[lit-ideas] Re: Rapture

I'm just curious, Marlena, when you say, "and it is a way that causes one to 
identfy more fully with the 'heart' of a Creator who Cares'..." how do you 
account for all the evil in the world?  Free will, that god doesn't get 
involved in people's choices?  He kind of stands back and lets his sheep walk 
off the cliff?  That he only cares about those who do proper homage to him?  Do 
bad things never befall those who do proper homage?  Seriously, how do you 
account for the horrendous evil in the world?  




----- Original Message ----- 
From: 
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: 8/3/2005 4:26:07 PM 
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Rapture


Dear Andy,
Lest you (and any others) think that this is the only Christian viewpoint, 
please let me remind you that it is not.

Sure, there is a viewpoint of those who believe in the "rapture" are buying 
into (and it is a racket <g>) of the (especially) American mindset of 
survivalism, 'us-versus-them', and such--but there are other voices 'out 
there'.  (Granted, in this day and age of adventure thrillers, there seems to 
be even more of a desire within people to feel, if not in control of their own 
lives, then at least to know there is an 'escape route'.)

I will suggest, again, that you get the book: The Raputre Exposed: The Message 
of Hope in the Book of Revelation by Barbara R. Rossing.

She does give a history (as did the link you sent) of the history of the 
Rapture--but then she also discusses the ramifications of such a viewpoint (as 
you have already observed):

"This kind of speculation would be amusing if it were not so dangerous. God 
created the earth's mountains and deserts and called them 'good'--they are not 
worthless to their Creator. Earth's atmosphere, too, was created by God, and 
God laments over it when we destroy it. The atmosphere is under assault today 
from ozone depletion, increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide that cause 
global warming, and other wounds--but those are wounds caused by humans. The 
atomosphere is not the abode of Satan. The view that total planetary and 
atmospheric destruction must take place on earth before God's renewing vision 
of "New Jerusalem" can come into the world is not biblical. It leads to 
appalling ethics."

(her appalling ethics comment was kind of appropriate given we have been 
discussing such concepts...)
In a sense, the differences between the 'rapture is coming' folk and the other 
types is almost the differences between those who go deeper into the 'inner 
moral sense' and those who do not... (speculation here, mind you--just playing 
with matching ideas and such)

I liked her analysys of the differences between the Left Behind novels and CS 
Lewis' Narnia series. The two really are the differences between those who 
would rather simply escape going 'deep' and learning and growing (unable, 
perhaps, to see the adventure it is? Or, perhaps, have not been shown/taught 
that there is a different path to follow? Kind of like people often choose to 
be either victims or victimizers--unable to find or even to know that there is 
a third way out...):

"The British author C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, a popular seriesof 
Christian novels from the mid-twentieth century, depicts salvation in a much 
more earth-affirming way than the Left Behind story. When Lucy and her 
companions finally come into the "New Narnia" at the end of their jounrey  in 
Lewis' The Last Battle, it is not an escape from their homeland but rather a 
going through a door more deeply into God's picture, into the world. The 
travelers slowly come to realize that the place is the very same place as the 
world they left behind: the same hills as those in their hometown, the same 
house, but everything is more radiant. The color blue is bluer. It is "more 
like the the real thing". New Narnia is different from old Narnia in being a 
"deeper country: every rock and flower and blade of grass looked as if it meant 
more."
     New Narnia is "world within world," Lucy realizes. The Faun Tumnus 
explains the within-ness of God's vision for our world: "You are now looking at 
the England within England, the real England." Most importantly, in Lewis' 
vision--contrary to the destructive Rapture script--"no good thing is 
destroyed." 

she goes on:

"The Narnia story's ending gives a much truer reading of the final vision of 
hte book of Revelation than the Left Behind story. The Narnia story is also 
more faithful to the biblical covenant with Noah. The Book of Genesis tells 
how, after the flood, God made a covenant with Noah never again to destoy the 
earth: "I willnever again curse the ground because of humankind...nor will I 
ever again destroy every living creature as I have done." Does Revelation now 
negate that covenant with Noah, as Rapture enthusiasts suggest? Has God's mind 
changed? 

(She also goes on to refute the argument that God only meant destruction by 
flood...)

She also discusses the ages old belief that this world is simply too awful and 
our only way out is escape. (often, I grant you, a sense that most of us at one 
time or another have to face...)

