Nyssa's Hobbit Hole

Date: February 2, 2011

Left Behind: Indwelling Review–Part 4

 

Previous parts

On page 322 Chloe says,

“Surely Tsion will think to bring the computers and necessities.”

Rayford nodded.

“I’d better call him one more time,” Chloe said.  “He may not think to bring the notebooks with the co-op stuff.”

“You don’t have that on your computer?” Leah said.

Chloe gave her a look.  “I always keep hard-copy back-ups.”  [hard copy=printouts, paper]

“But you’ve got it on disks too, right?”

Chloe sighed and ignored her.

What?  What is this sigh?  What’s with this look?  Why is she treating Leah like an idiot for such simple, reasonable questions?  How rude!  Just answer the woman’s questions!

Aren’t Christians supposed to treat each other with love and patience?  All through these books, I keep finding these examples of Christians treating others like annoyances.  They do it to each other, they do it to Hattie, to Bo, to their co-workers….

Rayford leads Hattie on for quite some time then tosses her aside like scum, like it’s somehow her fault for thinking they had something going on.  Then every chance he gets, he pretends to love her (in a sisterly fashion, of course), but secretly thinks how dumb she is.  Buck does the same.  And Rayford tries to sabotage things any time another Christian man starts falling for her.

But there is no scolding from the author or from one of the other characters, just a feeling that the authors think he’s being a decent, Christian man….Sometimes the characters have pangs of conscience, but more often it just passes by without any guilt or scolding.

Then in real life, in the church, we have people using each other and treating each other like dirt, bullying each other, cussing at each other, calling other people names for disagreeing with them on politics or religion or personal issues, jumping to conclusions, without apologizing for their outbursts, without trying to resolve things peaceably, without trying to understand each other.

Having an organ in the church becomes more important than whether or not the congregation is learning how to love Christ and fellow man.

They talk as if it is their right to respond violently–whether verbally or physically–to a perceived slight, even though the writings of the Apostles and the Church Fathers tell us this perception of entitlement to anger and violence comes straight from Hell.  Then these people go to the Communion chalice as if they’ve done nothing wrong.

How can we expect the world to bang down our door when we act like this?  If Christians are just as bad, if not worse, than the “heathens,” then we have nothing concrete to show that our invisible, supernatural beliefs are truth.

Early Church congregations added members through their acts of charity and love, not through having the best, most persuasive speeches, or the most awesome worship music, or the flashiest tracts.

Contemporary accounts I’ve read of the time speak of a Church that was quite different from the surrounding culture, not because of dress or food or music but because they were taking care of each other, rather than following their own selfish interests.

Before you go to Communion, examine yourself: Have you at least tried to make up with the person you hurt?  Have you tried to soothe the person whose feelings you hurt?  Have you bullied anyone?

Have you realized that yelling and screaming or hitting first, then asking questions later, means you will lose friends or family, without them even wanting to tell you the truth about what you misinterpreted?

Have you so affected someone with your harshness and ill-will and abuse that when they see you in church taking Communion, they have a strong urge to run to the bathroom and throw up?

The people in these books remind me so much of real-life Christians who talk about love but don’t show it. It’s enough to lead one to cynicism about religion.  And to make one realize that we can’t judge someone for leaving Christianity if they’ve been driven out by what they’ve seen and heard from fellow Christians. We may not understand them, but God surely does.

On page 343, we find the speech of the potentate of the United Indian States at Carpathia’s funeral.  He says,

[W]hile we once believed that a good man comes back at a higher level, and thus that a bright star like Nicolae Carpathia would be guaranteed the role of a Brahman, he himself taught us–with his brilliant vision for a one-world faith–that even such traditional religious views have lost their currency…when you are dead, you are dead, and there is nothing more….

So Nicolae was preaching this?  On page 345, Fortunato says that any person or religion who believes in a “single avenue to God” or “heaven or bliss in the afterlife is the greatest danger to the global community.”  And all the different religions of the world just abandoned their beliefs about the afterlife because some dude was saying we should all be one religion?  What’s the point of a religion if you don’t believe in an afterlife, anyway?

