Friday, November 30, 2012

Apparently Pacifism isn't Evil?!

Nothing really happens much at the beginning of the chapter. Pete shows up, the others debate whether it's safe to accept Carl (they do decide to accept him), and they unload stuff from the truck.

In Israel, Sam tells Judd that he wants to go see his father and Lionel has a talk with Judd about the stunt he pulled with Deputy Woodruff. Apparently he objects to it, which kind of confuses me. I'm wondering though if it's primarily because in that situation, Judd actually did something as opposed to nothing and remember doing nothing is the primary function of RTCs in the Ellanjay universe.

“It seemed like you enjoyed sending that locust after him back at Jamal’s apartment. Am I reading it wrong?”
Judd looked away. “I was on the phone when that guy killed Taylor and Hasina. And then he lied—”
“I’m just as ticked off about what he did as you,” Lionel interrupted. “Woodruff is a GC scumbag. But you looked like you were doing more than saving Jamal and his family. It looked like you were trying to get even.”

Now I'm really confused. After all, isn't the whole point of this series is bad things happen to heathens who dared to mock God's Own Prophet non-RTCs while RTCs just chuckle about it? Lionel's newfound concern for his fellow man is kind of confusing.

Judd shook his head. “I haven’t told anybody this, but I’ve thought about it a lot. When I heard what Woodruff did, I made a promise to Taylor and Hasina. If I ever had the chance, I’d try to get that guy back. It wasn’t until I heard Woodruff’s voice without seeing his face that it all came together.”
Lionel ran a hand through his hair. “I don’t believe this.”
“Maybe I’m wrong for thinking this way,” Judd said, “but maybe I’m right. A lot of believers might be spared if he’s taken out.”
“And what about the ‘vengeance is mine says the Lord’ stuff? Don’t you see? This is the same thing you stopped Taylor Graham from doing when he wanted to shoot Nicolae at the stadium. You’re going to get yourself and a lot of other believers in trouble if you try to kill him. And you’re going to have to answer to God.”
“What do you mean?”
“Ever heard of ‘Thou shalt not kill’? I think it’s still in effect.”

So apparently RTCs are pacifists. That's something new given Ellanjay's suspicions of pacifists. After all, haven't they continually demonstrated that pacifism is code for "secretly wants to rule over humanity with an iron fist?" Also, don't the Tribbles eventually form a militia of their own? So if they really take such a stringent interpretation of "Thou Shalt Not Kill," it's news to me. I could also mention that the people who share Ellanjay's politics are usually enthusiastically pro-war and pro-death penalty, but I don't know if I want this to turn into a nasty debate in the comments section, though given that I just brought it up, it will.

My theory: Lionel feels emasculated because Judd actually did something and is trying to cut him down to size.

They find out that the Deputy and Daddy Goldberg have been taken to a hospital and then it cuts back to the American YTF.

Vicki decides to give the newly minted RTCs an overview of the Christian faith and I'm sure this overview, which is being given by a teenage girl, I'm sure it'll be a thorough lesson and not just a nitpicking of a few selected verses. Anyway, Vicki starts with Genesis and the garden and does the whole fall-of-man spiel and according to the book, talks about "Noah, Joseph, Moses, David, Daniel, and many of the prophets." That's all that's said so we don't know if Vicki brought up the part of the bible where Noah is passed out naked and drunk in the vineyard or David commits adultery with Bathsheba (Ellanjay probably think that David's adultery is her fault, the nasty little whore), but before long, Vicki is preaching on Isaiah. Isaiah is one of my favorite prophets and oh, how it pains me to see his words being used to prop up Ellanjay's horrible theology.

She pointed out Isaiah 9: “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David.”
“Do you know who that’s talking about?” Vicki said.
“It sounds like a baby,” Carl said, “but then it sounds like God.”

