NRA: Steppin’ Out With My Baby

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 147-153

Rayford Steele is home alone in his apartment in New Babylon. For just a second, it seems as though he’s about to have a real human emotion:

Rayford thought he had had enough sleep, catching catnaps on his long journey. He had not figured the toll that tension and terror and disgust would exact on his mind and body.

“Tension and terror and disgust” are surprisingly appropriate responses to what he has witnessed over the past 24 hours — hopscotching across America just ahead of the destruction of Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco. But we quickly realize that the scope of Rayford’s concern isn’t big enough to include everyone in those cities — or even to include anyone in those cities, not even the young co-pilot whom he had sent off to certain death without any word of warning.

In his and Amanda’s own apartment, as comfortable as air-conditioning could make a place in Iraq, Rayford disrobed to his boxers and sat on the end of his bed. Shoulders slumped, elbows on knees, he exhaled loudly and realized how exhausted he truly was. He had finally heard from home. He knew Amanda was safe, Chloe was on the mend, and Buck — as usual — was on the move. He didn’t know what he thought about this Verna Zee threatening the security of the Tribulation Force’s new safe house (Loretta’s). But he would trust Buck, and God, in that.

Rayford’s circle of concern includes his wife, his daughter and his son-in-law — the four members of the “Tribulation Force” — and that’s it. Even Loretta exists only parenthetically, as the source of something he needs more than as a person. After witnessing the destruction of several major cities, including his own home town, Rayford thinks of only one refugee from that violence, and then only to worry that her finding refuge with Loretta might jeopardize Loretta’s ability to provide a refuge for him.

It seems the only way Rayford is able to acknowledge other people is when he imagines he has some cause to resent them.

Rayford stretched out on his back atop the bedcovers. He put his hands behind his head and stared at the ceiling. How he’d love to get a peek at the treasure trove of Bruce’s computer archives. But as he drifted off to a sound sleep, he was trying to figure a way to get back to Chicago by Sunday. Surely there had to be some way he could make it to Bruce’s memorial service. He was pleading his case with God as sleep enveloped him.

Getting back to Chicago by Sunday could prove difficult, what with Chicago no longer being there.

By “Chicago,” of course, Rayford really means the Chicago suburbs — which were miraculously unscathed by the non-radioactive nuclear bombs that fell inside the city limits and on O’Hare International Airport (killing an untold number of Rayford’s former colleagues there).

But Rayford desperately wants to attend “Bruce’s memorial service” — the ceremony he and Buck have arranged in honor of their late friend, and only their friend. Bruce was one of dozens killed in the first wave of missile strikes on Chicago, which destroyed the hospital near the church where he had been a patient. Other members of the New Hope Village Church congregation may also have been patients there, or health workers, and it seems unlikely that Bruce would be the only person the congregation would need to memorialize even just from that first attack.

But that attack was quickly followed by the destruction of the airport, and then the all-out assault on the city of Chicago itself. The authors, like their heroes, never seem interested in how many thousands or millions might have been slain or injured in these attacks, but surely it must include so many people — including so many personally and directly beloved by members of NHVC — that the idea of a memorial service focused only on Bruce would have to seem absurd and appalling.

Keep in mind that the authors told us about “a huge aerial attack on the city of Chicago” on page 63. We’re only on page 148. In Chapter 3 they destroyed the city of Chicago and here we are, opening Chapter 8 with Rayford Steele “trying to figure a way to get back to Chicago by Sunday.”

That’s not merely a continuity error. That’s a rejection of the entire principle of continuity.

(I’m trying to do justice to how very, very wrong those two sentences are, but all I can come up with is: “As she drifted off to a sound sleep, Leia was trying to figure a way to get back to Alderaan by Sunday. Surely there had to be some way she could make it to Obi Wan’s memorial service.”)

After a short scene between Buck and Chaim Rosenzweig (which we’ll return to later) Rayford is jolted from his sleep by — what else? — a ringing telephone.

It’s Hattie Durham calling. This provides Jerry Jenkins with a chance to review and rehash Hattie’s history in this chapter the same way he did Chaim and Tsion’s history in the last chapter. First, though, we get one of those unnecessary phone conversation scenes in which characters belabor all the logistical details of when they will next meet to talk in person.

There’s a full page of that here, but here’s the important bit:

“Rayford, I really need to talk to you. Nicolae … said he didn’t have a problem with my talking with you. I know you want to be appropriate and all that. It’s not a date. Let’s just have dinner somewhere where it will be obvious that we’re just old friends talking. Please?”