Most people would reject this, not just accept it because Nicolae said so.  There would be riots all over the world, Nicolae burned in effigy, and the like, if he tried to do this in real life.

But, as the Slacktivist blogger would say, there’s a prophecy checklist that must be adhered to, so all the religious people in the world just toss aside their convictions and dogmas and believe whatever Nicolae says to believe.  Persecution of the Christians and Orthodox Jews must now begin in earnest, after all.

Ironically, Fortunato is right when he says,

[T]here are many ways to ensure eternal bliss, if anything is eternal.  It is not by walling yourself and your comrades off in a corner claiming you have the inside track to God.  It is by being a good and kind human being and helping others.

On page 347 through 351, Fortunato explains to the funeral attendees that–even though it’s just been explained that nobody lives after death–Nicolae is “there in spirit,” they are to worship his image (the statue), and that he “accepts your praise and worship.”

Then he makes clear that everyone is expected to worship Nicolae as the centerpiece of their global religion, that as global citizens they must subordinate themselves to the ones in authority over them.  Smoke and a voice come from the statue, ordering everyone to worship it.  And Fortunato says that anyone who does not worship it, will die.

So somehow, Nicolae has become a god and everyone is required to worship him.  I’m not quite sure how he ended up deified, since the days of emperors or kings or pharaohs who are either put in place by a god, or are a god, are long over–and since in modern politics, even Obama can lose his luster.  I find it hard to believe that all modern people, except for Jews and Christians, would fall for this so easily.

Fortunato and the statue are both speaking in archaic language that sounds like it came out of older versions of the Bible: not “thees” and “thous,” but things like “Marvel not,” “Fear not,” “Worship your god, your dead yet living king,” and the statue’s “I am the god above all other gods.  There is none like me.  Worship or beware!”

Come on, where are the cynics?  In real life there would be cynics wanting to know how they make the voice come out of the statue, hecklers, comedians cracking jokes about the language.  Except that great beams of fire now incinerate three of the potentates.  Fortunato says their replacements have already been selected and,

The Global Community shall prevail.  We shall reach our goal of utopian living, harmony, love, and tolerance–tolerance of all but those who refuse to worship the image of the man we esteem and glorify today!

Jon Stewart would have a field day with this.  But we are presented with people who apparently are the epitome of sheeple, following their leader right over a cliff, agreeing to worship him and consider him a god just because they’re told to.  Maybe this worked in the days of the Caesars, but modern peoples are far savvier.

And it’s interesting how the only item on that list that’s really “bad” is this strange idea of “tolerance” that applies only to people who worship the Beast.  Harmony, love and tolerance are generally good things.

On page 373, Hattie calls Rayford to warn him to get out of the safe house.  Then she says, “It’s all true, isn’t it, Rayford?”

Rayford says, “Of course it is, and you knew that almost as soon as most of us did.  I didn’t think doubt was why you were holding out.”

Hattie says, “It wasn’t, totally.  But I was still holding out hope that it couldn’t all be just the way Dr. Ben-Judah said.”

Rayford: “What’re you going to do about it, Hattie?  You know how we all feel about it and about you.”

So here we have Rayford scolding Hattie for having a mind of her own and “holding out.”  Yes, she knows how you all feel about her: that she’s stupid and a whore.

And believe me, when someone thinks you’re stupid and a whore, you don’t want to be around them.  You don’t want anything you do or believe to be like anything they do or believe.

But of course, Rayford thinks it’s all about stubbornness, Hattie denying the truth of the End Times.  And the authors think the same thing, so we’re supposed to believe it somehow.

On page 375, Albie has just gotten them through a close call with some GC soldiers at the safehouse while the Trib Force was evacuating.  He has so convincingly impersonated a GC officer that Rayford asks to check his mark (the cross that supernaturally appears on Christians–er, Tribulation saints).

Keep in mind this book came out before 9/11, so it doesn’t have anything to do with Albie being Middle Eastern as it might have done in the post-9/11 paranoia.

(Albie was a black market arms dealer, not a terrorist.  Though I imagine if the book had been written in 2002, he probably would’ve been planning to hijack a plane and ram it into the Sears Tower before getting converted.)

