Saturday, April 26, 2014

Telling us what They've Already Told Us

In addition to my annual watching of The Last Temptation of Christ, I also watched The Gospel Road for Easter. The Gospel Road is basically a Sunday School lesson as taught by Johnny Cash and while I'll admit it's not too dramatically compelling (my attention did wander), you could do a lot worse than have a Sunday School lesson taught by Johnny Cash. Johnny Cash was a man who knew suffering, after all. Still his version of Jesus, as an Aryan beatific hippie is a lot more interesting and probably closer to the truth than Ellanjay's TurboJesus. Bottom line: if you're a huge Johnny Cash fan, you might want to check it out. Me, I'd give it a three out of five.

It's certainly more compelling than the beginning of this chapter which involves the American Branch of the YTF recounting what had happened on their end to Judd. :massages temples: I suppose I should be grateful they didn't give the YTF a hive mind and make Judd
instantly know what happened thousands of miles away, but I'm not sure this is much better, with them wasting valuable paper telling Judd what the readers already witnessed. Then again, as Fred has put it, Ellanjay seem to subscribe to the sermon rule of "Tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you've told them" which doesn't make for good storytelling.

The conversation doesn't start to get interesting until one of them mentions to Judd that Vicki went on a date with Chad. If they're referring to what we witnessed in last week's snark, I'm not sure that counts as a date, but then again, Ellanjay probably consider two people of the opposite sex sitting side-by-side to be a date. Judd responds by getting all pissy about it, which considerably lowers his already rock-bottom attractiveness score in my eyes. He's also mad about them making decisions without him, but Shelly's like "Hello, you're thousands of miles away. We don't have the time to run every decision by you."

Next section is Vicki talking with Judd or in other words, more telling what they've already told us. After she hangs up, she gets mad at Shelly for mentioning Chad and I have to admit, I like the conversation between the two. It's nice when the writers let them act like teenage girls for a bit and this little bit of pettiness is just what a teenage girl would do.

When Vicki told her that Judd had mentioned Chad, Shelly threw up her hands. “I thought you’d appreciate me stirring up the competitive juices.”
Vicki frowned. “I don’t need anybody competing over me. We don’t have time for those games.”

Vicki then talks about Cheryl. Cheryl, as you would recall, is pregnant and Vicki thinks they should place the child with someone older who can better take care of it. You know who might want to have a say in this conversation? Cheryl, seeing as SHE'S THE ONE WHO'S PREGNANT!

Next section is a Judd section and there's really nothing notable about it. I just wanted to talk about so I'd have an excuse to post the lyrics to Z-Van's song.

Hail Carpathia, our lord and risen king;
Hail Carpathia, rules o’er everything.
We’ll worship him until we die;
He’s our beloved Nicolae.
Hail Carpathia, our lord and risen king.

Z-Van's a rock star, right? Can you picture these lyrics in a rock song? I don't see many rock songs with the word "o'er" in them.

Next section, Vicki and the American branch of the YTF receive an email from Claudia, aka Natalie's roommate. She's all "I didn't believe at first, but now I'm not sure." And the American YTF, for once not being rock-stupid, wonder if this is a trap. But Vicki's all "What if it isn't?" And that's one of the key problems with this series: it has an identity crisis. It wants to be a thriller, and in a thriller the truth must be protected and shared with only the right people, yet it also wants to fulfill Christ's command to make disciples of every nation, which requires sharing the truth with everyone. Needless to say this identity crisis leads to a confused muddle of a message, which might explain why the characters spend more time smirking about how they've got it all figured out than they do evangelizing.

Judd and Lionel are wandering the streets of Tel Aviv*. The streets are packed with people as we get closer and closer, I'm assuming, to the infamous pig-riding part. But as Judd is watching the crowd and listening to Nicky, he sees a GC plane crash and is all "NO!" because Mac McCullum was on board. This might have had some impact if Mac had actually had any kind of influence on the YTF, but your average reader of this book is going to be baffled as to why to care seeing as it's not like he played a major part. Yes, aunursa, I know he was more important in the adult books, but your average reader isn't going to have encyclopedic knowledge of the adult series.

Next chapter, the crowd's horrified by the fiery crash as are Judd and Lionel. They keep wondering why Mac crashed and whether it was sabotage. Me, I'm surprised they care so much given that Mac and the rest of them have just received a one-way ticket to Heaven, complete with Super Special Awesome Upgraded bodies.