Rayford warily agrees, then says:

“Hattie, do me a favor. If you agree this shouldn’t look like a date, don’t dress up.”

“Captain Steele,” she said, suddenly formal, “stepping out is the last thing on my mind.”

“Stepping out” has many meanings, but it seems the authors are only aware of the sense of the phrase as sung by Fred Astaire in Easter Parade. I choose to think this is meta-Hattie briefly asserting herself, subtly mocking the middle-aged Rayford by tossing in some antiquated 1940s slang.

The odd thing here is that it would make sense for Rayford to worry that this meeting appear “appropriate and all that” and that it mustn’t “look like a date.” Hattie Durham is the fiancee of the global potentate — a man whose word is law and who annihilates whole cities on a whim. It could be very dangerous for anyone to get the misimpression that you are stepping out with his girlfriend. Rayford should be nervous about this meeting for all the same reasons that Vincent Vega had to be nervous about taking Marsellus Wallace’s wife out to dinner in Pulp Fiction.

Yet none of those very reasonable fears seem to occur to Rayford Steele. He isn’t worried about angering the potentate. He isn’t even worried about providing what could later be a pretext for his disappearance/detention/dismemberment by his boss the Antichrist. (Although, to be fair, the Antichrist of these books doesn’t seem devious and conniving enough for that to be something Rayford would have to worry about. This is disappointing. I prefer my super-villains more on the devious and cunning side.)

No, Rayford wants to be sure that this dinner “shouldn’t look like a date” because he is a married man and he doesn’t want to give any hint of moral impropriety.

And that’s just kind of weird. He doesn’t have to worry about Amanda getting the wrong idea about this non-date dinner meeting, because Amanda presumably knows him and trusts him. And it seems odd that he would worry about setting a bad moral example for the Antichrist.

The sense I get, actually, is that Rayford’s insistence on keeping up appearances here has to do with some idea about not damaging his “Christian witness.” It seems to be an attempt to “abstain from all appearances of evil,” as 1 Thessalonians 5:22 doesn’t actually say, but the KJV-toting authors think it does.

But that, again, is odd because once Rayford and Hattie actually meet, he spends most of their conversation elusively dodging her questions about God and the Antichrist and the whole End Times prophecy business that Rayford and the authors think of as “the gospel.” Rayford takes great pains not to do anything that would damage his “witness,” but he takes even greater pains not to “witness” when he’s given the chance to do so.

This seems like the confused behavior of a man who’s decided that appearing “good” is more important than doing good.

 

  • Rakka

    Such petty view of “sin” conflates neatly with the authors’ petty view of “virtue”.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    The more you talk about these books, Fred, the more I wish I’d had the sense to throw book 3 across the room, rather than waiting until I hit book 7…

  • Grey Seer

    New (well, re-encouraged) theory – Rayford is, in fact, in denial. Massive, massive denial. He can’t cope with all that’s happened to him and the world over the past couple of years, so he’s built a sort of internal wall that segregates his understanding of the world.

    He knows intellectually that he’s in the middle of the Apocalypse, and that he’s working for the Antichrist, but he just doesn’t get that on an emotional level. He can’t handle reacting to the death of more than one person, nor can he build his worldview around a globe that doesn’t include Chicago. Hence why he focuses on the small things, why he continues clinging to an outdated routine and why he carries on like nothing is wrong. He cannot bring himself to even seriously think about it, so painful is the concept.

    Buck, though, has no excuse. It died with the Fully-Loaded Range Rover.

  • Lori

    What is the target audience for this crap supposed to make of the fact that first Buckaroo and then Ray-Ray have the opportunity to witness to Hattie and very carefully don’t do so? I know what decent people think about, but how do LB fans reconcile their heroes lack of evangelistic efforts? Do they share the Tribbles idiotic focus on saving their own physical lives, even at the cost of Hattie’s eternal life or do they simply not notice that it’s a problem or what?

  • Tofu_Killer

    A sneak early Left Behind post to make up for the late ones? I appreciate it.

  • Eric

    My personal experiences with the ultra-conservative “Christians” is that they like taking credit for evangelizing to each other, and acting as if this fulfills their moral and spiritual duty to spread the good news. Everyone not in their little group was viewed as hopelessly lost and not really worth the effort of trying to reach. The only real “outreach” efforts I ever saw consisted of either standing in a public square and yelling at everyone that they are sinners who need to convert, or staging a hokey public performance to get attention (e.g., slow-motion football, or a 1-act play) followed up with a preachy message. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I don’t remember seeing any of these “efforts” result in any new converts. However, when it was all over, they would congratulate each other on spreading the message and “winning hearts for Jesus”. I was told point-blank that our responsibility was to get the message out there. Anyone who refused to listen (or just didn’t like the way it was presented) had chosen to condemn themselves to Hell, and was no longer their concern.

