Christ Clone vs. Left Behind: A Preview

Christ Clone versus Left Behind

For those of you who know me over on Slacktivist, I’ve been one of the more vocal proponents of the Christ Clone as Rapture-done-right.

I’ll dive more into this after I finish EoA but I want to offer a couple of “appetizers”, if you will, about the contrast between Decker Hawthorne, a news reporter in the Christ Clone, and Cameron “Buck” Williams in Left Behind.

Now, in the first chapter of the first Christ Clone book, which is titled In His Image, Decker’s late for a plane trip and needs the plane to reopen the boarding door to let him in:

Decker’s flight arrived late into New York and he had to run to make his connecting flight to Milan, Italy.

(…)

“I’ve got to get on that plane!” he told the woman, as he put on the sweetest ‘help me’ look he could muster.

“You have your passport?” she asked.

“Right here,” Decker answered, handing it to her along with his ticket.

“What about your luggage?”

“This is it,” he answered, holding up an overstaffed and somewhat oversized carry-on bag.

The plane had not actually moved yet, so after notifying the pilot, it was an easy task to move the jetway back into place. After a quick but heartfelt ‘thank you,’ Decker boarded the plane and headed to his seat.

(…)

Decker found his seat and sat down. There to greet him was Professor Harry Goodman, a sloppily dressed, short man with gray hair, reading glasses half-way down his nose, and thick bushy eyebrows that blazed helter-skelter across his brow and up onto his forehead like a brush fire. “I was beginning to think you’d stood me up,” Professor Goodman said.

“I wouldn’t have missed this for the world,” Decker answered. “I just wanted to make a big entrance.”

Notice right away that Decker has a legitimate reason to need to hold up the plane – his connecting flight is late. He doesn’t ostentatiously make demands of the ticket agent, and tries to show that he’s as prepared as can be for his trip – passport ready, one bag, and he can be on the way immediately.

Furthermore, his self-effacing joke at the end actually works. He’s not trying to be a showboating asshat.

Contrast this with Buck’s showboating behavior when he’s about to get a Land Rover. He’s pushy about getting the car, and even subjects the dealer to added inconvenience. Customer service blogs and websites are replete with the kind of appalling misbehavior from customers who manage to force employees to do extra things just because they’re spending a lot of money in one spot.

Buck sat in the sales manager’s office of a Land Rover dealership. “You never cease to amaze me,” Chloe whispered.

“I’ve never been conventional, have I?”

“Hardly, and now I suppose any hope of normalcy is out the window.”

“I don’t need any excuse for being unique,” he said, “but everyone everywhere will be acting impulsively soon enough.”

The sales manager, who had busied himself with paperwork and figuring a price, turned the documents and slid them across the desk toward Buck. “You’re not trading the Lincoln, then?”

“No, that’s a rental,” Buck said. “But I am going to ask you to return that to O’Hare for me.” Buck looked up at the man without regard to the documents.

“That’s highly unusual,” the sales manager said. “I’d have to send two of my people and an extra vehicle so they could get back.”

Buck stood. “I suppose I am asking too much. Another dealer will be willing to go the extra mile to sell me a vehicle, I’m sure, especially when no one knows what tomorrow may bring.”

“Sit back down, Mr. Williams. I won’t have any trouble getting my district manager to sign off on throwing in that little errand for you. As you can see, you’re going to be able to drive your fully loaded Range Rover out of here within an hour for under six figures.”

“Make it half an hour,” Buck said, “and we’ve got a deal.”

The sales manager rose and thrust out his hand. “Deal.”

On top of all this, he crows gleefully to his wife, Chloe, about how he’s used a government-issued credit card for that purchase and has no intention of using the truck for its stated purpose.

“You consider spending almost a hundred thousand dollars on a toy like this an investment in our cause?”

“Chloe,” Buck said carefully, “look at this rig. It has everything. It will go anywhere. It’s indestructible. It comes with a phone. It comes with a citizen’s band radio. It comes with a fire extinguisher, a survival kit, flares, you name it. It has fourwheel drive, all-wheel drive, independent suspension, a CD player that plays those new two-inch jobs, electrical outlets in the dashboard that allow you to connect whatever you want directly to the battery.”

“But Buck, you slapped down your Global Community Weekly credit card as if it were your own. What kind of a limit do you have on that thing?”

I can’t imagine Decker Hawthorne ever behaving this childishly about something he spent someone else’s money on and which he intends to unlawfully convert (a.k.a. “steal”) for his own use.

The irony is that both Decker and Buck are news reporters, but one of them actually acts like a real reporter and the other is just a showboating jackass.

I’ll do a proper comparison on an “era by era” basis, if you will, between Left Behind and the Christ Clone, since they both follow the basic precepts of Rapture theology. In this way, I hope to highlight the way James BeauSeigneur avoids many of the writing problems that plague Tim LaHaye’s and Jerry Jenkins’s book series.

Until then, we’ll continue through LaHaye and Parshall’s attempt at Rapture theology.