NRA: Pilot on the River Kwai

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist, pp. 69-71

The task of a double-agent is to appear completely loyal while being actively disloyal.

So, for example, if you were ever to find yourself posing as an accomplice of a mass-murdering embodiment of evil while secretly working for the forces of good, you would want to do everything you could to reassure your psychopath boss that you supported him while doing everything possible to disrupt, delay, expose, undermine, sabotage, subvert or otherwise foil his plans. That’s the job.

Rayford Steele gets this exactly backwards.

“What have I done?” asked someone other than Rayford Steele.

Rayford is serving as the personal pilot of the Antichrist. Nicolae Carpathia needs a good pilot to carry out his murderous schemes, and Rayford has proven to be just the guy for the job. We readers know that in his heart,* Rayford despises Nicolae and everything he stands for, yet day after day, he assists the Antichrist by dutifully fulfilling every task he is called on to perform.

Rayford does not seem to enjoy doing this, but his lack of enthusiasm has not affected his performance in any way. When it comes to providing everything Nicolae needs from his personal pilot, Rayford has done exactly what any fully devoted servant of the Antichrist would have done.

That was bad enough earlier in the story, when Nicolae’s agenda consisted mainly of weirdly arbitrary steps, like building a global capital in the Iraqi desert or unifying the world’s currency. But at this point in the story, the evil mastermind has finally gotten around to acting like an evil mastermind — nuking dozens of cities and slaughtering millions of people.

Rayford hasn’t done a single thing to try to stop him. Worse than that, Rayford has assisted and enabled this slaughter.

The authors do not seem to think that this makes Rayford culpable for the mass-death they’re now describing, but I don’t see any way to avoid that conclusion. Nicolae is killing people. Rayford is helping him.

This isn’t one of those spy-thriller scenarios in which the hero has to participate in some small degree of evil in order to protect his cover so that he will later be able to prevent something even worse. Rayford isn’t participating in Nicolae’s plans in order to protect his cover — he’s just blindly carrying out every order he is given. In any case, considering the mass-murder that Nicolae is carrying out at this moment in the story, it’s hard to imagine a more urgent time for Rayford to intervene.

Rayford reminds me a bit of Alec Guinness’ character in The Bridge on the River Kwai. Col. Nicholson is the commander of British forces in a World War II Japanese POW camp. When the prisoners are ordered to build a bridge for the Japanese military, Nicholson goes mad and sets about to build the greatest bridge they have ever seen.

Yet both Rayford and the authors seem to imagine that he’s William Holden, the counterpoint to Guinness’ character who parachutes in to dynamite the enemy’s beautiful new bridge. They inexplicably think that Rayford’s loyal service is somehow heroic. In their eyes, he’s a courageous “Tribulation Force” soldier infiltrating the inner-circle of the Antichrist.

They seem to have forgotten that infiltrating the super-villain’s lair is only the first step. The hero also has to do something once he gets there — something other than faithfully serve the super-villain as an efficient and effective assistant.

Chapter 4 of Nicolae begins with a half-page vignette in which Nicolae prepares to broadcast to the world he’s busily bombing into oblivion.

At the sound of a knock on the cockpit door, Rayford shut off the hidden button and turned expectantly. It was a Carpathia aide. …

Odd. The last chapter made it very clear that there were only nine people on this plane: Rayford, Amanda, the copilot, Nicolae, Fortunato, and four “ambassadors.” Now suddenly Nicolae has a whole staff of people on board with him.

… It was a Carpathia aide. “Do whatever you have to do to shut down all interference and patch us back through to Dallas. We go live on satellite in about three minutes, and the potentate should be able to be heard everywhere in the world.”

Yippee, Rayford thought.

Again, Rayford is supposed to be a double-agent. The task of a double-agent is to appear completely loyal while being actively disloyal. But here, and throughout these books, Rayford is completely loyal while appearing disloyal.

