Bar Jester Chronicles 13: What to Do When the World Doesn’t End

Rock Island, IL

The latest Late Great Date of Human Fate has come and gone, and it would appear that the really good God-fearing devil-hating people are still here on earth, which is also still here.

Whew! That was a close one. I even saw someone at a sporting event holding up a placard that read, “For God so hated the world that he gave it his best ass-whooping on May 21, 2011.”

Now that’s strict theology!

But, between you and me, I think God realized which 200 million people he’d be spending eternity with and changed his mind like a woman–fast! Think about it. Would you want some guy walking around the streets of gold, harp in hand, telling everyone about how he’d dipped into his retirement so he could make two trips a day from Long Island to NYC, driving a hundred miles each cycle and spending fifteen bucks a trip, in hopes that people, seeing the “ominous lighted sign” on his car, would take the day off because the ultimate off-day was at hand?

That story would get old quicker than the in-laws at Christmas. (Christmas, you may recall, is a feast day that commemorates the Incarnation, which implicitly sanctions the flesh and the material world that John Nelson Darby’s God now seems bent on obliterating.)

And then there’s the Prophet Himself, the learned ex-civil engineer cum biblical scholar, The Right Reverend Harold Camping, who, knowing the end was at hand, couldn’t even be bothered to do as his Personal Savior instructed the rich young ruler to do. And even given the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Late Great Date of Human Fate (October 21, 2011), he still has no plans to give away all his possessions.

“I still have to live in a house, I still have to drive a car,” he said. “What would be the value of [giving them away]? If it is Judgment Day why would I give it away?”

Indeed!

Granted, I’m not the exegete that Rev. Camping is, but I can think of at least one reason: if the end of the world starts somewhere near Australia and, as the world turns, slowly makes its way here, there is time to help at least a few destitute sinners, men and women made in the image of God who could benefit from the extra stuff and maybe even, because of the gratitude it ignites in them, come to Jesus in the nick of time. (Because, really, all you have to do is agree with John 3:16 before the bus runs you over or the heaven-flung meteor hits. Do that and you’re golden.)

Think of it: Two hundred million and twelve! O how the angelic hosts would sing! I can almost hear the cherubim and seraphim in mournfully joyous refrain intoning a triumphant version in six-part harmony (one for each wing) of “I Come to the Garden Alone” or “Onward, Christian Soldiers!”

There wouldn’t be a dry eye from the Pearly Gates to the Right Hand of the Father, where sit Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, the Chief of the Left-Behinders, sharing under their left and right behinds a soft golden cushion. Behold how they munch saltine crackers and toast with raised glasses of Welch’s grape juice their great good fortune! What most of us wouldn’t give to lick the crumbs from their table (or pinch some scratch from their highly lucrative rapture industry).

Well, at any rate, it appears May 21 was only the “spiritual” judgment day. The physical one, the one on which the creation that God declared “very good” and later died for gets blasted to Kingdom Come, won’t arrive until October. So there’s still time to party our asses off and go to confession. (Those of you who did a little last-second shriving just in case might wish to make a follow-up appointment with your confessor and de-emphasize some of the things you were really keen on. Maybe you haven’t indulged quite so much “chocolate” as you owned up to.)

And the good news for you who routinely tune in to Krustian radio is that from now on Rev. Camping’s radio network will leave off announcing the Revised Late Great Date of Human Fate and “just play Christian music and programs until the final end on Oct. 21.”

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