This is pretty awesome…WARNING: not for the faint of heart! Game of Thrones SPOILER ALERT!
I was thinking a few days ago that I just wanted to read something mindless, so I settled on re-reading Left Behind. I foolishly thought, maybe I’ll actually read the whole wretched series this time! So now I’m midway through Book 2, Tribulation Force, and…I just can’t do it. The writing is just SO horrible, and the theology is even worse. I guess I had forgotten exactly why I gave up in the middle of the series the last time, several years ago. (I think I gave up somewhere around Book 6, Assassins.)
They can put a new cover design on these books, but they can’t disguise the crap inside them. Here’s what bothers me about the books, beyond the mediocre (or worse) writing: the main characters become “Christians” after they miss being raptured, and yet, their actions are almost always awful and immoral. They never seem to show the slightest indication of Christian behavior; rather, they concentrate on battling the Antichrist (which, strangely enough, often involves working for him). They talk about how much they want to share the love of Christ with others, and yet, they constantly ignore others’ spiritual crises, and are most often hostile towards others who seem to disagree with them. These are essentially “Christian” novels that are devoid of the spirit of Christ.
So I think I’m going to give up my silly quest of re-reading this ridiculous series, and try to find something else to read. Any suggestions?
So Left Behind is being rebooted, this time with Nicolas Cage as leading man Rayford Steele? I can’t help but think this is a bad idea, both for Cage’s career and for the viewing public.
Best line in the brief clip above, though? “Hey, if she’s gonna run away with another man, why not Jesus, huh?” Delivered in classic Cage style, this made me smile…
This post is a reaction to a couple things: first, I’ve been re-reading the novel Left Behind, and second, a Facebook friend’s (someone with whom I actually went to college) recent post. Both things made me reflect, as I have in the past, about a mentality that I believe is killing the Church: the “us vs. them,” or “saved vs. unsaved,” mentality that divides everyone into opposing camps. It’s also reflected in recent political debates of Republican vs. Democrat, conservative vs. liberal. No one seems capable of meeting in the middle.
I’ll start with the Left Behind books. I realize the time to comment on this series is really over a decade past, but I think things have continued to develop since then, based largely on the philosophy espoused in those novels. In Left Behind, there are the “True Christians,” and everyone else. “Everyone else” often includes people who self-identify as Christians, but just don’t follow the premillenial dispensationalist theology of Tim LaHaye and his buddies. I’m quite sure most of the readers of LB see themselves as an embattled minority. They’ve possibly been raised in “dead” churches, and can’t understand why other so-called Christians won’t jump on the End Times bandwagon with them. And of course, they’re worried that the surrounding culture is trying to bring them down. Which brings me to my friend’s Facebook post…
I’ll post the whole original post, just so I can keep everything in context:
Sodomy/Homosexuality/Gay/Lesbian: I am growing so very, very weary of all the Television, Media and Governmental support of Sodomy. God help us all to see through Satan’s deception. This behavior is an abomination to God. There are multiple scriptures throughout the Old and New Testaments that speak of how God detests this perversion. It is not right, no matter how our President or any other person paints it. As much as I love and have dear friends who struggle with this temptation, it is a sinful act that has severe consequences in this life and the life to come. God help us to lovingly, patiently and boldly stand up for the truth, no matter how popular or unpopular it is.
This is nothing new; I’ve seen it so many times before. But it grates on me just about every time. And here’s why: I fail to see how a person can read the entirety of Scripture, in all its magnificent diversity, and come away with the overarching theme of “homosexuality is wrong.” In conservative circles, it’s never divorce, or greed, or poor treatment of widows and orphans, or alcoholism, or fair financial practices. Nope, it’s always HOMOSEXUALITY. That’s the biggie, that’s the one that “our President” is trying to inflict on the rest of us.
My friend claims to stand for the truth. He’s “weary” of always hearing support for “sodomy.” He’s not weary of the incredible acceptance divorce has gained in American society, even though the negative impact of divorce on families dwarfs whatever possible impact gay marriage could ever have. He’s not weary of hearing that all Christians should be Republicans, because liberals hate Jesus. Meanwhile, the example given by Jesus of the oft-quoted “speck vs. plank in the eye” seems to be all about pointing out that speck. And making the speck into a plank!
When it comes to sin, my feeling is that everyone has their own hands full dealing with their own sins. How dare we spend so much time and energy pointing out the sins of others (or what we see as the sins of others)? It’s not even clear to me whether some of the acts spoken of in Scripture, which conservatives see as descriptions of homosexuality, even have anything to do with our modern understanding of a committed, loving same-sex relationship. The Sodom and Gomorrah story? The focus of that is intended forcible sex, or rape, that happens to be homosexual. And Lot responds by offering the would-be rapists his virgin daughters (and he is described in the New Testament as a “righteous” man). The passage in the opening of Romans that lists all kinds of immoral activity? The thing is, Paul goes on to explain that, while the early Jewish Christians are looking down on their gentile neighbors, they have no excuse, since they have the Law. That problem leads right into the classic description of grace. The point Paul is making is not “aren’t immoral people awful?” and “good thing we’re not like them.” No, the point is, thank God we have grace through faith, to deliver us from the sins we’ve committed.
