“Receiving Jesus…”


What if “receiving Jesus” isn’t some esoteric spiritual event or saying some magic prayer words?

What if it is receiving the homeless guy into your house for dinner?

What if it is helping the sick get care?

What if it means writing a prisoner and listening to them?

What if it means giving a shoulder to someone who needs to cry?

What if it means caring about the stranger in my country who needs my help?

What if it means welcoming the refugee?

What if it means standing against injustice and facing the consequences?

What if it means standing with the “sinners” against the religious?

What if it means standing between the adulteress and the religious mob that wants to stone her?

What if it means receiving the outcasts from your culture and walking them down the aisle at their weddings when their family refuses to do it?

What if it means the giving of hospitality by calling someone the name they’ve chosen or the pronouns they prefer and letting them use the restroom in peace?

What if Jesus isn’t some nebulous unseen Thing out there that you know from a book, but is the person you’re sitting next to on the train? Or the person sleeping in front of a store? Or the addict who hates his addiction, but feels trapped?

I think I’d like the sort of world where we all were taught to receive Jesus like that.

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The Book of Mormon – 1 Nephi – And it came to pass edition…


Book of Mormon – 1 Nephi 1

Hello, my name’s Nephi and I come from good parents and I’m as learned as any 6 BCE century Jew could be. I’m writing this account down in a language no one’s heard of, but is totes not made up.

And it came to pass during the reign of King Zedekiah, a bunch of prophets showed up in Jerusalem and said, “Knock off all the idolatry or God’s going to fuck your shit up.”

And it came to pass that my father was walking around praying to God. And it came to pass that he saw a pillar of fire and it talked to him and he was afraid.

And it came to pass that he went home. And it came to pass that he went to bed and saw heaven. An it came to pass that an angel gave him a book and said, “Read it.”

And it came to pass that dad was filled with the Holy Spirit and saw that the book said Jerusalem would be destroyed. Now, I Nephi, am not going to tell you what the book from the angel said. My dad wrote that shit down somewhere. I’m going to write different stories on plates that I made.

And it came to pass that dad tried to warn the Jews about angry God.

And it came to pass that the Jews mocked dad. And it came to pass that the Jews wanted to murder dad.

And it came to pass that God spoke to dad in a dream and said, “Good job relaying my instructions to the people, but they want to kill you now.”

And it came to pass that God told dad to take his entire family and head out into the desert.

And it came to pass that dad listened to God.

And it came to pass that dad and his family left home where all their stuff was.

And it came to pass that after three days, they sound some water, so they made camp there.

And it came to pass that he called this river Laman. Because no one had previously ever found this river in the desert and named it before so that dad would know its name already.

And it came to pass that when dad saw the river emptying into the Red Sea, he told his oldest sons Laman and Lemuel, “Boy, I wish you guys didn’t suck.”

Now it came to pass that he said this because his two eldest sons were bitching about leaving behind their homes, their money, and all their stuff to follow their crazy dad out into the desert.

And it came to pass that when dad had a talk with them, the two eldest sons shut up and obeyed him.

And it came to pass that being a super spiritual kid, I asked God to show himself to me and he did, so I was a good son and obeyed my father, unlike my two elder brothers.

And it came to pass that I told Sam about all this shit and Sam believed me. Who is Sam? Fuck you, you should know already.

And it came to pass that God spoke to me and said, “Dude, you’re awesome, but your brothers suck and I’m totes gonna curse them.”

And it came to pass that I went home to my tent. And it came to pass that my dad said to me, “Hey, God wanted me to tell you and the other sons to go back to Jerusalem and get the brass plates that Laban has in his house that are a record of the Jews and have my family genealogy in them.”

And it came to pass that I said, “Seriously? Why didn’t God tell us to take those before we left?”

And it came to pass that he said, “I don’t know. Joseph Smith is making this up as he goes along.”

And it came to pass that I said, “Sure, I’ll go get the plates.”

And it came to pass that he said, “Dude, you’re a good son.”

And it came to pass that we went to Jerusalem. And it came to pass that went to Laban’s house. And it came to pass that we played dice to decide who would go to Laban and ask for the plates back.

And it came to pass that Laman drew the short straw. And it came to pass that he went to Labam’s house and asked for them.