Rayford mutters and grumbles. He’s rude and sarcastic. But he always comes through when Nicolae needs him.

“Shut down all interference and patch us back through to Dallas,” the aide says. And Rayford shuts down all interference and patches them back through to Dallas. It does not matter to Nicolae that he does so while muttering sarcastically to himself. Nor does it matter to the millions of people that Nicolae is killing. Rayford’s muttering does not make them any less dead.

In a better novel, I would worry that Rayford’s abrasiveness and open dislike for his boss would risk blowing his cover as a Tribulation Force secret agent. But that hardly matters here, since without any subversive mission or agenda, he’s not really much of a secret agent. Plus it seems implausible at this point that he still has a cover to be blown. Rayford doesn’t bother to hide his contempt for Nicolae, and the Antichrist already knows that Rayford is a Christian convert. I imagine Nicolae knows all about the Tribulation Force and just doesn’t care.

If anything, the Antichrist is probably disappointed that the Tribulation Force isn’t larger. They supply some of his most loyal and capable employees.

The “Yippee” bit, I’m guessing, is meant to make Rayford look “cool.” It echoes the earlier scene in which Rayford wises off to the soldier on the highway, or that wretched business with Buck making faces behind Verna Zee’s back when she was his boss.

I think Jerry Jenkins watched a lot of 1980s comedies — stuff with Bill Murray or Chevy Chase — and latched onto a glimmer of an idea that sarcastic insubordination is the key to making your hero funny and likable. Alas, Jenkins hasn’t quite grasped why such rebellious characters are funny. (Hint: They’re rebellious because they actually rebel.) And he proves utterly unable to imitate the thing he’s trying to mimic here.

The problem isn’t just that Rayford’s smirking commentary lacks any wit or originality. The bigger problem is that cracking wise may be appropriate when, say, the boss orders everyone to work through lunch, but it seems monstrously inadequate as the only expression of rebellion when the boss is ordering you to participate in the killing of millions of people.

Look back at, say, Stripes, Fletch and Caddyshack, and you’ll notice that one common thread running through all those movies is that they never ask us to like a character who is willingly complicit in genocide.

Meanwhile, Buck and Verna Zee are rather nonchalantly reacting to the destruction of Chicago.

Buck was on the phone with Loretta when Verna Zee slipped behind the wheel. She slung her oversized bag onto the seat behind her, then had trouble fastening her seat belt, she was shaking so. Buck shut off the phone. “Verna, are you all right? I just talked with a woman from our church who has a room and private bath for you.”

I’m not sure how to respond to this little section. On the one hand, Buck’s behavior to Verna in this scene is uncharacteristically decent. Just consider that sentence: “Buck shut off the phone.” That’s the most selfless act we’ve ever seen from him.

It is good of Buck, here, to overcome his instinctive misogyny and dislike for Verna and to begin treating her like a fellow human being, a refugee who just lost her home in the war. He goes out of his way here to be nice to her — literally going out of his way, as he arranges for her to stay at Loretta’s, then rides there with her instead of heading off directly to try to find his wife who, you’ll recall, may be dead for all he knows.

I want to enjoy Buck’s surprising kindness, but his lack of urgency following Chloe’s crash — “… he heard an explosion, tires squealing, a scream, and silence” — makes this scene frustrating. This leisurely reaction to the “huge aerial attack on the city of Chicago” seems to be shared by the rest of the Global Weekly staff:

A mini traffic jam dissipated as Verna and Buck’s coworkers wended their way out of the small parking lot.

Wending does not seem like an appropriate response to the sudden arrival of World War III. People should be rushing off to rescue loved ones, to collect supplies, to fill bath tubs, to “flee to the mountains” without turning back to get a coat.

Buck and Verna exchange apologies as they wend their way toward Loretta’s house in Mount Prospect. Eventually, to pass the time on their commute, Buck mentions something about Chloe perhaps lying bleeding on some highway.

