Category Archives: Theology

Love one another and get angry…


Do you ever sit around and think about the story of Jesus chasing the merchants and bankers and jerks out of the Temple?

Because it says in one of the stories that he twisted and braided some leather cords into a whip. Now, I’m not a crafter nor am I particularly good at braiding things, but I imagine that taking at least a little time.

Like he just walks in, sees a bunch of Gentile converts trying to pray and there’s this bazaar going on around them, and he just thinks, “This is not going to stand.”

So he storms off to a corner and says, “Find me some leather straps” to his bros. And they’re like… “Okay. Not the weirdest thing Jesus has asked us to do.” So they find him some leather straps. Maybe give him a few of their belts or sandal ties.

And Jesus sits down and starts crafting. Just furious twisting these leather braids around and all the while he’s just seething. Jaw clenched, hands moving quickly in jerky motions and the disciples are thinking, “Hey, Jesus… whatcha doing?”

“What does it look like? I’m making a whip,” he growls.

“Why?”

“Because I’m going to whip some jackasses, Peter. What do you think I’m going to do with a whip?”

And his boys just shut up because they’re used to “Oh, let’s heal the sick. Let’s feed the hungry. Let’s make the blind see” Jesus. But now, here in the midst of the most central religious place in Judaism, he is just piiiiiissssed. Kind of scary to see actually.

And he’s pissed because the religious people are treating this place like a place to make money. He’s pissed because the faithful coming to worship are getting gouged. He’s pissed because the Gentiles coming to seek God are getting the shaft by the religious people.

See, he’s always stood up for the little guy. He’s always said, “The last will be first” in this new kingdom. He’s touched the untouchable. He’s hugged outcasts and prostitutes and traitors.

And now he walks into his version of church and sees the faithful who should be hugging them with him, abusing them and treating them like crap and abusing his religion in the process.

So he sits in the corner just twisting that leather and seething. Until he’s done, then he calmly walks over to the nearest jackass, flips over the table and starts whipping the ever loving crap out of them.

Now I’m not a pastor or a priest or a religious authority. Hell, sometimes I wonder if God is listening or even up there.

But the one thing I take away from Jesus, the one thing that will stick with me through intellectual doubts or changing times, is to look out for the little guy. To care about the outcasts. To hug the people that polite society and some churches turn their noses up at.

Because if I don’t, If I treat them like crap and refuse to love them, then I’m being a jackass and I deserve to be chased around by one very pissed off Jewish rabbi with a homemade crafted whip.

Helping the last become first…


The last statistic I read showed that there were about 650,000 homeless people in America.

You could build them all tiny homes. Now costs vary, but for our purposes, we could use $15,000 as a good marker. Get you a loft bed, a tiny kitchen, maybe a pullout bed, and a bathroom. Doing the math, construction would cost 9.75 billion dollars. Factor in some land costs, let’s say 25-35 billion dollars as an initial one time investment.

Now we’ve got enough homes to house folks. But we have to keep them there.

For poor families, it’s not a problem. We’ll let them rent to own and not charge them interest. Let them pay 20% of their income a month back to the government to buy their homes in full.

For folks with drug problems and mental health problems, we’re going to need to invest in community centers and clinics to help them manage or overcome their addictions and get them any psychiatric help they need. So we’ll need to spend initial construction costs on those buildings, plus an annual investment in social workers and doctors.

Let’s say 1.5 million to build a community center in our tiny house neighborhood.  Another 1.5 to build our clinics. Now our homeless population is going to be spread out. So we’ll need to account for that. Let’s say we’ll need 500 of each. That would be another 1.5 billion dollars. Throw in land costs and we can probably bump that up to 20 billion, just to be conservative.

So far, we’ve had one major investment in America for the total of 45-55 billion dollars. That’s less than ten percent of the annual Defense budget and it’s only for one year and we will slowly recoup some of that money as poor families pay their rent to own fees monthly.

Now we’ll need to staff them. So we’re probably looking at another 10-20 billion in annual costs to start. There are also maintenance fees, but we can save costs there by hiring able bodies community members to do basic maintenance and earn money and credit towards purchasing your own house too.

