TSoA: Chapter 9: Nothing to Do with Anything

Shari has something in common with her mentor/secret lover, Michael Murphy: they both think that helping others is good because it keeps them from thinking about their own problems.

That’s a whole psychology paper right there, isn’t it?

So our favorite research assistant is psyched to meet juvenile delinquent Tiffany Baines, though quite surprised to see that Tiffany is a pretty blonde who is just ZOMG TEH CUTEST THING EVAH!!

image

Tiffany also either plays dumb or IS dumb (Shari can’t decide), because she is wearing a Tar Heels sweatshirt, but doesn’t know what the term “tar heels” means.  Shari lectures her on the Civil War variation of the story, as though it is the only one that is obviously correct.  For all I know, it may be, but what’s important about this scene is NOTHING IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING IT DOES NOT DEVELOP PLOT OR CHARACTER OR BUILD THE WORLD ALL IT DOES IS SHOW THAT BOB PHILLIPS KNOWS HOW TO USE THE WIKIPEDIA ON THE INTERTUBES.

Finally they get around to talking about Tiffany’s problems with her father.

Well, the book tells us she does, anyway:

[Tiffany] proceeded to tell Shari about her fights with her father and all the trouble she was getting in from hanging out with the wrong crowd.

Yeah, I’m sure that’s how Tiffany put it: “I’ve been hanging out with the wrong crowd.”  Not that we would know, since Tiffany doesn’t get to talk.

After all, it’s not like her pain is important.  What’s important here (if anything is) is the retcon of Shari’s family history.  And her need to go on and on and on about it when someone else’s problems are supposed to be the topic of discussion:

“My father and I had a lot of confrontations.  It got pretty bad in my senior year of high school.  I threatened to run away from home a number of times.  I even began to experiment with drugs and alcohol.”

Okay, this is so not true.  This is nothing like what we read in Babylon Rising.

I think Shari’s making it all up.  She is a lying liar who LIES.

Let’s check out what was said in the first book:

[Laura (Murphy’s now-dead wife] thought back to the long sessions they’d spent in her office talking about the pain Shari still felt years after her mom and dad had died in a five-car pileup on the interstate, her dad at the wheel with half a pint of Wild Turkey inside him.  How she’d tried to help Shari make sense of it all.  Help her work through the anger she felt toward her dad and try to reconnect with the love that had once been there.  Help her find a way of giving thanks for everything her mother had been and would always be.

Okay, see that?  YEARS.  “Years after her mom and dad had died.”

LOOK GORAMMIT, YOUR PREDECESOR SAID IN THE FIRST BOOK THAT SHARI’S PARENTS DIED YEARS AGO AND NOW YOU’RE ACTING LIKE IT HAPPENED LAST MONTH

ALSO

Shari tells Tiffany that she didn’t become a Christian until her freshman year of college, and that after that happened, she patched things up with her dad (because all relationships are magically healed when you’re a Christian) and they had “a year and a half of great times before he was killed.”

WUT?

“I asked my father for forgiveness for my attitude.  It was wrong.  Even though he had done wrong, I had too.  I apologized for my part.  He began to cry and asked me to forgive him.”

And then, according to Shari, things were peachy keen until some freak accident claimed the lives of her parents, and her father’s drunk driving was apparently TOTALLY NOT INVOLVED.

I just…I don’t get the point of the retcon, since as the story stands, there is no reason for it.  So, the only conclusion I can figure is that Shari is lying to Tiffany to make their stories more similar.

So Shari, SHARI, sits there crying, and effectively guilt-trips Tiffany into heading off to talk to her dad, because one one-sided conversation is all it takes to mend a relationship.

Can I just close by saying that this is an absolutely brilliant strategy on the part of Bob Wagoner?  He had some ministering to do, neatly pawned it off on not just one, but two of his flock, thus freeing his day for the vitally important tasks of stuffing his face with chili fries and playing a few rounds of golf.

What a great pastor.

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Posted on July 19, 2012, in Babylon Rising, Books, The Secret on Ararat. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. What, so if I pay to see a psychologist, the best therapy for me is not to sit there listening to my therapist tell me all about his/her personal problems?

    Or wait, is that the recommended “being a friend and counselor” approach in the Bible — perhaps from the Song of Solomon, or one of Paul’s lesser-known epistles?

