Monthly Archives: March 2015

Shadowed: Chapter 17, Part 2 and Chapter 18: I’m Here

As Straight is playing the stupidest spy games ever with Surgeon Sneakypants, Felicia is still sitting in her car, waiting for an answer from God.

I’m here.

Seriously, that’s what God says to Felicia.  ‘Scuse me, that’s what God “communicated directly to her heart, to her inner being.”

Funny how God didn’t see fit to communicate that little idea to her inner being before the slaughter of the firstborns.  Hell, it would’ve been convenient if God had communicated directly to the hearts of the firstborns themselves.

Felicia then has basically the same thoughts that Jae had back in Silenced

Sure, sure, Felicia gives some half-assed protestations over that little matter of murdering her son:

“You love me?  And You show me this how?  By taking my son?  By turning my boss and friend into a fugitive and leaving me on my own?  By wounding my husband until he is not the same man he once was?”

Notice the order there.  Her son, then Paul, then her husband.  Paul really, truly is the most important person on the planet, and it is only the natural mammalian maternal bond, present even in evil atheists, that causes Felicia to name her own son first.

Hell, it’s not like that son’s presence in Hell prevented his mother from working overtime these past few days.

Anyway, in response to the whole “murdering my son” thing, God has this to communicate to Felicia’s heart:

I lost a Son too.

Oh cry my a river, God.  To hear you tell it, that was the only option open to your omnipotent self to “save” the world, and you knew it would happen always, and you lost him for three whole days, and now he’s ruling the universe with your forevermore.  So forgive me if I don’t consider your “loss” as even in the same universe as Felicia’s, and Ranold’s, and Aryanna’s, and Bia’s, and every other parent and child and sibling and spouse on the planet.

Felicia actually has several similar questions to mine, which God answers directly to her heart with:

Had I prevented His death, there would have been no payment for sin.

And again.  So much for being omnipotent, if there’s only that one very specific option available to you.

But of course, Felicia is so awed by the presence of God that she feels “filthy” even when he is speaking directly to her.  Poor Felicia.  We all knew this was coming, but it makes it no less disgusting and painful to watch yet another innocent character become a mindless drone.

So she apologizes to God, because it is all Felicia’s fault because she is a filthy sinner that God struck down her son where he stood and now he is in Hell.

Properly chastened by her totally loving God, Felicia heads home to Cletus, who has been dealing with his grief in what actually seems to me to be a relatively healthy way—by throwing beer bottles against the wall.

Felicia, to give her (momentary) credit, joins in by throwing one herself.  It all ends with the couple laughing and sobbing together, and is actually one of the more real moments Jenkins has ever written.

So we know it can’t last…Felicia tries to convert her husband.  Cletus has the natural question: how can you worship the being who would do this?

“We were all warned.  You can’t legislate God out of life and then wonder where He is when everything goes wrong.”

Then again, when God is the one who makes everything go wrong in the first place…

“He offers forgiveness and life, but we—all of us—pushed Him away, made Him illegal, denied he even existed.  It’s a wonder He didn’t wipe all of us out.”

Right?  Because that would be such a forgiving, life-giving thing to do.  Just like when he murdered your son.

And on that note, there is a bizarre chapter break which I am going to ignore.

Not able to convince him via the “legislated him away” and “wasn’t it nice of him not to kill us, too?” tactics, Felicia moves on to describe how God spoke directly to her inner self and stuff.  She tells Cletus about how God reminded her that he had lost a son, too.

What could Cletus say?  That it wasn’t fair because God was God and had the power to bring His own Son back to life?  That it wasn’t fair because Danny would not be returning to them?

YES!!!  YES, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HE SHOULD SAY!

And on and on Felicia goes, scolding herself and Cletus for doing crazy, God-hating things like “satisfy[ing] our wants and needs.”

Well, since God doesn’t…

Cletus again makes a solid argument, asking why God “overreacted”:

“Wasn’t there some other step in there, between drought in L.A. and slaughtering a billion men and boys and babies?”

And, just like every time a non-Christian asks a valid question, the Christian in the group is at a loss:

“I don’t know.  And I don’t guess I’ll know till I see Him face-to-face.”

“Not that I’ll ever see my son face-to-face again, since God murdered him and sent him to Hell.  Still, seeing God will be even better, won’t it?  Won’t it???”