  • CharityB

    To the extent that “evangelism” means “trying to convert or proselytize to nonbelievers”, these books really aren’t evangelical. They’re more triumphal, in the sense that their goal is to help believers gloat about nonbelievers on their way to Hell. With other evangelical works like this (even Jack Chick), it’s clear that the ideal end goal to convert everyone to their brand of Christianity. In the LB world, on the other hand, they don’t really want to do that; after all, if everyone is a Christian, everyone is equal, and if everyone is equal, then there’s no one that we can feel superior to by virtue of faith. Kind of sucks the fun out of the whole “Christianity” thing then!

  • Baby_Raptor

    When I first read the books, I hand-waved that as Rayford worrying about Nicky Everest finding him out. I drew up fanciful head-cannons involving Hattie trusting Nicky enough to tell him of the discussion, or even Nicky being jerkwad enough to stick a recording bug somewhere on Hattie’s person.

    And then Rayford would be in a lot of hot water. As would Bucky, once the connection would be drawn.

    Looking back, I realize that my brain was just trying to fill in horrible plot holes.

    Either way, yeah. I could see the broader “avoiding persecution” theme being an acceptable reason for Rayfie not witnessing to her. After all, according to the prophecies, the Antichrist is going to have several long field days murdering Christians.

    Another theory could be that they think that, since she’s sleeping with the guy, she’s “too far gone” as it were?

  • aunursa

    Although, to be fair, the Antichrist of these books doesn’t seem devious and conniving enough for that to be something Rayford would have to worry about. This is disappointing. I prefer my super-villains more on the devious and cunning side.)

    It gets worse as the series progresses. Nicolae and Leon become even more overly concerned about appearances and murder subordinates for insignificant mistakes.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    When I first read the books, I hand-waved that as Rayford worrying about Nicky Everest finding him out.

    In which case Nicky might have him exterminated, making him an actual martyr for the gospel?

    Well, we certainly can’t have that, can we?

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    On rare occasion, I get that rare person (I’ve also been that person in my previous life) who does try to witness one-on-one based on some pre-determined script they were taught to use. Unfortunately, they quickly feel overwhelmed in those conversations when I point out somewhere between one and five basic assumptions that we have to share — and do not — in order for the script to be effective. They quickly find themselves “off script,” lost, and usually somewhat frightened by the fact that they are now in uncharted territory.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    It seems to be an attempt to “abstain from all appearances of evil,”…

    If only they put so much effort into abstaining from actual evil. (Though in most cases, I think “evil” is too hard a word.)

  • aunursa

    What is the target audience for this crap supposed to make of the fact that first Buckaroo and then Ray-Ray have the opportunity to witness to Hattie and very carefully don’t do so?

    In Book #1 Rayford witnessed to Hattie at a dinner with Chloe and Buck present. Then she stays with the Tribbles in their safehouse during Books #4-6, so she will be targeted by multiple RTCs, including Tsion, whom Jesus (in Book #12) will identify as one of the greatest evangelists of all time.

  • aunursa

    Yes. My Friday will be more productive, now that I won’t be checking back here every hour.

  • TheDarkArtist

    “As she drifted off to a sound sleep, Leia was trying to figure a way to get back to Alderaan by Sunday. Surely there had to be some way she could make it to Obi Wan’s memorial service.”

    You magnificent bastard.

  • Adamlangfelder

    Personally, I would have loved to have watched the late great Christopher Hitchens go after these books. It would have been almost exactly the same and just as enjoyable as well.

  • aunursa

    Hitchens was an atheist (and wrote a book highly critical of religion and the Christian Bible.) Our host is a Christian. That makes a big difference when you’re criticizing a “Christian” book series.

  • Seraphiel

    Every time I see a scene with Rayford, I am reminded of the scene (much better conceived, written, and performed, fortunately) from Babylon 5, in which Gkar berates Londo for silently standing by while the emperor commits a string of atrocities. That story had redemption in store for Londo, eventually.

    But it required him to acknowledge his errors. He’d have to understand that he was wrong.

    With this in mind, it’s a weird contrast to see a rabidly homophobic anti-semite like Tim LaHaye complain about the new adaptation script for his brain poison. It has no “redemptive value,” he said.

