ItSo…C: Chapter 6 & Chapter 7

After the last jump of a few weeks, we make a jump of…overnight…into this chapter.  The day after the tea party/dinner, Lindsey enlists Jesse’s help to start the Christmas decorations.  Probably makes sense, since it’s presumably about the middle of November.

Jesse is starting to fall for Lindsey and is grateful for what she did yesterday with Jade, and he says so.

About Jade, I mean, not about falling for her.  😉

Jesse mentions that Jade has not stopped talking about her “guarding angel.”

“I hope you didn’t mind me telling her.” [said Lindsey]

No, of course not, Lindsey.  Please continue instilling supernatural beliefs in my child behind my back.

He hitched a shoulder, not wanting to go there.

Interesting that it’s put like that.  Why shouldn’t he go there?  It’s his kid they’re talking about.  He has much more right to “go there” than Lindsey does.  Or does he just not want to make waves when he’s scheming to get her thrown off her own property?

“It’s okay.  Whatever works.”  [said Jesse]

Lindsey laid a hand on his arm.  “The Bible works because it’s true, Jesse,” she said, her smoky voice soft.  “Aren’t you comforted knowing your own special angel watches over you?”

Huh.  I dunno.  I mean, I’ve read the Bible, just like Kirk Cameron told me, and I don’t remember anything about every person on the planet getting their very own, personal guardian angel.

Open Bible has collected a bunch of Bible verses ostensibly dealing with guardian angels, though none of these verses say outright that everyone has a personal angel.  Hell, even Billy Graham isn’t behind this.  (And if you can’t trust him, who can you trust?)

Lindsey’s words make Jesse think for a minute, including about how he…

…had even accepted Jesus as his savior at church camp when he was twelve…

…but for him, it all comes back to theodicy.

But why would a caring God, a God who assigned each person an angel, take a man’s wife and leave a little girl motherless?  Why would He allow a vicious drunk to steal a boy’s home and toss him out on the streets to fend for himself?  Where was God in that?

Gorram good question.  Also, where were the police?

Of course, people of all faiths regularly assure one another that God is not responsible for human suffering.  But how else can we understand the claim that God is both omniscient and omnipotent?  This is the age-old problem of theodicy, of course, and we should consider it solved.  If God exists, either he can do nothing to stop the most egregious calamities, or He does not care to.  God, therefore, is either impotent or evil.  You may now be tempted to execute the following pirouette: God cannot be judged by human standards of morality.  But we have seen that human standards of morality are precisely what you use to establish God’s goodness in the first place.  And any God who would concern Himself with something so trivial as gay marriage, or the name by which he is addressed in prayer, is not so incruable as all that.

Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation, p. 55

I wonder what argument Lindsey will use in the face of a loving God who would take away a small child’s mother.  I wonder if she will even address it.

For the moment, she is ruminating on the fact that she is falling for Jesse, and she cannot, of course, be unequally yoked.  But also…

As a Christian, she wanted to see him happy.

What, because if she wasn’t a Christian, she wouldn’t want to see him happy?  Weird.

Indeed, “she wanted to provide a shining example of Christ’s love,” but she’s all torn up inside because he’s super-dreamy.

***

Fast-forward to Thanksgiving, and Lindsey invites Jesse and Jade over for dinner, because they have nowhere else to go, and her family is all far away.  There’s all kinds of tenderness and cuteness as they have a very traditional Thanksgiving dinner, so there’s not much to say here.  Lindsey does another prayer, this time with holding of hands, and Jesse, once again, does not talk along or say “amen.”

Jade shows that she has made progress on the dog front, actually asking that Sushi be in the same room as the three of them, though she still wants to stay pretty far away.

And on the Lindsey’s toys front, turns out Lindsey has a whole room holding toys and games for her Sunday school kids, including a whole friggn’ playhouse.  Now that’s gotta be over the top.

Then the really official Moment of Heartwarming happens, as a family arrives to get an early Christmas tree.  See, the dad is shipping out for the unspecified “Middle East” tomorrow, so they want to decorate a tree tonight.  Which I guess is kinda sweet.

As they’re heading out to pick a tree, Jesse and Jade duck away and turn on the Christmas lights and music to complete the scene.

“Thank you for thinking of that.” [said Lindsey]

He shrugged off the compliment.  “Some people like this stuff.”

But you don’t.  What could have happened to turn Jesse into such a Scrooge?

But he…he just…

Yeah, lady, because Scrooge was well-known for decorating his place of business for the holidays, even though he wasn’t into it.

Seriously, what the what is going on in this woman’s head?

Who the hell knows?  But she gives the tree to the family for free.  Which is nice.

Indeed, after the family leaves, Lindsey tells Jesse that…

“I love to give trees to people like that.”

Jesse points out the obvious:

“You don’t make money giving them away.”

“No, but you create joy, and that’s worth so much more.”

Yeah, Lindsey, try making car payments with joy.

Jade is so psyched by the whole thing that she wants a Christmas tree, too, and Lindsey is all for it.

It’s been a fair few years since I’ve had a live tree, so I’m rusty on these things, but won’t a live tree be pretty dry and…well, done by Christmas if you take it home on Thanksgiving Day?

But it’s all moot, anyway, since Jade knows she can’t have one, since “Daddy hates Christmas.”  This, of course, forces The Big Christmas Talk, since, according to Lindsey, “there’s nothing too big for the Lord.”