I guess it will, since Felicia seems to have all but forgotten about said son.  Like Paul, who never spares a thought for his mother (who loved him and raised him all by herself) who is in hell, and Jae, who hasn’t spared a thought about Berlitz burning in Hell, Felicia simply concludes that “He did what he had to do.”

Yeah, I guess that’s the natural conclusion when someone murders someone you love.

So long, Felicia.  Another one bites the dust.

Shadowed: Chapter 17, Part 1: Back with Straight!

Unlike Ball Dangler, Straight gets an exclamation point.  Because I’ve almost kinda…missed Straight.  We are 17 chapters in and he’s only been name-checked so far as Paul tries to skull-phone-call him.

And if there’s one thing Straight can always be relied upon to do, it’s bring the crazy.  Rude space-invading guy that he is.

Sadly, there’s not much to say here.

But that won’t stop me!

Straight has been volunteering at the hospital quite a bit, “visiting the injured of all ages.”  I’m really not sure how much his “visiting” can possibly be helping in this situation.  It’s portrayed in Soon as Straight trying to stave off the boredom of long-term patients, like Paul after his supernatural-light-column-blinding.  I would think the last thing people would be feeling, 48 hours after the genocide, would be boredom.  Would they really be so anxious to listen to the sax right now?  Or do many of them need secret letters written to potential future mistresses?

It doesn’t really matter, because, as usual, the main point of seeing Straight is certainly not to see him help out others in a very Christian manner.  Instead, he’s being pulled into a clandestine meeting with a doctor:

[Straight had seen the man in surgical greens and booties, so he was an operating-room man.

An operating-room man????

Um, Straight…honey…where I come from, we call such people surgeons.  Though, come to think of it, the guy could just as easily be a surgical nurse.  Then again, probably not as easily, because he is a man, and I’m sure Jenkins would never make a man a nurse, like some…lady or something.

Dr. Gregory Graybill (*snerk*) sneaks Straight a business card with a “secure” number written on the back (Are these meant to be secret skull phone numbers, or secret old-school corded phones like Ranold has in his house?  We are never told.)

Straight is instructed to call the “operating-room man” at the secure number “at 2 a.m. within the next three days.”

Ooooo, spy stuff!!!

***

Cut to a long scene of Felicia and her husband grieving.  We’ll hit that next time, because I want to hit the rest of Straight’s story first.

***

It was all Straight could do to stay awake, and he knew he should not have stretched out on the bed.

Um, set an alarm?  Why are LaJenkinsian heroes so frequently befuddled by the basics of everyday living?

But Straight manages to startle himself awake just in time for the appointed super-sekrit squirrel call.

In which the doctor instructs Straight to meet him at the hospital to talk.

YOU BOTH WERE JUST AT THE HOSPITAL WHY WAS IT EVEN NECESSARY TO CALL EACH OTHER IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT TO PLAN TO MEET AT THE HOSPITAL AGAIN???

As we have previously discussed, Christians (well, of course the doctor is a secret Christian) are the worst at spy games.

The worst.

“Where?”

And…cut to the next part of the Felicia-and-Cletus stuff.

Yep, Jenkins randomly cuts off Straight’s conversation without telling us the extremely shocking and secret information of where this hospital volunteer and surgeon will met.  We will not find out the answer until Chapter 20.

But because I love you guys, I’ll reveal the shocking twist right now…

They’re going to meet and have lunch in the hospital cafeteria.

BWAH???

Yep, I can totally see why this plan was worth a clandestine meeting at the hospital to exchange phone numbers, followed by a clandestine phone call in the middle of the night to set the meeting.

At the hospital cafeteria.

That is all much less suspicious than just asking Straight if he would like to have lunch in the cafeteria sometime.

They SUCK at being spies.  So bad.

Shadowed: Chapter 16: Back to Ball Dangler

Time to check in the with the leader of the entire planet!

You all may remember Chancellor Baldwin Dengler (known affectionately ’round these parts as Ball Dangler), but just in case you don’t, Jenkins takes the opportunity to remind us that he is tall and graying.  Strangely, Jenkins does not remind us of Dangler’s “exceptionally long fingers.”  Though he gives us a new detail: “press reports that his stride was half again longer than a normal man’s his height.”  Okay, then.

