L.B.: The Nonattenders

Left Behind, pp. 172 – 174 Tucked into the parody of a spy novel that is Chapter 10 is a brief visit back with Rayford Steele. This is an oddly placed, somewhat jarring insertion. Had the story of Buck's adventure in London actually achieved some kind of narrative flow, this would have interrupted it. The [Read More...]

L.B.: This is London

Left Behind, pp. 171-186 Jerry Jenkins sets the tone for Chapter 10 with a Bulwer-Lytton-worthy opening sentence: Cameron Williams convinced himself he should not call his and Dirk Burton's mutual friend at Scotland Yard before leaving New York. This chapter features Jenkins doing his best impersonation of Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum: Late-night globetrotting flights, [Read More...]

L.B.: A Grief Denied

Left Behind, pp. 165-170 My least favorite book by C.S. Lewis is one called The Problem of Pain. Lewis eventually seemed not to like it very much either. If you've ever seen the movie or the play Shadowlands, then you're familiar with the circumstances — his autumnal marriage to Joy Davidman and her slow death [Read More...]

L.B.: Selective literalism

Left Behind, pg. 165 Rayford Steele has not yet, himself, converted to what Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins call "true" Christianity, but he's already started trying to convert his daughter Chloe. "I always called myself a Christian, mostly because I was raised that way and I wasn't Jewish." "Now you're saying you're not a Christian?" [Read More...]

L.B.: Leap of Proof

"It's hard to accept the idea that there cannot be an order in the universe because it would offend the free will of God and His omnipotence. So the freedom of God is our condemnation, or at least the condemnation of our pride." – Umberto Eco, "The Name of the Rose" Left Behind, pp. 159-165 [Read More...]

L.B.: Suspicious phone call

Left Behind, pp. 156-159 Dirk Gently Burton, you will recall, was Buck Williams' college roommate and is now his off-the-record source about the machinations of a powerful conspiracy of behind-the-scenes financiers. Burton's fringe theory has two parts. First, he believes that international bankers seem to be concerned about discussions to unify the global economy with [Read More...]

L.B.: The Blair Witch Video

Left Behind, pp. 154-156 Rayford Steele is anxiously awaiting the safe return home of his daughter, Chloe. It's kind of strange that he is not also anxiously awaiting the safe return home of his wife and son. Readers of the book know for certain that those who suddenly disappeared will not be coming back, but [Read More...]

L.B.: Executive Intelligence Review

Left Behind, pp. 151-154 The opening sentence of Chapter 9 clearly establishes that this is not a flashback: Buck's subconscious waking system failed him that evening, but by 8:45 p.m. he was back in Steve Plank's office, disheveled and apologetic. So it's not a flashback. This scene occurs after the mass disappearances. We are in [Read More...]