Rapture Games

It’s a unique experience to grow up as a fundamentalist child who is constantly under the threat of either being suddenly yanked out of the world in the twinkling of a eye or being left behind as an orphan for seven years of tribulation. This is stuff that will keep an eight-year-old up at night. If I’m in heaven, who’s going to feed my dog? (In case you’re wondering you can prepare ahead with a letter to an unsaved animal lover via raptureletters.com)

But to their credit, fundamentalist children are nothing if not creative when faced with the possibility of suddenly being disembodied. For example, there’s a helpful clause in Scripture which says that “no man knows the day or the hour” of the Lord’s return. If you’ve ever made it a bedtime ritual to proclaim “I know the Lord will return tomorrow” in hopes of using reverse psychology on the Almighty to stave off the End Times, you might have been a fundamentalist child.

But for those without a clever Rapture-prevention strategy, the fear of being left behind in the midst of Tribulation chaos is a real one for fundamentalists of all ages. The ubiquitous tale of pilots sucked out of the cockpits of their airliners to the doom of the passengers calls for giving some careful scrutiny to the flight crew when boarding an aircraft to see if there are visible clues to their salvation status. “Everybody relax, the pilot has a mustache.” It looks like any unsaved passengers will get to live for another day.

If you’ve ever been awakened from a dead sleep by a car horn and your first thought was “I’ve been left behind!” — you probably have been a fundamentalist.

292 thoughts on “Rapture Games”

  1. I’ve been trying to find it on the internet to share with you all but can’t: a children’s book by Rexella van Impe titled “Whoosh! I Want to Go Up! The Story of the Rapture.” I found it at a thrift store. It tries to be reassuring, but I still think it could be scary for a kid.

  2. K.O.! I don’t even know where to begin. Oh wait, yes I do….on cloudy days when the sky would look weird and forboding….I would run home from the school bus and grab the church directory and start calling the houses of members, just hoping they answered because my mom seemed to be late getting home from work and you never know……good times. Not.

  3. “The world couldn’t possibly end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia!” Bob Newhart.

  4. //If you’ve ever made it a bedtime ritual to proclaim “I know the Lord will return tomorrow” in hopes of using reverse psychology on the Almighty to stave off the End Times, you might have been a fundamentalist child.//

    I love it!


  5. 10 and 9 8 and 7 6 and 5 and 4 call upon the Savior while you may! 3 and 2 coming through the clouds with bright array! the countdown’s getting lower every day!

    1. I used to sing that! It was my favorite because we started out with a dramatic count down and jumped out of our chairs at ‘BLAST OFF’.

  6. I don’t know the answer to this, but seeing all the comments about organs that have been donated, babies, etc. staying behind or leaving made me think. What if there are Siamese twins and only one of them is saved? What happens then? lol

    1. lmao!!!! WHY oh WHY didn’t I think of this when I was 12 years old and ask it during Sunday School???? So many missed oportunities

    2. LMAO!!! My daughter is definitely going to ask this at her youth activity tonight. Fundy youth pastor will LOVE this! 😉

  7. Poor Rexella . . . all those facelifts and makeup for naught, given that the Lord’s return is imminent.

    I gotta say she looks pretty darned good for 78.

  8. It’s been about three years since I left this mindset, but I was exposed to the possibility that the rapture was a concept that had only been around for the last 100years by the guy who was teaching my Crown Financial class at the time, I remember being alarmed that someone who didn’t believe in the rapture could be teaching at our church, I actually thought of telling the leadership that’s how brainwashed I was, but something about what he said spoke an uncomfortable truth to my heart, and so I guess I’ve had over 10years to process the information, I forgot that, my heart genuinely breaks now when I think of the long road people will go through to recover from the idea of “the rapture” and in all honestly, I still struggle with some of the end time stuff, it’s really not funny, and using cute little names like fundies and that kinda crap really shows that the people don’t understand how damaging this has been to people who have had their lives basically stolen from them.

    1. I’d be very careful with those assumptions, especially since they aren’t true.

      If anything, many of us regulars *have* had our lives stolen by Fundamentalism. Many have lost friends, family, educations, careers. Many here have suffered physical, emotional, spiritual, and sexual abuse while in Fundamentalism. To say we don’t understand the damage caused by the situation is, quite frankly, insulting to those who know it all too well.

      Do you know why we call them “fundies”? One reason, shorter to type. Why lie there? But more importantly, it’s a diminutive term. We’re not trying to be “cute” by calling them that. It’s a subtle (or maybe not) way of letting them know we don’t consider them nearly as important as they see themselves. They don’t like it.