Buck told her of his urgency to locate a vehicle and try to find Chloe.

“Cameron! You must be frantic!”

“Frankly, I am.”

She tells him to take her car, and then, to convey just how frankly frantic he is, Buck says:

“I’ll let you lend me your car, but let’s get you settled first.”

“You may not have a minute to spare.”

“All I can do is trust God at this point,” Buck said.

Jenkins doesn’t mention it, but I imagine Buck has been silently praying for Chloe all this time. “Lord, I’ll let you save Chloe. I’ll deign to allow you to do that for me, God …”

Having learned of Chloe’s plight, Verna shows more urgency in this scene than Buck:

She sped to the edge of Mt. Prospect and slid up to the curb in front of Loretta’s beautiful, rambling, old home. Verna did not allow Buck to even take the time to make introductions. She said, “We all know who each other is, so let’s let Cameron get going.”

She tells Buck to keep her phone as long as he needs it, and Buck takes the wheel all set to race off to rescue his wife:

Buck pushed the driver’s seat all the way back and adjusted the mirror.

Well, OK, safety first. You don’t want to race off on your high-speed rescue mission with the mirrors improperly adjusted. But now he’s all set to race off to find Chloe:

He punched in the number he’s been given for Nicolae Carpathia and tried to return that call. …

He doesn’t get through to Nicolae, but rest assured, as soon as he finishes that phone call, he does, eventually, race off “toward the only route he could imagine Chloe taking to escape Chicago.”

- – - – - – - – - – - -

* “The Lord seeth not as man seeth,” 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”

For many evangelicals, that verse has gotten mingled with the Protestant doctrine of salvation by faith and not by works to produce the notion that what we do is always less important than what’s “in our heart.” Actions don’t matter. Consequences matter even less. The crucial concern is always intent — having a “good heart.”

I’d guess that this is part of what Rayford’s sarcastic “Yippee” remark is meant to show us. Sure, he may be serving the Antichrist and co-operating in Nicolae’s mass-murder, but in his heart he opposes all of it.

I wrote about this sentimental “good heart” idea a long way back, when then-President Bush was praising Vladimir Putin’s “good heart”:

This approach also explains why evangelicals — including George W. Bush — can get so angry and aggressively personal in any political or ethical dispute. If you believe that the only (or at least the primary) reason you hold political opinion X is because you love Jesus, then you will also come to believe that anyone holding opinion Not-X must therefore not love Jesus. Thus evangelicals who disagree will quickly move to accusing one another of not loving Jesus, which — for an evangelical — is about the worst thing anybody can accuse you of (except, of course, for homosexuality or voting for Clinton).

This is what prompts President Bush’s angry indignation when any initiative or position of his administration is questioned. He interprets all such questions as challenges to the Goodness of his Heart. Thus his response is usually to angrily reassert that he has a Good Heart, without ever responding to — or hearing and considering — the substance of the critique.

  • LouisDoench

    Of course no one thinks themselves morally evil.  We human monkeys are experts at rationalization.  Sure, no one sees themselves as a mustache twirling villain.  But some people are villains and it is the least of our duties to be free to point them out unequivocally. 

  • Ken

    Another tiny difference between Rayford and Col. Nicholson is that Rayford is never going to stop and say, “My God. What have I done?”

  • http://tobascodagama.com Tobasco da Gama

    You know, I can think of another pilot who shouted “Yippee!” (or close enough to it) while the plane he was on precipitated a nuclear holocaust. We weren’t supposed to think he was a good guy, though.

    And, frankly, Major T.J. “King” Kong was a lot more likeable than Rayford and his actions much more justifiable than Capt. Steele’s.

  • Nirrti

    When I read this post, the first person that came to mind was Oscar Schindler. He pretended he was making weapons for the Nazi regime and ostensibly employed over a thousand Jews, saving them from the death camps.