We can plan public transportation routes near these tiny home communities to allow folks to travel into other neighborhoods where they can spend some of the money they’ve earned, we can build small parks, provide Wi-Fi to the community, plan spaces for community gardens, and have a farmer’s market. None of this would cost that much.

We can hire local artists to paint murals or decorate houses. Have the community centers hold job training, ESL, and basic financial classes.

Like I said, as a one-time outlay we could probably do all of this and more with 10% of the Pentagon budget for one year and maintain it for 40-60% of that cost annually. I don’t know for sure, I would have to have some professional accountants run the exact numbers. Right now, we’re just guestimating.

But that wouldn’t be that much to pay to end homelessness and bring a better life to those 650,000 people, would it? I don’t think so. We’d still be outspending the rest of the world on “defense” by an obscene amount.

But we won’t do that. Because of people who view poverty as a moral failing. Judgmental people who have never had to skip a meal or delay paying a bill or dig through couches to find loose change to go buy ramen because their job doesn’t pay them enough. Or maybe they have. And instead of letting that experience soften their hearts they get angry and they think, “I had to pull myself up. Why should I give them a hand? Why should I pay to give them a break? No one did that for me.”

Maybe you’re right.  Maybe no one did that for you. Maybe your family couldn’t. Maybe your friends didn’t.

But don’t you wish they had? Wouldn’t you have wanted someone… anyone… to come by in the lowest moment of your life and offer you their hand?

Instead of being the Christian who would scream, “It’s not fair!” maybe we could be the kind of people who rejoice that we’re helping the last become the first and giving people a chance to live better. Maybe not all of them would. But some would. And aren’t they worth it?

We’d be doing the work of the Kingdom of Heaven.

But I don’t think we will. Instead, I think a lot of people… a lot of Christians would be pouting on the sidelines complaining about their tax dollars going to Those people.

We could do nice things. We just don’t want to.

The lessons the church has taught me…


I grew up in a church. I’ve been in one most of my life. I went to a bible college to become a pastor.

In all that time, I was given one message about God, all the while, another message was being taught to me by the actions of Christians in general and Evangelicals in particular. So I’d like to review the lessons I’ve learned.

You’ve taught me that God is more concerned with a fetus that isn’t even an inch long yet and cannot feel or think than he is with a classroom full of children who get murdered by a gun.

You’ve taught me that God thinks I’m a moral monster because if I were given the choice between saving my two children or 1,000 embryos from a fire, I would always choose my children. Always.

You’ve taught me that God thinks that character counts unless you’re a Republican who can give you something you want.

You’ve taught me that God cares more about the reputation of His church and institutions than he does about the victims of rape and sexual abuse.

You’ve taught me that God blames the victim.

Again, you’ve taught me that God cares more for the fetus that cannot think or feel yet, than he does for the rape victim who He wants to carry that fetus to term.

You’ve taught me that trying to provide health care to those without it (i.e. heal the sick) is Satanic and allowing for profit companies to charge people out of health care is God’s will.

You’ve taught me that God doesn’t want us to use the government to care for the poor, but he does want us to use the government to take care of and cater to the needs of the wealthy.

You’ve taught me that God doesn’t care about the refugees and he would just as soon prefer that they go back to their own countries and die out of the sight of the godly.

You’ve taught me that God hates the LGBTQ. I know you don’t like to say it any more. But it is what you taught me when you called AIDS a gay disease and cited Romans 1 to prove that AIDS was the penalty they deserved that they received in their bodies. You continued to teach it to me by telling me that they deserved hell for loving the “wrong” person. That they chose to be gay. That maybe they didn’t, but God was demanding that they live a life of constant struggle and denial of basic humanity. You continued to scream “God hates fags” as you sought to change religious liberty into a license to discriminate whether it was in baking someone a cake or letting them provide a home to foster children or adoptable children.

You taught me that God will judge America for accepting gay people and for abortion, but are remarkably silent about gun violence, our treatment of the poor, refugees, systemic racism, our unjust wars, and our past history of slavery and genocide.

You taught me that God thought slavery was a good thing because it meant that Africans were exposed to the gospel.