Next section, Vicki talks with Jim, who is working as a double-agent despite the fact it should be past time for him to head for the hills. He says he hasn't heard anything about Pete and doesn't know anything about Claudia. We also get yet another clumsy ethnic name: Kruno Fulcire. Have fun playing "Guess the Supposed Ethnicity."

Next section, Judd and Lionel continue to do Exciting!Walking!Action. In the hands of a better writer, one that had some chops at description, we might be horrified and uneasy at all the military patrolling the streets, but given that this is Ellanjay...yeah.

We find out that the crash killed Mac, Abdullah Smith (He was formerly a Muslim, I think. Don't ask why the Anglo-Saxon last name with an Arabic first name), Hannah Palemoon (I'm told she's supposed to be Native American), and everyone's super-hacker, David Hassid, whom I will continue to call David Hayseed.

Z-Van is pissed off. He wants Judd and Lionel off the plane and wants to go back to Jerusalem. Me, once again, I wonder this: WHY, GIVEN THAT Z-VAN AND HIS ENTIRE CREW (minus Westin) HAVE THE MARK, WHY AREN'T JUDD AND LIONEL CURRENTLY BEING GUILLOTINED?! HE KNOWS THEY'RE RTCS; THEY'VE TOLD THEM, SO WHY?

The chapter ends with Vicki watching television and seeing the GC drag Pete from the bushes.

I'll throw in one more chapter as a treat. Vicki watches Pete witness to the people dragging him away. I suppose it should be all inspiring and all that, but why would a reporter shove a mike in the face of a traitor and ask if he has anything to say, thus giving him the opportunity to grandstand and all that?

Westin apologizes to Judd but promises that he'll find a way to get them back to the states. Oh and we also finally hear why Z-Van hasn't turned in Judd and Lionel.

Z-Van smirked. “I thought I could get you two to see the truth. I was going to make you GC poster children, you know, two kids who were once Judah-ites who did a 180. I was going to prove to everybody that people like you could be rehabilitated.”
“I guess there’s just no hope for us,” Judd said.
Z-Van clenched his teeth. “You’ll regret not turning. You’ll see how powerful His Excellency is in Jerusalem. I know what he’s going to do, and it’ll prove once and for all how wrong you are.”

I've said it before and I'll say it many more times before this series is finished: Good only triumphs because Evil is dumb.

Judd flees, but escapes without a hair on his RTC-head being harmed. He jumps into a taxi cab with Lionel that is being driven by a man named Sabir. Sabir is described as a Middle Eastern man with graying hair and glasses, a step up from the usual descriptions Ellanjay give. Once again, I'm going to assume that Sabir is a Palestinian Christian just to spite Ellanjay, who probably assume Middle Eastern=Palestinian and Palestinian=Muslim.

Cheryl and Vicki talk with Cheryl telling her story. Cheryl grew up in an orphanage which was closed after Zod slaughtered all the children under twelve. Later, she lived with some roommates and met this guy named Thomas. I'm going to assume that Thomas was the guy who knocked her up and left her. Thomas eventually abandons her and she winds up on the streets, surviving on soup kitchens and GC shelters. She got sent to the GC prison after getting caught stealing food and that's where she got saved.

Vicki finally asks her what she thinks about the baby. Cheryl says she's still confused but would be open to adoption. I can't help but note that an option which rhymes with smabortion hasn't been mentioned. I thought for sure it would be so Ellanjay could have an opportunity to sermonize against it, even though if she aborted her baby, it would get a one-way ticket to Heaven and be spared horrific suffering. In fact, Cheryl could get an abortion, then pray for God to forgive her, and be free and clear in God's eyes, right?

But fear not, the dreaded word isn't mentioned and that's where I'll leave you today.

*I must admit, I thought they were in New Babylon. I'm sorry if I've caused any confusion with that assumption.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

God is responsible for everything bad in this universe (or Ellanjay are secretly Maltheists)

The section begins with Vicki waking up and hearing Cheryl vomiting. Now, I'm going to go ahead and spoil it for you: she's preggers. I figured it out beforehand because it's an old trope: any woman of child-bearing age shown vomiting, will inevitably turn out to be pregnant. That trope's so common to fiction that I'm not picking on Ellanjay for using it, just pointing it out.