      Do you know why we laugh, even in the face of painful memories? Laughter can heal as well as wound. Most of us know what it’s like to be laughed at and ridiculed by the Fundy Powers That Be. Now it’s our turn, and we turn their weapon into a way to shine light on the dark secrets for all to see, and to bond in friendship now that we’re out. We’re aware that many people aren’t far enough along in their healing to laugh yet, and we really can be sensitive when we know that.

      Please don’t assume the worst about us.

    2. It was only about five years ago that I found out that the whole pre-trib system began in Scotland in the 1830s and was later brought to America, where the whole end-times narrative was tweaked some more.
      What angers me more, is that many fundie leaders know this and never tell their followers. They just let their followers assume this is what tradition church has always taught and that churches that follow the traditional view are the ones committing heresy.

  9. How about this for some good memories…At church camp one summer after the evening games (READ:volleyball with giant ball) as we were heading off to our cabins the bell started ringing and counselors started yelling at us all to go to the chapel. Once there, we were told to be quiet and load up on the church bus we would be told further instructions later. As we’re driving down this pitch dark backroad w/ no just parking lights on the head counselor stands up and tells us that the government has declared Christianity illegal and that they are actively searching for Christians to kill. We were in PA at the time and I will remember the name of that governor my whole life b/c they said that Governor Ridge had authorized people to bring Christians in to the county jails for processing! Counselor told us we needed to pray for protection and to make sure that our hearts were right with God! This went on for 30 minutes or so and then voila we ended up in a meadow with a bonfire, marshmallows, and a “bless God we’re just kidding — BUT it could’ve been real!” So very funny….NOT!

    1. Talking about messing up some young minds. Sounds like they must have had more than one preacher boy or youth pastor to dream up that brilliant scheme! Oh my, just get a picture of Jesus in your head right now, and try to imagine what He must think about such foolishness.

  10. one time at BJU, i was downstairs in one of the “prayer rooms” and missed the bell for chapel. i walked outside, still not realizing what time it was, and the place was DESERTED. not a human soul in sight. i panicked! i figured that if the rapture occurred, surely all of BJU would be gone, so why was i left behind?

  11. Ok, I am going to reveal my age with this comment. Back in 1976, a bus load of children and their driver were kidnapped and buried in a van in Chowchilla, CA. This was nationwide news back then.

    The youth pastor decided this would be a great opportunity to scare the jr. high youth into getting “saved” whether they were or not. We were all on a church bus, driving to an activity, when this van with 3 men cut the bus off. These men wore ski masks and stormed on the bus (with what, I hope, were fake guns.) The masked men made us all climb into a van. We were scared out of our minds! We all drove for awhile. Most of us were sobbing, thinking we were going to die. The van pulls off, we are told to get out of the van, and then the youth pastor, and his accomplices, march us into a wooded area none of us had ever been to before. Finally we are taken to a bonfire.

    It was then the masked men take their masks off and the youth pastor told us this was not real. The youth pastor then preached a combo of “This could have been the day you died/interwoven with rapture could occur any minute….if either of these things happened, “Are you 100% sure you would go to heaven?” The only thing myself and my jr. high friends were 100% sure of is that we were scared to death! We ALL got saved/re-saved that night! Next day, the youth pastor got up in church and told the congregation that 23 Jr. High Youth Group students were “saved” the night before. Way to get his numbers up, I guess. 👿 For YEARS, I had nightmares about this incident.

    Here is the history of what occurred to those children in Chowchilla, CA, if you which to read it. http://www.ci.chowchilla.ca.us/city%20facts/history.htm#1976

    1. O.O

      …that is *horrible*. I am so sorry that you had to go through such an experience! That would scar me FOREVER!

    2. The IFB where the ENDS justify the MEANS.
      You can tell how entrenched the cult mentality was by how many parents applauded the Mental abuse of their children in this way as a good Evangelistic tool.
      Did any parents stand up and call it mental abuse?

    3. OMFG! 😮 Of all the horrible things to do to a kid! I remember that, I was in high school when it happened and I can’t believe anyone would do something like that as a stunt. If I’d been one of those parents, your youth pastor would’ve been arrested for kidnapping, false imprisonment, assault and any other charges I could talk the cops into. As for the pastor; how would aiding and abetting and accessory after the fact sound.
      The longer I’m out of fundyism, the happier I am I left.

  12. Actually, the night I wrote that comment, I had a nightmare about this incident. 🙁 😳

    A number of parents were very upset with the youth pastor for doing this. A few families left the church over this. Of course, the senior pastor, did nothing to the youth pastor, and even berated the parents for “babying” their kids. 😡

  13. Watching the “Mark of the Beast” movies at fundie church camp gave me this horn/rapture hyper-paranoia. Yes…. it still happens.

    If you get scarred young, it’ll stick wit ‘cha!

    (Therefore, I’ve been using humor as a coping mechanism since I was 10.)

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