Before the word "rapture" gets thoroughly abducted by evangelicals reportedly wishing to leave their clothes in a tidy little pile on earth and "exit stage left," ascending on the fumes of a divine cloud of carbon monoxide... let me reclaim the word for all those wishing to leave their clothes for a different reason (sex being one of them, though a nice hot shower on a cold winter day might do the trick.)
The word "rapture" (from "rapt") basically means: to be carried away or transported by intense emotions, often of an ectstaic or mystical nature.
From what I've read, "The Rapture" is seemingly a prime motivator for some folks to feel AOK with all hell breaking loose, so that they can rise above it all and sit by the right nut, uh, right arm of The Lord. (To my understanding The Lord does have nuts -- "made in His image" and that sorta thing -- and you'd be quite lucky to sit next to one, or whatever other part suits your male or female fancy!)
Like much of religions' efforts to place Heaven and the Father so far removed from everyday reality, those espousing "The Rapture" are seemingly hung up on the means of 'transportation'. Thus, they are ready to "beam up" instead of realizing that one can be carried away by emotion while remaining where one is!
Movies, books, music, conversation, sex, stimulants, meditation, and so forth can 'transport' us via ecstatic emotions, YET we stay put, changed for the better; if we're lucky or so deserving, that 'better' brings about ecstasy.
Not many of us are trained to welcome an ecstatic experience, often choosing to postpone for the future. Nonetheless, like the carrot on the stick or a prostitute in skimpy clothing, ecstasy is what goads us onward. Deep down, it is the mere possibility of ecstasy or orgasm that gets us up and out of bed each morning.
The tricky part is that the image of such emotional highs can take on many forms like a mirage; however, the actual experience is quite real. Aside from the obvious definitions of these exciting words... for some folks, that first cup of coffee in the morning is ecstatic or orgasmic (the cup being held rapturously, the liquid savored;) so is the possibility of winning the lottery; seeing your favorite band in concert; having unexpected sex with a co-worker you've dreamed about; working out at the gym; writing a book; giving to someone in need; having a mystical experience...
The list is endless, and (aside from the obvious) an orgasm is defined as: intense and emotional excitement. I'm no psychiatrist but, prohibiting the expression of such leads to pent-up emotions that eventually ooze out the sides of one's being in such forms as violent anger and war.
Have you listened to and watched the way a lot of people talk on TV? Typically, they are either monotoned and apparently numb (lacking real emotions,) or they are overly zealous and loud (seemingly jacked up on the adrenaline of performance, or an excess of "enhancement" products.)
Much of what passes for American culture is a big Tease. Advertisements show plates of dripping food, gooey sweets, scantily clad models, movie "teasers", "coming up next...but first a commercial", and while those are fine in and of themselves, I think that many have become addicted to the promise of a purchased or prophesied future. Those with severe addictions are seemingly possessed by the notion of their own imminent ejection, or at the very least, a chance to sample the latest age-defying skin product.
"Rapturous" meaning: joyous, filled with rapture, ecstatic... is a fine word to represent any number of experiences. Seeing a beautiful vista can make one's face beam with rapture, and so can an inner vision that is beyond description.
Individual perceptions of God aside, those who postpone their "little bit of heaven here on earth" (what St. Francis called Portiuncula or "Small Portion") tend to come up with all sorts of explanations, rationales and justifications for a better tomorrow on some distant star, planet or ethereal place called Heaven. They could well be correct about the heavenly part, but as far as I know, revering destruction and pain to others does not earn one a ticket to the Great Party in the Hereafter (no matter what apocalyptic prophecies say.)
Mankh (Walter E. Harris III), a poet and essayist, is the author of Singing an Epic of Peace; author/edited Haiku One Breaths; and is currently editing an anthology of essays and poems entitled Modern Muses: How Artists Become Inspired. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org