  2. RedwoodRhiadra

    ALL IT DOES IS SHOW THAT BOB PHILLIPS KNOWS HOW TO USE THE WIKIPEDIA ON THE INTERTUBES.

    Which puts him one up on Jerry Jenkins…

  3. Grammar Police

    Aaaaaand again with the Daddy Issues! Seriously — does every single character in Christian fiction need to have Daddy Issues? This is beyond getting old; this is archaic. (To say nothing of boring.)

    Also love how every troubled homelife or tragedy automatically leads to teenage rebellion. No matter what kind of retconning that must take place in order to do it.

    Is the newest Voice of LaHaye from North Carolina? That might explain the pointless tar heels bit.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Also love how every troubled homelife or tragedy automatically leads to teenage rebellion. No matter what kind of retconning that must take place in order to do it.

      But if there’s no teenage rebellion, how are you going to set them up for the Altar Call and Sinner’s Prayer scene at the end?

      (Though it may also be a Play to Audience Fear. Most Christianese target audiences are middle-aged, about the age where they would have teenage children — whom they would have Raised Christianese by any means necessary.)

      • I’d think there’d be more ways for someone to accept Christian precepts than just returning from teenage rebellion.

        Then again, the RTC understanding of Original Sin seems to be that we’re born innate and, more importantly, UNALLOYED rebels. Getting right with the Lord is, by definition, abjuration of rebellion, teenage or otherwise. In other words, not yet being Christian is already rebellion against the arch-parent (i.e. God); teenage rebellion is just this at a smaller scale.

        Now we just have to figure out why anything short of absolute, unquestioning, and instantaneous obedience is “rebellion”.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      “I asked my father for forgiveness for my attitude. It was wrong. Even though he had done wrong, I had too. I apologized for my part. He began to cry and asked me to forgive him.”

      BINGO! “Ask My Father For Forgiveness” — Foreshadowing the Sinner’s Prayer climax to the character’s story arc!

    • It ties into a few trends I’ve seen in Christian fiction. One is that you never seem to get main characters born and raised in the Christian tradition, they were always sinners and rebels and smoked marijuana but then got revelations and came to God later on. I guess it’s more inspirational that way.

      The other half is that the RTC writers seem to not understand why people wouldn’t be Christians so they go to the Freudian excuse. They hate their parents and thus reject God (who is like Father squared) as a result of it, so accepting their parents is a step towards accepting the really big parent up in the sky who punishes everyone that doesn’t love him.

  4. Headless Unicorn Guy

    Finally they get around to talking about Tiffany’s problems with her father.

    Well, the book tells us she does, anyway:

    [Tiffany] proceeded to tell Shari about her fights with her father and all the trouble she was getting in from hanging out with the wrong crowd.

    Tell, Don’t Show. On steroids.

    Sure this wasn’t really ghosted by Jerry “Buck” Jenkins?

    • Tell, Don’t Show. On steroids.

      Sure this wasn’t really ghosted by Jerry “Buck” Jenkins?

      It may be that he couldn’t show. Remember that “Christian” fiction can’t actually portray things like sex, drugs, or rock and roll. If the author actually went into details the book might no have been publishable.

      Of course, brutal murders and terrorism are fine.

  5. It’s amazing how every Christian in these books somehow, somehow makes it ‘all about ME!’

    • Maybe they’ve realized that after they get to Heaven they will spend eternity actively worshipping TurboJesus and all will be about HIM. Therefore they use their time on Earth to make everything be about THEM.

      • Eh, if those Rapture Ready posts are any indication, they think the Rapture is also about them. They’re so miserable and persecuted, can’t Jesus please come and take them to heaven already.

        Though I don’t know for certain how many of those posts are serious, and how many are on the same level as the posters at the escapist who post that Futurama “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore” pic whenever there’s depressing news.

  6. This attitude is something I meet all too often, and not even particularly correlated with Christianity (RTCism or otherwise): Family Is Good, and all else must be subordinated to Keeping The Family Together. Sometimes family are bad people, the same way anyone else might be…

  7. Catching up to old posts!

    So a golf-playing pastor, huih? Remind you of anyone? I bet LaHaye used to make Jenkins golf with him and that’s why Jenkins writes pastors who fuck off and golf instead of actually ministering, or pastoring, or whatever it is their job description is.

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