After Credit Bonus Scene: The Prodigal Pt. 3, Pt. 2

A factor that has made me nervous about this whole blogject is that most of the creators and producers of the show are still living and I’m not interested in cancel culture or trying to cause harm for any individuals.

I’m fighting systems.

Inevitably, in attempting to fight systems I have to deal with the reality that those systems were affecting people.

And the choices and decisions other people made and how they affected me… I struggle with where the line is.

I genuinely believe that all the people portrayed as antagonists in this story– that I’m recreating for propagandistic purposes– are decent people who have never intended an ounce of harm to me or anybody else. I genuinely believe that everyone I worked with and all the members of my Fucking Evangelical™ world were people trying their best to practice their faith and have made great sacrifices to try to do good in the world.

I imagine when they find this they will be hurt that I have anger and frustration with everything.

And so it’s hard to write about certain things like how I felt that a particular writer kept needling me and Corey Burton about the smoking. Others in the production company did as well, but it was one particular writer who clearly had an issue with it and was negative towards me. And it was very, very, very subtle.

In fact, all the stuff I highlight as a negative in my story… this was not overt abuse of any kind. These people were not being cruel. They were not screaming at me or swearing at me… I was never touched inappropriately.

The entire cast and crew have always been completely professional.

Yet, I felt certain vibes that made me very uncomfortable and feeling as though the Still Face™ way that Fucking Evangelicals™ shun you was present in what I was experiencing. It’s all about being quietly disappointed (sometimes loudly if you’re LGBT) and seeing you as a Lost Cause.

And as I’ve struggled with some of these feelings over 30 years I question myself: Did that actually happen? Was that person actually behaving differently towards me? Or am I on the defensive because every facet of my life I’m receiving judgment and condemnation for things I feel I have very little control over?

And to undertake a project like this knowing that I have to talk about people and the things I experienced with 30 years of dusty memories– PLUS I was a pharmaceutical nightmare and my brains were decimated during the years from 1993-1998– it is something that has been a delicate dance.

Because I question the accuracy of my memories.

Did I really experience what I thought I did?

What if I’ve made all of this up? I’m sure I’m probably wrong about a lot of it. What if I’m assuming attention is being paid to me when maybe it isn’t at all? Maybe this entire blog is the ravings of a lunatic who is trying to drum up a controversy where one does not exist.

This is a children’s show after all. The kind of people who make products for children are decent and noble people, right? And I don’t want to take shots at artists who have dedicated their lives to entertaining kids. That’s a shitty thing to do to innocent people.

I’ve said from the beginning that this art work is mostly about my opinion. And that opinion could be wrong.

I’m okay admitting I’m wrong if I am.

It’s a terrifying feeling to attempt to describe behaviors where I have no tangible proof of anything… how do you put something on the internet for the whole world to read and what if I’m wrong? What if I end up hurting someone’s reputation unfairly? Or where I’ve interpreted an event and remembered it wrong OR maybe I perceived it wrong and the actual intent was pure and genuine and good and because I’m going through all these things I assume bad things happened when they actually didn’t?

This has been one of my biggest fears in this project.

I really don’t want to hurt anybody for any reason whatsoever.

What if I’m wrong?

But then one day– within the last year– I was chatting with a fan who was appreciating the blog and they said something that caught my attention.

I’m paraphrasing the conversation here but it went something like this:

“Your blog is like that book where Jimmy does all the bad stuff…”



“There’s a book where Jimmy does bad stuff? Like what?”

“Been years since I read it but I remember he was getting in fights and in trouble and he gets caught smoking…”

Hold up.

Focus on the Family released a book where Jimmy is smoking?!?

“Could I convince you to let me borrow that book and read it?”

I have the greatest fans on earth.

That is a scientific fact.

Book cover reads: Adventures in Odyssey


point. of. no. return.

Are you fucking kidding me?

You know Jimmy is a Bad Kid in this book because his hat is on backwards and that’s a sign that he’s a rebel– I’m not kidding.

Fucking Evangelicals™ can get twitchy if you wear your hat wrong.

Alas, it is not the requisite

with white bill

usually worn by L’ilBarclayBoy™

There is a phenomena that is common for children of pastors to realize that their life problems become fodder for the Sunday sermon. A common theme in Evangelicaltopia is how people will use your problems as a way to preach about particular sins to congregations.

It’s also a way to shame you from the pulpit. Publicly.

This is why so many pastor’s kids end up a total mess.

It’s one thing to be a kid and make mistakes “sin”. But to have that be announced by your dad in front of everyone you know is a particular hell I fortunately never got to experience in church.