Here is another passage (I like this book's quotes and how they all ltie 
together...little snippets of stories...)

The nineteenth-century former slave Sojourner Truth criticized the escapiest 
and self-centeredness in the Rapture rhetoric among Christians of her day. In 
response to claims that Christians are taken up to some parlor in heaven to 
escape destruction, she underscored that God stays with us on earth and walks 
with us through every trial:

You seem to be expecting to go to some parlor away up somewhere, and when the 
wicked have been burnt, you are coming back to walk in triumph over their 
ashes-this is to be your New Jerusalem!! Now I can't see anything so very nice 
in that, coming back to such a muss as that will be, a world covered with the 
ashes of the wicked. Besides, if the Lord comes and burns--as you say he 
will--I am not going away; I am going to stay herean d stand the fire, like 
Shadrach, Meshach and Abegnego! And Jesus will walk with me in the fire, and 
keep me from harm (Quoted in Lee Griffith, War on Terrorism and the Terror of 
of God. Grand Rapis, Mich: Eerdmans, 2002)

Jesus walks with us through the fire. That is the message of the book of 
Reveloation, as Sojourney Truth articulated."

and then

"Whatever future events await the earth, the biblical message is that God comes 
down to earth to live on it with us. Earthquakes, darkness, plagues? God comes. 
Are hearts breaking? Is all hope lost? God comes."

As she says--even when speaking of the *why* Jesus came--God loves the world 
enough to live in it. God loves the world enough to dwell in the smallest 
object--a sweet little wild flower, a bunny eating my garden <g>.  He does not 
come to take us away from the earth, to take us away from those who suffer, to 
take us away from those who hurt.  He is there to rejoice in our joys and 
suffer, with us, in our pain...and we who follow him are also called to do the 
same--not to say that God is so removed from the earth that he is simply 
inflicting horrific things like earthquakes and tsumanis on it--

She goes on and talks about the purpose, even, of biblical prophecy and how 
'predicting the future is not hte biblical meaning of prophecy, in either the 
Christian or Jewish tradition. When Revelation calls itself prophecy it is 
situating its message in line with other biblical prophets like Jeremiah and 
Isaiah. Those prophets' task was to speak God's word-a word of salvation and 
justice for God's people and for the world. Their task was to set God's vision 
before the people so they could see it and live it. Propets condemn injustice 
and greed; they advocate for the poor, for widows and orphans."

She goes on and discusses the concept of dispensationists, of metaphorical, 
symbolic and literal language are used in and by those who advocate the Rapture 
as a destructive entity coming to earth...

There is much in this book to recommend itself to anyone who is looking at 
differing viewpoints of the Rapture--it is very clear to me, too, Andy, that 
the ones who 'believe' in what they have been taught in terms of the Rapture 
are caught and trapped in a world that is tense...but they don't have to view 
it that way at all!!

Life without a Rapture coming can be extremely fulfilling as a 
"Believer"--though I think one does have to get to know the 
Universe/G-d/Jesus/Mother-Father God/Love/Truth/Beauty/etc. in a more dynamic 
way--and it is a way that causes one to identfy more fully with the 'heart' of 
a Creator who Cares'...for as I tell those I love when they go through parts of 
life--"I cannot take it from you, but I wlll climb beside you on this cliff all 
the way up and tell you, when I can, of any jags or loose rock. I will catch 
you if you fall and place you back on as solid footing as exists."  I do that 
because I am learning that more and more that the Creator that *I* have been 
reconnecting to does that, as well...and the Creator that I know hovers over 
all of us <g> [I have a story about the pros and cons of 'hovering' someday to 
share...]

Just like digging deeper into figuring out this whole inner moral sense can be 
just as adventurous as hiking or kayaking or canoing--or sailing or sitting on 
a mountain overlooking a sweet pasture, so can life without a Rapture...though 
it takes a bit more thought <G> and perhaps energy...

I hope that if anyone read to the end of this that it made some sense!

Back in Texas again,
Marlena usually in her suburb in Missouri (where even the Catholics are 
Baptists...and the Rapture is taken for granted by all...)



-----Original Message-----
From: Andy Amago <aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: lit-ideas <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

I pulled this off of Google about the rapture.  People who believe in rapture 
are essentially saying God loves them best.  Everybody thinks God loves them 
best.   God can do that I guess.


http://www.rusearching.com/leftbehind/leftrapturehistory.htm

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