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Going out in style 

Ranger Rich

And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. Luke 23:42-43.

This important passage from the Bible tells us two things:

1. The end of the kingdom of man is at hand, bringing salvation to those who believe in our lord and savior.

2. With that writing style, Luke could probably have gotten a job at the Gazette.

(By Luke, Gazette staff: And there cameth from the smoke the fires of damnation, as the torment of the scorpion, fires that riseth late Monday until, lo, beaten back by hordes of men, ye, braveth men, with hoses and water, and the warehouse was saveth from the ravages of the flames, officials said.)

Anyway, let's get back to this business of the return of Christ, or the Rapture, and the ensuing end of the kingdom of man, which — and I don't want to alarm anyone — is scheduled to get under way this Saturday.

Here's what we know: A few conservative right-wing Christians, Bible scholars and others whose umbilical cords were slightly pinched during birth have determined from endless reading of Scripture that Jesus will return to Earth on Saturday, May 21. See Indy reporter Chet Hardin's news story here if you think I'm kidding.

At that time, likely in the morning, Jesus will round up these true believers (many of whom will be at Home Depot buying a mop handle, a threaded pressure balance valve and six bags of steer manure) and take them on the journey to heaven.

Travel notes: Carry-on baggage must fit under your seat or you will be smote. Son of God Air charges $25 for each piece of checked baggage. And do not make any jokes in the airport about Middle Eastern terrorists. Jesus doesn't think that's funny. Also, for your safety, the Lord will put "flocks" or "herds" of starving lions in the airport towers to keep the air traffic controllers awake.

In our own village, the warnings began last year in a Gazette story by then-staff writer Mark Barna. (Footnote: Barna was later banished to the fiery pits of the unemployment line. The compassionate Christian bosses at the Gazette mourned that round of firings later that same day by re-enacting the Last Supper at The Famous restaurant — with publisher Steve Pope dusting off his mitre for the big occasion.)

Anyway, in that story Marie Exley, who then lived in Colorado Springs, said this May 21 would bring Armageddon, the end of the world. To get the word out, she paid $1,200 to buy "end of the world" advertising space on 10 bus benches. That's considered odd behavior in the sense that, as far as anyone knows, our well-run village no longer has any buses.

But it isn't only Marie Exley sounding the alarms. The eBible Fellowship website, which claims to know all things (ooohh, just like my wife) also says May 21, this Saturday, is the beginning of the end.

From the website: "On May 21st, 1988, God finished using the churches and congregations of the world. The Spirit of God left all churches and Satan, the man of sin, entered into the churches." (Note: If you ask "pastor" Ted Haggard, Satan on that day brought with him locusts, plague, fires and, of course, a giant tub of Gay Massage Oil.)

The website goes on to detail how Noah's Calendar (entry for Aug. 21: "Try to talk some sense into the unicorns") predicts the 23-year tribulation period from the abandonment of the churches brings us to May 21, 2011 — God's Judgment Day, when the good people will follow Jesus to heaven.

As you might imagine, not everyone is taking this too seriously. From an actual craigslist ad this week: "Rapture on May 21? I would like your stuff. Are you attending the rapture on May 21? I expect to be left behind ... so if you aren't going to need your worldly possessions, be they money, cars, canned food, durable goods, etc., I would gladly take them off your hands. Serious responses only, please. ... I'm willing to travel for said goods."

Imagine that. Making fun of a thing like the Rapture and the end of the world.

That guy must be a real loser.

rangerrich@csindy.com

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