I can't be the only one hearing Handel as that verse is read, can I? Also how does that sound like an illegitimate child born to a impoverished Palestinian Jew and her carpenter husband? I like those verses but they really don't line up with what we know about Jesus's birth. Jesus was born into poverty and filth, not glory.

And of course, Vicki reads from Isaiah 53, which aunursa calls "That one chapter the Jews can't figure out" in a previous comment as a way of mocking how Ellanjay apparently believe that Jews don't have their own teachings and writings to debate; they just spend all their time denying that Jesus is the messiah. I won't try to argue the Jewish view of this chapter; being a gentile, I'm not well-versed in Jewish teachings and don't wanna unintentionally insult Jewish readers. I'll just say that Isaiah 53 does better describe Jesus's ignoble death, which makes it easy to see why Jewish Christians might have, when writing the gospels, conflated his death with that chapter.

Remember, Jesus's followers had experienced their equivalent of 9/11; the man they'd given up everything to follow had died a criminal's death on the cross. Is it not possible that they dug deep into the teachings they'd been raised in, in order to find proof that in their eyes, Jesus had overcome death?

She showed Carl verses that clearly taught about the nature of God. He was one spirit, but three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. She pointed out the depths of God’s mercy and love for people, but also that God was holy and required perfection.

Nice oxymoron. It says she should Carl verses that clearly taught about the nature of God, then she brings up the trinity, aka that doctrine which has stymied just about everyone who has tried to explain it.

Eventually the discussion ends and the chapter ends with Pete asking Vicki if she'd be willing to go south with him.

Though I did only one chapter, I think I'll leave you for this week.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Now with more Bitterness and Sarcasm!

When we last left our brave hero, he had just found Jamal and his family tied up and they're currently being questioned by GC Deputy Commander Woodruff and experience tells me that Ellanjay will take advantage of a situation that lends itself to tension and milk said tension for all its worth and won't let it peter out into nothingness like so many other situations.

In case you're new to this blog or suffering from massive head trauma that was sarcasm. Given Judd's status as mini-Rayford, there's no way anything serious could ever happen to him. The world may be coming to an end, but Judd will walk away with nary a scratch.

Judd, being the tactical genius that he is, decides the smart thing to do is confront the Deputy, saying this:

Judd took a step into the room. “I was on the phone when you killed my friends Taylor and Hasina. You said they resisted arrest and you were forced to kill them. You lied.”

Since when were Taylor and Hasina aka the Power Couple of Awesomeness, friends of Judd's? Didn't he spend all his time trying to convert them and rolling his eyes when they refused to take the bait?

Naturally, the deputy, rather than doing the smart thing and just shooting Judd where he stands, gets into an argument with him even though, hello, he's the man with the gun. He should be dictating how things go. This is like all these Mary Sue fics in which the Sue, who is supposed to be considered witty but really comes across as a petulant bitch, smarts off to a character and the character, rather than rolling his/her eyes or tearing the Sue a new one, reacts with either stunned silence or starts sputtering. But then again, as Fred has already pointed out, the Left Behind series is basically Mary Sue fiction for Ellanjay.

So Judd says, "Walk out of here and leave my friends alone," which would be badass except that he's Judd and not Liam Neeson, so the Deputy's response should be to say "No" and shoot him. No wait, he should shoot Judd then say "No."

Naturally the Deputy calls him on his bullshit, but rather than shooting him, he gives Judd enough time to release one of the demon locusts on him. Judd unties Jamal and his family while the deputy writhes in pain and I shout, "See this is why you should have shot him while you had the chance!" This series would be much improved if anyone involved had read the Evil Overlord list but to be fair, given that this series has to follow the template as laid out by God's Own Prophet, Tim LaHaye, we probably can't afford to actually have smart villains who pose a threat to the playable characters.

In America, Vicki and Lenore are taking care of Melinda and Janie and bravely watching the news as they tell us what we already saw happen: demon locusts stinging people. So yeah, nothing happens.