And it came to pass that Laban was angry for unexplained reasons and called Laman a robber and threatened to kill him. So Laman ran and told his brothers what had happened.

And it came to pass that we were all bummed out about it and my brothers wanted to go home.

And it came to pass that I said, “No, let’s try again to do the thing our dad said God had commanded us to do.

And it came to pass that we went back to our father’s house and gathered up our nice stuff and our money.

And it came to pass that we went back to Laban’s house and made a nice offer on the brass plates.

And it came to pass that Laban had his slaves rob us.

And it came to pass that we hid in a cave.

And it came to pass that my older brothers were pissed off and started beating me with a rod.

And it came to pass that as they beat me with a rod, an angel showed up and said, “Stop hitting your brother.”

And they said, “Lo, seeth how he keeps hitting himself? Stop hitting yourself, Nephi. Stop hitting yourself.”

And it came to pass that the angel said, “ENOUGH! Go back to Jerusalem. This time it’ll work.”

And it came to pass that the angel left.

And it came to pass that my brothers said, “Dude, how are we going to beat Laban? He’s got fifty men.”

And it came to pass that I said, “God can beat up Laban for us! Let’s go!”

So it came to pass that we went back to Jerusalem…

My book


Are you a fan of my writing so far?

Do you find my model of giving away content for free to be oddly charming?

Would you like to pay for that content instead?

Well, here is your chance.

For just the cost of a latte, you could own the license to read a collection of short stories that I’ve already published here for free.

I know, it’s an odd business model, but I’m hoping it will work.

If you’re not up for throwing a few bucks my way, please leave an honest review of my work if you’ve enjoyed it… or I suppose if you haven’t.

Sunny Falls, Part 2


Bill Roach was the next one I noticed.

Old Bill used to run the local theater. His father opened it in 1939.  Saw my first movie there. Had my first kiss with Sally Gordon there watching Sixteen Candles. Bill had recently retired and handed the business off to his son Bruce.

I was out on a morning patrol and found him wandering down the highway in nothing but his boxer shorts. I flashed my lights at him, but he didn’t even look at me. So I pulled up next to him, rolled down my window and tried to talk some sense into him.

“Bill,” I said.

He continued to shuffle forward. Figured maybe he’s sleep walking, I’d wake him up and take him home. So I hit the siren, just enough to shock him awake. But he kept shuffling.

I pulled the car over, got out, and grabbed him by the shoulder.

“Bill!” I said.

He turned around and gave me the most vacant stare I’ve ever seen.

“It ain’t right,” he said.

“Bill? You awake?”

“It ain’t right, Sheriff,” he mumbled.

He tried to turn around again, but I held on to his shoulder.

“No, Bill, it ain’t right for you to be out on the street in your underwear.”

“It ain’t right. Not right at all.”

“Why don’t you come with me? I’ll take you home. Have Sarah make you some eggs. Have you eaten?”

He just stared at me. “Not right. It’s not right!”

He was starting to get agitated, so I let go of him.

“Okay, Bill. You’re right. It ain’t right.”

“You can feel it too?”

“Yeah, I can feel it. Why don’t you come with me and we’ll go to your house and figure it out together?”

He stared at me and then shuffled to my car.

“Why don’t you take the backseat, Bill.”

I helped him into the back and closed the door behind him.

“It ain’t right, Sheriff,” he said.

“No, Bill, I don’t suppose it is.”

I took him home to his wife Sarah. Sweet lady. Baked the best apple pies in the county. She was grateful to see him. She gave him one of his pills and got him back into bed.

“You sure you don’t want me to take him to the hospital, Sarah?”

“No, no. That wouldn’t do. I imagine he just forgot to take his medication.”

“You ever see him do something like this before?”

“No, not like this,” she said. “A few senior moments is all, Martin. We’ve been married 40 years and he never sleepwalked in all that time. But we are getting on in years. Things change.”

“Well, keep an eye on him, Sarah. It’s getting cold out and he’s liable to freeze himself solid if he keeps going out in his skivvies.”

“I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again, Martin. Thank you for bringing him home.”

I noticed her wince a little.

“You okay, Sarah?” I asked.

“Yeah. Just got this headache. Doesn’t seem to be going away. Maybe I need more rest too.”