This is a common thing that happens in religious communities. And especially in religious communities where somebody has to create content for the next week’s lesson/sermon.

And daddy pastors everywhere will tell you that this problem their kid had is what inspired them to share the struggles with the church because of the lessons god showed the pastor in dealing with the kid.

They believe the inspiration is a gift from god to have them use their skills to teach others.

I would assume christian writers and content creators function the same way because I was one and did many of those same tactics later in life for the exact same reasons.

So, it would make sense if a particular writer who I felt was slightly obsessed about my smoking would be influenced by that event to want to write something to an audience of 10 year olds.

Or maybe it’s just a total coincidence.

Point of No Return
Copyright © 1995 by Focus on the Family.

Huh… the author wrote it in 1995.

It’s probably not really inspired by my life in 1995….

Friday Night

Jimmy Barclay looked into the deep blue water. It was still. Faintly, he could see his reflection looking back. It didn’t look much like him, though. In fact, it could have been a complete stranger… but it wasn’t. That had to be his young face looking up out of the water. The blue, still water.

There was also the scent of pine.

He got on his knees and looked closer at the deep blue water– pondering it. He waited.

This was really stupid, he knew. At his age– a mature and wise 10 years old– he shouldn’t be in this situation. He never should’ve let Tony talk him into it. How many kids of 10 try to smoke their best friend’s father’s cigar? What made it worse was that Jimmy thought people who smoked cigarettes were Neanderthals. So why did he try the cigar?

JFC the very first goddamn page.

And yes, the author of this book was, in fact, the writer that was giving me and Corey a lot of backchat about the smoking situation I was going through.

In the last post I wrote:

“The tsk-tsking of my smoking addiction– which I cannot stop— is killing me because people I cared about are giving endless StillFaces™ and pestering the world’s greatest voice over artist Corey Burton because they think he’s a bad influence on me— which is the craziest fucking sentence of all the crazy sentences I’ve written in this project.”

^ To write that sentence from the memory of a gut feeling 30 years ago was risky if I’m wrong.

I’m torn with how to write about this book. Because I believe anyone interested in my story needs to read this whole book because it is an absolutely FASCINATING insight into how the Dobsonian version of christianity is portrayed here.

I believe in copyrights and artists deserve to get paid for their labor even if Focus on the Family doesn’t believe in that.

However, I am morally opposed to anybody ever spending a dime on any of this content and financially supporting this organization.

And trying to understand the limitations of Fair Use… I don’t feel like I can comfortably show the entire 125 page book.

Which means I have to take out some excerpts and I have chosen only 3.

And by choosing this small number of excerpts it will seem as though I am cherry picking the few things I most want to hit the audience. Please believe me when I say that the rest of the book is arguably far worse than the excerpts I will show. I really wish you all would read this cover to cover.

So I will attempt for the first time since I was 10 years old to write a book report and convey to you what this book is about.

I challenge Focus on the Family to put the entire book online for people to read and see how content creators making content for children sell the message of christianity to kids.

Let’s get started.

Page 1: already shared it.

Page 2: Jimmy stares at the water in the toilet because he’s about to puke from smoking. He contemplates how his mother had time to clean the bathroom when she spends so much time working as a receptionist and volunteers at the church. He has a new friend Tony who is in his bedroom blasting the stereo. The theme here is that Tony is a bad friend and by the second page I’m wondering is Tony supposed to represent my friendship with Corey? Nah, that would be too on the nose

Page 3:

Tony was good at talking Jimmy into doing stupid things and never doing them himself. Jimmy grabbed the sides of the bowl, sure that something was about to happen. He held on and waited. This is so very very very dumb. When will you learn? When will you stop acting like such an idiot? You’re a jerk Jimmy Barclay, and you’d better never let this happen again.

Jimmy’s internal monologue is… uh… interesting for a book for 10 year olds. Wonder where my shitty internal monologue came from? Jimmy does not puke and heads back into his room to find his parents came back and are staring at the end of a cigar and Tony is sitting on the bed.

Page 4: Jimmy’s parents tell Tony to go home. Tony says “call me when you get paroled” the first theme of punishment enters the narrative.

Page 5: As Tony leaves the house Jimmy hears him laughing. This is to really drive home the point that Tony is a bad friend. Jimmy goes downstairs and George and Mary are pissed and Donna seems to have been disciplined for letting Jimmy get into trouble while they were gone. It’s here we first learn about Grandma Barclay. She is dying of cancer. And George and Mary were going to go visit her but now Mary has to stay behind because the two kids can’t be trusted. The first time the word “guilt” appears. Jimmy asks if he can go visit Grandma.

