TSoA: Chapter 19: Crossover!
In addition to reviewing Christian novels, I enjoy reviewing Christian movies. A few of them, like the recent Time Changer, had an actual theatrical release, but many of them are shorter movies, meant to be shown at church youth events. Yanno, movies like Teenage Testament, Teenage Christmas, The Pretender, and Second Glance—movies that feature Christian teens facing the sort of moral issues Christian teens face, such as how to drag little kids to church and how to alienate all your friends by preaching at them whenever you see them.
But today, in The Secret on Ararat, brand-new Christian and churchgoer Tiffany (remember her???) has dragged her friends to a Christian youth event out on the woods.
It seems that Tiffany has picked up on the lessons taught at Pastor Bob’s church, exemplified by Michael Murphy, that a lie isn’t really a lie if you just phrase things in such a way that your listeners will be sure to misunderstand:
…even though Lisa and Christy were her two closest friends, Tiffany was beginning to wonder if bringing them here had been a good idea after all. When she first told them about the retreat, she deliberately didn’t add the word church. She figured there was no point in frightening them off before they got here, and she trusted that once they did, the experience would be so different from their normal lives that they’d quickly find themselves caught up in it.
Would it really be so easy to keep this a secret for the entire bus ride, plus the first two hours they’re there, as Tiffany does? Don’t these buses usually have the name of the church on them? Wouldn’t there be a prayer or some shit before they pulled out? I wouldn’t know, mind you, but it just seems unlikely…
Also, is this whole thing free to all comers? Because it seems really awful to ask someone to pay for something when they don’t really know what it is.
Also also, Tiffany has promised Lisa and Christy that there will be cute boys. Not that retreat-going boys wouldn’t be cute, but the promise of them seems highly manipulative from this brand-new Christian.
Mark is the director of the youth retreat, and you can tell he’s hip with the kids because he wears faded jeans. He breaks the sad news to the teens that they are there by the Lord’s plan, but that there will still be “crazy fun” stuff to do in the woods.
Christy and Lisa, understandably, are less than thrilled by this revelation:
“You knew if you mentioned the word church it would have taken a bunch of, like, totally wild horses to drag us here.”
You tell her, Christy!
But Tiffany shrugs off the whole lying-to-her-best-friends problem, because church is COOL.
“Yes. Cool. About looking at the big picture, and what’s going to happen in the future and why we’re here.”
Sadly, Tiffany’s friends, like all nonbelievers, are hedonists:
“Have some fun and then you die, girlfriend. That’s the big picture.”
But despite being evil hedonists, and despite being told by Tiffany that they’re risking “everlasting damnation,” and despite being lied to, Lisa and Christy prove themselves to be Good Without God by letting it go.
Okay, I’m not so sure that the lesson is supposed to be that Lisa and Christy are more moral than churchgoer Tiffany, but that’s sure what is being demonstrated.
Needless to say, since this is a LaHaye novel, the retreat works like a charm. In between kayaking and stuff, Mark delivers “stirring” talks, and the teens’ minds “were open to new ideas and new challenges to the usual way they thought about things.”
Then Mark tells the kids about how Jesus died for their sins.
JESUS WHO’S THAT???
Something about the way he talked of Jesus as if He was a real person whom Mark knew personally made them feel that He really had sacrificed Himself for each one of them.
Passionate Sincerity!!! Waaaaaay better than facts and logic!
On Saturday night, Mark instructs the kids that it’s time to go into the woods to do what bears do there…I mean, to have a “Discipline of Silence.”
(Yes, it’s capitalized in the book—is this some kind of real thing that people do?)
Anyway, they’re supposed to go alone into the woods and reflect on Jesus and stuff and “do some business with your Creator.”
Sometimes, the jokes just write themselves.
So Tiffany says the magic words and calls her parents to tell them how much she loves them and loves Jesus and ISN’T THERE SOME SORT OF ARK THAT PEOPLE WANT TO GET AROUND TO FINDING AT SOME POINT???