NRA: Your young men shall receive phone calls

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 183-189

Pay no attention to the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, Buck Williams is trying to find his friend.

Buck has returned to the Western Wall in Jerusalem to convince the Two Witnesses — invulnerable, fire-breathing street preachers who are actually Moses and Elijah, returned to the living as dispensationalist evangelical Christians — to tell him specifically where he can find former-Rabbi Tsion Ben-Judah. This is tricky, since the duo only speaks in biblical fragments — snippets of verses from a collection of texts composed and compiled long after they lived and died.

What we have here, in other words, is another four pages or so in which it seems like Buck Williams is using Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance like a Magic Eight Ball. First, though, Jerry Jenkins sets the scene:

Buck did not at first see the two witnesses. A small group of sailors strolled past the wrought-iron fence at the end of the Wall where the witnesses usually stood and preached. The sailors chatted in English and one pointed. “I think that’s them, right over there,” he said.

Buck knows they’re sailors, I guess, because they’re probably wearing World War II-era white service uniforms from the U.S. Navy, just like the extras strolling past in sailor-suits in old movies from the 1940s.

“Jeru – Salem, it’s a heckuva town. The Temple’s up and the Kidron is down …”

These couldn’t be U.S. Navy sailors, of course, because in this book the U.S. Navy has been abolished, along with the U.S. itself, which was absorbed into the Antichrist’s one-world government Global Community. The Global Community Navy probably adopted those classic white service uniforms, though, just as the Global Community has apparently adopted American English as its official one-world language.

Jerusalem is an odd place for sailors to be strolling about. This far inland, acting like tourists, they’re apparently on shore leave. Or, given the geography of this book that we’ll look at next week, perhaps they’re from a Global Community air craft carrier stationed on the Wadi Qelt.

Enlisting in the GC Navy was a good move, since it seems that World War III (which, ohbytheway, is still currently raging, not that one would notice from any scene not directly about that war) is being fought exclusively by the GC Air Force. I suppose, though, that the Navy will seem less attractive if we ever get to the trumpets of divine wrath, and the bit where “something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea became blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.”

Gabey, Chip and Ozzie linger for a bit to gawk at the Two Witnesses, but it’s late and Moses and Elijah are taking a breather from declaring, “Thus saith the Lord, harken unto the words that the Lord sayeth and heed them, verily, for they are the Lord’s words spoken unto you by the Lord.” So the sailors wander off, alas, before Ann Miller and Betty Garrett show up and they start singing some old Green/Comden tunes.

As soon as the young men were out of the area, Eli and Moishe raised their heads and looked directly at Buck. He walked directly to the fence. The witnesses rose and stood about 20 feet from Buck. “I need clarification,” Buck whispered. “Can I know more about my friend’s location?”

“He who has ears –”

“I know that,” Buck said, “but I –”

“You would dare interrupt the servants of the Most High God?” Eli said.

“Forgive me,” Buck said. He wanted to explain himself but decided to remain silent.

And here the whole cryptic, Bible-code-speak business falls apart. Buck doesn’t realized he’s just stumbled onto something important: If you interrupt the Two Witnesses, they’ll speak like humans, addressing you directly instead of just repeating random fragments of scripture like malfunctioning animatronics in Disney’s Hall of Prophets.

Moishe spoke. “You must first communicate with one who loves you.”

See? That’s not a Bible verse either. Interrupt these guys and they’ll almost start sounding like they’d pass the Turing Test. Almost.

Buck waited for more. The witnesses stood there, silent. He held out both hands in puzzlement.

That’s a bit of a stretch. Here is Buck Williams in one of the rare moments when he’s not on the phone, “puzzled” at how to communicate with those who are far away.

He felt a vibration in his shoulder bag and realized his cell phone was buzzing. Now what was he supposed to do? If he wasn’t to interrupt the servants of the Most High God, did he dare take a call while conversing with them? He felt a fool. He moved away from the fence and grabbed the phone, clicked it open, and said, “This is Buck.”

“Buck! It’s Chloe!”

We’ll skip over the lines here where Buck tries to tell her he can’t talk just now, dimly failing to realize that this phone call is what Moishe was talking about. That bit is as belabored as all the other passages in these books where Jenkins attempts to make readers feel smart by making his characters act dumb. The important part is this bit:

“Buck, just tell me you’re not at the King David. … I just have this feeling that you should not be in that hotel tonight. In fact, I just have a premonition that you shouldn’t be in Jerusalem overnight. I don’t know about tomorrow, and I don’t know about premonitions and all that, but the feeling is so strong …”

This is why I’d have written that Buck was staying at the American Colony. Making a plot point out of a warning phone call about staying in the King David Hotel seems a bit insensitive.

Buck didn’t know what he thought about this new level of what Bruce had referred to as “walking in the spirit.” … How had they known he had to talk to Chloe first? He had been around the two witnesses enough to know that they were never too far from the miraculous. He just wished they didn’t have to be so cryptic.

That seems like a valid complaint. At the end of the last chapter, Buck had a dream in which he was Joseph having a dream (Mary’s husband, not the Joseph from Genesis, although both of them were far better at interpreting dreams than Buck is). That was cryptic warning No. 1 that Buck should flee his hotel. Cryptic warning No. 2 was “the strong urge” that Buck himself felt, and heeded, to get out of his hotel. And now the Two Witnesses, who speak directly for God, refuse to speak directly to Buck until after he checks in with Chloe for the now-redundant cryptic warning No. 3.

Chloe’s premonition urging Buck not to go back to his hotel is presented here as a message from God. You’d think that God ought to know that Buck already left the hotel and isn’t going back.

Why does all of this “have to be so cryptic”? Instead of saying, “He who has ears to hear, reply hazy try again,” why couldn’t Eli have just given Buck a straightforward message? “Tsion is in Galilee. Michael will take you to him. Don’t go back to your hotel.”

Yet instead of that we get a dream, two “premonitions,” a phone call, and a dozen pages of winking eisegesis. The only direct message in this whole business is when Moishe tells Buck to answer his phone, but that’s just so that Buck can hear a second-hand account of the third iteration of an indirect message. Again, two of the characters in this scene are Moses and Elijah — two guys who shouldn’t be reluctant about delivering clear direct messages from God.

But this is how God communicates with Buck in this chapter because this is how the authors imagine God communicates with all Christians. This is what they imagine it means to “walk in the spirit.” It requires us to break the code and to solve the puzzle based on nothing more than strong feelings and random snippets of Bible verses that can be taken to have applications they never had in context.

This idea of “walking in the spirit” is, I think, the consequence of imagining that God has an intensely specific plan for every detail of your life, your vocation, your marriage, your daily schedule. The Bible doesn’t address such specifics. If one is asking, “What does the Lord require of you?” then the Bible provides an answer: “To do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” But if one is asking, “What should I major in?” or “Should I date this person?” then it’s not going to offer anything as concrete and specific as Micah 6:8, and one is left with nothing to go on but gut-feelings and the creative interpretation of dubiously selected passages.

This idea of God’s intensely specific individual plan for every detail of your life is a feature of American evangelical piety that we’d be better off without. It’s almost always a source of misery and almost never any help. It burdens Christians with anxiety over decisions that don’t need to be so fraught with moral implication. Choosing a major is hard enough without adding the notion that choosing “wrong” is tantamount to disobeying God.

Obsessing over God’s ISIPFEDOYL also tends to function as a way of distracting ourselves from “the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.” If you’re worried about following God’s will, remember that it boils down to this: Love God and love your neighbor. That’s “God’s will for your life.” Take care of that and don’t worry about God’s ISIPFEDOYL.

Back in our story, poor Buck still hasn’t gotten a straight answer about where he can find Tsion Ben-Judah. He tries again with the Two Witnesses and this time:

Eli and Moishe traded off quoting verses Buck recognized from Acts and Bruce’s teaching.

They shouted: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.”

They go on like this for another page, quoting the rest of the passage from Joel 2 that Peter recited at Pentecost in the book of Acts. Good stuff, Joel, but not terribly pertinent to Buck’s actual finding-Tsion problem.

“Why couldn’t the witnesses just tell him?” Buck wonders yet again, and by this point every reader is surely nodding in agreement.

This new burst of preaching draws a crowd, so Buck tiptoes closer to the Two Witnesses and whispers his question again:

“By ‘Galilee’ I can only assume you mean Lake Tiberius,” he said. How was one supposed to tell people who seemed to have come back from Bible times that their geography was out of date?

The lake is called Tiberias, actually, after the city on its shores which was, in turn, named after the Roman Emperor Tiberius. But the Witnesses’ geography isn’t really out of date. It’s the same lake, it just picked up a new name during Roman rule. And even though both Moses and Elijah lived and died a long time before anyone ever heard of Rome, we know they’re already up-to-date on who the Romans were because they keep quoting from the New Testament, in English. They seem to have been imparted total knowledge of everything that happened after their original deaths.

“Will I find my friend in Galilee, or on the Sea of Galilee, or where?”

“He who has ears to hear …”

Buck knew better than to interrupt and show his frustration. “How do I get there?” he asked.

Eli spoke softly. “It will go well with you if you return to the multitude,” he said.