    Some say he was just an opportunist taking advantage of “free” labor. Yet he managed to not only save a number of Polish Jews but made sure none of the weapons from his factory were ever used in battle.

    The Left Behind characters are supposedly using subterfuge to thwart the Anti-Christ and exemplary of Christ-like behavior.  Yet these fools don’t even have the integrity or courage of a Nazi-era businessman.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Jenkins has a real frickin’ tin ear for jokes, then.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    As I said on the previous page. :P

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    DID YOU JUST GO OVER MY HELMET?????

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667708632 Kenneth Raymond

    So, for example, if you were ever to find yourself posing as an accomplice of a mass-murdering embodiment of evil while secretly working for the forces of good, you would want to do everything you could to reassure your psychopath boss that you supported him while doing everything possible to disrupt, delay, expose, undermine, sabotage, subvert or otherwise foil his plans. That’s the job.

    This immediately made me think of (WARNING, massive MASSIVE spoilers for a 12 year old game) Vampire: the Masquerade – Redemption, a computer RPG set in the old World of Darkness. In the final dungeon, you discover a huge infodump that reveals how the Distressed Damsel of the plot, Anezka, is actually more of the real hero of the story than your own character, Christof.

    While Christof has been doing the bloody, violent work of chopping his way through Big Bad Vukodlak’s minions and support network, interrupted by nearly a thousand years of undead slumber, Anezka has been spending that whole time manipulating Vukodlak and circumstances as the perfect double agent. She was kept alive all that time by a magical blood bond to Vukodlak, exposed to countless horrors that would have broken a weaker will, and managed to not only win his confidence but turn him against his greatest supporters. She spent a thousand years making an ancient vampire chase his own tail in fear, one powerful enough to spit on any Antichrist that LaJenkins could dream up.

    Anezka is, in fact, the reason why someone like your character could come along and cut through the opposition without being utterly obliterated. The villain had nothing but useless toadies left, put there by a “weak” woman. And, let me repeat, she pulled this off for nearly a thousand years and could have kept going if she had to. And this game is only a moderately decent Diablo clone.

    It’s staggering just how outmatched LaJenkins are even by the most basic plots in old pretendy funtime games, and yet they made so much more money in their not-even-mediocrity.

  • SisterCoyote

    I can’t get over how much of a better person Verna is than Buck. She comes off as so selfless in this scene – Buck just got finished verbally abusing her for no reason, he kicked a door shut in her face, he’s just been treating her like crap since she was introduced, for no apparent reason, and she shows more concern for his wife than he does, lends him her car, and is just generally unselfish, even rather… Christian.

    Contrasted with Buck… I wonder if Ellenjay realize how clear of a tale this tells?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You’d almost think they were portraying those evil ho-mo-sex-uals sympathetically. :P

  • P J Evans

    > “Buck pushed the driver’s seat all the way back and adjusted the mirror.”
    > DAMES, I tell yah, with their statistically shorter heights, sheesh, amirite?

    I’d like to give him the car that my father rebuilt the body on. Fixed seats, set for a maximum height of about 5 foot 4. (Buck couldn’t drive it anyway. Stick shift with no synchromesh.)

  • SisterCoyote

     I know! I keep forgetting that selfless actions actually don’t mean anything at all in the Left Behind universe’s black-and-white view…

    Faith =/= Works
    Faith = Salvation

    Therefore,
    Works =/= Salvation
    Damnation =/= Salvation

    Therefore,
    Works = Damnation.

  • P J Evans

     Actually, I’m earwormed by this one:
    WINNERS warm up with Malt-O-Meal!
    WINNERS warm up with Malt-O-Meal!