After waking up, Vicki is introduced to a guy named Chad Harris, who recognizes her from when she crashed the gala broadcast. We'll eventually get his story aka his conversion in the second chapter, but in the mean time, there's a lot of talking. It turns out that they traced where Jim got the uniform for this whole half-assed Commander Blakely scam and the guy that gave it to him is in a lot of trouble. The guy isn't a believer and Jim, in a surprising show of compassion, doesn't want to let the guy hang, so Jim's considering turning himself in.

Then because this is an Ellanjay story and we can't go too long without a news broadcast or a telephone call or email, they turn on the news.

A picture showed several people standing in front of a fire, with what looked like a huge church in the background. Vicki inched closer and saw it was the Vatican.
“These are photos of Global Community officers destroying paintings, sculptures, icons, and even old Bibles,” Conrad said. “The directive came from Leon Fortunato himself.”
Mark shook his head. “That stuff is priceless.”
“A spokesman said they destroyed everything that paid tribute to the impotent God of the Bible,” Conrad said.
“Pretty soon they’re going to see he’s not so impotent,” Vicki said.

Now this is, I'll admit, a not a bad idea with the GC committing genuine evil (though you know the only evil part is they're destroying Christian artifacts. If it was a Hindu or Muslim or Buddhist shrine, they wouldn't care) but once again, they missed the mark on the motive. Calling God "impotent" after he's repeatedly slaughtered all sorts of civilians...yeah, a better thing for Leon to do would be to use it as a means of stirring up people against an enemy. Sort of like what Hitler did with Kristallnacht or all those Nazi book-burnings.

Judd is talking with Chang on the phone. Apparently he has his own quarters now so Chang no longer has to worry about his parents listening in. But given that the quarters are GC-owned and operated...yeah, Chang, I'm not sure you're really free and clear here. David Hayseed will soon be leaving (he's a believer and you know about the Mark thing) and his new boss will be :drumroll: A guy named Aurelio Figueroa. I have no idea what ethnicity they're trying for (it's clearly one of their half-assed attempts at a foreign name) nor do I know if he appears in the adult books. Though I'm sure aunursa will fill me in.

Then Judd hears Nicky over the line and for the sake of making this a little more amusing, I'm going to imagine his voice sounding like Daffy Duck. Because the dialogue is freaking terrible.

Judd heard several keyboard clicks, then the unmistakable voice of Nicolae Carpathia. “Now when I spoke the other day of a host of enforcers, I wanted you to gather that I meant the very core of my most loyal troops, the GCMM. They are already armed. I want them supported! I want them fully equipped! I want you to marry them with our munitions so their monitoring will have teeth. They should be respected and revered to the point of fear.”
“You want the citizenry afraid, sir?” another man said.
“Walter! No man need fear me who loves and worships me. You know that.”
“I do, sir.”
“If any man, woman, young person, or child has reason to feel guilty when encountering a member of the Global Community Morale Monitoring Force, then yes, I want them shaking in their boots!”

You can also picture Nicky speaking in the Monty Python Spanish Inquisition voice. Whatever helps you get through this.

The guy Nicky's talking to is named Walter Moon. He's the new supreme commander and the proud owner of one of the few normal names in this series.

The chapter ends with a Vicki section. Vicki talks with Jim who tells her the sad news: Natalie is dead after refusing the Mark. Me, I'm glad because that's one less character for me to keep track of and berate for their stupidity. Also, Jim plans to turn himself in to save that guy I mentioned earlier. Like I said it's a rare show of compassion but really the Tribbles should be lining up for martyrdom. After all, death's a win-win situation in this series. The characters have received absolute proof of God and the afterlife so why not? The only answer to that question is, "Because Ellanjay need some characters to be alive in order to passively witness what's about to happen."

Next chapter, begins with Vicki grieving. It's not too badly written; again, I applaud the moments when Ellanjay actually allow the characters to feel something.

“God, I don’t know why you let this happen. You saved people before, you helped us get out safely, but you let Natalie die. Why? I don’t understand.”
Vicki buried her face in her pillow and wept. She wanted to blame someone for Natalie’s death, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that the girl had died because of Vicki’s choices.