Return to the multitude? Buck thought. He backed up and rejoined the crowd.

“Return to the multitude” isn’t a Bible verse either, even though “multitude” sounds kind of Bible-y. More to the point, though, it also isn’t an answer to Buck’s question.

The Two Witnesses go back to their recitation of the concordance entry for “Galilee,” this time repeating the story of the calling of Peter and Andrew.

Buck wasn’t sure what to make of all that, but he sensed he had gotten all he was going to get from the witnesses that night. Though they continued to preach, and more people gathered seemingly from nowhere to listen, Buck drifted away. He lugged his bag to a short taxi line and climbed into the back of a small cab.

And that’s it. Twenty-five pages ago, all Buck had to go on was that Tsion was in or near “Galilee.” And now, after all that preaching and warning — plus two premonitions, a dream and a phone call — Buck hasn’t learned any more than that.

If only “that great cell phone” he’s carrying had GPS.

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  • aunursa

    The sailors chatted in English and one pointed. “I think that’s them, right over there,” he said.

    .
    What was your first clue, Popeye? The sackcloths? The sinewy hands? The bare feet?
    .

    Jerusalem is an odd place for sailors to be strolling about.

    Yep. The distance from Jerusalem to the nearest shipping port is 44 miles.

  • aunursa

    What we have here, in other words, is another four pages or so in which it seems like Buck Williams is using Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance like a Magic Eight Ball.

    I took a look at this passage this morning, and that’s precisely what it sounded like to me.

  • aunursa

    Captain “Nick” Steele on the set of Left Behind: The Reboot.

  • Lori

    He looks like his stomach is upset or something. Maybe Cage just finished reading the book.

  • aunursa

    Yeah. Mrs aunursa says he looks constipated.

  • Lori

    Yeah, it looks more like an ad for Pepto-Bismal than an action movie.

  • Lee B.

    I was thinking more of the old Stan Freberg (?) Alka-Seltzer ads: “I can’t BELIEVE I read the WHOLE THING!”

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

    He looks…I dunno…more vulnerable than I think Ray-gun would ever allow himself to look. He looks sad and uncomfortable. Even if Ray-gun had a severe gastrointestinal upset, I can only imagine him grimacing in the most macho of ways as he shoves pregnant women aside so he can get to the airplane potty first.

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

    Also, I am now determined to see this movie on opening night (assuming, of course, that it gets a theatrical release). If any Midwestern Slackers are in, we should form a party!

  • Lori

    I would never make it through this thing in a theater. This has “alcohol & the MST3k treatment” written all over it. That’s home viewing.

    Oh, when it comes out on DVD maybe we could do a watch along Google chat or something.

  • Lunch Meat

    Well, you never know–my friends and I saw “Bridge to Terebithia” shortly after it opened and were the only 4 people in the theater. No alcohol, but plenty of snarking.

  • Zornorph

    I made the mistake of going to see Bridge to Terebithia. Probably the most mis-advertised film in history.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    It really wasn’t that bad. If they’d advertised it honestly, it’d probably have been the best possible adaptation that doesn’t require that it still be the 1970s.
    (But putting AnnaSofia Robb and Zooey Deschanel in the same movie seems like you risk exceeding the LD50 of Manic Pixie Dream Girl)

  • Lunch Meat

    No, it wasn’t that bad. Just very snarkable.

  • SkyknightXi

    So what do you do if you can’t avoid exceeding the LD50? Find a way to instill some Somber Spriggan Nightmare Gentleman?

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Somber Spriggan Nightmare Gentleman

    I don’t think that anime’s been translated into English yet.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I don’t even know what that means, but Somber Spriggan Nightmare Gentlemen should totally be a Thing.

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

    These days, plenty of theatres serve booze. :D

  • Lori

    Not as much as I’d need to get through this.

    Also, yelling at the screen is discouraged. At least until it moves to the midnight showing and becomes a costume party.

  • Daniel

    You can walk into a movie theater in Amsterdam and buy a beer. And I don’t mean just like in no paper cup; I’m talking about a glass of beer.
    And in Paris, you can buy a beer at McDonald’s.

  • reynard61

    Or the realization just kicked in that his career is pretty much over…

  • Lori

    If he didn’t figure that out while filming Wicker Man he’s not going to figure it out now.

  • Zornorph

    Which one of the great seals pours out bees?

  • damanoid

    “And I looked, as the Seal was poured out; and a man strode forth from the wasteland, and his raiment was bright as a shield of fire; and the letter of his name was Zeta. And he spoke unto the multitude, saying unto them: “I’m covered in bees!”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hx2NCday924

  • Jamoche
  • VMink

    “WHY am I HERE?!”

  • Lori

    Because you have large debts and your agent doesn’t like you.

  • VMink

    Alas, I think it’s the ‘agent’ part that hurt the most….

  • Donalbain

    I only just realised; this is a Steele Cage match!

  • atalex

    The first comment is —

    Trying
    to invision him in the entire series…. wait for it… wait for it… I
    can TOTALLY see him yanking Carpathia out of the chopper, and yelling
    “What you’ve just witnesses is the Wrath of the Lamb!” Can’t wait for
    that scene!! Make it EPIC!

    — and I absolutely cannot tell whether this is meant to be sincere or sarcastic!

  • Launcifer

    Yeah, personally I’m waiting for the moment after, where he parachutes out of the helicopter using the Queen of England as a parachute.

  • Naomi

    My favorite comment is a casting suggestion: Rayford = Patrick Warburton. That’s genius, that is.

  • VMink

    Now I’m going to hear Brock Sampson’s voice every time I ready any of Rayford’s mono/dialogue. That actually might make it bearable. Thank you!

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

    I appreciate the “Waiting for Godot” homage here. But it is frustrating for Jenkins to give the two witnesses all this face time without having them fire-murder someone in “self-defense” of their invulnerable selves again. Are the authors deliberately subverting Chekhov’s gun as part of the absurdest anti-narrative or what?

    “Buck knows they’re sailors, I guess, because they’re probably wearing
    World War II-era white service uniforms from the U.S. Navy, just like
    the extras strolling past in sailor-suits in old movies from the 1940s.”

    Maybe, maybe not. Buck just knows a sailor when he sees one is all. The man’s been around the block.

  • http://kingdomofsharks.wordpress.com/ D Johnston

    They only had to breathe fire once so that we’d know they could breathe fire. Now that we know that, we can proceed to the next check box. It’s best to think of non-Buck and Ray characters less as people and more as plot points made flesh.

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

    :-(
    I guess it only goes to show the good work that Fred is doing here. It could be easy to dismiss this series as just another piece of preaching to the choir hackwork. Yet it’s so much more/less than that. These are authors who created fire-breathing invincibles… and made them Boring. This is what actual people actually did in our own mundane universe. Incredible.

  • reynard61

    The worst part (at least in my not-so-humble opinion) is that people actually *paid money* (money that could have gone to feed starving children in Appalachia!) to read this dreck.

  • Panda Rosa

    Of course, you could have just paid five bucks at a yard sale for the whole set, which is increasingly more common. That would still cover some child’s Happy Meal even so.

  • http://kadhsempire.yuku.com/ Matt

    Bluck has not been around the block. Chloe with an e, now just Chlo, was hist first. This is also why Buck isn’t in Galilee already getting his next clue.

  • P J Evans

    I was under the impression that whites were for dress occasions. But what do I know: I only had three uncles, some cousins, and a father who had been in the Navy at various times.

  • Lori

    In the real world, sure. This is L&J world though and, as Fred points out, it has more in common with 1940s movies than it does with the real world.

  • Charby

    L & J only describe certain things in any real and compelling detail — the experience of flying first class, the experience of staying in a five star hotel, and the experience of being driven from place to place in a stretch limo. These are probably things that they have either experienced themselves or wish they have, so they spend a lot of time and energy embroidering the descriptions they give in the narrative.

    Nuclear war, mass extinction events, and the day-to-day existences of anyone who isn’t in the 1% aren’t as compelling.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    For the past few years, the normal everyday uniform for US navy folks in most places is similar to the outfits the other service branches, but in blue. (It’s a very nice looking uniform, but I do have a hard time quite getting my mind around the idea of blue camoflage. To blend in with the ocean I guess.). But the Navy does have a lot of random days where everyone wears their whites for historic reasons

  • Daniel

    “I do have a hard time quite getting my mind around the idea of blue camoflage.”
    Well I’ve never seen any of them, so it works pretty well.

  • Lori

    You aren’t the only one having trouble with the idea of Navy camo

    Many service members and former service members feel that it was designed so that if you fall overboard, they won’t be able to find you as you bob about in the ocean attracting sharks. Because you’ll wear boots, they will aid in sinking you because you’re not going to be able to kick them off the way you could with shoes.

    Apparently they’re actually intended to show wear less than the solid uniforms and therefore not have to be replaced as often.

    http://symbolic-mirage.blogspot.com/2012/07/just-little-navy-bilge-talk.html

  • VMink

    The blue camo looks distinctive and actually kind of cool until you realize that,yes, it hides you well in the ocean, exactly when you WANT to be found by (almost) anyone. (Unfortunately, I think the admirals nixed the idea of the international orange digital camo pattern.)

