My (Real) End of the World Letter

My guess and hope is that you are all with your loved ones right now.

Are some of you not, though?

Is someone out there actually reading this?

Do you, my reader, just now have no one to love and hold? No one to caress, to pet, to tell them how much you love them, and what a joy to you they have always been? How much better your life has been because of them?

Is there no one to hold you, and pet you, and say those things to you?

So that now you’ve gone online, reaching out through cyberspace for a hand to hold, a heart to touch?

Well, I’m glad you are! Because I am here, too!

I love you. And I mean it. Writing the truth as I understand it has been the goal and purpose of my whole stupid life. If no one reads what I write, my life would have a whole lot less meaning.

So thank you. Thank you. If I were there with you, I would hug and kiss you, and tell you how much you mean to me.

So here we are!

And soon, here we will not be.

Well. No real surprise there, right?

Who lives not knowing death is right beside them, ever and eagerly anticipating the moment it slips in to take their place?

And now we’re all going to die at once.

How weird is that?

Probably good if you’re a cockroach.

Probably great if you’re a cockroach!

So God doesn’t love us best of all.

Or maybe he does, and wants to be with us now, all at once.

Go now, friend, and be with someone. Anyone. Stop the first person you see, and tell them (if you are) that you’re alone. Knock on a stranger’s door; tell them you’re alone. Stand on a street corner, and cry out that you’re alone.

You won’t be for long.

We are all together now.

Someone will open their arms to you. You will be loved.

You are loved. I have loved you. I do love you. You saved me, just now. You are saving me, right now.

God awaits us!

Let’s not let him find any of us alone.

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • Don Rappe

    Whoa!

  • http://noisycolorfullively.wordpress.com Monica

    I’m a foster mom. Last night a child arrived on my doorstep. They called me twice because no one in the world wanted him last night. He’s now running wildly through my house. Playing with the child I’m adopting because no one in the world wants him. I’m typing one handed because I’m holding another little boy who belongs to no one.

    We love. We love deeply. We love well. And I appreciate your message today. As the world comes to an end, we love on.

    And to the neighbor who’s alone, come on over. There’s plenty of love to go around here (and I could use a hand!)

    • Mollie

      This is lovely.

    • Marcelo

      God bless you. And because children are in your life, He has.

    • DR

      I adore you and I don’t even know you. Thank you, thank you.

    • Lee Walker

      wow! God bless you for blessing so many.

    • Don Whitt

      @Monica: Anyone who would not want a 4yr old little boy has never spent time with a 4yr old little boy. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

        What they all said. Extremely touching.

    • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

      I love you, Monica. I love you for showing those boys how very lovable they are, how very much they are loved. I want to hug you!

  • Marcelo

    John:

    Now, I was all prepared for a morning-snarky kind of post to read about that nut (around here, there’s a guy driving around a van with “May 21, 2011,” exhortations, and Bible passages emblazoned all over it…really well done graphics job, I have to say) and what he’s certain about tomorrow.

    Instead, I get this. Yet another thought-provoking, almost heart-stoppingly poignant reminder of what’s really important.

    I’m ready for it, even if I’m not taken up in the Rapture, ’cause I know I am loved for me being me, as weird and broken as I sometimes am.

    When I was growing up, my mother used to think it was funny when she would often knock on my door as I was getting ready to go to sleep and say, “Brother, prepare yourself to die.” It was a phrase she said was used in a monastery, as the abbot swept down the corridor, knocking on each monk’s door. Kind of morbid, but then, it’s my kind of humor.

    And yet…how true, how true.

    Thank YOU, John, this was wonderfully done. Your life would have meaning even if no one read your writing, because you have truth, and that is the only meaning we need have ultimately. But boy, I hope you realize how many people’s lives you’ve touched because we DO read you. And we read you again.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Wow! It’s like we had the same mom! Except mine would actually be holding a knife, screaming, and hurling herself against my door as I frantically tried to escape out my bedroom window. But … sort of the same.