“Maybe you should get it checked out?”

“Oh, it’s just a headache, dear. I’ve had worse. You want to talk to Bill when he comes around?”

“Yeah. Just call the station and Emma will let me know to come by.”

“I like her, Martin. You two would be good together.”

“Don’t go there, Sarah. I can hear the old ladies chattering in church now.”

“You need someone to look after you, Martin.”

“I do fine alright by myself, thanks,” I said. “You take care. And if you need me to give you or Bill a drive to the hospital, you let me know.”

“Thank you, dear.”

After Mary Murphy, I confess I was more than a little worried about Bill. He was a good guy with a sharp mind and nothing at all like the man walking blankly down the highway in his boxer shorts this morning. But before I could think much more of it, I got a call from Emma.

“Sheriff.”

“Emma. Something happening?”

“Got a call from Matt at the, uh… “Botanical” store. Group of teens getting rowdy after he turned them away. Says now they’re standing outside, screaming at him and hitting the door and windows.”

“Hell. Alright, tell him I’m on my way.”

Yeah, we got one of “those” stores here ever since the government legalized it. Matt moved up from down south and opened up shop here. He’s a good kid. Keeps the teenagers out, as he should. Pays his taxes. Most of us accept his services here. Some like to complain and bitch and moan about it, but then their backs go out and they’re down there hitting him up. Hypocrites.

I drove up and pulled into the parking lot. Andy Schaffer and four other boys from the high school were pressed up against the door and windows. They were screaming obscenities and slapping the glass.

“We will get a fucking brick, you fucking asshole!” Andy screamed.

One of the boys finally noticed my car and signaled the rest. They all turned around and glared at me. I could see why Matt called. I’m armed and I didn’t feel comfortable getting out of my car with the looks they were giving me. Their eyes… there was something there… never seen it before, but I knew what it was.

Pure hatred.

But I got out of my car anyway. I had a job to do.

“Alright, boys, break it up. You are disturbing the peace. And what the hell are you even doing here? Don’t you have class?”

“We’re fucking tired of that fucking school,” Andy said.

“Tired of being told what we can and can’t do!” another boy, Chip, I think, said.

“Now settle down,” I said. “Now, if you boys apologize to Matt and get your asses back to class, I won’t have to bring your parents in.”

“And if we don’t?” Andy snarled. “What if we said, ‘Fuck you, pig!’?”

I let my hand drop to my baton and tried to sound braver than I felt. I could take two… maybe three of them… but not five.

“Then we’re gonna have a problem, Andy? Do you really want your mom to see you acting like this?”

The five kids seethed. I could tell they didn’t really care what their mamas thought of them right now.

“You want your dad to know about this?” I said.

That, at least, seemed to get Andy. He was still glaring at me, but he turned his head to the door and shouted, “Sorry, Matt!” with all the sincerity of a rattlesnake apologizing after it bit ya.

“Good,” I said. “Now get the hell out of here.”

“Whatever,” he said. “Come on.”

He walked toward his van and the others slowly followed him.

“And Andy?”

“What?”

“Son, I’ll know if you don’t go back to class. If you don’t go, I will be very unhappy. If you cause trouble for your teachers, I will be extremely unhappy. And if you ever pull shit like this again, son, there won’t be a second warning.”

“No,” he said. “There won’t.”

The kid slammed his van door shut, waited for the others to get in, and peeled out of the parking lot in the general direction of the school. I watched them until they made their next turn, then headed to check on Matt.

“Matt,” I said. “They’re gone. Open up.”

It was a minute before I saw Matt’s short frame pop up from behind the counter. He was a little fella with a small build, a patch of dark wiry hair on his head, and a hipster beard. He unlocked the door and let me into his shop.

“Oh, thank God, you’re here, Sheriff,” he said.

“Matt. What happened?”

“You saw ‘em. The kids tried to come in here. You know I don’t allow that.”

“I know,” I said.

“I don’t serve kids. You have to be eighteen.”

“Matt, I know. What set ‘em off?”

“I told them that they needed to leave. Then the leader-“

“Andy.”