You taught me that God approved of the genocide of the Native Americans was a good thing because without it, America would not have come to be.

You taught me that God thinks black lives do not matter and he thinks that unarmed black men should be gunned down because they looked scary or smoked marijuana once.

You’ve taught me that God destroys towns and kills people with natural disasters but saves crosses and bibles.

You’ve taught me that God thinks America is the greatest nation on Earth and is above all other nations and peoples.

You’ve taught me that God elevated Europeans as the preeminent example of man with Christianity and “civilization”.

You’ve taught me that God thinks it’s taking His name in vain when I curse with “Jesus Christ” or “God damn it”, but He wants “In God we Trust” put on the money and the schools of a nation that floods the Earth with guns, engages in unjust wars, supports and gives aid to genocide in Yemen, and funds drug cartels and violent gangs in Central America.

You’ve taught me that God thinks bad words are four letter curses, but God ignores or approves of the things you say about one another outside of church.

You’ve taught me that God is a free market capitalist and any attempt to make the system more equitable or humane is godless socialism.

You’ve taught me that God sees a happily married man who raised two daughters and remained faithful to his wife as a foreigner and apostate, but God approves and chose a serial adulterer who raised children as corrupt, selfish, and greedy as himself.

You’ve taught me that God is okay with denigrating women and using and abusing their bodies for my personal gratification, so long as I’m in a position where I can give you something you want.

You’ve taught me that God created seven billion unique individuals with their own strengths and weaknesses, their own unique genetic code, their own hopes and dreams and aspirations, and then God told them that they have to act in exactly one of two ways based entirely on their genitalia.

You’ve taught me that the church of God is just another corrupt and morally vacant political lobby.

Is it any wonder I despise your god?

“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.

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…

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.

KC: Christians are the worst edition


Okay, people, now we’re going to finally get to the central conflict of the book, and my God is it stupid, manufactured, and pointless.

“Well, we don’t know,” Mrs. Risto said. “Ekaterina sounded rather upset, said Mr. Steele had called an emergency meeting of some little group of yours and asked her to be there.”

Kenny almost blurted the name of the Millennium Force, but he was surprised enough that Raymie would have invited Ekaterina. What in the world was up, and why hadn’t he heard directly from Raymie? Raymie knew that Kat knew about the Force, because Kenny had told him himself.

Yes, there’s an emergency meeting of the Jr. God Squad and no one told Kenny. So Kenny runs off to find out what’s going on.

On his way home, Kenny tried calling everyone, starting with Ekaterina. Her phone immediately went to her message system, as did Raymie’s and Bahira’s and Zaki’s. Finally, as he was entering his own house, Kenny reached his mother.

Chloe tells her son that she got a disturbing report about him, which she’s gotten now three disturbing reports from anonymous sources, two of which have been proven wrong, but we’ve got to treat this one like it could be real because pointless fucking drama.

She also won’t tell Kenny about what’s in the report, because Jenkins needs to save the big bombshell for later. So she promises to talk about it when she and Cameron come to visit him that night.

Kenny arrived to find them in the back room with, of all people, Qasim Marid. In an instant, Kenny knew something was terribly wrong. Raymie was pale and appeared grim. Zaki looked shell-shocked, as did Bahira. Qasim appeared stunned to see Kenny, but of course Kenny was most curious about Ekaterina. Her face was red, her eyes puffy. As soon as she saw him, she gathered up a sheaf of papers that appeared to be the same as everyone else’s and bolted from the restaurant.

Keep in mind that Qasim was excluded from their God Squad team and is now there happily giving them a report that they all believe. And what is that report? Well, we need to stretch it out more…

Kenny followed, but she was sprinting. “Kat!” he hollered. “Wait just a minute!”

She stopped and whirled, pointing at him. “I don’t want to talk to you, Kenneth Williams. I don’t ever want to see you again.”

He stepped closer. “Kat, wait. I deserve to know—”

“Don’t you dare!” she said. And she turned and kept going.

So Kat apparently has turned on Kenny. Enough so that she’s going to break up with him and never see him again and she won’t even tell him why? I wonder what she found out?