Jade obediently wanders off, and Jesse tells Lindsey about his dead wife, Erin.  Erin was a Christian, and Jesse “tried to be one, too, when she was alive.”  As we guessed, Erin died at Christmastime, specifically on Christmas Eve, killed in a crash with a drunk driver when she went out to get the one last gift she had on layaway.

And the hits just keep on coming—she was getting a gift for him, and the crash happened only a few blocks from their house, so he ran there and saw his wife’s body—

Damn, son.

Even more sad is the way that Lindsey butts into Jesse’s reaction to the tragic situation like it’s any of her business.

“Don’t you want Jade to remember her mother?

When you refuse to let her have a Christmas tree, you’re telling her child’s mind to forget her mother and to forget all those wonderful times with her.”

Wow.  Judge much, lady?

So, what, the only good memories associated with a dead person must involve Christmas?

“That’s not true,” he denied vehemently.  “I’m protecting her.  I don’t want her to relive that terrible night every Christmas.”

“Are you talking about Jade?  Or yourself?”

Wow, real Christian sensitivity there, Lindsey.  Look, you don’t have to agree with the way Jesse handles Christmas.  You can even talk about it with him.  But like that?  With talk of making Jade forget her mother and Jesse only protecting himself?

Lindsey, you suck.

Oh, and she tops it all off with:

“You can’t allow your own pain to keep Jade from having a normal childhood.”

Though she very generously allows that Jesse is not doing this “intentionally.”  So she’s sensitive, see!

Also, lady, I think millions of kids around the world have normal childhoods without Christmas.  Not everyone has to be like you.

Sadly, Jesse’s “growing angst” gets the best of him, and he feels a “fierce longing to pray,” though he doesn’t actually do it.  And they go get a tree for Jade.

Lest I be misunderstood, I have no problem with Jesse changing his mind about Christmas and getting Jade a tree.  It’s just not cool how Lindsey’s going about it.  Not.  Cool.

But Jesse’s still struggling—in fact, he’s so miserable at the sight of the tree in his home that he puts it in Jade’s room.  And Jade loves that, so it’s all good.  Just don’t tell Lindsey, Jess!

We are left with Jesse going through heartache, and Jade praying to “thank Jesus for the tree and all my guarding angels.”

All?

Look, kid, you get one angel.  ONE.  That’s what Lindsey says.  Or the Bible.  Or something.

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Posted on December 15, 2013, in Books, Christmas, In the Spirit of...Christmas. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Oh, wow, Lindsey’s really burning up the good will she’d built up previously. Yiii. Not only might Jade have mixed feelings about Christmas (she might want a tree, but it gives her nightmares, say), but I don’t see why Jesse doesn’t have the right to not do Christmas because he can’t deal with it. Aren’t his feelings important, too? I mean, one might suggest therapy, especially as Christmas is about as inescapable as dogs in the US, but Lindsey’s really being a jerk.

    It also seems like we’re really piling on the drunks at this point – not only was Jesse’s stepdad who threw him out at fourteen a drunk, but his wife was killed by a drunk driver. If any more drunks show up, it’s a conspiracy.

    And the stepdad thing is making less and less sense. It was a Christmas tree farm back when Jesse’s mom owned it, right? You’d think that customers, locals, someone would’ve noticed that, right after Jesse’s mom died, Jesse disappeared. Unless the stepdad sold the farm and then threw Jesse out. Except then he’d surely know who the farm was sold to. (And we still have the question of how it was illegally sold.)

    • It was a Christmas tree farm back when Jesse’s mom owned it, right?

      Actually, no. The Christmas trees started out as a “hobby” of Lindsey’s grandpa, and she then turned it into a full livelihood. It’s unclear how all the land was used in Jesse’s mom’s time.

      • Okay, that makes it a little less odd. But a lot more creepy, since now you’ve got a woman with a young teen son living in a remote farmhouse with an abusive drunk. Is it going to turn out that stepdad killed his mom, too? I mean, jeeze. We at least know he got away with child abandonment and, if Jesse’s right, property theft. This is awfully dark stuff for us to just sprinkle some magic god dust on and declare everything wonderful now.

  2. Yeah, Lindsey is wasting her Actually Not That Bad points very quickly. And the inevitable fight between her and Jesse when she finds out his real plan (hell, when we find out his real plan, cause I’m still fuzzy) is still some time away. That scene has a lot of potential for Lindsey’s *ahem* sense of Christian justice to get out of control. Odds are she’ll lose some more credit right there.

    Still, Lindsey is lucky that I’ve already seen a worse example of an RTC responding to an atheist’s Dead Little Sister story. On a completely unrelated matter, the review of Apocalypse 2 is comming soon 🙂

  3. My family gets our live tree the day after Thanksgiving every year and it stays pretty until Christmas. If you water it a lot it’ll stay green. A week or two after Christmas it’ll start getting iffy, but the time table on this isn’t as farfetched as it seems. Though maybe Jesse’s hatred for Christmas will have some sort of mystical spiritual effect and brown it early.

  4. Look, kid, you get one angel. ONE.

    Jade’s regular guardian angel is getting really sick of the angel that was watching over Jade’s mom hanging around giving guarding advice.

  5. inquisitiveraven

    Actually, you can mix up your own preservative to keep the tree green for an extended period of time.

  6. Jesse fails because he has good manners and doesn’t try to impose his views on other people. Lindsey succeeds because she is the opposite. And because, like all cult recruiters, she takes advantage of vulnerable people. Her talk would be more convincing if we didn’t know that she had the one-size-fits-all answer ready to hand well before she’d ever met Jesse as an individual.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Round Up, December 21st, 2013 | The Slacktiverse

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