  • Lori

    In fairness, the old solid blue uniforms did nothing to help with finding persons overboard either.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    I saw a man in blue camouflage in the store once and my very first thought was, “If he falls overboard, he’ll disappear completely.”

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I don’t know the thinking that went into it, but I can’t help wonder if it wasn’t ultimately all about wanting the Navy folks to maintain the distinctiveness of their look — prior to the change in policy, the other branches typically wore the same style of uniform, while the Navy usually wore khakis. The Marine, Army and Air Force working uniforms are all different from each other, but the differences are fairly subtle; if you don’t see people in uniform every day, you might not be able to tell right away which is which. But you see a guy in blue camoflage, and it doesn’t take too many guesses which branch he’s in.

  • VMink

    In the 70’s, the Coast Guard was more or less using the same uniform as the Navy, and our cutters were all the same ‘battleship grey’ as Navy ships. A consultant was, er, consulted, and a big plan to change the Guard’s image was undertaken. That’s when we got the white and black hulls and the big orange stripe on the bow.

    It’s also when they decided to make our uniforms look like something other than the Navy. That’s the story of how the Coast Guard came to look like the Air Force.

  • Susan Paxton

    Speaking of which, does anyone else remember the brief attempt, I think in the 90s, to redesign the Air Force blue uniform? It made them look like the pilots for some third-rate third world airline. Here’s a link to a pic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gen_Merrill_McPeak_1993.jpg

    Nasty!!!!

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

    *snerk* but very appropriate for a filmmaker’s conception of what an unnamed naton’s air force uniform might look like. It’d even work for the Global Community. :P

  • Susan Paxton

    At a guess, some company that’s a friend of the Cheneys or Bushes designed it. The military is having a number of rethinks right now about their Iraq-era uniforms. The beret, of course, can’t go soon enough, or blue camo for the Navy.

  • Abel Undercity

    Oh, Zod, I winced in sympathy when they introduced the berets. Soft caps at least kept the sun out of your eyes.

  • LMM22

    It’s a very nice looking uniform, but I do have a hard time quite getting my mind around the idea of blue camoflage.

    Based on the blog pics linked below, I have to disagree. Solid blue would be way more attractive, provided they didn’t look like hospital scrubs.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    The coast guard wears solid blue. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines wear camo. It makes them look way cooler. (No offense to any coast guard folks reading)

  • Rakka

    Camo makes anyone look like a walking salad. Not cool, in my opinion. And pink and blue camos are just ridiculous on top of ugly…

  • X

    But this is how God communicates with Buck in this chapter because this is how the authors imagine God communicates with all Christians.

    Or, it could be that Ellenjay needed to pad out the book 25 more pages.

  • Charby

    Eli spoke softly. “It will go well with you if you return to the multitude,” he said.

    I think that’s Bible-talk for, “Go away, you insufferably dense buffoon.” Eli could have also chosen to say, “Go take a hike,” or “Hop off a cliff.” Moses would have just said, “Fuck off.”

  • Winter

    I think the best method for them to tell Buck to scram would be the verses from the old joke about someone opening the Bible at random for guidance:

    And he threw the pieces of silver into the sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself (Matthew 27:5)

    The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go thou and do likewise.” (Luke 10:37)

    Admittedly, the joke just uses the last half of each verse, but it’s not like L&J ever go for brevity.

  • Eyal

    Moses would have likely hit him with a stick.
    It strikes me that the Witnesses are being rather passive, compared to their biblical portrayal. Instead of challenging rulers or being leaders, they’re standing around and shouting at bystanders.

  • http://kingdomofsharks.wordpress.com/ D Johnston

    I just realized what this reminds me of – the Twilight Zone episode “Nick of Time,” a.k.a. The Other One With Shatner. A couple stops over in a small town, where the man becomes obsessed with a truck stop fortune telling machine that he believes is actually predicting the future. It’s one of Serling’s character studies, this one about people who become so fixated on fate that it cripples their ability to make decisions on their own. We’re meant to feel pity for this man who refuses to leave town because the machine hasn’t given him permission, and relief when he finally escapes.

    Buck, on the other hand…I guess we’re meant to cheer on his insistence on doing the same thing over and over again. It was just a coincidence that he got that call – I know we’re meant to think that they’re connected, but there’s nothing to indicate that. All these two are repeating the same thing over and over again. That’s the other thing this reminds me of – the signpost NPCs in an old RPG, with Buck portraying the frustrated gamer who keeps coming back because, dammit, they’ve gotta say something different eventually. So maybe this is also a character study, except a) not intentional and b) highlighting a very different character flaw.

  • kcrothers

    That’s my favorite Shatner Twilight Zone. It seems to get re-run often.

  • GeniusLemur

    Jerry Jenkins’ secrets of writing: never tell your character a belabored once when you could tell them an agonizingly drawn-out three times, and they weren’t going back to the hotel anyway.

  • Charby

    Agreed. Also, make sure you don’t forget to reiterate what you already repeated. It’s very important to reintroduce the concept of what you just finished telling them to ensure that they don’t forget. And to make sure that they don’t fail to recollect your message, you should communicate it to them once again.

  • Lori

    Every time I feel like maybe I’m being too harsh and mean about the fans of these books I remember that they’re fans of books that talk down to them more than I ever could and they apparently don’t notice that. They are not the sharpest tools in the shed.

  • aunursa

    Tracy ***** ***** I can’t wait. It is gonna be so awesome! I love the LB books, and Kirk Cameron and company did a great job with the original LB Movies. But…it will be terrific to see a BIG name remake, maybe MORE peeps will see it, and get saved, we can only pray for that!
    C 6 * 20 hours ago

  • aunursa

    Doh! That’s supposed to be 6 likes.

  • Lori

    It is 2013 and she used peeps with no apparent irony. People “liked” the comment. “Nuff said.

  • VMink
  • Lori
  • VMink

    Okay, that’s much better than random peeps, and hilarious besides. Thank you =)

  • Lori

    The peep diorama contest is now one of my favorite things about Easter.

  • general_apathy

    Or even a Jesus of Peeps?

  • FearlessSon

    Peeps“?

  • VMink

    It was A Short Victorious Rapture.

  • Jamoche

    They need to start marching to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAIGb1lfpBw

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

    Even Harry Turtledove’s repetitiveness doesn’t really detract *as* much from the storyline he’s telling, which he at least manages to carry through with reasonable alacrity.

  • reynard61

    Blather, rinse, repeat…and repeat, and repeat, and repeat, and repeat, ad nauseam, ad infinitum…

  • kcrothers

    I see what you did there.

  • Jamoche

    Fred’s in excellent form today; I can’t even pick a favorite quote. “malfunctioning animatronics in Disney’s Hall of Prophets”, “Interrupt these guys and they’ll almost start sounding like they’d pass the Turing Test. Almost.”, “So the sailors wander off, alas, before Ann Miller and Betty Garrett show up and they start singing”

    :D

  • flat

    I once read that God talks to you in silence, right now I can’t hear God talking.

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

    God can’t hear us all over the sound of how awesome He is.

  • flat

    so we better be silent so we can listen to the sound of His awesomeness

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

    It also explains why He doesn’t sound very clear when he answers anyone. :P

  • Panda Rosa

    Okay, I’m going to have to think about that for a while.

  • Daniel

    “He wanted to explain himself but decided to remain silent.”
    Buck’s entire journalistic career in one sentence.

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

    (Aside: XD I got a kick out of the riff on the 1940s WW2 Navy musicals.)

    It’s like Jenkins opted for a mishmash of confusing indirect Bible verse quotes and phrases which sound as though they could have been in the Bible.

    It’s that King-James-itis problem folks seem to have: for them, the Bible doesn’t sound like the Bible without all the thees, thous, and olde timey phrasings.

  • Dogfacedboy

    I got a kick out of the riff on the 1940s WW2 Navy musicals

    I vaguely recall that the Village People wrote the music and lyrics for a short run Broadway musical that depicted this very scene. It went something like this…

    In the Navy
    You can tour the wailing wall
    In the Navy
    The temple shines like a mirror ball
    In the Navy
    See Buck Williams take a call
    In the Navy, in the Navy

    In the Navy
    You can sit out World War Three
    In the Navy
    Oh where could Tsion Ben-Judah be?
    In the Navy
    We’ll take a cab to Galilee!
    In the Navy, In the Navy

    The show was a flop, but that number was a toe-tapper, for sure.

  • Vang

    They want you! They want you! They want you to burn in hell!
    They want you! They want you! They want you to burn in hell!
    “But.. but.. I’m a Catholic…”

  • Magic_Cracker

    See? That’s not a Bible verse either. Interrupt these guys and they’ll almost start sounding like they’d pass the Turing Test. Almost.

    Further evidence that RoboJesus s actually an mechakaiju sent to clear the way for Earth’s colonization by aliens.

  • VMink

    Clearly then, we must Get Big or Get Judged.

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

    Pacific Rim / Left Behind crossover: The last Jaeger has to fight TurboJesus because he is a kaiju in disguise. :P

  • Lori

    That would definitely be a better next career move for Charlie Hunnam than the sure-to-be-a-train wreck movie he’s actually making.