“Yeah, Andy got mad. He demanded that I give them some product. I told them, “No.” and if they didn’t get out, I’d call the Sheriff. Jesus, Sheriff, I thought he was gonna kill me. He shoved me and that’s when I got my gun out. He didn’t like that, but they all got out of my store. I thought that was gonna be it, but they just kept standing there, staring at me. So I locked the door and called you. And that really set them off. They were banging on the windows, hitting the door. I thought I was gonna have to shoot ‘em.”

“Well, they’re gone now, Matt. Do you want to press charges?”

Matt shook his head. “Just… please, keep them away from here.”

“Alright, I’ll have a talk with them after they’ve calmed down a bit and let ‘em know that they aren’t welcome here.”

“Thank you, Sheriff.”

The rest of the afternoon was unusually busy. Had to stop an altercation between two drivers, ended up arresting one of them for throwing a punch at me. After that, it was a domestic violence call. After that, couple groups of kids screaming and shoving each other at the town’s drive thru. After that… well, it all sort of blurred together.

“Whole damn town seems to have a burr up its butt, Emma.”

“Full moon coming,” she said.

“Well, I hope it’s that simple,” I said. “I can’t recall the last time I’ve ever had both jail cells filled.”

“I’m sure it’ll die down soon, Sheriff,” she said.

“Hope so, because I don’t have any more room to put ‘em, if it don’t.”

I meant to call Bill and Sarah, but I suddenly had a lot of paperwork to fill out and it slipped my mind. Didn’t think of ‘em again until I got a call a couple days later. Neighbors heard a woman shouting and crying. I tried calling, but there was no answer, so I got in the squad car and sped over to the Roaches’ house.

I knocked, but no one answered.

“Blil! Sarah! Everything okay?”

I knocked harder.

Then I heard the scream. A guttural, primal scream that nearly stopped my heart.  I kicked the door open and I almost wish I hadn’t.

Sarah was smashing her face against a wall. Blood was everywhere. There were holes in the walls. Blood splatters on the walls.Blood on the floor. I was in shock. I didn’t even move until she slammed her head one more time into the wall and fell down limp onto the ground.

I ran over to her. I turned her over and… Jesus, her face… I… how was she still alive?

There wasn’t much left to her face. It was more like something you’d find in a butcher’s case than a human face. I almost gagged, but I had the mind to at least call for help on my radio.

“Emma! Get an ambulance to the Roach house! Now!”

What was left of Sarah Roach gasped and wheezed through all of her blood. Her breathing was shallow and I didn’t expect her to last until the ambulance arrived. I was right. She died. But not before she wheezed out some last words to me.

“Make it go away…”

As to Bill Roach, he was sitting in his recliner, rocking back and forth in his own filth, staring straight ahead at the wall. He didn’t even notice what his wife was doing.  Didn’t try to stop her. Didn’t do anything. He just sat there. In his own world. I had him committed. His son eventually agreed. There wasn’t much of a choice to the matter. He couldn’t take care of himself and Bruce didn’t have the money to hire a nurse to watch him.

So they came to take him to an institution. As they hauled him away, his last words to me were, “It ain’t right…”

Old Bill was right. Things weren’t right. They still aren’t.

They’re worse.

The Book of Mormon – Forward and Preface


Well, hell, I guess it’s time to crack open another holy book.

I’ve decided to go with The Book of Mormon. And not just any Book of Mormon, but the first edition which the LDS church has kindly made available online, which was pretty nice of them all things considered.

Okay, let’s start off with the forward, which, hey, this holy book has a forward. That’s new. Almost like Joe was following the conventions of modern literature.

The forward says that this book was written by Mormon who used the plates of Nephi to write this account of the people of Nephi and the Lamanites, who are all totes Jews, and it’s for both Jews and Gentiles and was totally inspired by God, guys. Promise.

This is also a record of the people of Jared who was at the tower of Babel, to show the Jews that God still loves them and Jesus is the Messiah.

Also, if you find any contradictions or mistakes, that was my bad, not God’s. So don’t throw out the entire book just because you find some bullshit.

I do have to admit. I respect Joseph Smith a little more now. The guy knew how to play his mark.

The next page is a copyright page where the clerk working at the office says that Joe dropped off this book and claimed it was the history of the Nephites, the Lamanites, and Jared.

The next page is the Preface.