Anyway, Rayford asks to check his mark because he’s just been too darn convincing.  Albie says, “In my culture, that is a terrible insult.  Especially after everything we have been through.”

Rayford says, “Your culture never had the mark before.  What’s the insult?”

His reply: “To not be personally trusted.”

I’d agree with that, that not being trusted after going through a lot with and for someone would be an insult.  Still, he underestimates how well he impersonated an officer.  Finally, he lets Rayford look, and sure enough, there is the cross.

Later on he says,

The only thing more offensive than not being trusted by an old friend is your simpering style of leadership.  Rayford, you and those you are responsible for are entering the most dangerous phase of your existence.  Don’t blow it with indecision and poor judgment.

Poor Rayford.  He gets this chewing out because Albie gives him such a hard time about not trusting him that he says Rayford should shoot him if he doesn’t trust him, but Rayford doesn’t want to shoot him, etc. etc.

Satan possesses Carpathia, who finally resurrects, as we’ve been waiting for for this entire 388-page book.  On the last page, at long last, and even though Christians–er, Tribulation saints–have already been running from the GC forces for some time, Carpathia addresses those who call him the Antichrist:

If you insist on continuing with your subversive attacks on my character and on the world harmony I have worked so hard to engender, the word tribulation will not begin to describe what is in store for you.  If the last three and a half years are your idea of tribulation, wait until you endure the Great Tribulation.

(Why am I suddenly reminded of Obama vs. the Republicans?  Weird.)

Woohoo!  Will the books finally pick up the pace now and be full of fun and intriguing action as the Christians run from the GC?

–Or will it follow past books and keep dragging on with logistics like where to put the truck or helicopter or SUV, or who to call when on the phone?

I keep hoping for the former, but expect the latter.  You know a book series is bad when you think longingly on the exciting pace and storyline and depth of characters in the Thief in the Night series.

On to the next book….

[1/5/11]

Musings on how Christians should treat each other

In the church, we have people using each other and treating each other like dirt,

bullying each other,

cussing at each other,

calling other people names for disagreeing with them on politics or religion or personal issues,

jumping to conclusions, without apologizing for their outbursts, without trying to resolve things peaceably, without trying to understand each other.

Having an organ in the church (a controversy among Orthodox converts) becomes more important than whether or not the congregation is learning how to love Christ and fellow man.

They talk as if it is their right to respond violently–whether verbally or physically–to a perceived slight, even though the writings of the Apostles and the Church Fathers tell us this perception of entitlement comes straight from Hell.

Then these people go to the Communion chalice as if they’ve done nothing wrong.

How can we expect the world to bang down our door when we act like this? If Christians are just as bad, if not worse, than the “heathens,” then we have nothing concrete to show that our invisible, supernatural beliefs are Truth.

Early Church congregations added members through their acts of charity and love, not through having the best, most persuasive speeches, or the most awesome worship music, or the flashiest tracts.

Contemporary accounts I’ve read of the time speak of a Church that was quite different from the surrounding culture, not because of dress or food or music but because they were taking care of each other and their neighbors, rather than following their own selfish interests.

Before you go to Communion, examine yourself:

Have you at least tried to make up with the person you hurt?

Have you tried to soothe the person whose feelings you hurt?

Have you bullied anyone?

Do you think no one has the right to feel hurt but yourself?

Have you realized that yelling and screaming or hitting first, then asking questions later, means you will lose friends or family, without them even wanting to tell you the truth about what you misinterpreted?

Have you so affected someone with your harshness and ill-will and abuse that when they see you in church taking Communion, they have a strong urge to run to the bathroom and throw up?

It’s enough to lead one to cynicism about religion.  And to make one realize that we can’t judge someone for leaving Christianity if they’ve been driven out by what they’ve seen and heard from fellow Christians.  We may not understand, but God surely does.

[Originally written in part 4 of my review of The Indwelling, which I posted on my blog/website/Facebook on February 2, 2011.]

 

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

4. More details about Tracy’s abuse of her husband and children 

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

Sequel to this Story: Fighting the Darkness: Journey from Despair to Healing

 

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