Enraptured by the Second Coming
From her Subaru, a car painted as white as the fourth horse of Revelation, Allison Warden proclaims that Jesus shall return May 21.
By her reckoning, His return will fall on a springtime Saturday. And if the world weren't ending, you might find people celebrating other notable highlights of the day: Mr. T's birthday, Montenegro's independence or the Red Sox-White Sox game.
But to Warden and hundreds of like-minded Christians, Judgment Day can be calculated precisely by tracing biblical genealogy or by following history forward 7,000 years from the day Noah shut the door to his ark.
So if May 22 rolls around and you're still here, wailing and gnashing your teeth, don't say nobody warned you.
"It's a very jarring thing to be told you have five months on Earth," Warden, 29, said. "That may interrupt any earthly plan."
Well-spoken and bespectacled, Warden isn't a wild-eyed soothsayer who stalks the sidewalks wearing a sandwich board screaming that the end is nigh.
But she bears news of the impending Rapture with spooky calm, delivering her warning of the looming Apocalypse in the matter-of-fact tone you might use to announce a sale at Kmart.
At times, it almost sounds like she's hedging her bets: "I have a day job," said Warden, an office manager for a door company. "I'm not giving up my day job. I have bills to pay. I'm going to keep paying them. People say, 'Why don't you quit working and run up your credit card?' The Bible doesn't tell you to do that."
But the jarring news is that Warden doesn't believe you can do much to prepare. She preaches "election," or predestination, which essentially means that God did His picking before any of us were born. You can cry out for mercy, she said, but it isn't guaranteed.
If you're on the left-behind list, get ready for some real disappointment. On Oct. 21, five months after the believers vanish into the sky, the entire planet will be engulfed in the cleansing fires of heaven.