Buried in a Christian Science Monitor report on apocalyptic Christians and those who preach against their doctrine is this sociological curio: “…one 2002 poll found that more Americans experience the Christian faith through radio, television, or books than by attending church.”

The Revealer would like to know what kind of questions the surveyers asked — we suspect that many Christians would say they experience the Christian faith through Jesus.

But the medium is the message, of course, and Jane Lampman‘s report in yesterday’s Monitor is a fine addition to the great journalistic Book of Tim LaHaye — LaHaye being the main author of the bestselling endtimes Left Behind novels.

Lampman captures what’s scary about the endtimes gang by focussing on their political clout, particularly with regard to Israel, and what’s complicated about them as well. “This is not a monolithic movement,” says one rapture believer. “You find people who are separatistic, and people who are very involved.”

And all of them tend to defy stereotypes, such as “a Jewish African-American mortician from Buffalo, N.Y.” named Barbara White, who “was ‘saved’ at age 7 by a pastor ‘who was heavy on the rapture.'”

For more evidence of just how unexpected the rapture — or rather, its mediated manifestations — can be, stop by Proselytizing MediaTanya Erzen‘s and Tal Halpern’s terrific “virtual casebook” (the second of two produced by Center for Religion and Media participants) on the end of the world, as seen in print and on screen.