It perhaps comes as no surprise that I regard anyone who predicts the end of the world as an idiot. Setting aside for a moment the fact that, theologically speaking, I'm not even sure there will be a 'rapture' in the vein of Tim LaHaye, the mere act of prophesying the end times is ridiculous. Jesus wasn't even sure about it. (And, for a Christian, if Jesus wasn't sure about something, then one of us won't be any good, either.)
But I've always wondered: Why do we care so much, anyway? Why does it matter when Christ is coming again? I find that such a preoccupation with future only leads to poor living in the present; it stunts our actions as Christians now. Here. Not in the future, where we have no clue what life will hold, but in the here, the now, this instant-- that's where our focus should remain. Sure, setting goals and preparing for the future are both important tasks, but neither necessitates that we should devote all energies there.
I think about how many resources were wasted in Camping's campaign warning of the imminent return of Christ while children still died of starvation, the poor still suffered, and those ravaged by storms in the southern US still struggled to rebuild. They could have used some attention from the church. But instead, Camping's rapture parade only made it look as if the church cares more about what happens in heaven than what is happening now. I don't agree with that notion, nor do I appreciate it.
In the Bible, when Jesus gives us the Lord's Prayer, he includes the words "...on earth, as it is in heaven." There are whole theologies built around this phrase, and for good reason. These words mean that Christians can't slack off just because we feel our souls are accounted for, nor does it mean our focus should be to care only about making sure everyone elses' soul is also accounted for in the same way; rather, it means we need to consider what it means to make God and his heaven a reality here. How do we accomplish God's work now?
Personally, I could care less about the afterlife. I'm sure it's real great, and as long as I've been living as Christ lived, then I should be fine. I'll get there when I get there. I trust God's got me covered. I believe our eyes should never be more focused on death than on life-- at least, not while we're still alive, anyway.We've got eternity to consider death, but we only have a few short years to consider what it means to really live.