Soon: Chapter 3: Daddy
First, thank you to Skyknight. Turns out I had been misspelling “Decenti” all this time. I think I’ve corrected all of the mistakes. *blushes*
Sooner or later, almost every LaJenkins character has Daddy Issues.
As the Slacktivist has explored, Buck and his daddy play the good old working class father vs. college-educated son game. Rayford Steele loses Raymie in the Rapture, but not before concluding that his 12-year-old son is a mama’s boy. In the prequels, it is revealed that Rayford himself had Daddy Issues: his blue collar father wanted Rayford to join the family business, but Rayford wanted to be a pilot.
Over at Apocalypse Review, Pius has pointed out the toxic relationship between Josh Jordan and his artsy son, Cal.
In Babylon Rising, the only “shown” father-son relationship was also toxic, between media mogul Shane Barrington and…his artsy son, Arthur. The “told” relationship, between Paul and his (now dead) father, is about Paul…not wanting to join the family business.
Michael Murphy seems to be the only major LaHaye or Jenkins character unaffected. In a later book in the series, he remembers a boyhood vacation with his dad, who was “loving and supportive,” but Murphy Sr. must be dead now, because he plays no part in the events of Babylon Rising, including the funeral of his daughter-in-law.
Now, that’s not to say that Daddy Issues can’t be done well, can’t be done very well, in the hands of good writers.
But I think we all know where this is going.
Back in Chicago, Paul is almost halfway decent to Jae as he goes to clear out his dead mother’s house, and Jae and the kids go ice skating. I’m sure they’re delighted to see the back of him.
Paul arrives at his mom’s house, and we get another glimpse of the awesomeness of this atheistic post-apocalyptic world that Jenkins thinks is so terrible. You see, Paul’s mother died of brain cancer…
Though most cancer was now curable, certain strains defied the best efforts of modern science. A century of study had yet to unravel the intricate mechanisms of the brain. (Emphasis mine)
They’ve cured cancer. The evil godless hordes cured cancer.
This World Rocks.
Okay, does Jenkins have any idea how awesome he is making this world? Yanno, I admit that I may be taking this personally, but it takes a lot of moxie to create a world in which atheists cure cancer, and then to say that those atheists are evil and deserve eternal torture.
Paul is busily rooting around in his mother’s papers, when he finds…
…a heavy, cream-colored vellum envelope with the remains of a flattened blob of a dark red wax on its flap–a broken seal, Paul supposed.
Oh gee, genius, ya think?
On the front was the inscription, in strong black letters: “For My Son on His Twelfth Birthday.” Paul remembered that one of his schoolmates had gotten such a letter, written by his parents on the day of his birth and expressing their hopes for his future. He had asked his mother about it, but she professed ignorance of the tradition.
I also profess ignorance of this tradition. However, given what we will now discover and what Paul’s mother was (evil atheist) and what I am (evil atheist), maybe it’s not too surprising. 😛
Here is the first part of Paul’s father’s letter to Paul:
My beloved son,
Your birth today was a miracle, filling me with a joy greater than I have ever known or thought possible.
Can I just say, it’s really nice of Paul Sr. to take time out from being with his wife, who just gave birth, to write this letter?
Holding you for the first time, I felt blessed with the ultimate earthly gift. One day you will hold your own child and understand the profound depth and breadth of a father’s love.
Yeah, I can’t imagine many twelve-year-old boys who would react to talk of their own future babies with anything other than, “Ewwwww!!!”
Interesting, too, that Paul Sr. wrote this letter without his wife. Paul Jr. mentions the letter to his schoolmate, and that was from both parents. Nice little dig on Mrs. Paul Sr., but hey, if he co-wrote the letter, he wouldn’t have the chance to proselytize, what with being unequally yoked and all:
The day you read this letter you will turn twelve. On the threshold of manhood, you will be old enough to understand another kind of love–the love of God. It is a much maligned love at the time I write. There have been persecutions and terrorist acts around the globe–supposedly undertaken in the name of God, as different groups construe Him–which have drawn us into world war.
Note to Myself: Things Not to Mention in Birth Letters to My Future Son:
1. Terrorist acts
2. The No True Scotsman Fallacy
Many, your mother among them, have turned away from a God they see as the root of the world’s misery. But you must not turn away, Son.
Always nice to turn your son against his mother in a Birth Letter.
First, God’s love transcends all earthly gifts, even the gift of your birth for me.
Nice. Bet that would make a 12-year-old child feel just great.
God so loved the world that He sacrificed His perfect, only Son, who died on the cross to save us. Accepting that love has been the most important and fulfilling decision of my own life.
More Things Not to Mention in Birth Letters to My Future Son:
3. Boilerplate evangelism
The second reason is that God’s Son has promised to return in glory to gather up those who believe in Him. The Bible tells us “He will lead them to the springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe away all their tears.”
But those who have rejected God will face a very different fate: punishment and suffering beyond anything we can imagine or have ever managed to inflict upon each other.
“Guess what, son? Mommy’s gonna fry in Hell! Happy Birthday!”
The end of the Bible, the book of Revelation, describes in vivid and terrifying detail what will befall those who incur God’s wrath.
“So, Junior, if you ever decide to get a Ph.D. in religion when you grow up, be sure to read Revelation. Just in case.”
I can’t even begin to reproduce the final two paragraphs. Just imagine the lamest boilerplate Rapture fear-mongering you can, and you’ll be right there.
This was the most important thing, the one thing Paul Sr. wanted to leave his son. Boilerplate evangelism.
I frankly don’t blame Paul Jr. a bit for being aghast at the discovery of such a letter.
But more on Paul’s reaction next time.