Meanwhile Carl and Mark are outside Chicago. Mark is demonstrating a rare level of intelligence in that he's reluctant to take Carl back to the hideout, even though Carl said The Prayer and he has the Zod-mark. Z tells him that means Carl's okay and talks about how with the gold coins, he was able to buy and deliver food and supplies to RTCs around the country. He mentions Pete coming to deliver them and that's it on this section.

Judd and Jamal regroup and head towards Hat Dude's (aka another character whom you've forgotten about) house. Naturally, Jamal has stopped being all inscrutable and foreign and now kisses Judd's ass like everyone else in this series, thus losing the few cool points he had.

Mark and Carl meet up with Pete. They talk about delivering supplies and Pete offers to drop them by the schoolhouse.

Chapter two, apparently Lionel's haunted by all the people he saw being tormented by the demon locusts. I could go into a rant about how he shouldn't be kowtowing to the person who sent them, but it is so rare for a character to demonstrate basic compassion for their fellow man that I'm willing to give Lionel a few points here.

Hat Dude is reading Token Jew's blog and we learn that apparently the locusts can only bite you once, not that that's much comfort to its victims. Also, we get this headbanger of a quote:

“If Tsion is right that these are demons, these creatures must be going crazy. They hate believers. They must want to kill us, but they are under instructions from God to torture only unbelievers.”
“What Satan means for evil, God is using for good.”
“Exactly,” Yitzhak said.

Yeah, it's good that you allowed these insects to bite unbelievers and poison them with a venom that makes them want to die but are unable to achieve the sweet release of death, real good that you did that.

There's a reason I pictured Zod in this series as the vindictive Anthony from It's a Good Life in previous posts.

Naturally Lionel loses what few points he gained by complaining about how he'll have to endure five months of that noise. Poor, poor Lionel's delicate ears. I don't know how they'll stand five months of people screaming in agony from the venom. My heart bleeds.

Oh and here's Token Jew's message. Let's take it apart, shall we?

I beg of you not to look upon God as mean when we see the intense suffering of the bite victims. This is all part of his master design to turn people to him so he can demonstrate his love. The Scriptures tell us God is ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in kindness. How it must pain him to have to resort to such measures to reach those he loves!

It hurts us to see that even those who do receive Christ as a result of this ultimate attention-getter still suffer for the entire five months prescribed in biblical prophecy. And yet I believe we are called to see this as a picture of the sad fact that sin and rebellion have their consequences. There are scars. If a victim receives Christ, God has redeemed him, and he stands perfect in heaven’s sight. But the effects of sin linger.

Y'know I'm sure everyone's tired of me using the abusive spouse analogy but I really can't find a better one. Again, Token Jew's message can be summed up as "He beats me but I deserve it and besides Zod is bigger and more powerful than I'll ever be."

I wonder how Ellanjay line up their perspective of Jesus with the Jesus of the gospel of John, who after telling the Pharisees "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," told the woman caught in adultery that he doesn't condemn her and to go and sin no more. Do they not see the massive disconnect? Of course they don't; they probably don't read any of the verses outside the ones that support their philosphy except the ones against homosexuality.

Oh, dear ones, it thrills my heart to get reports from all over the globe that there are likely more Christ followers now than were raptured. Even nations known for only a tiny Christian impact in the past are seeing great numbers come to salvation.

Wait, is that even possible? I mean, remember Zod slaughtered bamfed all the children and given all the disasters that have struck the Earth back to back, again, I have to say, is that even possible? I'm surprised the Earth still has a population after all this.

Of course we see that evil is also on the rise. The Scriptures tell us that those who remain rebellious even in light of this awful plague simply love themselves and their sin too much. Much as the world system tries to downplay it, our society has seen catastrophic rises in drug abuse, sexual immorality, murder, theft, demon worship, and idolatry.