Here Joseph Smith says that he would like to clear some things up since there are a lot of “liars” out there who think he pulled all of this out of his “ass”.  He totally did not.

You see, he had translated about 116 pages from the book of Lehi, but someone stole the translated pages. In reality, Smith’s patron Martin Harris got skeptical of Smith’s translation and asked to see the plates that Smith was supposedly translating from. Smith refused, but ultimately agreed to let Harris take the translated pages and show it to five family members. Harris took it. He locked it in his wife’s bureau and it went missing.

Obviously, this is a problem. If Smith was really a prophet from God who was translating actual golden plates with an actual ancient language written on them, then it shouldn’t be a problem for him to dictate out the translation to Harris again for the missing 116 plates. If he couldn’t do it or the accounts didn’t match, then that would be proof that Smith was a liar and a fraud.

Of course, Smith, for all of his faults, was not a fool. So he said that he could translate the original again, but God forbade him from doing so because Satan had told wicked men to alter his original translation so that there would be contradictions and people wouldn’t believe him. So Smith said, he went back to translate stuff he hadn’t translated yet, and then God showed him the same events he originally translated, but from a different source account. Thus any contradictions or obvious lies were the result of two different accounts.

Like I said, gotta have a little respect for Joe’s skills here.

KC: The End


“What’s Rayford been up to?” is what none of you have been asking, but we’re going to find out.

Okay, let’s summarize this chapter.

Rayford goes for a walk and gets kidnapped by the Other Light in Egypt who have a grand plan to show that Satan is a stronger god than YHWH by keeping Rayford in prison so he can’t go visit Siwa and preach there.

Yeah, it’s a pretty fucking stupid plan.

But the Other Light posts the one guard on Rayford who is ready to convert back to Jesus.

Everyone in Rayford’s party are like, “Where’s Rayford?”

“About.”

“Okay then.”

Rayford would not have been surprised to find it was noon, as long as he had been talking, as uncomfortable as he felt, and as tired as the young Rehema looked. She was fairer-complexioned than most in the compound, despite her dark brown eyes and hair so black it could have been dyed but clearly wasn’t.

Light-skinned equals good in this universe.

That’s racist.

So Rayford tries to convert the “white and delightsome” guard Rehema.

Meanwhile, Mudawar and Abdullah talk and it’s so fucking stupid and pointless.

Back at the equally pointless and stupid bullshit plot, Kat finally decides that she might actually want to talk to and check with Kenny before she decides to burn their relationship to the ground, which she already sort of did.

As Abdullah slowly made his way toward the street coffee vendor, nothing was making sense to him. He had somehow painted himself into this corner, and the Lord seemed silent. Did that mean He was disappointed in Abdullah? He hadn’t felt that way for years.

There’s God being a passive-aggressive dick again. Praise Him.

He jumped when Sarsour touched his shoulder and whispered, “Can we talk, around the corner?”

“Certainly, son. What is it?”

Sarsour suddenly sat forward and rested his elbows on the table, burying his face in his hands. “I visited my parents last night.”

“Yes?”

He nodded miserably. “Just as I was about to knock, I noticed through the curtain that they were praying.”

“Really?”

“They knelt beside each other at the couch. I can’t tell you the effect it had on me. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t seen this frequently all my life. They both love the Scriptures, and I often saw them reading. But standing there at the front door and seeing them like that, I was overcome with the knowledge that they were praying for me.”

“How did you know?”

“I don’t know. I just did. I felt low. Ashamed. Mr. Ababneh, I felt worthless and guilty.”

That’s healthy.

“About what?”

Sarsour lowered his hands and snorted. “You know my profession and you ask that?”

Abdullah put a hand on Sarsour’s shoulder and smiled. “Well, we both know that I know you’re worthless and guilty. I’m just wondering what brought this truth to you.”

The central message of Christianity is that you are so horrible because you were born human that God had to murder his son just so he can tolerate you.

Very healthy.

We’re building here to the money shot. It’s what all Evangelicals long for: converting someone. Then they can finally check that box and not feel so guilty when their pastors rail at them that they need to evangelize.

Sarsour converts and tells Abdullah that Qasim is the mole, not Kenny. Then they go back and tell Mudawar who fires Sarsour.

