L.B.: yes I said yes I will Yes

Left Behind, pp. 213-217 (take two) Stories of religious conversion — or "testimonies," as we evangelical types call them* — can be tricky. The convert wants to tell this story because she is convinced that it is important. Very important. But also deeply personal and, at some level, ineffable. Attempts to convey the ineffable often [Read More…]

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L.B.: What’s on second

Left Behind, pp. 211-213 (take two) Rayford Steele, we're told, attended the New Hope Village Church only a few times after his wife Irene starting going there. If the Rev. Vernon Billings' In-Case-of-Rapture video is at all like the sermons Billings preached, then I understand why Rayford never went back. Billings is pedantic and condescending, [Read More…]

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L.B.: Still not creepy enough

Left Behind, pp. 211-217 (take one) It was a lump in the throat. It was an itching in the feet. It was a stirring in the blood at the sound of rain. It was a sickening of the heart at the sight of misery. It was a clamoring of ghosts. It was a name which, [Read More…]

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L.B.: Grace and greed

Left Behind, pp. 206-208 Thinking about the evangelistic sales-pitch he has just heard, Rayford sure is sure that he's pretty sure he's interested: He wanted to remain sensible, yes, analytical. He wanted to study, to pray, to be sure. But wasn't that just insurance? Could he be more sure? … He had found the truth, [Read More…]

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L.B.: Buck, incognito

Left Behind, pp. 205-206 We last saw Left Behind's other protagonist, Buck Williams, 20 pages ago, in Frankfurt, Germany. Buck slipped off to Frankfurt after escaping London, where the same menacing forces of the global shadow-government that had killed his friend Dirk had tried to kill Buck by planting a bomb in a police car. [Read More…]

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L.B.: Hospitality vs. Sales

Left Behind, wrapping up Chapter 11 As an evangelist, the Rev. Bruce Barnes gets a few things right. Evangelism is what Chapter 11 of Left Behind is all about. This is an awkward topic. In American culture, evangelism has become something dreaded and despised — perhaps most of all by the very evangelical Christians who [Read More…]

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L.B.: The real sin of the Rev. Bruce Barnes

Left Behind, pp. 195-197 To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness, But life without meaning is the torture Of restlessness and vague desire — It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid. — Edgar Lee Masters, from "Spoon River Anthology" Rayford Steele's wife, Irene, was snatched away by God [Read More…]

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L.B.: Dogs and cats sleeping together

Left Behind, pg. 198 Before making his full sales pitch for salvation to Rayford and Chloe, Bruce Barnes first has to explain the authors' contention that such salvation is still possible for those left behind in the post-rapture world. This is, of course, central to the premise of the whole series, the protagonists of which [Read More…]

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