Kenny staggered back into the bistro and into the back room. “I want to know what’s going on,” he said. “And I want to know now.”

Bahira was the only person who would look at him. And she looked like death. “You’ve been found out is all,” she said.

“Found out?”

Raymie looked up. “We know where your true loyalties lie,” he said. “You can end the charade.”

Kenny plopped into the seat Kat had vacated. “I’m listening,” he said. “What are the charges?”

Raymie said sadly, “You can have my copy. I don’t need to see any more.” He slid it across to Kenny and stood. The others rose also. “Why don’t you look this over, and if there’s anything more to be said, well, you know where to find us.”

So, we’re not going to talk to you about it or hear your side of whatever this is. Instead, we’re going to instantly believe something horrible about you and judge you for it even before we do the bare bones of an investigation into it.

That… actually sounds like a Christian group.

But I would have expected that a glorified Christian zombie would be a bit more demonstrative of kindness, love, compassion, and justice.

Then again, I forget we’re dealing with Evangelical heaven, so those traits probably aren’t in play.

Anyway, you might wonder what’s going on? What has Kenny done that is so horrible? What piece of evidence do they have that they’re willing to accept and turn on a friend, a family member, and a lover?

A memo!

DUH DUH DUUUUUUUUUUUH!!!!!

Yes, a memo!

First, Ignace, it was great to reunite with you and your brother despite the sad occasion of your cousin’s death. It had been too long, and communicating like this is never as good as in person, especially when we share such a bond.

I very much look forward to seeing you and Lothair in Paris and thank you in advance for making available to me the lovely Nicolette again. The nights can otherwise be lonely in a strange city, even one as beautiful as your capital.

You’ll be pleased to know that my parents remain wholly in the dark. It’s nice that they are so naïve. I don’t doubt their sincerity, but the blind devotion believing parents have in their offspring makes duping them so easy. My dull-witted mother remains convinced that I share her beliefs and points to the night she claims to have “led” me to Jesus. Well, Mom, you have to mean it if you pray that prayer.

I trust you got the personnel printout. My mother is making noises about putting locks on the doors; my access to her office won’t cross her mind this Millennium.

My uncle Raymie suspects nothing. I’m sure he was brought in on the Risto personnel matter, plus the later defaming note about yours truly. Imagine if they even dreamed I planted both those myself.

Rest assured your fears over the new girlfriend are unfounded. She’s no Nicolette, but she’s cute enough and more naïve than my mother. Her parents are homely, swarthy little people who worship the ground I walk on. Her father was apparently a spectacularly unremarkable tradesman, and her mother is basically a nondescript homebody. They will not be an issue. I may even go through with marrying this girl, which will only make my work for you at COT that much easier. She is in another department, which merely broadens my reach.

I’ll provide a virtual core dump of other vital information when I arrive. Keep Nicolette warm until I get there. I’ll see you soon.

Loyal to the Other Light forever,

KBW

Yes. They have a memo. Purported to be written by Kenny. And they automatically believe it. They are willing to believe that their friend, family member, and lover is a liar, a cheater, and a traitor without evidence, without proof, without a shred of backing documentation and they are willing to throw him away WITHOUT EVEN FUCKING TALKING TO HIM.

Jesus Christ, this is dumb. Who would do this? Who would turn on a friend based solely on one document that could be forged? ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU HAVE A KNOWN DOCUMENT FORGER HANGING AROUND HIS WORKPLACE WHO HAS ALREADY FORGED DOCUMENTS AGAINST YOU?

Kat, of all people, should have been the rational, understanding one. Instead, she’s the emotional stupid woman running off in tears. Christian Feminism, guys!

At this point, Kenny should swear off the lot of them. I mean, would you want to be friends with people who would automatically assume the worst of you without even talking to you? Would you want to hang out with family like that? Would you want a wife like that? Jesus, no.

Kenny was nauseated. Where did one begin to try to defend himself against such a detailed, devastating document?

Detailed? What the fuck? There’s no proof or evidence in the document. It says, “Neener neener, I’m really a bad guy! Christians are dumb Muahahahahah!”

I mean, these Christians are dumb, but still, that doesn’t count as evidence against him.