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

    To be fair, he’s serious eye candy. I can see why he’d be in 50 Shades.

  • Lori

    I see why they wanted him. The issue is why he wanted to do it. Because it’s going to suck So. Very. Much.

    ETA: I just discussed this with my ex, whose current SO is an agent (not Charlie Hunnam’s agent). The ex’s reasonably well-informed guess is that CH knows the movie is not going to be good, but that it will be talked about, plus it’s a different type of role for him. That means that it’ll get him talked about & help him avoid being typecast. I get that. I still hate it in the way that I always hate it when an actor I like does a movie that I loathe.

  • Lorehead

    If only they could have gotten Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.

  • Lori

    That’s what I wanted, but did they listen to me? Noooo.

  • Jamoche

    I suspect Robert Pattinson has learned to read the book before taking jobs. Though watching him snark this movie the way he did the Twilight films would almost be worth it.

  • FearlessSon

    If only they could have gotten Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.

    Legal risks. When your book is just an erotic fanfic for another franchise with a few character names changed so you can publish it, you tend to tread carefully where lots of money is at stake.

  • Lorehead

    On the other hand, if they cast an actual Latino as José, he won’t have to say Dios mio constantly to remind us he is.

  • Jamoche

    How about Charles Dance reading an excerpt?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3POYx6IeeI

  • Loki1001

    Charlie Hunnam’s at that weird career level where he isn’t a big enough star to really be picky with his projects (think James Franco), but isn’t obscure enough that he can just do anything for a paycheck. This sounds like the exact same type of crap that Chris Hemsworth did when he agreed to Snow White and the Huntsman and Red Dawn.

  • Lori

    Yeah. The problem for Hunnam is that Hemsworth has Thor & Avengers and so far Hunnam has Pacific Rim, which did not do Thor & Avengers business. Hunnam is in a tricky spot, for sure.

  • http://nobleexperiments.blogspot.com/ NobleExperiments

    But he’s made a small-screen name in Sons of Anarchy, so there’ll be a lot of HBO fans who’ll go to 50 Shades just to see him.

  • Lori

    SoA is on FX and I really don’t think it has much audience overlap with 50 Shades. On one hand you have more or less the plot of Hamlet set in a violent motorcycle club. On the other hand you have badly written fan fic of a badly written “romance”. Those things don’t generally appeal to the same folks.

  • http://nobleexperiments.blogspot.com/ NobleExperiments

    Oops. you’re right…. FX. I just think there’s an overlap of CH worshippers who’d watch whatever he’s in. Not a substantial overlap, perhaps.

    And were you the one who said 50 Shades’d need alcohol and the MST3K treatment? Sign me up.

  • Lori

    No, I said alcohol & MST3k would be required for the new Left Behind movie. 50 Shades would require much stronger drugs. Much. Stronger.

  • mattepntr

    If anyone’s interested, I’ve been reading a hilarious takedown of 50 Shades, exactly what Fred’s been doing with Left Behind-

    http://jennytrout.wordpress.com/jenny-reads-50-shades-of-grey/

  • Lori

    I loved Jen.

    If you haven’t already seen it you also need to read this:

    http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/340987215

    Best gif review ever. NSFW, but that probably goes without saying.

  • Lori

    For anyone who’s interested—the well-informed rumor is that Charlie Hunnam finally agreed to do 50 Shades because they wanted him badly enough to pay him a lot of money* and to green light a couple other projects that he wants to do. That 2nd thing was probably what tipped the balance.

    No definite info on why they were so determined to have him for the role, but willingness to do nudity was apparently a factor.

    *Quote: “They must have backed up the truck.”

  • mattepntr

    I love that E.L. James wanted Pattinson for the role of Christian. Because 50 SHADES HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TWILIGHT. NOTHING.

  • Lori

    E.L. James is unclear on many things.

  • Lorehead

    And maybe he can be the best thing element in that movie.

  • flat

    hold on they are making a 50 shades movie?
    shudder.

  • Jamoche

    Yeah, and they intentionally chose the same release date as one of the Marvel movies because they think women won’t be going to see that.

  • Magic_Cracker

    There’s always the chance the Virgin Mothra will intercede on our behalf.

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

    For some unaccountably bizarre reason I read that as Viagra Mother.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Wait, if Mothra is a virgin, does that mean that the little grub baby Mothra is Kaiju Jesus?

  • Loki1001

    Pretty much. Mothra is as accurate a Christ allegory as almost anything else in Japanese pop culture.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Yup. He’s a Christepillar.

  • VMink

    “That Kaiju baby… is the Kaiju baby Jesus… Kaiju savior to the Kaiju people… and I mean… TO TAKE HIM!”

    Ronnie Jaegerdova vs. the Two (Thousand) Ton Chum-Chum.

    … too obscure, I know. Sorry.

  • Lorehead

    I admit I don’t get it; but for some reason it reminds me of a group of underground Japanese Christians during the Shogunate whose books all got found and burned, so they had to tell each other the stories about Jesus from memory. In their version of the Nativity, when the innkeeper found out he’d made Mary give birth in a stable, he was so mortified that he let her recuperate in his hot spring for free.

  • Abel Undercity

    Heralded by the Prophet ELIZA.

  • Will Hennessy

    I remember a book or two ago when they were chanting “Christ is Messiah” (redundant as that sounds), and that isn’t a Bible verse either.

    Though, since it does translate roughly to “A is A”, it is scripture to the Ayn Rand Fans who wrote the book…

  • Magic_Cracker

    That whole “Christ is Messiah” thing still cracks me up. Is there anyone on more Bible illiterate than a Bible literalist?

  • Susan Paxton

    That said, a lot of evangelicals seem to think that “Christ” is Jesus’ last name, not a title.

  • VMink

    And according to several of my uncles, ‘H.’ is his middle initial.

  • Hawker40

    And it stands for “Haploid”.

  • The_L1985

    Nope. Howard. You know, like in, “Our Father, who art in heaven, Howard be thy name…”

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Ironically, I was always told that the reason that the “H” is in there is because it’s not part of his name, and therefore it neuters the expression so that it’s no longer “taking the lord’s name in vain” — you’re just taking the name of some guy with a similar name in vain.

  • FearlessSon

    Or if you are Ned Flanders, you go one further and say “Jeepers H. Crackers!”

  • Lorehead

    Some Mexican guy who doesn’t mind you pronouncing it wrong?

  • Lorehead

    This belief made it into the Book of Mormon.

  • Susan Paxton

    OMG. Seriously?

  • Lorehead

    Seriously. According to the prophet Joseph Smith, the prophet Nephi said that the Messiah’s name would be Jesus Christ, and later, when Jesus returned, bearing a great deal of resemblance to TurboJesus but with a slightly different list of enemies, he reminded his followers that they must call themselves and their church after Christ, which is his name, like scripture says.

    In reality, chapter 11 of Acts, the first part of which Fred has often quoted, tells us that it was the people of Antioch who first called the brethren Christians. Not a coincidence—the story preceding the journey to Antioch is about welcoming Greek-speaking gentiles into the church, with more universal implications. The word Christ is Greek, and the New Testament tells us that Jesus and his disciples spoke Aramaic.

  • Susan Paxton

    Lord. I was hoping we’d be able to have the discussion about Mormonism when Mittens ran for President, but the evangelicals decided they luuuvvvved him, so we didn’t.

  • Lorehead

    I’ll just say, about that, that accepting that the Book of Mormon is a forgery does not mean that what the Latter-Day Saints went through was meaningless, that they were stupid, or that the LDS today have to give up their culture or stop caring about each other. Any more than my accepting that the Torah, written and oral, was not really dictated by God to Moses on Mount Sinai means that I have to stop being Jewish, remembering the Holocaust, or even fasting on Yom Kippur.

  • Susan Paxton

    No, definitely not. I suspect the vast majority of LDS are sincere Christians with an epic founding story behind them. The hierarchy, I’m not so sure of.

  • mattepntr

    My very favorite thing about Mormonism is the ban on seeing R-rated films. Because apparently the MPAA is a theological authority.

  • Mark Z.

    When I got to the part in Fred’s post where the Witnesses switch from Bible quotes to vaguely Bible-ish original statements, I instantly thought of the Book of Mormon.

    Because the Book of Mormon is totally incompatible with the Bible’s history, narrative form, themes, languages, and pretty much all the rest of its content, but very carefully imitates the way the Bible sounds when read out loud.

    It’s as if someone had very strong sense-memories of being a child dragged to revival meetings where a succession of old men would very soberly read ponderous selections from Chronicles or Deuteronomy, and not understanding any of it, but knowing that it’s long and repetitive and trying to tell some kind of story and has funny words like “thou art” and “Obadiah”, and that afterward everyone would be refreshed and encouraged by hearing the Word of the Lord. And then this someone grew up and tried to write a book like that.

  • Lorehead

    There’s also the very strange notion that the King James Version is “The Bible,” particularly considering that King James authorized it as head of the Church of England and the Pilgrims, whom the same people try to claim as culture-heroes, rejected it in favor of the Geneva Bible. They also outlawed Christmas.

