The room was filled with teenagers doing their best interpretation of being drunk. We were stumbling, giggling and generally having a good time. It looked like any other group of high school juniors and seniors having a wild night out. What made the scene out of place is that it was inside a Southern Baptist church during Halloween. Somehow when I said I would participate in my friend’s “haunted house,” I ended up helping out at what was called the “House of Consequences.” I wish I could say I am making this up; but it was a haunted house for youth groups to go through during Halloween as alternative to the “heathen” haunted houses. I was cast to be one of the party crowd. My schedule was busy with soccer and dance, so I wasn’t able to make any of the rehearsals. It was only after I had done my shift as drunk teenager number 2 that I walked through the rest of the house, and to my horror, discovered that the story continued in the most disturbing way possible.
Following the party room, we watched some teenagers get into a car and proceed to drive away. We all knew this couldn’t be good, and as we were ushered into the next room, the anxiety level was high. The next room was awful with sound effects of a skidding car followed by a huge crash. You have to know that I am very easily unnerved; I can’t go to a regular haunted house. Toast popping up alarms me and gets a reaction, so you can imagine me being jumped out at or hearing a surprising noise. The loud noise of the car crash startled me and caused me to scream, which apparently was the reaction they were going for. As we moved to the next room I was trying to think of my exit strategy. But I was stuck with a group, and the only way out (that didn’t include trying to negotiate a creepy dark church alone), was to experience the whole story. We were ushered through several rooms that became more and more disturbing: one a funeral room, one the judgment room, and the final two rooms – one as heaven and one as hell. The judgment room disturbed me the most. A person playing Jesus cast half of the drunk teenagers away to hell and half of the teenagers to heaven. Hell was filled with people asking, “Why didn’t you tell me about Jesus, now I have to suffer forever…” The room that was heaven, to be honest, wasn’t very appealing. It was filled with harp music and bright lights. I guess if the choice was between that one or the hell room, I would have chosen to remain in heaven. The final stage of the experience was a room where we were asked, “If you died tonight, where would you go.” Needless to say, I got re-saved that night.
I have been thinking about that night a lot lately. I actually have been thinking about “The End” a lot lately, as I have heard people’s fear over current events and have heard some pretty disturbing theories about this being a time of tribulation. I believe this understanding of the end times is a false story created with good intentions, but it somehow is told through shoddy biblical scholarship and preached with the purpose of filling the church with scared individuals. For the next couple of blogs I want to look at that very question “If you died tonight, where would you go.”