“It’s only been half a day and I miss you,” she said.

“I know. Me too.”

“I’m so sorry, Kenny. If you’ll have me back, I’m here.”

Well, that was fast. Dramatic pointless conflict is dramatic and pointless and resolved in one chapter.

Still, it might have redeemed Kenny a small amount if he had shown a bit of a backbone and broken up with Kat. Someone willing to believe the worst about you that quickly is not in a healthy place.

They also finally realize that Qasim is evil.

Rayford convinces Rehema to call his family and she does. She converts too and gets imprisoned. But Anis the Angel frees all of the prisoners and leads them out of the Other Light compound. Rehema rescues her son and joins Rayford’s crusade in Siwa.

And now we get the wrap up:

Qasim is fired and dies at 100. Sarsour is his replacement. Ignace, Lothair, and Mudawar all die at 100.

Kenny and Kat get married and have 14 kids like the good little Duggars they are.

By the end, the ministry was maintained by the glorifieds, as the naturals finally saw the ravages of time catch up with their bodies. When the naturals reached ages higher than about seven hundred, they began to slow and notice the diminution of their senses, particularly hearing and sight.

Jesus, that sounds like hell. Can you imagine living for two or three hundred more years with a body that was shutting down? Going blind. Going deaf. Losing your memories and you’re just not able to die?

But that’s what they do. Rayford becomes old and enfeebled. Chloe and Cameron add a building to the Orphanage for People whose Parents Jesus killed for the old folks.

So we reach the end. Finally.

Daily for the past three years, the news had abounded with stories of millions of adherents to the Other Light, growing bolder by the minute. Their printing presses and electronically transmitted messages blanketed the globe, recruiting new members, amassing a weapons stockpile and training a fighting force a thousand times bigger than had been aggregated for the Battle of Armageddon a millennium before.

And no one in all of that time has even tried to kill a Christian or a zombie Christian? Because that would seem to be pretty important. If you’re leading an armed coup, you want to be sure you can actually kill the enemy. If you can’t, there’s not much of a point to your rebellion.

Rayford was amazed that God allowed such a brazen, wanton act of defiance on the parts of so many as they symbolically thumbed their noses at Jesus and the earthly rulers He had chosen from the ages. Even in Israel, tanks rumbled through the streets, uniformed soldiers marched, and missiles and rockets were paraded before the faithful.

You know, this could probably have been solved by Jesus leaving the temple and saying “Hi” to everyone… or Jesus doing an AMA on Reddit… Or Jesus doing something…

I’m saying God sort of wants this to happen and that makes him a dick.

So Jerusalem is surrounded by military machines and soldiers.

Rayford remembered when the airwaves had been full of praises to the Lord Christ, who ruled the earth from His throne. Now it was as if people on both sides of the conflict had forgotten that He was still there…

Probably because he disappeared into the Temple 1,000 years ago and hasn’t actually been seen since. I mean, if you came up to me and said, “God lives in that building there. He moved there in the year 1,019 AD and hasn’t left since,” I’d probably say, “Bullshit.”

The millions-strong enemy created a cacophony of rumbling and jangling, sending dust billowing as far as the eye could see. And suddenly rising from within those masses and marching to the fore came Satan himself, as a shining light, a gleaming sword raised high.

“And now,” he shouted, somehow able to be heard for miles, “I come to claim what has been rightfully mine since the dawn of time: the very throne of God!”

Because the Devil is stupid and hasn’t read the bible or Hal Lindsay’s books at all the entire time he’s been on Earth. If he actually wanted the throne of God, all he would have to do is prove God wrong. Which would mean NOT showing up to lead your army. It would mean walking to Jerusalem and knocking on the Temple door and saying, “Hey, Jesus… sorry about the whole killing you thing. What do you say we make peace and I’ll be your servant again.”

And then Jesus would say, “Crap. You’ve found my one weakness!” and disappear from existence.

Also, what happened to the rest of the fallen angels?

The Alpha and Omega, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Lion of Judah, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the Rock, the Savior, the Christ stood in the courtyard of His temple.

Satan, silenced for a thousand years, shrieked, “Charge!”

Jesus responded quietly, “I AM WHO I AM.”

