Friday, March 21, 2008

When you care enough to send the very best.... **

When the Rapture happens, will you be ready? I'm not talking about the condition of your mortal soul. My assumption is that you have already attended to your eternal future. What I'm talking about is your relationships with those you'll be "leaving behind" (as it were). We presume that the "saved" will simply vanish, or ascend quickly into the heavens in the blink-of-an-eye. Most likely the damned among your loved ones won't actually see your departure. In other words, they'll have no clue where you've gone. Perhaps you've been abducted by World Government agents? Or maybe you just got tired of all those arguments about who would take the kids to church each week. The point is that it will simply be a matter of perspective, which kind of defeats the purpose, after all. So what do you do about it?

Well, thankfully the answer is here. Rapture Letters! Someone has thought to set up a system whereby your people back on Earth will be notified when you leave for your great reward. They won't have to wonder if you have finally sought professional assistance, or have departed on some special retreat. They won't suspect you of starting an affair and abandoning your family. There is simply no chance of anyone getting the wrong idea. The letter will be sent to all indicated, arriving via e-mail on the First Friday after the great event itself. It is written in clear and simple terms that even the most flawed among them will be able to parse. (Read the letter here). Its author has taken great pains to communicate the status of the world without unnecessary embellishments. There are handy biblical references where the confused can find verification direct from God. And finally... a prayer template is provided for the possible salvation of the recipient.

Ok... so is this some sort of cosmic joke? All signs point to "no". Although the site's origins are somewhat unclear, a bit of deductive reasoning has led me to believe that its creator is somehow affiliated with the Calvary Chapel of Phelan, CA. On the front page, it is clearly stated that the project is a "personal ministry", which suggests to me that no official authority is particularly anxious to take credit for it. Why that should be so, I have no idea. Given the specific beliefs of this "born again" brand of faith, this service is immensely convenient and efficient. If you really think about it... who is going to let out the dogs after the Rapture? And cancel the credit cards?? And turn off the furnace and lights in church? Best to consider these practicalities now, before you are swept off your feet in a Lordly embrace.

Frankly, you have to admire whoever put this together. For one thing, they have taken sufficient time away from prayer to construct an elegantly straightforward web site. Navigating through its pages, I noticed immediately that every effort was expended to make it user friendly. There is a separate section which allows you to enter recipients' names and electronic addresses, one-at-a-time. Bear in mind that if your various social circles are wider than most Christians, you should expect to devote anywhere from 12 to 24 hours submitting the entries for all your heathen friends and associates (more time will obviously be required if you live in a gay or Catholic neighborhood). Don't worry about offending anyone by making a mistake of judgment... in any cases where you falsely condemn someone to Hell on Earth, the beauty of it all is that they will never realize your mistake (unless the "saved" are allowed to keep their existing e-mail accounts in heaven).

Perhaps it's not quite up to the standards of the time (there are no glitzy Flash effects or video portals), but this site manages to get the job done. Or does it? Notably absent is any real effort to convince the non-believer that this mailing is authentic. It's author makes only a half-hearted attempt to address the skepticism of its potential readers. Obviously this will be a cynical and hardened audience... after all, they've already turned away the greatest gift man has ever received. Yet there's only two sentences devoted to such concerns. To wit: "I am sure that there will be a lot of speculation as to what happened to all these people. The theories of some scientists and world leaders will have so much credibility that most of the world will believe them." But then again, no one wants to invest too much of the time we have left on inane nonsense like "scientific theories".

What makes this enterprise almost perfect is the author's explanation of what makes it possible. Obviously he expects to be among the chosen. So who is going to send out the e-mails, post-Rapture? No, he hasn't arranged for Mexican laborers to man his keyboard. But he has anticipated the question- "How is this accomplished, you might ask (sic). It's a dead man switch that will automatically send the emails when it is not reset." You have to appreciate anyone willing to reveal the mysteries behind their accomplishments. Any critics should be reminded that this service is absolutely free. And only 10% of donations are applied to administration costs, with the remainder being devoted to "further the kingdom of God".*

* Which raises the question... what is God gonna do with the money? Internal improvements?

** Thanks go out to Tibi for letting me know about this.

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Blogger Dagrims said...

So what happens if this guy gets hit by a car and dies? All the letters go out, and the people who submitted names and email addresses have a lot of explaining to do.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

Or all those folks could just give their loved ones the silent treatment for awhile and avoids them. That would be kind of amusing.

6:46 PM  
Blogger jefg99 said...

I think that is covered somewhere in his contract, though several pages back. "In the case I get hit by another vehicle while driving and am killed, the responsibility for disabling the "kill switch" (no pun intended) hereby falls to Onstar. Please contact them for further information in that case. Thank you." Hey, it could happen,

1:38 PM  

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