Remember, if you don't immediately fall to your knees and shout hosannas to Big Brother Zod, then you're full of hate and evil. It doesn't matter if you're Mahatma Gandhi or if you simply believe that Zod killing everyone you care about is incompatible with the God you heard about.

Sorry to be all bitter and angry, but this chapter is really getting under my skin.

Always test my teaching against the Bible. Read it every day. New believers—and none of us are old, are we?—learn the value of the discipline of daily reading and study. When we see the ugly creatures that have invaded the earth, it becomes obvious that we too must go to war.

Too bad none of the YTF actually take his advice and read their bibles. Maybe then they'd discover just how horrible Token Jew's interpretation is.

Vicki is in bed thinking about the day's events. Apparently during the day, Conrad, Charlie, and Darrion had played a game with the locusts, seeing who can hit the mosts locusts with a baseball bat. But Shelly made them put a stop to it.

Anyway, Vicki finds Janie trying to swallow a handful of pills in order to make the pain go away and Vicki being the compassionate human that she is, tries to make an altar call. But Janie manages to hold onto her cool points and says that if Zod did this to her than she doesn't wanna connect with him.

“That’s not true,” Vicki said. She grabbed a Bible. “God could have wiped out everybody who didn’t believe in him. Instead, he’s being patient with us.”

“How do you figure that?”

Vicki turned to Second Peter. “This was written a long time before the disappearances, but it’s still true. It says, ‘He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent.’ A little later it says, ‘The Lord is waiting so that people have time to be saved.’”

Janie rolled her eyes. “God is stinging us and putting us through earthquakes because he cares? I say that’s a weird way of showing it.”

Oh Janie, how I love you right now, but I have a feeling that unlike the Power Couple of Awesomeness, you're not going to escape becoming a lobotomized follower of Zod. Still if Zod doesn't want anyone to perish than why does he keep trying to kill us all through poisoned water and space objects? I know I say that a lot but it bears repeating.

And that's it for this week. Sorry if I came across as too angry and bitter and not funny, but again, Ellanjay really got under my skin.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I'm Back

I'm back. Once again, thank you, thank you to Thrownaway for donating the needed material to me. I will try hard to be worthy of such generosity.

For those of y'all who don't know, we are officially on book twenty so we are halfway into the series. I'm sure that it was vital that Ellanjay stretch out the series so long and they aren't using it as an excuse to put more money in their pockets. :eyeroll:

When we last left our brave heroes, the freaky locusts were flying towards the baby's crib and I was already composing rants full of righteous rage because if the locusts started attacking the baby, it would be a major inconsistency with their philosophy. After all, didn't Zod slaughter bamf all the kids into heaven because they were below the "age of accountability" line or something like that and therefore, they could be spared the horrors of the Apocalypse? I was so looking forward to tearing Ellanjay a new one with my rants, but I'm afraid that it turns out that the locusts are unable to attack the baby, so give Ellanjay a little credit: they're occasionally consistent.

I just thought I'd give you the heads up: if it sounds like all I'm doing is summarizing that's because that's pretty much all I can do. So far the first few chapters are just the characters watching shit happen. I admit, I almost put reacting to stuff that happens, but I didn't because even reacting is still being more active than the Heroes who Don't Do Anything are.

Basically, Vicki and the others at the school are freaking out over the locusts. Meanwhile, Judd on the plane, is doing something related to the plane--truthfully I'm not really sure what's happening because there's a lot of mention of stuff about hatches and manual overrides and other techie stuff that I don't understand, so I can't really give you an accurate summarizing of what's going on, sorry. Lionel and Sam are watching the locusts swarm and we get some indication that Sam isn't completely dispassionate about what's happening--he expresses concern for his father--but before you give him any brownie points, he is only concerned about blood kin, not any of the others. Remember kids, anybody who isn't a believer or a blood relative is an untermensch and you need not concern yourself with them.

