I've mentioned before that my father and I shy away from any kind of substantive discussions, especially about religion. (Brief summary for the uninitiated: he's a born-again Baptist and I'm a gay Episcopalian.)
Years ago he filled my head with all kinds of nonsense about Revelation and Biblical "prophecy" and "the Rapture" and whatnot, and only recently did I find the courage to look again at the marvelous last book of the New Testament and begin to explore what's really there. Some of my father's views have moderated a bit over time (he has stopped inquiring about my dress size and plans on voting for Obama this fall -- mostly because he has come to see that Iraq was a boondoggle of criminal dimension), but I've often wondered if he still held the same views about "the Antichrist" and all that.
Presently, he is on a solo bike tour of Oregon; he called me from a campground about 30 miles from Chemult (where?) to check in and let me know he's all right.
"Did we invade Russia, yet?" he asked.
"No, no, we're still talking that over," I said. Then, perhaps rather stupidly, I said, "Besides, everyone knows that Iran is next."
"I was kind of hoping Israel would take out Iran," said my father.
"Hmm...I'm not sure that's something we should really be hoping for."
"Well, it would mean that Christ's return is imminent, that's for sure."