    Strange words from a man whose self-inserted character– whose very self– is irredeemably damaged, a man who has no interest in redeeming himself for all the wrongs he can’t even admit he’s done.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    Well, Rayford would have been pretty young when Joe Jackson’s ‘Stepping Out’ was released. And Hattie would have been, what? Not a little kid, older than ten anyway. So it’s not all that archaic of a phrase. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBJUHvQPFTI

  • Vermic

    Some might read “steppin’ out” and think Irving Berlin; but me, I’m going to have that damn Joe Jackson song stuck in my head all day. Thanks a lot, Left Behind Friday Morning! [shakes fist]

    “Rayford, I really need to talk to you. Nicolae … said he didn’t have a problem with my talking with you. I know you want to be appropriate and all that. It’s not a date. Let’s just have dinner somewhere where it will be obvious that we’re just old friends talking. Please?”

    This dialogue is pretty stilted even for this book, and the way I interpret it is that this is the way Hattie knows she has to talk, because Nicolae has her every conversation tapped. Every sentence she speaks is now directed 10% at the actual listener and 90% at the team of OWG agents which she knows are screening and filtering every word. That’s why her conversations are simple, banal, and full of redundant reassurances that this is not a date and the Potentate has approved this phone call and nothing illicit or illegal is in progress.

    That’s the only good explanation I can think of for all this “not a date” talk. Because the only other answer is that LaHaye and Jenkins have this sexist assumption — and they think their audience shares it — that if a woman meets with a man it must serve a romantic function unless otherwise specified. It’s not as if Hattie’s worried about her and Rayford rekindling their romance, they never actually had one, and any vague, wan sexual sparks they might once have shared were stomped flat years ago, thanks to the whole “born-again Christian” thing.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Doubtful. I think Hitchens and Clark have roughly the same sense of the importance of avoiding moral and plot holes.

  • GDwarf

    The focus on apperances here is interesting, given that it’s apparently fine for our “heroes” to “appear” to endorse a genocidal dictator, so long as they think mildly-bad thoughts about him once a month or so, but doing actual good is verboten if it might give someone the wrong idea.

    Interesting, isn’t it, that this particular set of “morals” leads to maximum social and political clout for our protagonists.

  • VMink

    Rayford should be nervous about this meeting for all the same reasons that Vincent Vega had to be nervous about taking Marsellus Wallace’s wife out to dinner in Pulp Fiction.

    “WHAT does Nicolae Carpathia LOOK LIKE?!”

    Pulp Behind. It’d be typical Tarantino, but I’d watch it for the heck of it.

    Also, even though it’s archaic, I’ve used “stepping out” in the Fred Astaire sense. Dunno; I tend to pick up archaic idioms.

  • GeniusLemur

    Amazing! After a lot of other unrelated stuff, Jenkins actually remembered Bruce’s writings! I was sure they’d already vanished into the horrible black void of Jenkin’s storytelling skills.

  • aunursa

    A critique by Hitchens would give the message, “See, another example of how religion is evil.” One theme of Clark’s critique is that LB is a distortion of what Christianity is supposed to be about.

  • Vermic

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, I don’t remember seeing any of these “efforts” result in any new converts.

    The street-corner approach is a tough sell unless you’re indestructible and can breathe literal fire.

  • JustoneK

    “Religion is poison.”

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    That’s not a big difference. It is uncommon for me to see Fred explicitly promote religion in itself in the LB posts.

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

    First: Yay! NRA update! Thanks for keeping up the pace (and devouring more pages in the process too :) )

    Second: WAT. I MEAN WAT. JUST NO, L&J.

    The way these books so casually place Rayford, Buck, Amanda, Chloe, Nicolae and Hattie among this horrific backdrop of war and chaos after a mass disappearance of billions, and then write these people acting as though these events didn’t happen – “huge disconnect” doesn’t even begin to cover it!

    The more Fred dissects these books, the more I come to realize just how slanted they are for their intended audience – entire books full of nothing but feel-good code-words intended as shout-out after shout-out that says “Look! Our tribe is winning with every step! Laugh it up at the poor suckers who ain’t gonna make it.”

    So in the end, it doesn’t matter that there is no true logical consistency to these books. What matters, as far as L&J are concerned, is that they have enough appeal to telegraph their in-tribe status to other fundamentalists who endorse a very particular political and moral code – that of the primacy of Christianity in society and the subordination of secular interests to theological interests by means of using law to enforce morality.

