TEoD: Chapter 41: Waddling Along
Pastor Bob calls Murphy one evening (an unspecified amount of time later, and apparently poor Paul is still in the ICU, not that Murphy mentions this or cares), and calls back to the subplot (such as it is): faith healer J.B. Sonstad. Bob brings up Clyde, the parishioner from the first Solstad meeting, and turns out Bob encouraged Clyde to see a doctor to see if he was actually cured. Which may be the first productive thing either of the men have done with regards to this Solstad guy. Of course, Clyde’s kidney disease wasn’t any better, and Clyde’s response to this is to see another faith healer, this one “a psychic healer, someone named Madame Estelle. She lives in a old farmhouse on the outskirts of Raleigh.” Clyde has inexplicably asked Bob to go to Madame Estelle’s with him, so it would seem that Bob hasn’t been as clear in his anti-false-teachers sermons as he perhaps hoped to be. Bob also asks Murphy to go along with them, and maybe this is a cry for help, that Bob realizes, deep down, just how shitty of a pastor he really is.
After a condescending and insensitive swipe at Clyde (“When people face death sometimes they’ll try anything to escape the inevitable“), Murphy agrees to go, and also volunteers to “do a little research on psychic healing,” which you’d think he would have done before the first Solstad meeting. The two “men” also agree to meet that the good ole Adam’s Apple to discuss strategy or whatever.
In the stupid diner the next day, Murphy expounds on his perusal of Wikipedia, including Ze Arigo, a psychic surgeon, and Henry Gordon, a magician who debunked them, continuing the tradition of Harry Houdini. (Gordon, btw, sounds like he was an awesome dude, and I’m a tad surprised that LaHaye even brought him up, since it doesn’t sound like he was any kind of RTC.)
But all that takes a backseat (her) to Roseanne (or Rosanne, because the book can’t decide), waddling twice in two pages. Because she’s FAT, ha!
Murphy kindly points out to Roseanne/Rosanne that the vinyl seat has a tear in it, which horrific development the waitress immediately blames on teenagers (instead of, yanno, it being an old vinyl seat in a greasy-spoon diner. This leads to this bizarre statement from Murphy:
“It seems like evil is on the increase. Not just from kids horsing around destroying property like this seat, but keying and stealing cars…and other things like violent crime, terrorist bombings, murders, and wars.”
Wait, Murph, are you now blaming teenagers for all murders and wars???
Yup, remember, everyone—teenagers are to blame for everything!
Though Murphy might be a bit behind the times…
This discussion in turn leads into discussion of non-teenager Constantine De La Rosa, and apparently we were wrong, and LaHaye has decided that De La Rosa is the False Prophet, so the new Leon Fortunato, not the new Nicolae Carpathian.
Anyway, Murphy says that he is worried about Isis, since “I don’t think she has come to a point of faith in her life. I’d hate to see her begin to follow someone like the False Prophet.”
Yes, because all non-Christians naturally follow whomever shows up next on the scene. I mean, it’s not like Isis is a highly educated woman who has never shown the slightest inclination to follow any kind of religious leader, let alone a bizarre faith healer.
And may I remind Murphy that the whole reason they are even sitting there talking is that one of Bob’s own parishioners has begun following whatever faith healer happens along.
But this idea is so far from Bob’s mind that he instead decides to lecture Murphy about Isis:
“I’ve been a little concerned about you and Isis. It seems like this is beginning to develop into something more than just a friendship.”
“It’s moving in that direction.”
No, Murphy. It is there. It is developed. When you’ve kissed someone and told them you love them, it is not “moving in a direction” away from friendship. It has already moved.
But remember, we need to retcon this so we don’t feel Murphy is being a cad when he lusts after RTC blonde Swedish volleyball player Summer.
Bob alludes to the whole unequally-toked thing, and Murphy whines about it being “difficult when the feelings begin to grow.”
Dude, you have been lusting after Isis and stringing her along for, like, TWO YEARS now. Quit acting like this relationship is one month old.
“It might be best to end them before there’s no turning back, Michael.”
“I know. I’ve been thinking very seriously about it. It’s just hard.”
Okay, so Michael his either lying to Bob (because he’s been having lustful dreams about Isis and has made no move to end the relationship), or he’s lying to Isis, since he has made no move to end the relationship. Either way, dick move. (Har.)
Bob then has the unmitigated gall to pull the old plenty-of-fish-in-the-sea argument, and then to
pimp out suggest Summer Van Doren to Michael.
Murphy then trots out his pro-and-con list—both women “have it all” in the sense that they both are incredibly hot, but Summer is RTC and Isis is not. So love really is down to a checklist, not down to emotions. Bob, amazing faith leader that he is, manages to stick five cliches in one little speech:
“ There is no easy way around that, Michael.  You can’t have your cake and eat it too.  Life is filled with choices. Some are east and some are very tough.  You have to look at the big picture.  Do you want to spend your life with the wrong person?”
And on the note that of course God will “enlighten you with the right answer at the right time,” Wagoner cuts scene, no doubt happy in the knowledge that he has not only conned Murphy into once again doing all his work for him, but has also torpedoed his relationship with Isis and flung Summer at him.