Besides, when it comes to much of the recent debate about homosexuality in the public square, the point is not the morality of the issue; rather, it’s the question of equal rights for human beings. If we outlawed divorce, for example, there wouldn’t be enough room in the jails for the people who broke that law. As much as I detest the idea of divorce, it is a legal right for people whose marriages are beyond repair. I fail to see the difference between that issue and homosexuality. I’ve had fellow Christians say something along the lines of, “well, homosexuals insist on continuing their sinful lifestyle.” Well, if divorce is sinful (which Jesus indicated quite clearly), then isn’t a remarried divorce person insisting on continuing his or her sinful lifestyle? Divorce can absolutely be seen as a “lifestyle choice,” much as homosexuality is described by conservatives. The thing is, I can’t decide for someone if divorce is an option for them or not, because I’m not them. Ditto for homosexuals.
I imagine I will get the occasional negative comment on this post, as I have on Facebook in the past. That’s fine. If you’re reading this, you certainly have the right to disagree with me. But I reserve the right as to whether or not I post your disagreement on my blog. This is still American, and freedom of speech goes hand in hand with freedom to ignore speech. Still, thanks for reading. Go in peace…
Just for kicks today, I was looking at a comic book online that I hadn’t seen for awhile. I think I blogged on this awhile back, but it’s definitely worth repeating. (Besides, one of the links that existed back when I blogged about this comic last time doesn’t work any more.) I’m talking about Hal Lindsey’s There’s a New World Coming. You can read the whole thing in all its goofy glory here. Just to whet your appetite, here are a few frames of the comic book:
Meanwhile, the way my mind works, I decided just for fun to try reading the Left Behind books again. I tried to read the series several years ago, when they were pretty new, and I just couldn’t make it. It might be fun, though, to give it another try, mainly because it’s so mindless. And reading them on my Kindle, I wouldn’t have to carry them around in public! (I notice, however, that they have swanky new cover designs…)
Related to that, I was rereading some articles in a series critiquing the Left Behind books: Slacktivist Left Behind Posts. The dude is spot on in his analysis of all the problems with the books. Thing is, he almost seems to enjoy reading them, if just for the sheer joy of tearing them apart.
I think part of the fun I have reading about End Times stuff is that I don’t believe a word of it. Oh, don’t get me wrong…some day the world will end, but I doubt I’ll be around by that time. And the idea that all of these End Times experts have got the book of Revelation all “figured out,” and that they love to predict when the whole thing is going to happen, I find ludicrous in the extreme. But they’re so committed to the whole thing—almost like comic book nerds I’ve known, who can explain the entire Crisis on Infinite Earths or the Marvel Universe.
Finally, there’s no nerdier End Times song I’ve ever heard than a song from the eponymous Petra debut album: “Gonna Fly Away.” It’s clearly a song about “the rapture,” but the whole focus is not even salvation. Rather, the singer (I think it’s Bob Hartman) is excited about getting to fly! See the lyrics below (I’ll share the song in a separate post):
Dreamin’ about flyin’ since I was a boy
Never thought I’d see the real McCoy
I think it’s safe to say, I finally found a way
Gonna fly away
Gonna fly away
Every day I’ve been looking in the sky
Hope it’s not raining when I start to fly
I bet you think I’m strange, wait until I’m changed
Gonna fly away
Gonna fly away
Where you gonna be when the trumpet blows?
All that’s left of me is gonna be my clothes
I’d really like to see, you flyin’ next to me
Gonna fly away
Gonna fly away
Most of my blogging time recently has been occupied with my new Baker Street Babble blog (a Sherlock Holmes blog) and my rebooted Bible Bookshelf blog. But I would kind of like to revamp the Corybanter blog as well. I probably won’t post as often here as I do on the aforementioned blogs: I’m trying to commit to six days a week on those.
The question is: what will the focus of my personal blog be? Theological stuff, like I used to do? Stuff that I find on the internet? Or just music and videos, like my last several posts here? I’m not altogether sure. One thing though, I’d like to use a template that I haven’t used before. I’m bored with the current one, and most of the templates I’ve used before here at Tumblr.
I’ll play around with some stuff, and we’ll see what happens…
"Dear God" by XTC. From the album Skylarking.
Addendum: Perhaps I should clarify, so readers don’t get the wrong idea. When I posted this song, I was going through a pretty serious crisis of faith. So, at the time, I identified deeply with the song, as it seemed to be saying many things that I felt at the time.
Well, I seem to be through my crisis now, but I still believe the song to be brilliant. Whatever you think about Andy Partridge’s atheism expressed in the song “Dear God,” I think it’s hard to deny how deeply personal and honest an artistic expression it is. So I still think the song is brilliant.