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

    Wait. You mean papa Joe Christ wasn’t a good American working man living next door to the Andersons?

  • LMM22

    For a little while, I (accidentally) had my alarm clock set to a Christian radio station. I’d wake up each morning fascinated by the new stupidities I’d encounter. (The two ones that stand out now are the anti-gay rant that started by approvingly quoting Willa Cather and the gospel song that totally didn’t get that “thy” is second person singular familiar. “My Lord, thou….” does not parse.)

  • Panda Rosa

    Willa Cather?
    Read a biography that said she wanted to be a man.

  • Mrs Grimble

    “the anti-gay rant that started by approvingly quoting Willa Cather”
    That displays a stunning degree of ignorance. Even just a skim of her Wikipedia entry gives a strong indication that she may not have been entirely heterosexual (she never married, all of her “significant friendships” were with women, she spent her last four decades living with a woman, etc.). I’d love to know what bit of her writings they quoted.

  • LMM22

    She lived with Edith Lewis for almost 40 years. Make of that what you will.

    Our labels may not have applied in those days, but I’m pretty sure the speaker wouldn’t have considered her straight.

  • Lurker

    Wait, what? “My Lord, thou…” can lead to all sorts of valid sentences. Were they saying that using a familiar form is disrespectful? Because if they didn’t know the difference…

  • Lee B.

    I know Spanish and Russian use the familiar when addressing God. Was English different?

  • esmerelda_ogg

    No, not different – the ONLY time the familiar second person is used in current English is when addressing God.

  • Cathy W

    …which means most people mistakenly believe it’s the formal, because how could you possibly be on familiar terms with the Lord?

  • Jamoche

    Or Sith Lords.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Ah, but that’s a long time ago, not to mention in a galaxy far, far away.

  • Jamoche

    English was the same – that’s why it’s all over the King James Version. But we dropped the familiar so long ago that the only remnant left is in the KJV, and so the average reader lacks the context.

    Oddly, there’s a big overlap between the people who insist that 400 year old English is the only “right” English for the Bible and the ones who go on about how Catholics kept using a particular translation long after it stopped being commonly understood.

  • Lorehead

    There might be some fading memory left of the Quaker thee, which originally was supposed to remind everyone that they were equals. But the KJV usually-but-not-always translates the name of God as Lord (in small caps, to denote that it’s a substitution and not a literal translation, but this distinction is as lost on most readers as the fact that the italicized words in the Amplified Bible are editorial insertions, and is totally inaudible when reading aloud) and only rarely as Jehovah (which is not how it would have been pronounced). Therefore, the incongruity of addressing a “Lord” in the familiar occurs quite often in English translations of the Bible.

    Tolkien, who knew the history of English backward and forward, had his hobbits and Rohirrim use the T-V distinction with each other properly, pseudo-translating it with the obsolete pronouns and sticking in a note about why they were suddenly talking that way.

  • auroramere

    Eowyn uses “thou” to Aragorn; he uses “you” in every reply to keep things formal. When she and Faramir get together, Aragorn can finally call Eowyn “thee” without fear of encouraging her crush/hero worship.

  • Rakka

    Ah, thank you. It was time for me to reread LotR anyway, thanks for the prompt to reread it in English.

  • redsixwing

    In a Matrix/LB crossover, that would be an attempt at a tautology attack, creating an always-true condition and causing a data dump to the chanting character.

    (So that’s how they got firebreathing turned on.)

  • Daniel

    Wrong film I know but…
    Singin’ in the reign,
    Just singin’ in the reign,
    of my glorious Jesus-
    Now I’m born again,
    I’m laughing at crowds,
    of damned from above,
    The Son’s in my heart,
    I’m spreadin’ his love-

    let the fiery men chase
    all but me from the place,
    Come on with the reign
    I’ve a smile on my face
    I’ve past the tem-ple,
    not caring at all,
    ‘Cos I’m singing

    and dancing in the reign.

  • Panda Rosa

    I am going to hunt you down and destroy you because that’s going to be in my head the rest of the day. :)

  • Daniel

    Then I’ve got sweet revenge. Every time I see your name I hear Bowie’s “Red Sails” but “thunder ocean” is replaced with “panda rosa”. Don’t ask me why. It’s happening now. It’ll be in my head all weekend. Bowie haunts me. Me and Mr. Jones, we’ve got a thing going on.

  • Lori

    Great. Now I’ve got Billy Paul stuck in my head. I hate that song.

  • Panda Rosa

    Dear God, what have I done? O_O

  • Daniel

    It’s also strangely apt this week:
    “Red sails/ Panda Rosa/ Red sails/ Sailor can’t dance like you”

  • Panda Rosa

    Just to spread the misery around, I’m also suffering from Dogfaceddoy’s rendition of “In The Navy” several dozen posts up.

  • Daniel

    We’ll get by, I suppose… and the wrong words make you listen in this criminal world.
    Any opening, no matter how small, Bowie will find his way in.

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

    Did anyone seriously doubt, even for a moment, that Buck would answer his cell phone in front of the witnesses? Buck Williams is the guy at Subway who is talking on the phone the whole time that they’re trying to take his order. He’s That Guy.

    I still can’t get past the fact that our hero, a ‘Tribulation Saint’, is whining about not getting directions for travelling in the desert… to Moses!

  • aunursa

    And we have a thread winner!

  • themunck

    Oh by the Dread Wolf, why didn’t I catch that earlier? XD

  • hidden_urchin

    Choosing a major is hard enough without adding the notion that choosing “wrong” is tantamount to disobeying God.

    It’s even better when you want something desperately in your life, fail to obtain it, and people say something to the effect of “well, it just isn’t what God wanted for you. As soon as you submit to His will, you’ll be happy.”

    I am so glad to be out of that religion. I only wish I’d gotten out of it sooner.

  • Susan Paxton

    Just what I want to hear from Moses: “Use your phone, doofus!”

  • flat

    now this insulting towards a doofus

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

    “This must be what Bruce Barnes meant by ‘walking in the spirit’,” Buck thought, as he rode in a cab, waiting for it to deliver him to his destination, where he would for a riverboat to pick him up.

    It takes a special kind of stupid to “literally” interpret the bible, but having a character “walking in the spirit” utilize every other possible mode of transportation except walking.

  • Sue White

    Gawd! Again with this “He who has ears to hear” shit! That doesn’t even mean anything. Wasn’t it bad enough we had to suffer through *one* such scene? What the hell did the authors hope to accomplish by repeating it?

  • aunursa

    Just wait until Glorious Appearing and Kingdom Come. Entire chapters consist of quoting the NKJV.
    “Boys and girls, today we have a special guest. Noah is here to read from the 6th and 7th chapters of Genesis.”

  • Sue White

    That sounds like plagiarism.

  • Hawker40

    I’m pretty sure the NKJV is in the public domain…

  • Sue White

    Is there a word for padding out a novel by copying something in the public domain?

  • Hawker40

    “Hackwork”?

  • Charby

    Jenking.

  • reynard61
  • Daniel

    I vaguely remember hearing that it’s not in the UK- I’m probably wrong but I think Eyre and Spottiswoode were the only ones allowed to publish it and were quite protective over the copyright. The situation has probably changed now, as it was a few years ago that I heard this, and I can’t remember my source. I am entirely unreliable.

    They also published the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

  • LMM22

    Gee, you’d think he’d be asked to give a different perspective.

    (“So there I was, building the ark, when two of the strangest creatures came walking up the gangplank. Huge, huge birds. Never seen anything like them before that. And wouldn’t you know, a third one came walking right up to me and stood there. We ate well that night. Two of us ate a single drumstick….”)

  • Lori

    He was in his rec. room, sawing away, making a few things for the home

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bputeFGXEjA

  • Vermic

    Kingdom Come Noah should be the cool hippie teacher that sits on the desk and tells you how everything you were taught as a kid was bullshit, and he’s got tenure so the administrators can’t do anything about him.

  • Jenny Islander

    The thing that gets me every time L&J use that quote is that IIRC it’s always at the end of one of Jesus’ parables about mushy liberalsecucommie stuff like mercy, grace, forgiveness, inclusivity . . .

  • Susan Paxton

    The ones they ignore, in other words. “That’s the fake Jesus. Our Jesus kicks ass!”

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

    Verna Zee Sensible Shoes Confrontation Countdown: 159 pages

  • reynard61

    What we have here, in other words, is another four pages or so in which it seems like Buck Williams is Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins are using Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance like a Magic Eight Ball.

    Fixed that for ya!

  • arcseconds

    OK, so I’ve half-heartedly defended the authors’ decision to only have the witnesses speak in bible verses on a couple of occasions.

    and then they just go and decide to have them talk ‘normally’, because it’s all got a bit too difficult.

    but not really normally, they speak like people who have been thrust into some kind of improv exercise as part of a company team-building day, who have just had the facilitator yell ‘talk like you’re in the Bible!’ at them…

    I’m impressed, I’ve gotta say. These guys are so determined to stuff up on every level. They’re like anti-artists.

  • Lunch Meat

    But if one is asking, “What should I major in?” or “Should I date this person?” then it’s not going to offer anything as concrete and specific as Micah 6:8, and one is left with nothing to go on but gut-feelings and the creative interpretation of dubiously selected passages.