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Verna Zee Sensible Shoes Confrontation Countdown: A little bit closer than last week.*

    *I’m visiting tonight and left my book at home.  And I am too lazy to hunt down last week’s post and do math.**

    **Sorry.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    277 pages, Ruby :)

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Booyah.  :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

     It’s such a good line, too. It almost seems as if Jenkins wants the reader to think that Buck is an arrogant jerk, and he’s trying to convey that in the most heavy-handed manner possible. I can imagine Buck giving Verna his used kleenex and “letting” her throw it away for him… as long as she gives him a small gratuity for the privilege. It’s just so over-the-top. Would even a real-life asshole say something like that?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    It might be an actual quiltbag. 

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    To be honest with you, I could in no way shape or form dive that car, neither!

  • EllieMurasaki

    I’ve got We Didn’t Start the Fire. I’m not sure that’s an improvement.

  • Tricksterson

    Yes, you may but we’re going to burn you at the stake for it.

  • Tricksterson

    Off topic Ruby, do you take requests?  Because once you’re done your review of Ararat, may I suggest checking out and reviwing James Beauseigneur’s Christ Clone Trilogy.  A bonus for yo would be that, for Christian lit it’s actually pretty damn good.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel
  • Jessica_R

    See I’m imagining a scuffed up leather satchel. Something she picked up on a trip to Paris when she graduated from J school. Or something that had belonged to her father, or her grandmother’s messenger bag that Grandma used to deliver the mail in a tiny Illinois hamlet in. 

    Grandma Elise encouraged Verna to apply to North Western, and pretty much raised her after her mother died and her dad threw himself into work. Verna remembers Grandma always pulling a bottle of pop and a pack of peanut butter crackers out it for a snack when they’d go see a movie on Saturdays. She still remembers seeing All The Presidents Men for the first time, she knew she wanted to grow up to be a journalist right then and there. 

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

    And since we’re talking about songs stuck in our heads… I have The Irish Volunteer stuck in my head at the moment; but not that long ago it was a slightly modified version of the sea shanty “Santy Anno”.

    Don’t ask me how I got into sea shanties and Civil War music, because I really don’t understand it myself either; but I did and now it gets stuck in my head as readily as heavy metal.  Moreso anymore really. >.>

  • KarenH.

    It occurs to me that Rayford’s “rebellion” might actually be that he does every single thing the Anti-Christ tells him, but he does it with a resentful heart. Which is crazy-cakes, but let me tell you about a woman I once knew.

    Back when my son was a young and often surly teen, this woman had come to my house for a visit. My son was grousing loudly in the bathroom, because prior to this woman’s arrival, he had requested permission to attend a movie with his friends, and I told him he could if he got the npbathroom cleaned first.

    Being 13, he felt this was an inequitable arrangement. I think he may have even called it extortion :). But, bad tempered as he was, he WAS still cleaning the bathroom. And it should be noted, he did a nice job of it, too.

    This woman was a conservative Christian, which I knew, but she was far more so than I understood and she was horrified that I was going to let John go to the movies in light of his “open rebellion.”

    “Open rebellion?” i asked. “I said he had to clean the bathroom, and he’s cleaning the bathroom.”

    “but he’s doing it with an angry, resentful heart.”

    “i don’t care how he does it, as long as the bathroom gets clean.”

    The conversation continued for several more rounds of “but angry! Rebellion!” “Clean bathroom!” until it became obvious that neither would ever get the other’s viewpoint. Our friendship kind of petered out after that, too–in large part because she could deal with my “unbelief” (we met at church).

    In the years since, I’ve become more and more aware of this notion that it’s allegedly not enough to obey your parents, you have to be actively happy about it or what you’re doing doesn’t count.

    So, rayford is a big rebellious hero, not because he ever disobeys Carpathia, but because he’s surly about it.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I’ve got dibs on that. :P I’m gonna do a side by side with Left Behind. :P

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    I dunno.  It seems to me that the not-so-bad stuff can’t be as much, umm, “fun” to review as the really God-awful (or awful-God) stuff like she or he and Fred have been covering.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Nope.