      No, but thank you very much, Marcelo, for blessing me with these words.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        From what all I’ve ever heard of your parents, it’s a wonder you’ve turned out so… not sociopathic.

  • Beth

    Beautiful. Have been struggling with some things lately and feeling alone in it until I reached out for help. This is exactly what I needed to read. Bless.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Lovely. Thank you, Beth. Hope all is well with you.

  • http://progressivechristianalliance.org Roger McClellan

    Wow, John!

    Wonderfully touching post.

    Much love to you, my dear brother.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      And to you, Roger. Thanks so much. These words mean a lot, especially coming from you.

  • Mindy

    Like Marcelo, I was expecting snark, and instead, you made me cry. Happy tears, though, because I am loved. Even if those who love me most are at the ages where they are loath to actually SAY they love me, I know, by their actions, that they do. This was beautiful, John.

    So I’ll add a bit of snark. My favorite FB moment came yesterday when the Christian friend of another Christian friend invited me to “A Post-Rapture Looting.” I plan to attend.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Thanks, Mindy. You are loved. I’ve got READERS who love you. Give me best to your girls.

  • Holly

    That warmed my heart like… I just don’t even know.

    And Monica- I wish we were neighbors.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Thanks, Holly, very much.

  • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

    Some of us enjoy being alone, my dear. I often have fantasies of wandering around an empty world.

    I had an idea for a short story I never wrote and don’t know if I will write about a young man and his dog living in a bookstore after everyone in the world suddenly vanishes, and he’s happy to live that way.

    I had an idea for another short story in which the end is coming (through some cosmic, scientific means, an astroid or maybe a gamma ray burst or something), the world knows it, and after the initial looting and chaos die down, all the militaries of the world lay down their arms… and people have parties… and all folks who had previously fought with each other do not longer and decide “we’re all humanity” just because there is no mythical “future” worth fighting for and saving from each other anymore. I’d like to write it, but am not sure if I should go ahead with it.

    Right now, I’m trying to write something that has nothing to do with the end of the world about pacifists and warriors and am looking forward to a particular standup comedy routine on Comedy Central tommorow night – I’ll be annoyed if I miss it, so Camping had better be wrong.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    This—BRILLIANT, John!!!

    I think—I hope—everyone with the least bit of humanity knows deep down inside the truth you point to here. Why then is it so hard for us, for the world, to just come together in love? to be not each one alone but all one together?

    Perhaps it’s because love feeds the soul, but we still (actually, first) need to feed the belly, and so conflict arises out of legitimate concerns for our material well-being?

    But this isn’t rational, since we can do a much more efficient job of making sure we’re all taken care of when we take care of one another, similarly to how mass production is far superior to everyone having their own local blacksmith, which in turn is better than everyone trying to be their own blacksmith. But what can we do? Man is just not a highly rational being.

    So one must appeal to his emotions. But there one must compete with demons appealing to his baser emotions: the most powerful among them, assuming we do have our material needs adequately met (which really is almost a given in modern western society, with exception for cases in which we victimize one another), seems to be the one that tells us to keep our distance because we could get hurt getting too attached to something temporary, something fleeting.

    But this too is irrational, for two reasons: Such thinking privileges attachment to ourselves—we ourselves are fleeting, and the damage caused by the loss of something is the loss of the value of having it, which benefit then we simply never know. Ignorance may be bliss, but it’s not truly a good thing, unless you’d prefer we stayed in the Stone Age. In net, it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved. Yet our fear of what the light would reveal keeps us in the darkness. Fear of the unknown—which has it’s place: curiosity killed the cat, they say (perhaps they’re referring to Schrödinger’s)—keeps us ignorant.

    I suppose only by shining the light might we hope to show that what it reveals ultimately is nothing to be afraid of. But that takes faith: the faith to believe that that truly is so, that it really is OK after all. That was whole reason Jesus died on that cross. And the fact that it’s true is why He has risen on the third day.