    Slightly off-topic, but during chapel in college we had at least a few different speakers who told the story of how they met their future wives (it was always a guy) and how the first thing they said after meeting her was “I think God wants me to marry you.” Then they would tell the “amusing” story of how they wouldn’t leave the girl alone and eventually convinced her to date and marry them. One guy actually admitted he stole mail from his future wife’s boyfriend. Sadly, the freshmen found this funny and romantic instead of creepy. Even more sadly, I didn’t find it that romantic but I didn’t realize just how creepy it was.

  • tatortotcassie

    One guy actually admitted he stole mail from his future wife’s boyfriend. Sadly, the freshmen found this funny and romantic instead of creepy. Even more sadly, I didn’t find it that romantic but I didn’t realize just how creepy it was.

    Not to mention how ILLEGAL it is to steal mail! Can we say federal crime here?

  • Sue White

    But such a great story for chapel!

  • aunursa

    Reminds me of the Law & Order episode “Legacy.” It turns out that the defendant once planned a phony business trip just so that he could “accidentally” run into the object of his obsession at her high school reunion. They get married shortly after her first husband died in an apparent accident.
    .
    Five years later, at the end of the episode, his wife realizes to her horror that she married her stalker — the man who murdered her first husband.

  • Lori

    One guy actually admitted he stole mail from his future wife’s boyfriend.

    If my husband told that story I would completely freak out. And then probably call everyone I know to find someone who knows a good divorce lawyer, because that’s creepy and inappropriate on a level that’s a great big old red flag.

  • andrew ryan’s caddy

    There’s nothing more endearing than federal crime.

  • andrew ryan’s caddy

    Wait, somebody just below me already said that. Dang.

  • Rakka

    Not a red flag, a fleet of tall ships flying red flags and red sails.

  • Sue White

    I guess we have these guys to thank for the sort of dumbasses who think that harrassment is the way to win over a woman who says no.

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

    The whole “God told me to marry you” thing? The thing that makes me boggle is that people fall for that sort of thing. :O

  • FearlessSon

    Given the context, could it be any more obvious of a bad pick-up line?

  • http://rapturepractice.wordpress.com/ Phoenix Feather

    I heard a less creepy variation of that story from a girl I knew. She was telling the story of how she got engaged, and she said, “At first I didn’t want to marry him, but God changed my mind.” Even though I was a Christian at the time, I remember thinking what a weird thing to say. Why attribute that to God? Why not just say that your feelings changed?

    But she was only a junior in college when she got married. In retrospect I wonder whether that was her way of justifying a decision that she didn’t feel ready to make.

  • banancat

    It is quite creepy. I follow a message board to snark on and criticize the Quiverfull movement and the Patriarchy movement in general. And there are courtship or engagement announcements pretty frequently on the various blogs that we follow, understandably with so many kids in each family. Some of the board members act like every engagement is just so wonderful and the couple looks happy and in love and it’s just so gosh darn great to see young love like that. But I never see it that way, especially when for the barely adult bride-to-be. The way courtship works, boy gets a message from God, talks to his dad, his dad talks to her dad, and then finally if everyone involved approves, the dad asks the girl. And while she technically has veto power, it barely feels consensual to me. I mean, if you’ve been raised all your life that God himself speaks through your dad and you must obey him always, and then the head of your family plus two other men insist that God wants you to marry this boy, what are the odds that the girl will go against everyone and refuse? It’s highly coercive at best, and in my view is little more than a glorified arranged marriage. Once you bring God into it, how can a girl or woman possibly say no without implying that the man is either lying or wrong about God?

  • Hawker40

    OK, some points from a ex-sailor who works on a navy base:
    1. The USN’s “Dress White” uniform can be worn on liberty, and often is on ‘special occassions’. Like liberty when the town you’re in is doing something special.
    2. The USN often visits Hiafa, Isreal, and arranges day and overnight trips to Jerusalem.
    3. The camoflauge blues are much disliked. They’re expensive and don’t wear well, and as others have pointed out they only hide you when you fall overboard. Blue camoflage on a grey ship? Really? But they’re being changed, making for the 3 uniform change since I left the navy in 2004.
    4. I imagine the OWG Navy has a distinctive uniform. The only navy I know of without a uniform different from the other services is the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy.

  • Lorehead

    Or, since Israel might or might not still exist and does have a treaty of some kind with the UN that apparently involved rebuilding the Temple under the control of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and his new religion, maybe the IDF navy still exists too. It’s not as if the story would be less logical either way.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    The IDF navy does indeed wear white, apparently…

    http://bogieworks.blogs.com/treppenwitz/images/img_3507.jpg

    No idea why they’d be speaking English, though…

  • Lorehead

    There are a lot of Anglophones in Israel, and particularly the officer corps of the IDF. (I once heard a joke in Israel with the punchline, put in the mouth of an insular elitist, “This is important, and you’re speaking Hebrew?”) Or one of the two might’ve learned Hebrew as a third language and be better in English; it’s not impossible that their first languages might be Russian and Arabic and their parents considered English more useful. Or maybe it’s because American English is apparently the One World Language now, when the authors haven’t forgotten there is one.

  • Lorehead

    No, wait, I finally got it. They’re deserters hiding out in Israel from WWIII because it’s the only independent country left, and more importantly, immune to nukes.

  • Jenny Islander

    So L&J might have gotten something right for once?

  • Lori

    Purely accidental. Won’t happen again.

  • Lorehead

    No, that was Fred’s joke, I think.

  • Evan

    People’s Liberation Army Navy

    Oh wow. Is there by any chance also a People’s Liberation Army Navy Air Force?

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

    if not, I suspect there is a PLA Air Force, which would be a rather odd coincidence with the US Army Air Force name that existed back in WW2.

  • reynard61
  • Hawker40

    Yes. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Force. Along with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Naval Coast Guard. And he Chinese People’s Liberation Army Marine Corps.
    And more interesting, the Chinese Peole’s Liberation Army Second Artillery Corps Submarine Division, which commands thier sole nuclear missile submarine.

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

    Yowza. O.o

  • VMink

    I thought the PLA had ‘Naval Infantry’ units, not marines, per se?

  • Hawker40

    Well, given that the entire Chinese miliatry is “People’s Liberation Army”, it’s really hard to tell. They’re probably regular army units assigned to work with the navy. (There are three types of “Marines”: Sailors trained to be infantry, Army units trained to work with the Navy, and a truly iindependent Marines.)

  • Lorehead

    I take it the Chinese word being translated as Army has a meaning, in context, closer to Military?

  • Hawker40

    There is only one military service in the PRC: the Army. It comes from when they first formed as a guerrilla band in the 1920’s, and as it expanded into different fields rather than split into specialties it just got bigger. The People’s Army includes it all.

  • Albanaeon

    Oh, so Uniform Wars are still going on?

    While in the AF we started with the standard Cold War Era Camo. Completely useless for Iraq, but hey, we were already required to starch and press them, so what the hell. Well, after Katrina when all the AF were called Army because they wore fatigues, it became imperative to be recognizable. So, after much expense and even more ignoring of all the input they asked for (like do flight suits for everyone (best uniform EVAH!!!!!)) We got some random blue and grey digital pattern that were hard to maintain and wore like crap. About a year latter, when it became obvious that the troops were not going to transition willingly, they restarted the whole process, and finally adopted the slightly greyish digital pattern which is only barely different from the Army’s.

    And let’s not forget the same process was being repeated with our exercise gear at the same time…

  • Hawker40

    IRT the “Uniform Wars”, I’m convinced that some congresscritter has a relative in the clothing business. It’s the only excuse…

  • Jamoche

    And a not particularly talented one at that, like the wannabe fashionista from Leverage.

  • Hawker40

    He’s very “talented”… making the armed services change out uniforms every 3-5 years, at 3 uniforms a service member at $50-$150 a uniform…

  • Jamoche

    Yeah, exactly the kind of talent that warrants a visit from the Leverage team :)

  • Albanaeon

    I don’t know. Most of the ridiculousness I had to put up with came from officers of middling talent trying to find ways to get promoted. No one wants to give them anything important, but they’ve got enough friends to get wide reaching things. These officers then proceed with all the over-confidence of those that really don’t know any better, to make a true FUBAR of their mission. Eventually, enough work is put into the officer’s idea that something workable emerges.

    At which point the officer gets their promotion, and a new one takes charge, looking for something not broken to fix, and it all starts again.

    Which had an uncanny resemblance to the Uniform Wars…

  • Daniel

    “God has a very special plan for all of us”, Bruce had said. When Rayford had asked for clarification, for he was humble, Bruce had told him “God has a very special plan for all of us, but sadly most people are not “all of us” and God’s plan for them is…less special than his plan for us. It is a sin to stand opposed to God’s plan.” That had put his, and Buck’s, minds at rest. God thanked Buck for all his hard work by having a very special plan for him that frequently coincided with all the things he’d wanted to do anyway. Buck was very special, and it made sense God would single him out like this. Unfortunately though there was still the Antichrist to contend with.