  • Eric

    Even then, you’re more likely to scare people away than to have them say “Oh, this is someone I feel comfortable hanging with.”

  • Eric

    Even when they do talk about evangelism, it’s usually pretty shallow. When I was in college, one of my good RTC friends was part of a group whose goal was to make sure everyone in the world heard the Good News by 2010 (I’m pretty sure they didn’t make their goal). Their “plan” was to send missionaries out to remote areas of the world in predominantly non-Christian areas. The missionaries would travel to every little village or settlement and deliver a quick fire-and-brimstone speech followed with their personal testimony, after which they would take off for the next little outpost of humanity. They assumed that the truth of their preaching was so self-evident that everyone, except those determined to disobey God, would instantly convert and become RTCs (after all, THEY understood God’s teachings perfectly, so anyone hearing them who still didn’t believe was obviously a stubborn, rebellious heathen).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000950306035 J Neo Marvin

    “Stepping out” has many meanings, but it seems the authors are only aware of the sense of the phrase as sung by Fred Astaire in Easter Parade.

    I immediately thought of Paul Revere & The Raiders. (“Have you been step, step, step, step, step, step, steppin’ out on me? I got ways of findin’ OUT!”)

  • Ben English

    Uh… are we thinking of the same Christopher Hitchens?

  • Vermic

    By “Chicago,” of course, Rayford really means the Chicago suburbs — which were miraculously unscathed by the non-radioactive nuclear bombs that fell inside the city limits and on O’Hare International Airport (killing an untold number of Rayford’s former colleagues there).

    It’s weird that the Antichrist did this, because if anyone were gonna invent a bomb that annihilates big cities but leaves the suburbs untouched, it’d be the Christian Right.

  • Daniel

    I actually find myself both envying and pitying the authors, and by extension anyone who actually shares their beliefs. As you’ve pointed out in the dreadful cookie eating episode, these are people so concerned with the collocations of genitals that they see sex where the supposedly depraved and debauched non-believers see none. I don’t think most people seeing a woman of Hattie’s age and a man of Rayford’s would instantly assume they were a couple- surely some would assume they were father and daughter (although that would presumably wouldn’t happen in this world because he is a Marty Stu) or colleagues or- heaven forbid- that maybe she was his boss (which is actually more accurate).

    Is it odd that they haven’t mentioned this? I mean, presumably her role is something like Michelle Obama’s- if you saw a pompous middle aged guy in a pilot’s uniform (Rayford Steele definitely goes in full fig to every single social event. I bet he makes the waiter call him “Cap” like he’s a regular) at a restaurant with Michelle Obama you probably wouldn’t think “ay up, who’s that fancy Dan she’s stepping out with? No doubt some good time Charlie who’ll be trying to have his wicked way!” You’d probably be busier thinking “is that… I think that’s… Yeah! That’s DEFINITELY Michelle Obama! What’s she doing at Chick-fil-A?”

    Imagine seeing sex in everything that happens between men and women (obviously the same is not true for, you know, homosexuals). Imagine a life where every drink with a female friend or colleague is scrutinized for its propriety. Imagine imagining that no woman would socialise with you without there being an undercurrent of sexual tension.

    It almost suggests that these fundies are sexually smoldering Byronic heroes- imagine how difficult it must be to suppress your sex drive if everything from hand holding and cookie eating to dinner with your boss’s pregnant girlfriend is construed as implicitly sexual. It implies this, but in reality they seem to be mostly amply bellied, jowly white guys who still use 1940′s slang and are frightened of virtually everything.

    It’s no wonder they believe the modern world is so overrun by lust- it must be a terrible disappointment to them when they find out it’s not. Kind of like going to a safari park on a wet afternoon when all the animals are asleep under the trees.

  • Ben English

    Fred is an Evangelical. He understands the mindset of evangelical Christians, especially American evangelicals, and the subtexts of the books in ways that a curmudgeonly old British anti-theist wouldn’t.

  • Ben English

    Yeah, but these books are supposed to take place in the nebulous near future. We don’t have any actual birthdates for the characters.

  • CharityB

    Scripts work about as well for changing someone’s core beliefs as they do for providing customer service from a call center. That is, they don’t work at all because the scripts are so rigid/inflexible and are not designed by people who have any real insight as to what makes other people think.

  • Dogfacedboy

    It’s Hattie Durham calling. This provides Jerry Jenkins with a chance to review and rehash Hattie’s history in this chapter the same way he did Chaim and Tsion’s history in the last chapter.

