Some of you know that one of my latest and greatest wishes is to host a movie festival. Not some artsy fartsy reveling of modern cinematic achievement, but a celebration of some of the absolute worst witnessing (and theatrical disgraces) the church has ever been able to achieve. Since funding is not available at this point - and blogging is free - then I will begin a cyber version of my quest.
Thus, I present a Church Basement Really Awesome Apocalyptic B Movie Festival.
This (really) is the original and classic film dedicated to wild apocalyptic imagination with little to no basis in actual Scripture, even though Scripture is referenced throughout. It is, in a sense, the original Left Behind. And, yes, it is still available for purchase to this day (and most likely still in use in various fundamentalist churches and camp meetings around the country).
The story centers around Patty, a young woman who considers herself a Christian because she basically doesn't do anything wrong and follows the Ten Commandments; she is considered 'practically a saint' by one of her girlfriends (but she turns out to be evil in the end, anyway).
One morning Patty wakes up to find that her husband is gone - a result of the rapture which is *clearly* taught about in Scripture. Thus she realizes that she has been left behind to deal with a world which is slowly slipping into hell. The worldwide leaders establish UNITE (United Nations Imperium for Total Emergency) to deal with the situation. They eventually go around and mark everyone with a (miscoded) binary symbol of 666.
Unfortunately, UNITE only has one van. So when they attempt to arrest Patty she is able to escape quite easily. A very dramatic plot twist is when Patty takes their one van, much to the dismay of their two uniformed cops. But it turns out that they have got themselves a helicopter and track down their stolen van and the driver. It is never mentioned why she is such an important person to capture, seeing as how she is not able to interact with anyone else (for food, etc) without the mark of the beast.
The really thriller comes at the end. This is a SPOILER, so don't read this paragraph if you plan on actually sitting through this piece of crap (. . . again). Patty is on a bridge when she is about to get captured. She falls of the side and plunges to her death. Then, she awakens in her bed and realizes the entire movie had been a dream. BUT! she then hears the radio reporting that millions of people have vanished and then comes to realize that her (believing) husband is gone as well. . .she has missed the rapture and has now been left behind.
Enjoy this musical number during the opening sequence:
Where to begin? The storyline is full of holes and rarely makes much sense beyond a superficial level. Scripture is used throughout, and a number of people confess Christ in the movie (and probably as a result of watching the movie). But the interpretation of Scripture is misleading and hermeneutically anemic. There is very little here which could commend to sound Christian orthodoxy, even if you think that a pre-trib rapture is possible. Christians in the movie are not presented well, either - *true* believers are constantly portrayed as having nothing else to be concerned with than the imminent rapture and getting others to ride that J-train. Never are any of the new believers directed to an outward working of the gospel - it is all about the personal decision and life change of the individual (I feel different, better).
The ending is ridiculously stupid, for it gives the impression that history is already set in the area of salvation. That, while Patty is given this dream as a warning of the choices in her life, she is never given an opportunity to repent and believe. As Dickens wrote from the words of Scrooge, "Why show me this if I am beyond all hope?" Indeed.
Things I've learned:
1. I really don't like Larry Norman songs, except for this version (yeah, that's a joke).
2. People in white vans are probably trying to abduct you.
3. Friends who are preoccupied with sex will most likely end up dating the antichrist.
4. Sincere Christians who don't preach the rapture will be screwed and left behind.
5. UN military officials probably left the keys in their van.