    Nicolae’s agents had clearly been at work even here in Jerusalem. The prophets, previously so easy to find, had been moved by forces beyond Buck’s- and therefore anyone else’s- understanding. New walls had sprung up apparently from nowhere..They resembled three dimensional pictures if pictures had solidity and texture- almost like someone had made three dimensional models of the pictures and put them there, so that later someone could photograph them and make those photographs three dimensional, which the walls would then resemble. Buck’s mind was particularly aberrant today, and he hurried to write this down. He hadn’t come up with such a stunning piece of description since the long ago night on the road chasing down a story when he’d read the blurb on the menu from the Great Wall Chinese restaurant. As always, he had been far from home, sweltering under the midsummer blue of an unfamiliar sky in a strange land. But the results of his journey to the exotic, mysterious east had been well worth it- it had made his career: a shocking exposé of the inability to get simple, American cuisine in a Florida restaurant. He had been justly famed for his no-holds-barred interview with the manager, a small man who spoke in a charmingly Han accented English and kept trying to hide behind excuses “it’s a Chinese restaurant” he’d said “and there is a perfectly good burger place two doors down.” Buck had lanced him, the manager had realised his error in going up against Buck Williams and overcome with shame he had asked Buck to leave. The man had tried to save face by threatening to call the police, so Buck had tactfully left when there was no sport in righteously humiliating him any more. He relished the taste of that victory even now. It tasted like…barbeque sauce.

    His was a lonely life, a life constantly in pursuit of stories, constantly wandering the earth like the character in that book that he’d read. The main difference was that man had been condemned to walk. Through the Lord’s favour, and his skills as a negotiator, Buck rarely had to walk anywhere. Since the Lord had smiled on the earth and raptured so many Buck had been blessed with far less congestion on the roads too. But the interference of the Antichrist had put these strange new walls in the way, and now he was no longer able to drive up to the Puffy Eyed Wall, which was now merely the western wall of some temple or other- the details were sketchy as no one had given Buck any information about it. There was a full orchestra playing outside, as though there was something to celebrate, and the roads had been closed off. Buck had, through dark forces beyond his control, been forced to walk.

    He paused for breath, having walked several yards without a rest. He noticed a group of sailors looking fabulous in white uniforms with their hats at jaunty, but not indecent, angles. Buck was as worldly as the next man- he had heard plenty of euphemisms for things he knew the unsaved did all the time, though he admitted to being hazy on the details- and he knew why the sailors were here. Well, what did any young man come to Jerusalem for? After so many months at sea they’d be looking for only one thing, and Buck knew in his heart that these strapping, muscular men could last all night with anyone they went to. He could almost smell their sweat, he was a writer after all and his imagination was vivid. The glint in the green eyes and the peculiarly pleasant, slightly crooked smile of the unshaved dark haired sailor, which Buck- a seasoned reporter receptive to these details- allowed to grab his attention, spoke of men unfettered by marriage, roaming the streets desperate for eschatology. The walk had clearly taken a lot out of him. He felt his heart racing, and his breathing was uncomfortably fast.

    He was conflicted. Before the reign of the antichrist Buck had been very supportive of the armed forces- though he was above authority Buck appreciated others were willing to obey it and risk their lives when ordered to do so. He always swelled with pride when seeing a man in uniform, knowing their bravery and his were the same, and he had always felt a strong affinity for the navy. It spoke to his own nomadic spirit, his own restlessness. But these sailors served Satan, and though it wasn’t clear who they were fighting Buck was the Second in Command of the Tribulation Force. He only wasn’t first because Rayford was older. These men should be his enemies. Like him they were risking their lives. Unlike him they were doing it because they had been told to. Bruce had made it very clear- Buck was free to leave any time he wanted. This was why Buck had accepted his role as mankind’s saviour with such grace, because it was not an order. He could leave any time he wanted, and he would have, except that, as Bruce had also told him, he was vitally important to God’s plan for the world. He had never said how, or why. But it was Buck’s money that had paid for the underground shelter, and Bruce’s special bible delivery Lamborghini and, as Bruce had explained, he could hardly have asked for all that money from an unimportant part of God’s very special plan. Buck was proud of his faith and rejoiced when it was tested. He liked passing tests. He was unique, a total one off, who needed no one’s approval and passing tests set by others allowed him to prove this.

    As soon as the young men were out of the area, Eli and Moishe raised their heads and looked directly at Buck. “I’m glad to see you back. I thought you were gone forever.” Said Eli “Me too.” added Moishe
    “Together again at last! We’ll have to celebrate this. But how?”
    Buck could not think to answer, as he felt his great cell phone vibrating. The
    sailor’s smile reappeared in his mind’s eye, shining like a crescent moon. The
    phone vibrated again.

    “May one inquire where His Highness spent the night?” asked Moishe, who was apparently quite sarcastic.

    “The King David Hotel…” he stuttered, confidently.
    The two prophets looked blankly at each other
    “Who’s King David?”

    Buck had seen all manner of strange things, dogs in skirts dancing for pennies, women going to work, the entire nuclear arsenal of Russia exploding harmlessly above Israel, and the continuing war the One World Government fought against an unnamed and unknown enemy. The reporter in Buck wondered when any of these curiosities might become more than “and finally” articles, when they may become real news. He would be sure to write about them once they did, but so far the only people who had asked him to were Verna and Steve, and they were authority figures. To do what they asked would be a betrayal of himself, and that was one thing Buck was not prepared to do. He had seen all these strange things and more, but the prophets not quoting scripture was the strangest of all. The Lord would test him, Bruce had said, and he certainly was. Buck had hoped Bruce had just been talking about the large donations to his off shore account, but obviously he had been mistaken. Or, more likely, Bruce had been unclear, as
    Buck had never made a mistake that he could remember.

    “I need clarification,” Buck whispered. “Can I know more about my friend’s location?”

    “He who has ears –”
    “I know that,” Buck said, “but I –”

    “You would dare interrupt the servants of the Most High God?” Eli said.

    Moishe sniggered behind his hand, and Eli jabbed him sharply in his bony side with a coat hanger elbow.

    “Forgive me,” Buck said. He wanted to explain himself but decided to remain silent. There was no way they’d understand if he told them he wanted a less circumspect answer. Besides, his awesome phone was still vibrating, he could feel the company logo on the phone, a little metal bull, flickering through the fabric of his bag, tickling his leg. He’d paid extra for the solid gold logo- it was a mark of quality, it showed his status.

    He was very keen to take the call- it might be Rayford- but he didn’t want to
    offend the prophets. This was not like interrupting Verna Zee or Chloe. These
    were, after all, men, and men who knew the bible at that.

    Eventually he took the call, and was disappointed to find it was only Chloe.
    Once she’d finished blathering he turned back to the witnesses.

    Eli spoke softly. “It will go well with you if you return to the multitude,” he said.

    Return to the multitude? Buck thought. He had never been part of the multitude. He was Buck Williams, rejecter of authority, brilliant reporter, saviour of mankind.

    He backed up and rejoined the crowd.

    The Lord was truly testing him.

  • Lunch Meat

    You are consistently my favorite person in these comments on Friday.

  • Daniel

    Thank you. Probably best to ignore what I write the rest of the week, I’m bloody dreadful then.

  • nemryn

    Very nice!

  • http://algol.wordpress.com/ SororAyin

    ” Since the Lord had smiled on the earth and raptured so many Buck had been blessed with far less congestion on the roads too.”
    With that one sentence, you’ve done more to imagine the implications of the Rapture than L&J ever have.

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

    Thanks.

  • Jesus

    Fuck you too, you self-absorbed dickhead.

  • Lori

    What is wrong with you that “Fuck you all” is the only way you choose express disagreement, including when you are only speaking to one person?

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

    Yes, yes. I know you said that would be your only comment going forward. That doesn’t example why you have to comment at all and it most definitely doesn’t explain why you keep randomly linking to pointless shit. The question I’m asking is, what the hell is wrong with you? Why are you unable to just stick the flounce? Is this the only place that anyone will pay attention to you? Are you that desperate?

  • dpolicar

    Would you rather EH go back to writing longer comments?

  • Lori

    I would rather EH just go.

  • damanoid

    “A new commandment I give unto you: that ye Answer thy Phone.”

    –Verizon 13:34

  • Lunch Meat

    Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

    When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Can you hear me now? Good.”

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    *grammar nerd*

    Technically, that’d be either “that ye answer your phone” or “that thou answerest thy phone”…

  • Lorehead

    Ye answer your phones, unless he gave it when there was but one phone in Israel and David Ben-Gurion used it to crank-call Cairo.

  • MaryKaye

    I know a teenager who ate some two-week-old Chinese food out of the fridge and got food poisoning. When his dad asked why he’d eaten it, he said, “It did taste kind of funny, so I ate it real fast.”

    From what I hear, that’s how people who enjoy these books do it. You read them real fast, skimming the boring parts. What Fred is doing is pretty much the antithesis of how they’re best read, so no wonder it brings out the worst in them. (Not that that’s hard to do. There’s so much there to bring out.)

  • christopher_y

    I let Fred read them for me and present me with weekly summaries- it’s called delegation.

