L.B.: 21 days

L.B.: 21 days August 9, 2004

Left Behind is rife with continuity errors of a sort.

Yet these inconsistencies are consistent in that most of them seem to involve the myopia of fundamentalist American Christianity — an ignorance or amnesia to any suffering or need that exists outside of the tiny protective bubble that surrounds our main characters. Hence a bored, idle doctor treating our hero while ignoring the plane-crash victims directly outside.

Those curious about the editing process that allows such gaping holes in continuity might be interested in this article, from Today's Christian, in which we learn more about Jerry Jenkins' writing process:

Jenkins shared some insights into his writing regimen. "By the time I get here I have done my research and information gathering, so my goal is to produce 20 pages a day," he says. "Each morning I edit and rewrite what I wrote the day before, and in the afternoon I finish the next 20 pages. When the manuscript is complete, I do a thorough edit and rewrite again."

At that pace, Jenkins is able to crank out an entire novel in about 21 working days.

Jenkins himself does a "thorough edit" — with the kind of thoroughness one might expect from a writer who cranks out a complete novel in 21 days.

You too can learn to be a prolific, best-selling Christian author. Just sign up for courses from the Christian Writers Guild, a "training institute" Jenkins purchased "with the goal of giving something back to the writing community":

CWG offers online writing courses, teaming students with experienced writing coaches. According to Jenkins, the guild has dozens of mentors serving more than 1,500 students, and is adding more than 100 new students a month.

Since Jenkins's acquisition of the guild, it has expanded its services to include college credit courses, agent and publisher referrals, and more. His vision for the guild is "to restock the pool of Christian writers and to hopefully upgrade the overall level of work."

The goal, apparently, is to produce even more efficient writers — people who can crank out a novel in, say, 18 days.

As for Jenkins' partner in crime, Chris Jones e-mails this link to the blog-like "Kristof responds" column at the New York Times, where Tim LaHaye's recent letter to the editor (see "There goes the neighborhood") is posted in full.

Kristof had criticized the triumphant, cackling tone of L&J's 11th LB novel, The Glorious Appearing, in which the redeemed — and Jesus himself — seem to delight in the destruction of the lost and the unforgiven. LaHaye responds:

The eschatological problem Kristof mentioned of believers mourning the lost in the next life is a subject that bothered me for years until I found Revelation 21:4, which informs us that in his mercy God will wipe away all tears from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. Somehow the memory of all who reject Christ will be mercifully eradicated from our memories.

Blessed are those who mourn, for their memories will be wiped clean of whatever it is that they were mourning about. The eternal sunshine of the evangelical mind.

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