October 17, 2012

Lesson 50: The Left Behind Series ... and Glee

Are you a GleeK?

That was not a typo. I purposefully wrote, GleeK. Do you have any idea what I am talking about?

A Gleek is a person who absolutely loves, potentially obsesses the television show Glee.

I'm a half-Gleek. I loved Season 1! I watched the entire thing in one weekend ... during finals! I wanted to sing like Rachel and dance like Britney! Who knew performers on tv could so adequately express what goes on in my spirit every time "Defying Gravity" comes on?

Season Two ended well, but Season Three tanked for me. At this moment, I can't remember why. However, I do know that it started to get uber-political and unashamedly pushing its agenda. Perhaps it always had, and I was too smitten with hipster renditions of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" to notice.

Regardless, I resolved to continue watching, if for no other reason than to keep tabs on the prevailing ideas and opinions that are surfacing within today's culture. Admittedly, living in a conservative Christian community has distanced me from a lot these past three years. I am grateful for the space to dig in and learn Biblical truth; however, I have no desire to pull a Rip Van Winkle and emerge from seminary dusty and clueless about the world.

Thus, I faithfully watch Glee.

Originally, I had considered devoting an entire blog to watching Glee and interpreting it from a Christian worldview.

This idea came, when the winner of The Glee Project, Samuel Larsen, was cast as a Joe Hart last season. This character is a Christian home-schooler, whose hair is in dreads, doesn't wear shoes, and plays the guitar. Thank you Glee for at least making the stereotypical Christian look cool!

However, Joe's "Christianity" is questionable at best, and I had hoped to explain to the non-Christian side of my readership the reasons behind what was authentic and dismantle any notions of things that were portrayed incorrectly.

Truthfully, I didn't embark on said blog, because I felt it was too great of a task. It is hard work unpacking and then articulating worldviews in a concise, accurate fashion.

It also does not help that Mark and I don't have cable. Thus, I am always a week behind on watching the episode, which would essentially make my blog irrelevant.

That being said, I just watched last week's episode which aired on 10/4 entitled, "The Break-Up" ... and I cannot not comment.

Though a sub-plot, in this episode the new queen cheerleader at McKinley High has started a "Left Behind Series" / Christian book club. In a plan to enforce the reality of the rapture upon a younger student, this evil "believer" gathers a group together in a local restaurant. She innocently sends the young student out of the room, and then has everyone else desert the room but leave all of their clothes and bags behind. When the young student comes back into the room, she is traumatized by the thought that the rapture has occurred and that she has been "left behind."

The entire rhetoric of the episode and the subsequent plot-line is a clear indication that the writers of Glee are profoundly making fun of the ideas put forth in the Left Behind Series.

Honestly, the move was pop-culturally random. The Left Behind Series book were published from 1995 - 2007. They aren't new. I suppose, No Doubt's "Don't Speak" (also featured in this episode) was the song that guided me through a 7th grade break-up, so perhaps being on top of things is not their priority.

The books are fictional Christian lit that hypothesize about what it will be like on earth after the rapture occurs.

What is the rapture? Some Christians interpret the book of Revelation in a way that when Christ returns, all believers will be swept up to heaven, and the rest of humanity will be "left behind" for a period of time. Some of those "left behind" will choose to believe and will be counted righteous before God. Others will not. Also, they believe that a time will come when an "Antichrist" will rule the world.

In these books, the story follows the journey of an unbelieving pilot who is left behind without a family, as his wife has recently converted to Christianity. Other characters have similar stories. 

Christians of my generation, be honest ... most of you / us read at least some of these books in junior high, if not all of them (perhaps right around the time Gwen Stefani was healing my anguished heart.)

Here's the thing ... many Christians do not understand Revelation in this way!

Revelation is an important but tricky book! It is part epistle (letter), part prophetic (speaking of things to come), and part apocalyptic (pertaining to the end times). Is it possible to put all those genres together in one book and still find a way to understand it?

I wish, oh how I wish, every person in the world could sit in on Dr. Michael Kruger's Hebrews-Revelation class. Your mind would be blown! As he slowly unpacks the material of Revelation, you will come to what I can only describe as a silent awe at the incredible majesty, power, and genius of the God of the Universe. It is way too much material for a simple blog post.

What you won't find is any indication of a rapture. In fact, we do not believe a rapture will take place at all. Let me repeat that ... we do not believe that Revelation teaches that there will be a rapture.

We do believe that Christ will return to separate the believers from the nonbelievers and judge the world. We do believe that Christians will go and be with Christ. However, we don't really believe that there is a second chance for the nonbelievers.

We believe that we are living in the end times ... right now! Christ has come once ... and will return again, and all this time in between is the end times.This is the time when Christ's church on earth is being persecuted, but perfected ... crushed down, but made more like Christ. We do believe that Christ will return in glory and that it will be amazing.

It will also be incredibly terrifying.

     [31] “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. [32] Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. [33] And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. [34] Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

    [41] “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

(Matthew 25:31-34, 41 ESV)

Ahhh! The Christian Bible truly teaches that at the end of things everyone will be divided into two groups ... those who will spend eternity in the most magnificently indescribable presence of the Lord and those who will be forever separated from him in a place also indescribable, though in all the worst ways.

Christ has come once already and has offered his message of salvation. He has come to save sinners and to bring them into a right relationship with himself. He has accomplished in his death and resurrection all that is necessary for sinners to be saved.

There is no rapture. There is no second chance to "see and believe." It is now. Christ has revealed himself now, and now is the time to repent and believe in God's son, Jesus Christ, for the salvation of your soul!

Regardless of whose eschatology (understanding of end times) is correct, the Bible clearly teaches that there is the family of God and that there are enemies of God. There is no easy way to say that! The writers of Glee can make fun of (and misrepresent) the family of God all they want, but the truth is that being a nice person and creating a room where anyone can sit around and sing whatever song they want, will not be enough to meet the requirements of a perfectly holy God.

In fact, nothing that any of us do can. It is only through the perfect sacrifice of Christ, his perfect meeting of those requirements, that anyone can come before our holy God. It is because of Christ that we are able to have hope.

Who knew Glee was getting into all this?

Lesson Learned: This is a really awkward thing to post about. And yet, if God's truth is truth, then it has to be posted.


  1. I love reading your blogs, Katherine. So great and so you! And I'm so happy that you are getting to study at RTS!! - Christy

    1. Thanks Christy! This was really encouraging to read today!

  2. Hi Katherine,
    Glad to hear you you don't embrace "rapture" theology. Another thing we agree on. In fact, there isn't one thing said here that I don't agree with. My study of Revelation has taken me to similar conclusions. I will check out the link above. BTW, I am about half way through "Judges"


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...