When I answered a phone call from one of our parish leaders Friday morning, I really did not expect a mental trip back in time. However, what we talked about catapulted me right back to 2003-4 when I was involved in the Catholic End Times catechesis revival. Tomorrow night, I will revisit that in a talk at a local parish (replacing a speaker who canceled.)
The Left Behind series of adult and children's books and the low-budget movie with Keith Cameron were a problem for Catholics 10 years ago. I had gotten into writing and presenting on this topic because before that, when I had been a parish DRE, I had encountered a catechist trying to teach 7th graders that there will be a "Rapture" and then discovered the Left Behind children's books were not only in the parish school library, but were being read in the 5th grade classroom.
Anti-Catholic, based on a false interpretation of Scripture... yes this stuff is a catechetical problem for Catholics.
As a result, I ended up assisting the Catholic Conference of Illinois with writing a statement on the Left Behind books and videos. That led to an article in the final issue of the USCCB Department of Education journal The Living Light, several local and regional presentations and two national interviews. After that, things quieted down for me, and for catechesis,
In preparing for tomorrow night, I found that Left Behind has been an integral part of an entire industry in America. Dating back to the 1970 publication of Hal Lindsey's The Late, Great Planet Earth, which sold 10 million copies, Americans have been eating up all things apocalyptic. LeftBehind.com boasts that they have now sold 63 million copies of their books. When you think about it, not only has Hollywood cashed in on apocalyptic movies about the end times and the anti-Christ, but the History Channel has made a career out of presenting various scenarios for the apocalypse, most based on misreadings of the Book of Revelation.
here we go again.
It's been interesting to see where this has gone in the past 10 years. I will probably post more on this topic over the next few weeks until we see the reception of the movie...
Here is my PowerPoint, posted on SlideShare. Feel free to share this with parish leaders and catechists.