Meanwhile, Judd and Lionel talk with Westin basically saying since Z-Van's taken the Mark, you better get out of there. Westin admits that he'd always suspected that his time with Z-Van would be short. We then get a little bit of a moral quandary.

Westin frowned again. “Is it wrong to take an airplane like this?”
“You mean steal it?” Judd said.
Westin nodded. “We could really use this thing for the Young Trib Force.”
Lionel sighed. “Maybe if we were running for our lives, but I don’t like just stealing the plane because it’s here. God can take care of us some other way.”

Uh, Lionel, let me break it to you: you are currently running for your lives. Don't you remember, Satanic NWO government? Then again, what's stopping Nicky from just shooting them out of the sky as soon as the plane is reported stolen, so maybe Lionel's onto something.

Westin says they can stay on the plane while they await their trip to Israel and offers to set up a conference with the YTF in America.

Speaking of America, Vicki is told by Shelly that Cheryl is preggers :highfive: and finds out about the latest problem. Apparently they've been hiding out at the homes of some believers but said believers are like "We can't afford to hide you forever. It'll attract too much attention."

Chad decides to take Vicki out for a ride and we get this completely inappropriate scene. No, nothing happens between them, just bear with me.

He drove over a narrow path that led into a burnedout thicket of trees and bushes. The cool wind felt good and the air was fresh on Vicki’s face. Chad seemed to drive like he had traveled the path a thousand times before. He stopped at the edge of the charred trees and pointed to the crest of a hill. Three deer stood at the top, feeding on grass. They glanced toward the motorcycle, then continued eating.
“The plague of fire destroyed a lot of forests and homes around here, but you can still see the beauty God created if you look hard enough.”
“I’d almost forgotten how pretty things can be.”

The writers seem to have forgotten a few things: first of all, all the water is rotten so what exactly is the deer drinking. And most importantly, THE GOD YOU SERVE SENT THE PLAGUE OF FIRE THAT DESTROYED ALL THE STUFF YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT!

Vicki talks about Natalie, how she feels responsible for her death, and Chad tells her that it's not her fault. He also gives this headbanger of advice.

“If there’s one thing I know, it’s that God has a purpose for things. Everything fits together like a puzzle, but we’re looking at it from a human angle. All we can see are missing pieces. He sees the big picture and knows how it all fits.”

Yeah, this might work if we weren't in a series where GOD WAS ACTIVELY CAUSING ALL THE DISASTERS THAT BEFALL HIS PEOPLE!

Chad decides to tell his conversion story. Apparently he was like Judd, in that he thought himself too cool for God because that's the only reason people decide not to say The Prayer. The night of the Rapture, he was out with his teammates (Chad's a baseball player). One of them, Kyle Eastman, tries to convert him but he pretends not to hear him. Kyle disappears while driving and the book ignores that Chad was nearly unable to say The Prayer (he was in the car with Kyle). Eventually Chad found Token Jew's website and said The Prayer and that's where the story ends.

Chad then basically makes a pass at Vicki. Don't believe me? Here's the dialogue:

Vicki loved hearing these kinds of stories. She told what had happened to her family and Chad listened closely.
When Vicki yawned an hour later, Chad scooted closer. “I’ll get you back to the house, but I need to say something. I know I’m being
bold, but the way I see it, we only have about three and a half years before Christ comes back. I’d like to get to know you better.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“Shelly said you had a boyfriend but that he’s away.”
“He’s not really my boyfriend. We’ve known each other since the disappearances, but I don’t know where our relationship is going.”

It's been three and a half years as they said so I'm going to assume Vicki's no longer statutory, which makes this dialogue less creepy. Still kind of creepy, since we don't know exactly how old Chad is, but still. I'll take what I can get.

Anyway, that's the snark for this week. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope y'all enjoy Easter or at least the nice spring weather. Me, I'm going to do what I do every Holy Saturday: watch The Last Temptation of Christ. I know it was controversial but it's a deeply reverent film about Christ--it has great respect for who he was and what that means. It's a nice palate cleanser after Ellanjay's brand of theology.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Boring Self-Sacrifice

The next two chapters are primarily action scenes. :groan: But to give Ellanjay a little credit, they do actually have one of the characters get hurt. Naturally it's not Vicki or Judd or Lionel but it's a start. I find myself desperate for whatever bones Ellanjay throw my way.