And with that, the clouds rolled back and the heavens opened, and orange and yellow and red mountains of white-hot, roiling flames burst forth. Satan’s entire throng—men, women, weapons, everything—was vaporized in an instant, leaving around the holy mountain a ring of ash that soon wafted away in the breeze.

And that is that. Jesus quotes some scripture at Satan. David quotes some scripture at everyone.

David retreated, and Jesus merely lifted a hand and opened His palm. A seam in the cosmos opened before Satan. Flames and black smoke poured from where the Beast and the False Prophet writhed on their knees screaming, “Jesus is Lord!”

Satan cried out, “Jesus is Lord! Jesus is Lord!”

Jesus closed His fingers and Satan was thrown into the abyss, the seam sealing to muffle the screams of the three who would be tormented day and night forever and ever in the lake of fire and brimstone.

Yes. That is a literal hell where conscious entities are tortured by God forever. You don’t have a problem with that, do you?

Also, Rayford finally gets the Stepford treatment.

He found himself lifted from the veranda, muscle and flesh and hair restored to the way he had looked and felt at about age thirty. His clothes had been exchanged for a gleaming white robe, and as he and all his friends and loved ones ascended through the ceiling and the roof and flew toward the holy mountain, Rayford knew from his depths that his mind, too, had finally been glorified.

The only thing that mattered now was to praise and glorify Jesus, the lover and Savior of his soul.

Forever and ever and ever and ever and ever… this also sounds like hell.

The Lord somehow dealt with each person individually, calling out his or her sins and transgressions and assigning punishment—all would suffer in the lake of fire, but some worse than others, such as those scoffers who had led others astray, especially children. Yet in what seemed a matter of moments, it was over. The unbelieving dead had been judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. Then Jesus cast Death and Hades into the lake of fire, and all not found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life were cast into the lake of fire.

“Jim Ford. Let’s see here… lying… you stole a candy bar as a child… wow, you masturbated a lot, didn’t you? Okay, your sentence is… LAKE OF FIRE!”

“Jim B. Ford… you and your wife had sex before marriage… also, I noticed you wearing a lot of mixed fibers. Fuck you, Jim. LAKE OF FIRE!”

Rayford had the feeling that the many verdicts he had just heard would have horrified him in the old days.

Wow, you think? Maybe setting someone on fire forever just because they were born human isn’t loving or just?

And yet now, hearing the offenses of those who had rejected and rejected and rejected the One who was “not willing that any should perish” and seeing Jesus’ own tears as He pronounced the sentences, Rayford understood as never before that Jesus sent no one to hell. They chose their own paths.

Yeah, that’s bullshit. Jesus sent them to hell. He cast them into the lake of fire. He judged them. If he really didn’t want anyone to perish, he could have given them a chance to repent at the judgment throne or left the gates of hell unlocked and sent missionaries to hell. He could just say, “You know, guys, my blood is good enough to cover you all. Come on in.”

But he didn’t. He tossed them alive into a lake of fire where they will be tortured by God forever and Rayford is fine with that. As are all of the Evangelicals you know.

God makes a giant city full of precious stones and metals and all of the good true Christians go there forever to have a giant eternal church service where they tell a self-sufficient and all powerful God how great he is for not setting them on fire forever.

Amen.

Also fuck this book.

KC: The “Holy crap when will this book just end” edition…


CAMERON WILLIAMS sat steely eyed and somber in Kenny’s living room as Chloe wept. He didn’t know what to think. His son was denying everything, which he would do whether innocent or guilty.

You believe your son until you have evidence to the contrary.

Admittedly, the document that Qasim Marid claimed he had retrieved off Ignace Jospin’s desk in Paris had so many glaring incriminations in it that it could easily have been a setup. But who would do such a thing, and who would know enough details to pull it off?

Really? Really? You’ve had two prior forgeries badmouthing Kat and your son…

I hate Idiot Plots.

“You want to, Dad? My word is not good enough for you? You always taught me to live in such a way that if someone brought a charge against me, no one would believe it. What have I done, how have I lived, that makes no one but my mother believe me?”

“Yes, Cam,” Chloe said. “That’s a good question.”

Cameron sighed. “Maybe I know something you don’t, Chloe.”

