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...]

L.B.: The Babel Fish

Left Behind, pp. 10-15 We turn now to the worst crime against plausibility in Left Behind’s early pages. I’ve already said quite a bit about LaHaye and Jenkins’ description of the massive, all-out, leave-no-warhead-behind nuclear surprise attack that Russia and Ethiopia launch on Israel. (A war motivated, they suggest, purely by spite and envy.) What [Read More...]

L.B.: The Literal Donkey’s Penis

Left Behind, pp. 10-15 I like Ezekiel. Even by the standards of Old Testament prophets, the guy was pretty over-the-top. Lots of prophets accused the faithless nation of “promiscuity” and “whoredom,” but Ezekiel took it a step further: “Every prostitute receives a fee, but you give gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come [Read More...]

L.B.: Peace in the Middle East

Left Behind, pp. 8-9 Here in reality, the "road map" peace plan is stumbling and staggering and likely to fall apart. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat seem determined to undermine the plan in any way possible. Its two-state solution, and its stated goal of an independent Palestinian state in what [Read More...]

L.B.: A Thief in the Night

Jimmy Breslin, God bless him, isn't just a great newspaperman, he's a pretty good theologian too. Breslin writes of a tragedy — an infant strangled in the night in a fall from a bunk bed. Part of the reason that Breslin has been so good for so long is that he writes with an expansive [Read More...]

L.B.: Weird Science

Left Behind, pp. 6-8 Buck Williams is, as mentioned, the Greatest Investigative Reporter of All Time: At thirty, Cameron Williams was the youngest ever senior writer for the prestigious Global Weekly. The envy of the rest of the veteran staff, he either scooped them on or was assigned to the best stories in the world. [Read More...]