Okay so apparently the GC have stopped inhaling the Stupid Gas or whatever they're on, because the chapter begins with the Deputy Commander catching Natalie at his computer. For once, he actually asks some intelligent questions and isn't satisfied with Natalie's weaksauce answers. The section ends with her being hauled off in handcuffs.

Vicki's group is still at the prison, rounding up all the believers. They load up all the prisoners and are getting ready to drive off when they notice the GC coming right at them. Colin floors it as gunshots ring out. But they're being pursued by the GC. In the process, Pete is shot in the arm.

The chapter ends with Natalie in her cell, recounting her history (how she became an RTC) for our benefit.

Second chapter, Vicki and the others are still fleeing. They decide to hide out at a storage facility, but the section ends with Vicki and the others hearing the sound of helicopters. Believe me, it's as boring to type as it is to read.

Natalie tries to convert her former roommate but her roommate refuses to take the bait. The section ends with her beginning to give her testimony to the Deputy Commander, finally doing what the RTC characters in this book should be doing: witnessing to everyone they can.

Vicki and the others are debating what to do about the van. Colin wants to tell the man at the front desk to drive it off for them, but Vicki points out that then the GC would be after him. Colin's like "So what should we do then?" Vicki decides to go to the front desk and talk to him. Turns out the man has a wife and a baby which makes Vicki even more hesitant to just use him for their purposes.

Natalie is being questioned about the whereabouts of Token Jew. Naturally it's a pretty weaksauce interrogation scene. C'mon, Ellanjay, this is a Satanic NWO. I doubt they'd have any moral qualms about torturing a confession out of someone. But then again, we've already established that torture doesn't work against brave RTCs.

Meanwhile, the GC is closing in on Vicki in what would be a tense scene except that nothing good or bad can happen to the characters. Pete decides to turn himself in, in order to protect their group and the man in the office. In any other work of fiction, it would be a great dramatic moment, a character sacrificing themselves to save others, but like I said since nothing can happen to these characters...Yeah, I'm going to post an example of a character sacrificing themselves to save others done right.

I've decided to throw in a third chapter for my snark.

Vicki watches as Pete heads in the direction of the GC and the rest of the YTF discuss what to do next. They've decided to give the man in the office a link to the Cube (the program that walks you through Ellanjay theology). Vicki protests, saying he doesn't know how to pray, which in this universe, where prayer is akin to spell-casting, is important. But Mark put a link on the note so everything's okay. Something tells me, if we see this guy again, he'll turn out to be a grateful RTC.

Vicki is still shaken up by Pete's sacrifice and decides to read the note he'd given her.

Dear Vicki,
Forgive my shaky handwriting. I agree with what you said about that guy in the office. We shouldn’t use others who aren’t believers just to keep ourselves safe. We’re here to reach out to people who don’t know God.
That’s why I’m leaving with the van. I don’t know if I’ll escape, but know this. No matter what happens, I’ll be waiting for you kids on the other side.
Vicki, I want you to know, if I ever had a daughter, I’d want her to be just like you. If your parents can see you from heaven, I know they’re looking on with pride. God has planned something special for you. I know that.
I’d better stop writing because the people are almost here to pick you up.
I love you, Vicki. Tell Judd, Mark, Lionel, and all the others that I feel the same about them. Stay steady. Trust God. Celebrate him with abandon every day and never stop telling the truth. Remember, God wins in the end, so we’re fighting a defeated enemy.

I'll admit: it's not a bad bit of writing, though I wonder where he found the time to dash off this letter in the midst of all the chaos.

Next section, after so much action with Vicki, we finally get to hear from Judd again. What's Judd doing? What all brave RTCs should be doing in a time of crisis: bravely searching the web.

First he reads an email from, you know him and love to make fun of him, Our Burk Williams, who talks about witnessing the believers in Ptolemais, Greece. Judd then reads a note from Token Jew. There isn't much to it, just him suggesting that everyone read Revelation 20:4.

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

He receives a phone call from Chang. Chang won't shut up about his mark, but he's also worried for his parents and his sister. Judd starts to worry for Chang being alone serving the anti-Christ in New Babylon and that's where I'll leave you for this week.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Once More But with Feeling

Hello and Happy Saturday everyone! Let's see what we've got to look forward to this week.