Mark and Carl talk and that's it. Meanwhile, I will give Vicki credit in that she and the rest of the kids at the school are trying to fight off the locusts by commanding them to leave them alone in the name of TurboJesus. It's a bit melodramatic but I'll allow it simply because it's nice to see the characters occasionally care about someone else's suffering. Either way, the chapter ends with Lenore saying The Prayer, which is the exact same prayer that everyone else says, because apparently The Prayer operates on the Bloody Mary principle; merely uttering the words makes you an RTC but it has to be the exact words or else Zod's hands are tied and he'll send you to Hell. For those of you wondering, here's the prayer. Word of advice: don't read it outloud unless you wanna become an RTC.

Lenore trembled and bowed her head, her face in her hands. “God, I need you. I know I’ve done bad things and I’m sorry. Forgive me. I know you’re real, and you mean what you say in the Bible. I believe you died for me and that you’re coming back after all this is over. So come into my life and make me a new person.”

Second chapter, Judd and Lionel and Sam start attacking the locusts, spraying them with fire extinguishers in an attempt to drive them off so they can let the people off of the plane. Surprisingly, the fire extinguisher plan works until they run out of spray. Frankly I can't remember that being in the Bible, the idea that the demon locusts of Hell can't handle fire extinguisher spray but then again, I've actually read the Bible beyond the few verses Ellanjay like to cherrypick in order to support their theology so what do I know?

Meanwhile, at the school apparently Vicki is baffled by the fact that Charlie and the baby were spared being bitten by the locusts, though Melinda and Janie weren't. Charlie, if you're wondering, doesn't have the mark of the believer. She decides to email Token Jew and ask why, but I can already guess why. The baby is covered under the "age of innocence" rule and as for Charlie, it's been established that he's slow, to use that euphemism, so maybe this is Ellanjay trying to answer a question laid out by their critics, the "What about the profoundly retarded unable to make a commitment to Christ?" question. Of course, if that does turn out to be the case, they'll have to answer then "Why wasn't Charlie bamfed into Heaven along with the other RTCs before all this shit happened anyway?"

Meanwhile, Mark and Carl talk about John and Carl tells him about how John saved his life and gave him a Bible with a message written inside and we learn yet another thing about how Ellanjay think: apparently they believe that heathens are so unfamiliar with the Bible that when presented with a book (John, if you're wondering) followed by chapter and verse written in a numerical format, we'll be utterly baffled and unsure what to make of it. :eyeroll:

I thought I'd do a third chapter as a treat for y'all.

Anyway in Israel, we finally run into the Gruesome Twosome aka Moishe and Eli, who are preaching their message of "Zod loves you but you made him angry so he has no choice but to torture you horribly but it's your fault for making him so mad in the first place."

But anyway, in America, we hear from Token Jew again. He confirms my theory about Tolan, but his response still raises entirely too many questions.

As for the baby, Tolan, he is protected by the same love God had for the infants taken in the Rapture. God would not allow these beasts to plague a little child like this. His love and mercy continue, even in these dark times.

If Zod so loves the little children, then why did he allow them to be born into a period of such massive suffering? Why not make everybody sterile for the time being? Not to mention, wouldn't killing Tolan be a merciful thing to do? I mean, you know shit's just going to get worse and this poor baby's going to suffer horribly because of it and if you do kill him, he'll get a one-way ticket to Heaven, so why not?

But Token Jew is baffled as to why Charlie was spared so no confirmation of my theory, not yet anyway.

Anyway the kids begin discussing putting together a website called "The Underground" so to lead others to TurboJesus. I wonder how they're going to do this since didn't Nicky Cardamon say that those who visit Token Jew's website will be fined and imprisoned? Even the kids themselves wonder how they're going to pull this off.

The chapter ends with Judd, Lionel, and Sam returning to Jamal's house to find him, his wife, and Nada with their hands cuffed behind their backs, being interrogated by the GC and I think that's a good place to leave y'all until next week. Thanks again for the generous donation, Thrownaway, and I hope y'all enjoyed the snark.