    This is Jerry Jenkins. “With all due respect”, giving him or his characters who are supposed to be good guys any credit is giving them way too much credit. You have to twist yourself into a knot to do it, too. How on earth could that line be like “I’ll let you buy me a drink”? Buck’s wife may be a sodden heap of blood and bone on some freeway, the city these people are in is being bombed, it’s a car, not a drink, and this is Jerry Jenkins.

    Jerry Jenkins’ idea of a joke is a big strong manly man making faces behind an uppity woman. It would take Reed Richards to stretch far enough to make the “I’ll let you lend me your car” line in this context coming out of Buck Williams’ mouth a joke, and even he would sprain something.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I could drive the stick shift, but would have to seriously scrunch up to fit in the driver’s seat. 

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I envisioned the bag as a beautifully appliquéd thing, because one of my aunts carries around HUGE bags, and she appliqués them beautifully.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

     And that right there is a small part of why I loathe ‘Christian’ parenting.  IE: Spank the shit out of your kids whenever they do anything the least bit ‘rebellious’.  (With ‘rebellious’ being defined VERY broadly.)

    It’s a great way to make your children resent and fear you… not so much the love and respect thing; and it definitely won’t do them any favors.  (Especially if it turns out later they had ADD the whole damn time and their ‘rebellion’ was mostly just rampant distraction.)

    I’ll stop ranting there so I don’t write 10 pages of comment.  Suffice to say I remain bitter 14 years after the fact.

  • Dmoore970

    Isn’t there something about that in the Bible.  That Jesus tells the parable of a man with two sons.  He calls on both of them to work in his vinyards.  The first one says no, but goes ahead and does it.  The second says yes but never shows up.  Jesus asks which of them was obedient.  The answer is so self-evident as to be absurd.

  • Daughter

     I always related to that parable, because I was the kid who groused but who usually did what my parents or teachers said. And it drove me nuts that I generally got punished more frequently (for “talking back”) than other kids (my sister in particular) who said the right things to adults but were less likely to do what they said.

  • alfgifu

    I knew a man who was at the actual bridge on the river Kwai. Unsurprisingly, it was nothing much like the film (fiction being fiction and all that). The actual soldiers involved did their level best to sabotage the structure they were being forced to build. To the extent of things like gathering insects that looked as though they ate wood, and smuggling them in to the wooden supports.

    But that’s the thing about resisting overwhelming odds. It’s difficult, and sometimes all you can do is something so small that it would be ridiculous under any other circumstances. And it’s quite likely that you’re not going to have any effect, and that the evil thing will be destroyed by someone else in a flash aeroplane who can swan in, drop the bomb, and swan out again. It doesn’t make the resistance worthless – there’s something magnificent about going on beyond all hope.

    If I’m ever in a situation like that, well, I don’t know if I’d have the courage or the endurance. But at least I know what heroism should look like.

  • Ygorbla

    Honestly, it reads almost like a parody of salvation-by-faith-alone.  They put a character in a situation where all they have to do is, literally, push _one button_ to perform a great heroic act, and they choose to completely ignore it because, you know, they have faith and that’s all that matters.

  • Joshua

    Also, I’ve never ridden with anyone so tall that they had to slam the driver’s seat all the way back, and my father’s over 6 feet tall, as is his girlfriend. Is Buck supposed to be 6’10 or something?

    I have to do that on most cars that I have driven. On many of them, my head is pressed firmly onto the ceiling.

    ‘Course, round here you get Japanese cars, not American ones. I’m about 6’3″.

  • Joshua

     I don’t remember their exact heights, but both Buck and Rayford are around 6.5 feet tall. This is a Tim LaHaye special – male leads in his books are always at least 6’4″.

    For consistent and detailed worldbuilding, you’d have them constantly banging their heads into things and never being able to fit. This bit is the first time it’s been mention in Fred’s quotes, I wonder if there are others in non-quoted sections.