“Oh, great!” Kenny said. “There’s more?”

“I got an anguished call from Abdullah this afternoon. He saw you at TOL headquarters in Amman today, Kenny.”

I imagine that writing this plot involved a thousand monkeys on a thousand typewriters who were fed a constant media diet of Three’s Company and TBN.

Cameron was as conflicted as he’d been since the Glorious Appearing. How he wanted to believe Kenny! But the evidence against him just kept mounting.

Evidence. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

“Where is Ekaterina, by the way?” Chloe said.

“Where do you think? Anywhere but here. She won’t answer her phone, won’t see me. I guess I can’t blame her, but I thought we knew each other better than this.”

“Well,” Chloe said, “those things you said about her parents . . .”

“I didn’t say them! I love her parents. Listen, something else is going to surface, and I need your help.” Kenny told them about Nicolette and the picture. “I just know they’ll deliver it to Kat. Since I can’t get anywhere near her, could you warn her?”

“I don’t know,” Cameron said.

Cameron Williams, dead zombie Christian dick, everyone.

“Of course I will,” Chloe said. “And she’s going to want to know what to do about work. I’ll assure her that she can come and not worry about running into you.”

“And why is that? You’re finding me guilty too? firing me?”

“Call it a suspension,” Cameron said. “Just till we can figure this out.”

“What can I do, Dad, take a lie detector test? You know what this means if it’s true? I’m an infidel, an unbeliever. That means I die at one hundred and go to hell. Do you really believe that about me?”

“No,” Cameron said. “I don’t. But I don’t know what to do about your reputation now or countering all this evidence.”

Anonymous allegations are not evidence. Now, write that one thousand times or I’ll cut your balls off.

But that night Kenny couldn’t sleep. He sat at his computer and composed a message to the Millennium Force and copied it to Ekaterina.

Dear friends,

Fuck you. No, seriously, fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck you, you judgmental uncharitable assholes. Sincerely, Kenny.

you can’t know what I’m going through, but perhaps you can imagine. Think how it would be if you were in my place and wholly innocent.

Foolish Kenny, appeals to empathy do not work on Evangelical Christians that have none.

Kenny didn’t feel much better even after transmitting his defense, so he wrote separately to Ekaterina:

My dearest love,

Seriously, fuuuuuuuuuuck you.

You are convinced I am guilty, and I don’t know how to prove otherwise. Perhaps there is some deep pocket of love for me in your heart that misses what we had together and longs to believe all things, as the Bible says.

Ladies, who among you could resist a man who quotes scripture at you to point out when you’re wrong?

Kat, I fell in love with you almost from the beginning.

RED ALERT! RED ALERT!

I can’t even remember, nor do I wish to, life before you.

EJECT! EJECT!

Do me a favor tonight, will you, and read the love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13.

Okay, now I’m on Kat’s side of the break up. Fuck you, Kenny.

I know this may sound empty to you too, but I want you to know that one day in the future, when the truth comes out, I will not hold it against you that you didn’t trust me.

Yeah, because having a girlfriend or wife that doesn’t trust you can only mean good things for your future relationship!

Also, even when he’s in the right, Kenny is still a sanctimonious asshole.

I’d like to think that I would not have believed such charges about you, no matter how convincing, but I don’t know. Regardless, I will forgive you

100% pure grade passive aggressive emotionally weaponized Christianity.

Kenny reads 1 Corinthians 13 and goes to bed. Then he wakes up feeling like Jesus.

It was as if the Lord had spoken to his heart even as he slept. It was the strangest feeling—something that those like him were unlikely to grasp without an ordeal such as the one he was enduring. He was getting a taste—albeit a very small and entirely less violent one—of what it must have been like for Jesus to be betrayed and abandoned by His friends. Of course, Jesus was mocked and spit upon and struck, had a crown of thorns thrust into His scalp, had His side riven by a sword, and was eventually put to death.

Yes, we know. Jesus had a pretty horrible Friday that one time.

And He was more than innocent. He was perfect, sinless. It went without saying that Kenny could not say the same about himself,

Christianity. Building Jesus up by tearing yourself down.

Meanwhile Mudawar greets Abdullah very warmly and praises the Christian for not being the passive aggressive asshole that Abdullah had promised to be.