Judd hears about how Z-Van has taken the mark. Lionel asks whether it's really safe to travel with Z-Van, but Judd, given that Lionel's currently holding the YTF's single braincell, gives this headdesker of a response.

“I don’t know that the mark means he’s under any special mind control. He’s just made his final decision.”

And that final decision means he's sworn allegiance to the father of all lies aka Satan. And given his allegiance, along with the fact that you flat-out told him in the last book that you're followers of Token Jew, WHY IN ANY DEITY'S NAME ARE YOU GUYS NOT CURRENTLY GETTING YOUR HEADS CHOPPED OFF!

I mean, there's stupid and there's Ellanjay's particular brand of stupid.

Judd also states that he wants to be in Israel when Nicky comes to the temple. Why? Because the authors need someone to be there to witness it all go down because that's all the protagonists of an Ellanjay novel are allowed to do. I'm assuming we're getting close to the pig-riding scene. I for one am breathless in anticipation.

Judd goes to meet with Chang. Chang is like "Look at what they've done to me!" and he and Judd talk. Also apparently they have heard of that verse from Romans but apparently don't see the contradiction between it and the whole "getting the Mark damns you forever" shtick, cause they quote part of it in one of Chang's responses.

“The Bible says nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. God says we’re hidden in the hollow of his hand and that no one can pluck us out. But it also says those who take the mark will be separated from God forever.”


Okay, the all-caps was a little much. I'm going to calm down and quote Romans 8:38-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Anyway then Chang talks about being bi-loyal: able to live among the Satanists but also be a faithful follower of Token Jew.

Meanwhile, Vicki and the others are working on their Great Escape and yes, I'm calling it that just so I have an excuse to post that link, because really the escape is terrible. It could be foiled by your average five-year-old.

Basically Colin is going to pose again as Commander Blakely and take Vicki inside as a prisoner. Why is Vicki going inside? To his credit, Colin has his doubts.

When they were finished, Colin looked at Vicki. “I’m not comfortable taking you inside the facility. I’ll go in alone as Commander Blakely and take my chances.”
Vicki shook her head. “I can get inside, identify all the believers, and get out.Plus I can tell them what’s going on. It’ll lend credibility to your story.”
“If something goes wrong …”
“You won’t be able to get me out. But it’s the same for you. I don’t want to have to go back to Wisconsin and tell your wife we let you die here.”

Next chapter, apparently Vicki is posing as a Token Jew follower-turned-rat, which should immediately raise the guards' suspicions because there's no such thing as a Christian turning traitor to save their own skin. It's unpossible!

There's a lot of Exposition! about the guillotines mostly about how there's a lot of resistance in the United Asian States. Also they've arrested and killed a bunch of believers from Greece but given that we don't know anything about them, it barely registers.

Vicki comes across some believers trying to convert a girl named Cheryl and decides to take a stab. I can't help but note that so far her conversion record is better that Judd's but then again that's because Vicki actually tries to convert people while Judd just thinks about it.

So Vicki leads Cheryl through The Prayer but in a surprise move, nothing happens. Usually when The Prayer is uttered it equals instant convert, but this time it doesn't work.

Vicki glanced at Cheryl’s forehead, but there was no mark of the believer. “You still have questions?”
“How did you know?”
Vicki smiled. “It’s written on your face.”

A yes, that filthy whore and her stupid questions what with wanting to know how this all ties into a God of Love and all that. Vicki just smiles, knowing that soon Cheryl will be roasting on a spit.

I'm guessing Ellanjay put that little thing in there as an attempt to prove that The Prayer isn't spell-casting but it totally is. God wants to save you but his hands are totally tied unless you utter The Prayer with the right sort of sincerity. But if you do it with the right amount of sincerity, you can circumvent His plans to see you burn. So basically it's spell-casting, just a very inefficient form of it.

So Vicki walks around pointing out believers, thus saving them from the GC, and condemning all the others to Hell. But that's callous, you say? Well don't worry; according to the text, Vicki feels really bad about it. Not bad enough to witness to them like she did with Cheryl but still bad.

Oh and the chapter ends with the shocking reveal: Cheryl converted. Woo...Guess they didn't want the readers asking too many questions regarding her fate.