I guess the press has nothing better to do than measure and compare the stride length of men of a specific height.  I also tend to get bored with the endless articles about decades of peace, cancer-curing, homelessness-ending, and environmental improvement.

As was ominously foreshadowed in the last book, Dangler has sons but no daughters.  So God, in his infinite wisdom and love and long-suffering, deigned to murder Dangler’s eldest son, himself a husband and father.

I have often found it odd that Jenkins, who infamously believes that atheist marriages are less likely to be happy than RTC marriages, all evidence to the contrary aside, makes marriage just as normal and expected in Atheistopia as it is in our present world.  Additionally, there is never the slightest hint that Dangler’s long marriage, or the marriages of any of his sons, are anything less than excellent.

Indeed, so grief-stricken is Dangler that he goes for a walk on the Aare, ignoring the protestations of his aides, and half-hopes he’ll fall through the ice.  Oh, and turns out that more than one nameless grandson has died, too. Poor guy.  And he still has to lead the free world.

Jenkins makes a point of telling us that Dangler now sees life as “worthless, hopeless, pointless.”  HA, just like ALL atheists do, amirite?  What with their not believing in God and all!  I just knew that if God murdered half a man’s family, he would feel bad about life!

But Dangler powers through his grief, because, apparently, he is just that awesome a leader.  And his thoughts turn to the most important hero is the history of ever, Jerry Jenk—er, Paul Stepola.

Dangler, like Felicia, is absurdly, almost hilariously (in a cry-until-you-laugh way) forgiving of Paul.  Granted, Dangler doesn’t know it was Paul himself who authored the manifesto praying for the genocide, but he does know that this guy spent hours in his company, eating giant sammiches and talking philosophy, and never even sailed close to the area of even hinting that there might be a God who was ready to kill millions of babies and little boys and grown men.

Nope.  It is implied that Dangler was angry at Paul for about an hour or two, but now, with his son and grandsons two days dead, Dangler can admit that Paul was right…um, even though Paul never actually told the chancellor what he was really thinking.

God had needed to act in this dramatic fashion to get his attention.  It had been his own fault.

God needed to kill my innocent son and my little grandsons!  It all makes sense now!

Another one bites the dust.

The punishment for the crime of not believing shall be the deaths of children.  The atheists have created a world with no cancer, homelessness, or pollution, but since they have partaken in a thought crime that never hurt anyone anywhere, their children are sacrificed where they stand.  The sins of the fathers really are visited on the children.

Thinking about this just never stops being hideous.

Having this Stockholm-Syndrome-like epiphany, Dangler has only one thing to do…

GET ME PAUL STEPOLA!

Oh yeah.  He’s in hiding.  And Dangler knows that.  Whatever.

I’d like to think that Dangler just wants to get his hands on Paul so he can slowly strangle him, but we now know that won’t happen.  Wouldn’t want anyone to have a normal reaction to this event for more than a minute, would we?

Next Movie?

Well.  We are barely a third of the way through Shadowed, and already it is more horrific than I imagined.  And if memory serves, it only gets crazier from here.

So for a change of pace, I got a Christian movie from the library.  One set, unlike every other piece of entertainment ever critiqued here, exclusively in Bible-Type Times.

Apostle Peter and the Last Supper.

And an odd thing happened.

I kinda…enjoyed it.

No joke.  I liked this movie.  As in, would rate it above a five out of ten.  It’s not a great movie, it’s far from perfect, and it suffers from so many of the same problems as so much of our other fare.  And yet, I liked it.

It’s another movie from the folks over at Pure Flix, who also brought us the joy and delight of Christmas with a Capital C.

This is a rather different animal, though…

What do you think of a critique of this being our intermission at the halfway point of Shadowed?

Let me know what you think.  Because I’d like some second opinions!

Shadowed: Chapter 15, Part 2: Felicia Hates

Felicia Thompson hated working late, but that was nothing compared to risking her life to join the resistance.

“Of course, all that was nothing compared to losing her son 48 hours ago.”

Oh wait, Felicia doesn’t actually say that.

For years she had thought working for Paul Stepola in a high-security-clearance job in the Chicago bureau of the NPO was the very definition of stress.