  • Vaughn Lowe

    That’s pretty much how I read the books. Flip flip flip… phone calls, driving around yada yada yada… Oh here’s some giant wasp thingies, might be kind of interesting…

  • Ken

    Do the witnesses remind anyone else of “The Greatest American Hero,” and the way the space aliens communicated by tuning the radio to different stations to pick out the words they wanted?

  • Jeffrey_Kramer

    “You would dare interrupt the servants of the Most High God?” Eli said.

    I can’t be the only one who immediately thought of “You dare to challenge the Great and Powerful Oz?”

  • Dragoness Eclectic

    Buck recognizing that they were sailors was perhaps the most realistic thing I’ve seen yet. If you’re on active duty, you wear the uniform, and if you’re on shore leave from a ship, you’re on active duty. Jerusalem is a major tourist attraction; I can imagine sailors on shore leave going to see the sights.

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

    What with that fancy new temple and all, too. :P

  • Carstonio

    “You would dare interrupt the servants of the Most High God?” Ellanjay must be cribbing from L. Frank Baum.

  • aunursa

    Somebody beat you by one hour.

  • Kenneth Raymond

    If I was writing this (God forbid), I’d probably go further with Chloe’s premonitions until she starts getting taken over by them. Basically get her turned into an oracle for God’s warnings to the Tribbles, but at the same time emphasize how scary this could be. Make it a real source of concern and drama, and even a little horror, as her mind keeps getting hijacked by something so immense and ineffable as God – but that would require L&J being willing to acknowledge that there could possibly be anything scary about their vision of God at all (or any vision of God as a great, inscrutable intelligence that only indirectly understands how we think through one of his incarnations and likes to poke into mortal lives at completely random moments).

    Actually, Buck might himself be a little more interesting and make more sense to do that to, given he’s supposed to be a reporter already and thus he’d just be “upgrading” in God’s plan as such. But the prophet character is an inherently supportive role and there’s no way L&J would let their self-inserts get relegated to that. So Chloe works best out of the core cast for this, at least currently.

    (Then again, I really want to write stories where the characters are consumed, absorbed, or drastically changed so as to be nearly unrecognizable by the end due to their plot – mentally and/or physically. Personal struggles focused around trying to reclaim their agency in the face of something they were never prepared to handle. The idea that you might be turned into a vessel for something else rather than your own person. I just wish I was better at plotting that kind of story out.)

  • aunursa

    Speaking of Chloe…
    Whatever happened to the Chloe: The Rise of Antichrist updates?

  • Kenneth Raymond

    Are they not still being done? I halfway considered writing some little thing around my idea, but decided (for… whatever reason) that the, er, “Chloe niche” of odd little flash fiction snippets was capably filled by that and so I needn’t really bother.

  • Jamoche

    More flashfics are always welcome.

  • Vaughn Lowe

    I suppose I can write some more…

  • Loki1001

    These books remind me of a wonderful short story by Kurt Busiek entitled Clash of the Titans: A New York Romance. The basic premise of the story is that a super hero (Mr. Right) and a super villain (Demonica) are fighting a heavily destructive war in the middle of New York, as told from the perspective of a guy who works for the city’s marketing and tourism department. Every scene in the story is pedantically obsessed with either advertising campaigns or New York’s real estate market, while offhandedly mentioning that hundreds (possibly thousands) of people are dying in horrific ways. In fact, the protagonist’s single minded pursuit of an apartment spills over into derailing the whole super hero smack down more than once. Of course this is all played for laughs, and the protagonist is always pretty much a narcissistic asshole. It’s intentional comedic sociopathy, as opposed to Left Behind’s unintentional comedic sociopathy.

  • bekabot

    Gabey, Chip and Ozzie linger for a bit to gawk at the Two Witnesses, but it’s late and Moses and Elijah are taking a breather from declaring, ‘Thus saith the Lord, harken unto the words that the Lord sayeth and heed them, verily, for they are the Lord’s words spoken unto you by the Lord’. So the sailors wander off, alas, before Ann Miller and Betty Garrett show up and they start singing some old Green/Comden tunes.

    Eli and Moishe put in a few decades in vaudeville between the time of the death of the Dancing Tea and the birth of the Talking Flick. Initially they only did it to pass the time (which can weigh heavily on your hands when you’re waiting for the End Of Days and the Kingdom Come; it’s like anticipating a bus or a train that doesn’t show up and doesn’t show up and which, even though you know good and well it’ll be there eventually, you’re ready to do murder by the time it arrives) but both of them (already long inured to life on the road) got fonder and fonder of their act the longer they spent perfecting it. They took turns coming up with little bits of business and enjoyed playing their fellow-vaudevillians for fools (and as for the audience, don’t get me started). They were thought a little odd by other troupers, but in those days weirdness in the vaudeville line was considered to be a feature and not a bug and both audiences and performers were accustomed to theatrical eccentricities. Vaudevillians with no quirks would have been thought peculiar and Ely and Moishe (they called themselves “Eely & Moe”) sailed right under the radar.

    Eely & Moe, Boh-Boh-Dee-Oh-Dough” was a signature number of theirs. At one point it was arranged for the piano by some unnamed Tin Pan Alley soldier and had a modest sale in sheet music. OTOH, as a performance it had a great popularity around the time World War One got underway. At about the same time Vernon and Irene Castle were popularizing the Turkey Trot and the Grizzly Bear, Eely tried to promote something he called “The Transcendental Wriggle” but it failed to catch on. However, some people think that Moishe’s sore-foot shuffle (done to the tune of “Soft Shoe Moe”) was the origin of the term “schmoe”. And then Eely & Moe had some devastating acts. The report is that one evening in the early 20’s when they were doing their “Thus Saith The Lord” routine, Ingersoll the watchmaker, who had recently been bankrupted and who had a front-row seat, laughed so hard he sprayed boot-leg whiskey all over the front of the stage.

    Eli and Moishe had as few close friends as possible but they boasted many admirers. There’s a story current to the effect that they advised Minnie Marx as to the phrasing and timing of “Minnie the Moocher” and that toward the end of their career they mentored the Marx Brothers (her sons). Naturally, neither Nicky (singular) nor any of his minions (plural) know anything about this, as Eli and Moishe have called upon the Lord to darken their minds (those of Nicky & Co.) so that they (Eli and Moishe) won’t be beleaguered for their autographs.

    All of which may explain why it is that around one-third of the way through Book The Third of the Adventures of Those Left Behind, Moishe turns to Eli with an expression of profound suffering on his face. “Tell me, my oldest, oldest friend,” he intones, in whatever language you please, “have we ever, I mean ever, come across a stooge to equal this one?” At which Eli mutely shakes his head, deeply wrapped in thought, grateful for his temporary freedom from the spotlight’s eye. In the distance a buzzard croaks but no comment from any other critic is heard.

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

    OK, returning for a second bite at the apple after a long weekend…

    There was a game we used to play in writing workshops where you would try to come up with as many different ways of looking at something as possible. How many different ways could you have Buck begin his search for Tsion? I’ve already mentioned a few of these, but let’s count the ways, shall we?

    1.) Buck prays for guidance on how to find Tsion, and has a dream where he walks out into the desert, following a bird/animal/star/feeling.

    2.) Buck prays for how to find Tsion and discovers he has made a map through automatic writing. If we need to pad the page count out a bit, then the writing on the map is in Hebrew. Or Aramaic.

    3.) Buck approaches the Witnesses for directions, and one (or both of them) guide him through the desert!

    4.) Buck, being ret-conned as a budding spy, checks his dead drops in Jerusalem, which he told Tsion about after their last meeting, and finds clues. The dead-drops could be around significant locations, or used to advance the plot or flesh out the setting. (such as being near the rebuilt temple, or being in an abandoned temple of a religion abolished by Babylon Enigma)

    5.) Buck, being ret-conned as a competent journalist, has connections in Jerusalem’s budding evangelical scene that has grown from Tsion’s preaching. He must attend secret meetings of persecuted Christians to find Tsion.

    6.) Buck, being ret-conned as a double agent working with a secret resistance, volunteers to lead the Global Community strike-force that’s hunting for Tsion. Working alongside Chaim, he acts the part of a Global Community/Enigma Babylon zealot, and observes things that foreshadow Chaim’s own double-cross.

    7.) Tsion, being well-versed in the Bible, leaves a series of clues in the form of references to specific lines of scripture that will lead the faithful to gather in a safe place where he is or will be. Only those who know how to read the Scofield Bible will be able to read the clues in the correct order, while others will be misled. Alternatively, Tsion has left behind Bible verses as “guides”, but Buck realizes they work (perhaps after some mathematical translation) as GPS co-ordinates.

    8.) Buck arrives in Jerusalem looking for Tsion. A message is delivered to him at the hotel, but the clerk calls back to tell him it was sent to the wrong room; it’s half of a faxed page. He checks in with the Global Community news desk, and as he’s picking up print-outs from the copier, he notices a page left behind by someone else, part of a photocopied map perhaps? On his way back to the hotel, he gets a call with Chloe’s caller ID on it, but when he picks up, it’s a business calling with a wrong number; the wires must have been crossed for Buck to get a call from a restaurant in [location X]. Buck prays, and realizes these fragments are signs, clues from God.


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