A theological/sociological/anthropological Kim Kardashian interval

By Charles Redfern

This weekend was the weekend of the un-moment, the weekend of the non-event event, the weekend in which columnists and television hosts frazzled themselves over a looming non-incident everyone knew would not occur – and, when it did not happen, bloggers blogged about how a predominantly silent clique should think twice before it fanned the flames of panic again.  Never have so many talk-headed so much for so long about something they all knew was nothing.

I speak, of course, of Harold Camping’s prediction that the so-called “rapture” would sweep born-again Christians off the Earth and into the sky on May 21.  I write this on May 22 – and I’m totally non-surprised to be here a day after my un-disappointment.  What’s more, I preached at my church of mostly born-again Christians this morning.  Almost all were there (a few had the sniffles; a couple temporary heathens played hooky; no one was in the clouds).  We all knew Brother Camping was the equivalent of the bearded doom-and-gloom guy with the sandwich board in LA’s Griffith Park – or the poor soul who bundled up in winter clothing in August and marched the city streets where I once lived, screaming, “REEEEEPENT!  THE LAWD IS COM-ING!”   We’re aware of Acts 1:7: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority,” and, like many evangelical Christians, we doubt all this talk of the “pre-tribulation rapture.”  We think Left Behind should be left behind.

Here’s the incongruity: Secular bloggers and talking heads are convinced we evangelicals have the IQ’s of gnats and the herd mentalities of gnus, so we stand in the field like clots of lobotomized deer facing the headlights, awaiting the edicts of our “leaders.”  When Camping spoke, we lemmings donned sweaters.  Every evangelical was talking about it.  All “fundamentalists” were frantic.  We couldn’t wait for May 21.  But almost all the Christian web sites and publications I saw barely mentioned May 21 – and no one was buying it.  We haven’t taken Camping seriously since he designated 1994 as the year of the rapture (to be honest, I had to play catch-up: “Who is this guy?”).  Secular writers jammed the bandwidth with their analysis on why the entire evangelical world follows Camping, then other writers responded to those writers and others chimed in.  All were talking about how we were talking even though we weren’t talking.  I would invoke the “snowball” analogy, but snowballs begin with snowflakes, and, as I understand it, a dust particle should lie at the center of each snowflake.  There was no dust particle.  There was no center.  No snowball should have existed, yet it did.  Something surrounded nothing.

A few evangelical writers finally filled the void and, typically, they mourned our tribe’s current intellectual and theological plight.  “Why are we dominating ourselves with all this talk?” they asked – even though we weren’t.

I verified our total non-involvement and well-deserved, in-depth apathy when I tabulated results from a series of questions I asked of my own church.  Question 1: How many attendees of the First Baptist Church of Meriden, CT, asked me whether “the rapture” would, indeed, happen on that date?  Answer: Zero.  Question 2: How many expressed any remote concern?  Answer: Not one.  Did anyone even talk about it?  Nein, aside from a passing comment involving such statements as, “How can he say that?”

Those poor brainwashed people.

Perhaps discussion about non-incidents and provable nothingness shouldn’t surprise us.  The airwaves and cable lines are now crammed with vacancy and non-events and individuals famous for being famous.  Think about Kim Kardashian, for example.  What is she famous for?  The obvious answer is that she’s … uh … “shapely.”  But why her?  Shapely women live and thrive from coast to coast and, sorry Kim, but many have “talent.”  What does Kim do for a living?  Does she punch a clock?  Is she a waitress?  An administrative assistant?  A paralegal?  No.  Has she been in a critically acclaimed movie?  None of it.  Kim Kardashian is invited onto talk shows because she’s been to other talk shows.  She goes to parties because she’s been to other parties.  She endorses products because she’s famous – and she’s famous because she’s done … absolutely nothing.

Not that I dislike Kim, of course.  I wouldn’t be the least surprised if she’s kind to pets and cares about our lakes and streams.  She might even give her spare clothes to the Salvation Army.  There might be a huge difference between Kim the individual and Kim the sociological phenomenon.  It’s just that Kim the phenomenon is a snowflake with no dust – and yet she’s there, forever before us, like this huge un-moment through which we have just passed.

And therein lies the moral of our story: The next time you’re told that “all” evangelical Christians are succumbing to group think and are heading for the cliff, remember Kim the phenomenon – or Paris Hilton, or someone like that.  There might be nothing there.

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About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is a writer, activist, and clergyman living in Connecticut with his wife and family. He's currently writing two books, with more in his head.

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4 Comments on “A theological/sociological/anthropological Kim Kardashian interval”

  1. Jessica Mokrzycki Says:

    Great article. I’m going to share this on my fb page and wall. The hype that was caused during this whole “judgement day” propaganda Camping started supported every negative stereotype people have towards Christians. It’s important for others to know that the majority of Christians found this ploy just as laughable and unrealistic (for indeed man will not know the day or hour and he will come like a theif in the night), than nonchristians.

    Reply

  2. KimKardashianInHotel Says:

    Kim is best person in world.She is my favorite

    wiki:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Kardashian

    Reply

  3. Charles Redfern Says:

    From Chuck Redfern:

    One individual has attempted to comment twice, but I cannot approve of it for several reasons, one being its profanity. I encourage vigorous debate, but bear in mind that this is a Christian blog. Try to follow the norms of the Civility Covenant, which follows:

    1) We commit that our dialogue with each other will reflect the spirit of the Scriptures, where our posture toward each other is to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).

    2) We believe that each of us, and our fellow human beings, are created in the image of God. The respect we owe to God should be reflected in the honor and respect we show to each other in our common humanity, particularly in how we speak to each other. “With the tongue we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God …. this ought not to be so” (James 3:9, 10).

    3) We pledge that when we disagree, we will do so respectfully, without falsely impugning the other’s motives, attacking the other’s character, or questioning the other’s faith, and recognizing in humility that in our limited, human opinions, “we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror” (1 Corinthians 13:12). We will therefore “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).

    4) We will ever be mindful of the language we use in expressing our disagreements, being neither arrogant nor boastful in our beliefs: “Before destruction one’s heart is haughty, but humility goes before honor” (Proverbs 18:12).

    5) We recognize that we cannot function together as citizens of the same community, whether local or national, unless we are mindful of how we treat each other in pursuit of the common good in the common life we share together. Each of us must therefore “put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body” (Ephesians 4:25).

    6) We commit to pray for our political leaders—those with whom we may agree, as well as those with whom we may disagree. “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made … for kings and all who are in high positions” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

    7) We believe that it is more difficult to hate others, even our adversaries and our enemies, when we are praying for them. We commit to pray for each other, those with whom we agree and those with whom we may disagree, so that together we may strive to be faithful witnesses to our Lord, who prayed “ that they may be one” (John 17:22).

    We pledge to God and to each other that we will lead by example in a country where civil discourse seems to have broken down. We will work to model a better way in how we treat each other in our many faith communities, even across religious and political lines. We will strive to create in our congregations safe and sacred spaces for common prayer and community discussion as we come together to seek God’s will for our nation and our world.

    Reply

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