Ted Kluck has written and collaborated on a number of books, but his name isn’t on the book I heard him recommend last month and consequently purchased. That book comes from Ted’s media empire, Gut Check Press. It’s re:raptured by Committee. Exactly who wrote it is being withheld, no doubt pending Congressional subpoena, but I think Ted had a hand in it. Maybe even a foot.
The story begins with a young Episcopal priest getting his lights dashed by Tim Van Shrimpy, “Bible Scholar.” The reason Van Shrimpy is rampaging around beating up people is still unclear to me, but realism was sold out when this tale was typed up. Ted Strongbow is a football superstar with few real skills (wait, is this part straight-up parody of actual people?). Rev. Lewis Ironsides has written the book Exactly How to Look and Exactly What to Say If You Want to Marry My Daughter Carol-Anne, which, he says, isn’t exactly arranging her marriage, but it’s a hot item among controlling homeschool moms with eligible sons.
It takes place in a world that has The Honorable Philip Yancey Hospital housed within the Dynex/Lifeway/Excellence in Christian Publishing Kilometer High Stadium, home to the Denver Values football team (Strongbow’s team). The story takes up a whole handful of characters in short, often choppy, scenes that flow together just like the end-times thrillers it intends to skewer. What is bringing all these people together? Their loyalty of dispensational end-times teaching and the belief that they need to be in place before the rapture occurs. But are they mobilizing to be in place to usher in or ward off the rapture?
Speaking of blowing things out of proportion. If it were a movie there would be a rotating camera shot above the gnurled oak room table in the compound of one Jim Townsend at which (table) two men — Townsend and Ironsides — appear to be deadlocked in a game of “Settlers of Catan” which is a popular board game in Evangelical circles but is also the way that Townsend and Ironsides are planning for the future of the state of Nebraska. By basing the future of the state on the board game, Townsend and Ironsides figure (somewhat logically, if you can believe it) that life will be like the game meaning that life will be “hours of fun for the whole family” meaning that building fires and threshing wheat and trying to raise livestock will be an “enjoyable game of strategy and chance” rather than the drudgery that it actually is.
All of this may lead you to think this is a humorous, perhaps harsh, criticism of dispensationalism, but I assure you it’s only a light poke in the ribs. Look at me. I have my serious face on when I say this is a very silly book. The closest line you get to deep theology is this internal question from one character: “If you’ve already missed the dead being raptured and then you die during the main rapture, is it possible to fall through the cracks?” This book can’t even take itself seriously much less present a serious theological thought, so don’t worry about coming across any real jabs at pretribulationism and related theology.
Re:raptured is pretty funny, but it’s unpolished enough to make me wonder if certain quirks are subtle jokes or actual mistakes. And there appear to be large mound of inside jokes, some of which I assume would be understood by readers with theology education or readers of end-times thrillers. All of the jokes are constant and irreverent but clean. The only ones that got old for me were about the dwarf. (Note to Committee: the dwarf/short/midget jokes were lame by the second page.)