L.B.: Concorde calling

Left Behind, pp. 25-27 "If you're a seeker and you need a guide, someone to counsel you so you can find your way forward into a spiritual realm. And you're on an airplane. Don't look in first class." -- John Patrick Shanley in Joe Versus the Volcano Our heroes, isolated from the world aboard their transatlantic flight, have thus far received no news from the outside world, and are still unaware that the mysterious disappearances are a global phenomenon. That changes … [Read more...]

And now, some Good News

From Teresa Watanabe of The Los Angeles Times, we learn that the evangelical Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.: ... has launched a federally funded project for making peace with Muslims, featuring a proposed code of ethics that rejects offensive statements about each other's faiths, affirms a mutual belief in one God and pledges not to proselytize. ... The Fuller project, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, is intended to develop practical peacemaking … [Read more...]

L.B.: The Lex Luthor factor

Left Behind, pp. 23-24 Here are some of the things that Buck Williams, the greatest investigative reporter of all time, is thinking when he first realizes that dozens of people on his airplane have suddenly disappeared midflight: ... His mind searched its memory banks for anything he had ever read, seen, or heard of any technology that could remove people from their clothes and make them disappear from a decidedly secure environment. Whoever did this, were they on the plane? Would they make … [Read more...]

L.B.: Welcome to the Hellmouth

I must apologize for the extended pause in our journey through the world of Left Behind. Dwelling in this abysmal novel is like working with lead paint -- one needs the occasional break to avoid the dangers of prolonged exposure. I have, as a kind of antidote, been re-reading Jane Jacobs' The Death and Life of Great American Cities. This is a whipsmart book that I hope will serve as a prophylactic against the potential intellect-eroding effects of LaHaye and Jenkins' stupefying … [Read more...]

L.B.: Jerry’s book tour

Jerry B. Jenkins, co-author with Tim LaHaye of the Left Behind series, is promoting his new book, Soon, which was written without having to split the profits with the valued assistance and spiritual guidance of LaHaye. Soon isn't set during a dispensationalist's "tribulation" period, but Jenkins is still sticking closely to his lucrative winning formula. Debra Pickett describes it in The Chicago Sun-Times: Soon is set 35 years after the end of World War III, and religion has, … [Read more...]

L.B.: The Naked Truth

Left Behind, pp. 21-25 Here we read with greater detail -- although less detail than we might like -- of how LaHaye and Jenkins envision the bodily rapture of believers, but not of their clothes. Thus: Harold's clothes were in a neat pile on his seat, his glasses and hearing aid on top. The pant legs still hung over the edge and led to his shoes and socks. L&J seem to envision a great gathering in the clouds of all the believers in their born-again birthday suits. At the very least, … [Read more...]

L.B.: Not creepy enough

Left Behind, chapter 1 The remarkable thing about LaHaye and Jenkins' description of the rapture in this first chapter is how very creepy it isn't. The events they're attempting to describe are so audacious, so potentially unsettling, that this chapter should make your flesh crawl and the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. But it doesn't. And that's not just because L&J are bad writers. Left Behind, despite its religious trappings, is part of a larger genre … [Read more...]

L.B.: There’s a New World Coming

Before Left Behind, before LaHaye and Jenkins, there was Hal Lindsey. Lindsey wrote some of the best-selling books of the 1970s -- titles like There's a New World Coming, The Late Great Planet Earth and The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon. That last title, understandably, has been out of print for about 13 years. Lindsey didn't write novels -- although I don't think his books qualify as "nonfiction" either. But he had as much influence and popularity in his day as LaHaye … [Read more...]