    With Jenkins on record as saying he pooped out wrote 20 pages per day when working on these books, a lot of which is rehashing the “content” from previous books and inserting useless logistical information, I got inspired to do a little quick and dirty math. TW: Unfairness of life.

    65 million books sold multiplied by a guesstimated royalty rate of $1.40 per book (probably considerably low, assumes 50/50 hardcover/trade paperback) = $91 million. Divided by 2 (assume he has to give half to LaHaye for his handy outline) = $45.5 million. Divided by 16 books = $2,843,750 per book. Twenty days to complete a book (including “editing”) x 8 hours/day = 160 hours. $2,843,750 divided by 160 = $17,773 per hour. Whew! They must call him Golden Fingers.

    And none of this includes royalties from the movies, video games, kid’s series, pet’s series, etc.

    Do you suppose there’s anyone in the world that makes so much for doing so little (and doing it so badly)?

  • Vermic

    Our authors have sex on the brain, but are simultaneously terrified of it. (Sex, I mean, though they’re probably terrified of their own brains too.) I mean, look at Nicky — he’s completely monogamous and faithful to Hattie as far as we know. He’s the supreme ruler of the world and, if he so chose, could own a harem so vast as to put the richest sultan or Chinese emperor to shame. He could even have all his concubines be drop-dead gorgeous stewardesses if that were his thing. But he has eyes for only one woman.

    Illicit sex is so unthinkable to LaHaye & Jenkins that they can’t even show the Antichrist engaging in it. Genocide’s fine, though.

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

    There is that. If I wanted to portray “immorality” in the Christian sense, I’d have Nicolae surrounded by the highest-priced escorts, male and female, from around the world.

    “Pshaw, Rayford. The world can afford it. After all, I did just seize everyone’s gold reserves with THE ONLY ARMY LEFT. MWAHAHAHAHA.”

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

    Cassandra Claire.

    (Back story here. Warning: clear your day or weekend for this.)

  • aunursa

    Yes. Left Behind was written in 1995, and Nicolae in 1997, but according to the authors, the story takes place sometime during the first half of the 21st century.

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

    I think I can count on my fingers the number of times L&J show anybody from the Tribble Force actually converting anyone. More often than not the focus characters listen to someone else reciting their sordid tale of a life of sin for the vicarious thrill of the reader knowing he or she would never be That Sinner.

  • Carstonio

    Seeing Hitchens shred the Ellanjay ideology might be fun at first. But then he would have likely ranted that the books prove the destructiveness of religion and god-belief.

    I haven’t encountered any non-Chtistian writers who give fundamentalism the shredding it deserves without pushing an agenda. Even Fred Clark and Rachel Held Evans, as excellent as they are, approach the subject with the assumption that this isn’t what they believe Christianity should be.

  • flat

    off topic

    I just heard some bad news about my father.

    My father has Emphysema and he was send to a hospital a while back for an scan for a planned future operation which would have given him more air.

    During the scan the doctors discovered a tumor on one of his kidneys.
    The tumor hasn’t metastasized .
    But because of his Emphysema they can’t remove the tumor either because the operation would reduce his Lung volumes with 30%, and since he already has 35% lung volumes left, you can understand why the doctors don’t want to operate.

    The good news is that my father has’t had any trouble from the tumor itself, only from his lungs, and the tumor hasn’t metastasized.

    The hospital has given us six weeks to proces the bad news and after that they would discus future options.

    Could you people pray for my dad and my sisters and my mother.

    Thanking you in advace

  • SisterCoyote

    But… There is a difference between “religion is evil” and “this series is vile, and a pitiful example of Christianity.”

  • Patter

    What’s she doing at Chick-fil-A?

    [[Rimshot!]]

  • flat

    ps thanks Fred for posting this NRA post early, it was just what I needed.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    I’m used to these characters behaving monstrously, but even with that expectation, they still manage to horrify me. Consider the following:

    How he’d love to get a peek at the treasure trove of Bruce’s computer archives. But as he drifted off to a sound sleep, he was trying to figure a way to get back to Chicago by Sunday. Surely there had to be some way he could make it to Bruce’s memorial service.

    Ray wants to see Bruce’s computer archive. It’s something he’d really love to see, and as he’s falling asleep, he’s trying to think of a way to get back to Chicago… to see the computer archives! Oh, and also for Bruce’s memorial service too.

    As written, the strong implication is that Bruce’s memorial service is only significant because it’s happening in the same place that Bruce’s computer archives are.


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