“Then her son died, and she truly learned the very definition of stress.”

Oh wait, Felicia doesn’t say that, either.

Okay, so she does have this to say:

Losing a son—a bright, beautiful, overachieving, in-love twenty-seven-year-old—had doubled her over with grief.

Though not so much that she hasn’t stayed at work almost from the moment it happened.

When was Felicia so doubled over with grief that she couldn’t answer Paul’s phone calls, or call him herself?  Or do his dirty work for him?

To top it all off, Sensitive Felicia is afraid her husband, a middle school teacher named Cletus, will commit suicide, he is so grief-stricken.

But she’s still at work.  But don’t worry, she calls Cletus to tell him that she’ll be home in only a few hours.  So you can see how devoted to her family she really is.

And in between doing Paul’s dirty work for him, she’s been pestering him on how to convert.  Because now that God has shown himself real by murdering her son, she wants to make sure she ends up where her son isn’t, and be able to worship the being that murdered her son, ASAP.

What a great mom.

Paul, in a odd little surge of foresight, has left a secret file at work, just in case he ever can’t make it into work but still wants to instruct a coworker on how to convert.

Of course, I suppose Paul could just tell Felicia over the skull phone, but I guess he doesn’t feel like it.  Instead, he leaves her a skull phone message to tell her how to find it.

“It appears to be random notes about the crazy believers,” his message said, “but it is a prescription for receiving Christ.”

This prescription is a short three paragraphs, condescendingly ending with this:

People “receive” Christ by what they call the A-B-C Method.  Accepting this truth.  Believing in God and Jesus and what he did on their behalf—dying on the cross for the their sin [sic].  And Confessing this, or telling someone else.

I get that this ABC thing is a Thing, but that doesn’t make it any less silly.

(Although there seems to be some disagreement on what the A, B, and C should stand for.  This site, for example, has the A as Admit and the C as Consider.  (And they have a D… for Do.))

The transaction, as some like to call it, happens when they acknowledge this in prayer—that they are sinners, need God’s forgiveness, and receive it and Him.

Transaction alert!

And I’m sorry to keep harping on this, but it seems to me that it’s God that has just committed the truly unforgiveable sin, by offing all those men, little boys, and little babies.

Reading this file in her car (Sorry, Suicidal Cletus, I guess you’ll just have to wait a bit longer to see the mother of your dead son!), Felicia admit to herself that she had always really believed in God, “until it had been all but shamed out of her in elementary school.”

Really?  The same elementary schools where “God was simply never mentioned“?  Okay.

Felicia checked her rearview mirror [she has pulled into a random parking lot].  The last thing she wanted was to attract attention, particularly of a cop.  How would she explain sitting there in the dark, reading a top-level-security-clearance federal file by the tiny car ceiling light, and weeping?

Well, first of all, I can only imagine the cops have more important things to do right now.  There are (respectfully) naked, dead corpses and stolen cars to deal with, after all!

Secondly, I can only imagine that that two days after the incident, the sight of people breaking down and weeping in public would be an all-too-common sight, and not something that would shock anyone, let alone a cop.

Finally, how would the cop or anyone else know, just by looking, the clearance level of the paper Felicia is reading?

Gotta love the priorities of our newest (almost) RTC!

Felicia further reflects on how she doesn’t really want to go home (even though her son didn’t die at home, but at his own home, in his fiancée’s arms).  This is a sentiment that strikes me as understandable, but still self-serving in the way it always feels self-serving to me when people claim, “Oh, I hate hospitals!” or “I hate funerals!”  Because the rest of us love them so much.  You may not want to go home, Felicia, but your son is dead and your husband needs you.  Get your ass home and quit stalling!

Yanno, I’m a big enough evil atheist to admit when I’m wrong, and I was wrong in my recollection that this chapter actually contains Felicia’s transaction.  She actually comes only so far as “no more pretending God didn’t exist,” but demands in prayer an answer as to why he would kill her son, since that act doesn’t exactly seem one of a god who loves her.  Go figure.  She considers this question a “sincere challenge,” so she figures it’s only fair that God will answer it.  Then she’ll make her decision.

I’ll say this for her—ridiculous as the whole thing is, that’s still way more thought than Paul or Jae put into their conversions.