“Lord, You’re all I have left,” Kenny prayed as he headed toward home. “Please tell me You’re still here.”

He nearly wept with relief when he felt the peace only Jesus could give, but still Kenny had no idea how to dig himself out of this.

Gee, thanks, Lord. Maybe instead of giving me peace, you could telepathically tell my girlfriend and her friends to stop being GIGANTIC DICKWEEDS!

Sigh… but Jesus, like everyone else in this fucking book is an idiot, so this idiot plot will continue with the Other Light guys showing up, so Nicolette can kiss Kenny on the cheek and Lothair can take their picture.

Seriously, Kenny should be dumping Kat, Bahira, Zaki, and Raymie out of his life right now with a hearty, “Fuck you guys, you judgmental sanctimonious assholes.”

 

KC: Good is dumb edition


ASIDE FROM having been born in the old United States of America and carted about by his globe-trotting parents during the Tribulation, Kenny Bruce Williams had spent nearly all his ninety-seven-plus years in Israel. Others he knew, especially his extended family, loved to travel. But he had never seen the appeal of being away from the very country in which the King of kings and Lord of lords physically resided and presided.

Except Jesus is apparently squirreled away in the Temple and never leaves or makes a public appearance.

Also, despite spending 97 years growing up in Israel, Kenny is totally an American Evangelical. “Travel? Phppt. Why would I want to travel? All the best things are already here!”

None of the historical landmarks remained, of course, but attempts had been made to reproduce some of the more familiar—like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and even some of the great cathedrals.

Just as a reminder that God, in His infinite love and temper tantrums, destroyed all of the priceless works of art in human history. You were hoping to finally get around to seeing the Mona Lisa? Fuck you, it’s gone. Sistine Chapel? Also, fuck you, it’s gone too.

On the plane with Ignace, Lothair, and Nicolette, Kenny for the first time became aware of the stares and glares of people—mostly naturals, some glorifieds—who must have recognized the alternative clothing of the TOLers for what it was.

Even in the Millennial Kingdom and the afterlife, Christians are judgmental assholes. Aren’t you looking forward to an eternity of that?

His pretend compatriots were rebels, misfits, outcasts.

You know, the people Jesus hung out with and ate with and drank wine with. But fuck that shit. They’re different and have different beliefs. Glare at them! Glare harder!

Kenny nodded. This couldn’t be worse. All he had intended with his little speech two days before was to allay their suspicions. He had done it so well he had inspired them to a better approach for recruiting. He sure didn’t want to be responsible for their amassing a higher class of dissidents.

Then maybe Kenny should have come right out and said, “I’m a Christian, but I’d still like to be your friend” instead of pretending to be Kenneth Bond Superspy.

Cameron and Chloe sat in the office, poring over employment records. “Strange,” Cameron said. “You realize that this Qasim Marid has been gone all three times we had the Bible heroes here.”

Chloe leaned to look at the records. “That’s some coincidence, Cam.”

“It’s got to be more than that. What are the odds? It’s almost like he doesn’t want to be here when they are. But who wouldn’t want to hear those guys?”

Yeah, it’s almost like the guy who was sexually harassing an employee right around the same time as we started to get forged letters about her and her new boyfriend might not be a super Christian. Should we look into that?

No, let’s talk about missing paperwork instead.

Abdullah was amused by Mudawar and Sarsour. For the first time since he had met them, they looked clean and tidy. Oh, Mudawar was still oily; it was as if he couldn’t help that.

Evil Arab is greasy. That’s racist.

Kenny and the Other Lighters arrive. Abdullah freaks out when he sees Kenny on a CCTV monitor and slips out of the building. Instead of assuming that Kenny is like him or, I don’t know, asking his all-knowing deity what’s going on, Abdullah assumes that Kenny has gone evil and phones Qasim to confim it, which Qasim does, of course, because seriously, he’s evil. Qasim tells Abdullah that Kenny has defected to Satan and he believes it because good is dumb.

Meanwhile, Kenny tells the Jordan crew to appeal to smart people since it’s obvious that none of the smart people are currently on the side of the Christians.