OK, so I'm headed out of town for a few days, causing a regrettable delay in this week's installment of Left Behind Fridays. Hope to have it up here by Saturday evening.
Until then, here's a provocative little passage from David Dark on the subject of apocalyptic literature (from the introduction of what turns out to be a review of Radiohead's "OK Computer"):
"As a literary genre, 'apocalyptic' is a way of investing space-time events with their theological significance; it is actually a way of affirming, not denying, the vital importance of the present continuing space-time order, by denying that evil has the last word in it." N.T. Wright (The New Testament and the People of God.) …
We've apparently got the word "apocalyptic" all wrong. It's not about destruction or fortune-telling, it's about revealing. …
Apocalyptic shows us what we're not seeing. It can't be composed or spoken by the powers that be, because they are the sustainers of "the way things are" whose operation justifies itself by crowning itself as "the way things ought to be" and whose greatest virtue is being "realistic." Thinking through what we mean when we say "realistic" is where the apocalyptic begins. If the powers that be are the boot which, to borrow Orwell's phrase, presses down upon the human face forever, apocalyptic is the speech of that human face. Apocalyptic denies, in spite of all the appearances to the contrary, the "forever" part.
That takes one a lot closer to understanding the meaning of St. John's Apocalypse than anything LaHaye and Jenkins have written. It also illuminates just why the pseudo-apocalyptic literature of L&J is so deeply awful. L&J may not themselves be "the powers that be," but they are thoroughly invested in the status quo. So in a sense they are writing from a perspective that is roughly the opposite of John's.
Bonus question: To what extent can snark be characterized as a form of apocalyptic literature?
(I'll be back Saturday with the belated LBF.)