“By the way, the King James Bible is the only reliable English Bible that hasn’t been corrupted by Satan.”
- some fundamentalist dude
I was driving down an awfully boring strip of road, or up it, I suppose, depending on whether you are happily waiting me approach the capital of the south, Richmond, or despondently watching me recede into the distance from Ruckersville, the capital of incredibly large portions of meat at Jinya’s infamous Pig n’ Steak. In one shape or form, I was moving, unless the world was moving and I was staying still, which we really don’t know, were it not for the speed of light being a objective reference frame, and as far as I can tell we still don’t even after that, which is something I’d really only care about were I feeling crappy, which I was.
I was feeling crappy for all sorts of brilliant reasons, but I have no illusions that it’s really cool and ironic to share one’s feelings online, so I’ll let you imagine the afore-mentioned crappiness; let’s say I slipped, fell and accidentally impregnated a supermodel, and was – as I drove – wrestling with my inability to pay child support. Or that – in a fit of Papist fury – I bit a Calvinist. The point is, the road was boring. Dead. Devoid of romance. If you know me at all, you know I crave the poetry behind the apparent, and frankly, the Wal-Mart’s and Starbucks I passed weren’t cutting it. Now, thought I, would be a great time to see an angel. A flaming sentinel standing in front of the signs screaming “Discount Prices!”, the messenger of God’s wrath and fury, incongruent and unapologetic.
What I saw, in all honesty, was a wrinkled, old, angry-looking man holding a sign that read, “The World Is Going To Hell!” He was standing on the sidewalk of the four-lane-boring highway, and I have never seen a more bitter grimace. And guess what errybody? It put me in a great mood. I was laughing and smiling soon after that. He wasn’t the angel I looked for; I think he’s dead wrong in his theology. (It’s false to think of Christianity in terms of a life-raft, that everyone is inherently damned until they find Jesus, that all men of all religions will drown unless converted.)(Rather, Jesus commanded all things unto himself, opened the gates of heaven for everyone, reconciled mankind to the Father, no one is exempt from his mercy.)(No, I am not a Universalist, unlike this guy) But he made me happy.
Because of what Flannery O’Connor said, yes – and if you’re a super-cool Facebook follower than you’ll know my newfound and flamboyant and passionate love of her threatens even my most sturdy literary marriage to G.K. Chesterton – that: “The Catholic novelist in the South will see many distorted images of Christ, but he will certainly feel that a distorted image of Christ is better than no image at all. I think he will feel a good deal more kinship with backwoods prophets and shouting fundamentalists than he will with those politer elements for whom the supernatural is an embarrassment and for whom religion has become a department of sociology…” But also because, somehow, it’s good to know that our world will not be allowed to sleep, that they will be kept out of apathy by fundamentalists condemning them to hell. It might make them violent towards Christians, it might simply confuse your average secularist, but gosh-dern it, it’ll make them face Christianity. Even if the Christian is wrong, you must face Christianity in order to be right. You cannot, thanks to such characters – and more orthodox ones besides – remain unaffected. I thank God for soapbox preachers, because they tactlessly make the issue of the Incarnation a thing that cannot be avoided.
And honestly, it’s good to know that this still happens. That if you’ve missed your morning cup of coffee, you can always condemn the world to hell.
And to finish up, I just want everyone to know that I am absolutely pumped for the rapture. Heaven is gonna be great and all, but what’s more important is that I disappear exactly when my A.P test starts.