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 [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 [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 [Read More...]

L.B.: The Hypothetical Bus

I don't remember much of Donald W. Thompson's series of rapture movies from when I saw them back in middle school at Hydewood Park Baptist Church. I do remember that they were pretty scary. Thompson was a low-budget hack, but he had an eye for haunting detail — the drone of an unattended lawn mower [Read More...]

L.B.: Tony the flight attendant

Left Behind, pg. 18 Rayford and Hattie are milling about the plane, full of panic that so many passengers have vanished, yet also strangely serene in their incuriosity about what may be happening. Then Hattie discovers that one of their crew is among the missing: She lifted a blazer, shirt and tie still intact. Trousers [Read More...]

L.B.: Do Panic

Left Behind, pp. 15-19 So, anyway, back to Rayford Steele. You remember Rayford. He's the kinky, control-freak, middle-aged pilot so obsessed with his lust for a young, subservient flight attendant that he seems not to have noticed a nuclear war. LaHaye and Jenkins strayed from Rayford for a few pages there in order to introduce [Read More...]

L.B.: Why this matters

I get an e-mail newsletter from a Christian nonprofit that has been outspoken in its criticism of the war on Iraq. In response to this criticism, they received the following letter: I believe that we are in the last days as indicated by the Revelation of Jesus Christ to the Apostle John. We will be [Read More...]

L.B.: Recycling Sydney Watson

"It's hard to write something new about the end of the world," writes Crawford Gribben in Books & Culture: What is interesting about much of the comment on the Left Behind phenomenon is the assumption that this market did not exist before the publication of the series' first novel. … The opposite is the case. [Read More...]