I was going to live blog today's Rapture, but the 8-year-old had a swimming lesson at 10:00 a.m., and having gotten off to a slow start I decided to bag it. The Huffington Post is on the job, anyway.
For those inclined to consider the earth-bound consequences of our epochal time, Hendrik Hertzberg points out that it does not bode well for Republicans. Sure, a disproportionate number of them will be swept to their reward, but a necessary corollary is that those left behind trend Democratic. Not that it matters, but the Republican side of the presidential race will be transformed:
The Rapture will usefully thin out the Republican field, which . . . has already been culled by the departure of Trump and Huckabee. As of tomorrow, Palin, Bachmann, Santorum, and possibly Pawlenty (a Lutheran who attends an evangelical megachurch) will be out of the picture, having been bodily swooped up to Heaven (along with, redundantly, Huckabee).
I'm not sure about Pawlenty, either. Here in Minnesota, where we have the advantage of daily close-ups (except for when he's traveling in Iowa or New Hampshire), the matter of Pawlenty's religion is sort of murky. He was raised a Catholic, then switched over to megachurch Lutheranism, his wife's brand, without exhibiting any signs of soulful struggle. He didn't talk much about God and Faith and All Of That as a state legislator, or as a candidate for governor, or as governor. Now, of course, he's running for president, and his favorite conversational topics have changed somewhat. I do not pretend to be able to look into another man's heart, but God can, and I'm not sure He'll deem Pawlenty Rapture-ready. If he is left behind, he'll move toward the top of the thinned field, although it is of course possible that Trump will get back into the race.
One advantage of being--how to say?--religiously casual is that you can laugh about this stuff. Beats hell out of being all overwrought with expectation, and then on the morning after feeling obliged to work up alternative explanations. It's an old drill. The gospel narratives all predict an imminent end to human history. For example, Matthew 16:27-28, reads (Revised Standard Version):
For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
Concerning this passage, Krister Stendahl, contributor to Peake's Commentary on the Bible and Professor of New Testament Studies at Harvard Divinity School, writes:
. . . the allusion to Psalms 62:13 ('he shall repay every man according to his deed') is used as in the Psalter referring only to God's steadfast love towards the righteous. This good connotation is intensified in [verse] 28 where the coming of the Kingdom is expected within a generation. But coming in what sense?
The educated ones have the good sense to ask questions, not answer them.