, these kids of yours are pretty special. I know, I know. Everyone thinks their kids are special but the uniqueness of this pair is undeniable. Twins. Both scored perfect on the WISC-V and the Woodcock Johnson III. Their physical beauty confirmed by that modeling contract you just signed last month. After an experience at a playground this weekend, they have together expressed interest and participation in charitable activities for less privileged children in your community. As I said, these are special kids.
Back to that babysitting candidate...
Lisa is 16 years old. As teenagers go, Lisa’s online persona appears as vanilla as one of those soggy cookies you find in her grandma’s banana pudding. The hair, the clothes, the selfies, and Instagram stories. She looks no more radical or dangerous than any of your nieces or nephews. Her parents give a similar impression of average late thirty-something banality. The ski trips, birthday parties, dinner pics, and open garage door get-togethers. Dad sells cars. Mom’s a hairdresser. These folks seem safe—one might say harmless. And they are just down the street. Perfection.
There’s something else here. What’s this religious affiliation?
Second Book of the Zook "In the year 2019, preordained by the prophet Zookeophira… a set of twins will appear on the planet Earth. They will be like diamonds in the dust, comets in the blackness of night. They will appear kind of heart and sharp of wit. They are imposters and implements of the Dark Lord. The Beast has sent them to deceive you. They must be destroyed. The key saving our people from the coming destruction of this planet is the ritual murder of this evil double seed!"
On second thought, you should probably go with that trucker’s pimple-faced band geek living another block over… right? It’s obvious, right?
Now to squeeze this analogy into the real world. Here are some names you might recognize. Mike Pence. Mike Pompeo. Rick Perry.
Mike Pence – Vice President of the USA
Mike Pompeo – US Secretary of State
Rick Perry – US Energy Secretary
These three men sit on the cabinet of the current “President” of Donald J. Trump. Pence, second in line if Mr. Trump were to resign, suffer conviction of impeachment, or sadly die while in office. Mike Pompeo travels the world as the United States preeminent diplomat to rest of the world. Rick Perry, among other frightening duties sets the policies concerning the storage of nuclear waste. What characteristic aside a cabinet position do these gentlemen share? All three believe with whole hearted gusto in a theological event call The Rapture. I’m sure you’ve heard of it and have a vague pop cultural understanding of it but allow me a brief history and significance of this idea.
In 1827, in Dublin, a group of Christians interested primarily in prophecy contained within the Bible met on a semi regular basis to celebrate the Lords Supper. As leaders and speakers popped up in the group the ideas concerning pre-tribulation bubbled to the top of the group’s focus. One of the more learned and outspoken members of this group, one John Nelson Darby, concocted the idea of The Rapture from a couple of seeming disconnected passages. One from 1 Thessalonians and one from the Gospel of Matthew. In the interest of equal time with Zookeophira:
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 ASV “15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord (παρουσίαν Parousia), will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”
Matthew 24:37-40 NIV “37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming (παρουσία Parousia) of the Son of Man. 38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming (παρουσία Parousia) of the Son of Man. 40Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.”
Mr Darby and his associates decoded the words “catching away” (or “caught up”) and a few other discombobulated salads of verbs and nouns to a farfetched conclusion even the most ardent heretics of old would find laughable. The risen Jesus swoops down to our world right before a time called The Great Tribulation (when the Anti-Christ, probably either Barack Obama or the current Catholic Pope, rules the planet) and gathers all the true believers up to Heaven or some celestial tent city then the rest of us suffer all manner of tortures and disasters before Yahweh Junior finally opens his last can of whoop-ass and the credits roll on the Universe.
By 1860, the term “The Rapture” had arrived in the United States. Since then, the theology of The Rapture has become a mainstay of prophetic literature and lectures across the evangelical landscape. Most of these dive into ludicrous numerological and coded messages which twist the melons of anyone listening with any sincere attempt to understand the explanations. Needless to say this notion of a Second Coming followed by a second Second Coming is not espoused by the majority of Christians in the States or anywhere.
Yet, here we live in a United States where at very least three of Russian Asset in Chief’s cabinet members believe with everything they hold that dear that this scenario is preordained and awaiting us right around the next temple construction site. Seriously. Mike Pompeo is even reported to have mentioned The Rapture in meetings at CIA when he was in charge of that fine institution of conivery. Mike Pence was instrumental in moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, a cornerstone of modern end times prophecy.
I want you to pause for just a moment and ruminate on this. The second in line to the leadership of the Free World not only believes in a Star Wars style end to the Universe but he feels obligated—as many Christian evangelicals do in their voting decisions—to make it all happen in the name of the Lard. Think about what this means. This is the sort of stuff that Christians fear and yet scoff at when they hear of other death cults like ISIS trampling the Middle East in search of their own Middle Earth-esque end of creation. It’s scorned and stamped out by decree.
Now, let me qualify my description of your kids…
I know your kids. Let me give you a slightly more objective description of these jewels. Outside their newest discovery of social altruism, they have been accused of selfishness in school. They once called a black girl a mud person. Someone accused one of them of theft of a trinket. Teachers have complained of rudeness. Since the birth of their burgeoning modeling career, they’ve been called conceited by their peers. Your kids aren’t perfect. But that’s no reason for those of us around you to look the other way if you allow this Lisa bitch access to them.
The United States is not perfect… but seriously… you guys are letting Pence and Pompeo babysit your kids.
Chrysalis, a growing collection of very short fiction.
Unless noted, all pics credited to Skitz O'Fuel.