    • cat rennolds

      Matthew, do you have your own blog?

      • Matthew Tweedell

        No, I don’t think I could consistently dedicate enough time to it at present in my life to make it worth doing, besides the fact that I’m not a particularly good writer generally. I’m more of a thinker (and wannabe doer): sometimes, the thoughts happen to lend themselves to words quite naturally; other times, I either get too bogged down in the details or too foggy in the big picture (or vacillate between the two) to get the point across very well. Plus, although I can sometimes be somewhat artful with the written word when I want, I guess I just don’t particularly enjoy the medium. (For instance, while I enjoy composing music, I hardly ever set lyrics to anything, despite the fact that I consider my voice my most talented instrument!) But as is typical of the male homo sapiens, I would prefer to communicate in no more but than grunts and nods (and perhaps the occasional war cry) if at all possible.

        • Don Rappe

          Grunt. Nod.

  • R Boyer

    Oh, gosh, John . . . I got all misty reading this. Don’t worry. Come Monday, I’ll be back to my old snarkery after a nice day spent in post-Rapture looting.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      SNARKERY! I love it. Thank you, R. Boyer.

  • Jeannie

    If anybody has the least bit of anxiety about all the hoopla – go to the guy’s website that started this all. It is so full of anger and hatred. It is so mean spirited. Spend 5 minutes on it and realize that is not the truth or the heart of God – ever.

  • Don Whitt

    FYI, this took me forever to grok, John. I was actually MYSTIFIED the first time I read it.

    This is your way of expressing YOUR love while throwing down the gauntlet to all those Christians who would wish for the end, but simultaneously ignore the need to love their neighbors. Really love them. All this drama, yet it’s pointed inward and upward instead of outward. Selfishness of the worst flavor.

    Bravo! as usual, Mr. Paradigmatic Smarty Pants.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      That was totally my nickname when I was a kid!!

      • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

        If it wasn’t, it should have been. :P

  • David

    I was alone for the last 8 years. My wife left when I became disabled by chronic pain. We had no children (thankfully) to mess up with our divorce. I feel like I have been hit by a truck on a good day. On a bad day, I am in a fetal position in my bed.

    I recently moved back to my hometown to be near my family. My sister has 2 boys, who are my source of joy. I take them fishing & play in the mud with them. She has a standing rule that they must take a bath after they have been with me, because they are usually muddy & sweaty from our adventures.

    Thank you for writing this piece. Human contact is vital to emotional health. As I write this, my nephew & I are waiting for our frozen pizza to cook & deciding what nature show to watch on television together. It is our Friday night routine & I wouldn’t trade the time I spend with them for a mountain of gold.

    • DR

      David I’m sorry you’re in pain. Chronic pain is something no one can understand until they have it. And to lose your wife too, what a blow. It’s always in these moments of vulnerability that the love John was talking about is achingly beautiful.

  • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

    Wonderful.

    If it ended right now, I would die knowing I was returning to the loving arms of my Father. And if it (as I’m pretty sure it will) keep going on tomorrow, I will walk forth into the next day and the next and the next knowing that I am loved.

    I love all of you. All of the you’s that are reading this and all of the you’s that aren’t. Thank you, John Shore, for pointing us to the real reason behind everything. As always, you point us right at what’s important and true.

  • http://SeekingHimLivingByFaith.blogspot.com Jerri Harrington

    Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength.

    Love your neighbor as yourself….that sums up the law and the prophets.

    The world will know that you are My disciples by your love for one another!

    Let your light so shine among men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.

    If anyone would be great among you, he must become the servant of all.

    Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world!

    All of those scriptures have been running around in my heart all day! You summed them up nicely.

    Thank You, John.

  • Karen

    This is the most ‘way cool’ way to spend the last hours before the rapture – in a total lovefest here on John’s blog. I love you John! I love you my fellow bloggers!


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