  • Ciaphas

    This post reminded me of a fantasy novel I read years ago. I forget the title, but I remember a group of characters trying to stop an invading army by infiltrating the quartermasters and sabotaging the logistics.

    They were worried about being discovered so they tried to make their mistakes rare but meaningful, for example sending winter uniforms to a front requesting summer uniforms.  Eventually the head of the quartermasters shows up and our heroes are about to run for it when they’re told they’re going to receive an award for being the best quartermasters in the army and a special commendation for realizing that the supply chain was so slow that the uniforms wouldn’t arrive until winter anyway.

    Being the bad guy’s best employees worked because it was accidental and played for laughs.  Rayford and Buck have neither excuse.
     

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    I’ve heard good things about Christ Clone Trilogy.  I’m definitely going to read it at some point, but I think the vote for my next book after The Secret on Ararat will be between 1) the next Babylon Rising book, 2) the next Underground Zealot book, or 3) the apocalyptic Christian novel my brother gave me expressly for the blog, that I don’t have the title for because I’m still not home.  :)

    Also, today or tomorrow, the vote for my Wintermas review is going up.  Because the War on Christmas starts earlier every year! 

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Cool–it all works out! 

    By the way, I was thinking that if anyone wanted to get in on the whole fun reviewing-Chriatian-fiction game, you could do worse than LaJenkins’ new(ish) series, The Jesus Chronicles.  Watching them try to portray life in Biblical times is awesome.

  • PandaRosa

    This is one thing I always locked horns with my ex, regarding attitude, and still do with my mother, over getting the kids to do anything. It’s been  years and she STILL rags me over their sulkiness, I just wanted the job to get done and she is all, “You’re not going to let them talk to you like that, are you? My mother would never let me get away with such an attitude, blah blah blah” *sigh*
    Here’s the fun part: Grandmother may have been hellfire and brimstone, Mother’s a Unitarian, I’m the Born-Again,  granted in the Presbyterian Church now, but still…

  • flat

    well my parents are christian, and they didn’t beat the crap out of us for no reason, so I will still say that they are good Christian parents.

  • P J Evans

     They guy who bought it from my mother, after my father died, said later he had a heckuva time getting that front seat moved back. (I think my father used glue as well as mechanical fasteners.)

  • PandaRosa

    (sing-song voice) Unh-unh-unh, you can’t say that! If they DIDN’t beat the crap out of you. then they WEREN”T Good Christian Parents! Case closed.
    The sad thing is that to many Xians, this isn’t a joke.

  • veejayem

    Did you ever read Thomas Kenneally’s book about Schindler? I kept getting the weird feeling that Schindler wanted people to love him and acquired a literally captive audience. I’m not saying that this was ever Schindler’s conscious intention but that was how it came acroos.

    And the film scene where Schindler got the women and children out of Auschwitz was like watching someone walk into Hell and bargain with the devil. Now THAT is what Rayford’s scenes with Carpathia should be like.

  • Jessica_R

    It’s almost why I think these books are parody. This has got to be at least the 16th time in the series the “hero” has the chance to “press the record/broadcast button while the villain doesn’t know and have the whole world hear/see his true nature” and nope. It’s like the dialogue, hack work may not be pretty but hack work knows you say “thanks, I appreciate it” when someone lends you their car. 

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

     There’s a reason I put Christiain in scare quotes.  I don’t believe that’s how the religion is *meant* to be followed… but it is how it often is in the US I’m afraid.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    John Brown disciplined his sons the same way pretty much everyone disciplined their sons in those days, with a birch switch. Untraditionally, he would write down what he had done wrong as well, and have them whip him for it. Because he knew absolutely everyone was equal in God’s eyes, and therefore it would be a sin to do unto someone else what you would not be willing for them to do unto you. 

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    When I go down into the ground at last, as God is my judge, I pray my best-beloved may have better to say of me than “he didn’t hit me.”

    ~Miles in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Komarr


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