Page 6: No. Jimmy is on restriction. Punishment is one of the main themes of the book here and a major focus of Dobson’s philosophy. Spare the rod and spoil the child. The way to correct bad behavior is through draconian punishment systems. We get a rundown of all the bad things Jimmy has been doing now that he’s friends with Tony including playing with a blowtorch in the garage. The theme of fire is a constant theme that shows up in this book which was interesting to read because it’s a phrase I’ve used a lot in this project about how I felt my life was on fire during these years. Must be a coincidence.

Page 7: Jimmy goes to bed and stares at a picture of Grandma Barclay. Who. Is. Dying. And it’s here we learn that Grandma Barclay is the matriarch of the family and is a god-fearing woman of tremendous faith. And this faith has trickled down to Jimmy’s dad who has tried to instill these values in Jimmy. BUT JIMMY THINKS CHURCH IS BORING. And here we learn that Jimmy doesn’t like going to church but is forced to go because his parents make him. He doesn’t even believe that prayers had cured his Grandma’s cancer the first time!

Jimmy’s parents fussed with him for awhile about his lack of faith. They did everything they could to get him interested. But lately it was as if they had given up on him. His mom said that they had decided to stop worrying and let God do the rest”.

The first theme of Jimmy’s parents giving up on him… a 10 year old kid.

Page 8: As Jimmy falls asleep he thinks about how Grandma Barclay never gave up on Jimmy and that eventually he would find his way back to church because the Call is too strong. Grandma knows God has plans for Jimmy. She’s wise enough to not worry about him like his parents.

That’s chapter 1.

Chapter 2

Page 9: Jimmy wakes up and has a hangover from smoking.

Page 10: Jimmy stares around his room trying to wake up and we get a rundown of the typical kid’s room in an upper middle class family that lacks nothing. He even has a stereo as a 10 year old! Donna pokes her head in to see if Jimmy wants breakfast and she informs it it’s almost lunchtime! My god he’s slept in late!!

Page 11: Are mom and dad still mad? This is a constant theme. Jimmy’s parents are really, really disappointed and mad at him. Jimmy goes to the bathroom to splash water on his face and try to ascertain what had happened last night? Why did he do these things? The page ends with Jimmy pondering,

But it made him feel that something was wrong. Maybe something was wrong with him. Maybe he should try harder to behave himself. Maybe he should change somehow.

Page 12: Naaaaah. He’s 10 years old. Why would a 10 year old need to change? Jimmy joins his mom downstairs for some food. But Mary is not happy. George had to go visit Grandma Barclay who was taken to the hospital! And rather than Mary realizing that the moment is about Grandma’s medical condition, Mary instead is upset at Jimmy because she can’t go visit her.

“Why Jimmy? Why do you have to get into so much trouble? The past few months have been one incident after another. Last night was the last straw…. I wanted to see your grandma, too, but… I can’t trust you anymore.”

The word guilty appears again.

** this is a core behavior of evangelicals. they love making people feel guilty and being disappointed. It’s a common tactic.

*** BTW. The fact that there is a built in reason why Jimmy might be acting out is never addressed in this book about Jimmy’s Grandma DYING OF CANCER. Jimmy is bad because of new friends.

Page 13: This blew my mind. Page 12 ends and slides into 13 with the following passage. Keep in mind my concept of Still Faces™.

Jimmy swallowed hard. he could tell by her tone that she wasn’t just trying to make him feel guilty. She wasn’t even trying to make him feel bad. She was speaking in a neutral voice as if she were telling him about the weather. That made it even worse.

Literally the kid feels terrible because his mother has gone emotionally blank on him. Fascinating. Jimmy tries to apologize and promise he’ll do better. Mary doesn’t believe him because of his new friend Tony.

“Don’t tell me you’ll behave. I know better. You feel bad this morning, but that won’t last. You’ll get with Tony and forget.”

“It’s not Tony’s fault.” Jimmy tries to explain.

“I’m not blaming Tony. He’s been like another son in this family. But he does influence you. You can’t deny that…. I hope I raised you better than that. But since you got bored with church…” her voice faded, the sentence left unfinished.

The guilt tactics omg. This is White Evangelicaltopia 101.

Page 14: Literally every page, folks. And now the punishment drops. Jimmy is on restriction! Can’t go to Whit’s End. Can’t hang out with Tony. And Jimmy is pissy that this all about his being bored about church. And there’s a knock at the door. Jimmy’s mom calls out that there’s someone there to see him.

Page 15: And now we meet two characters. Dave Wright. And his son Jacob.



Interesting choice of name.

Page 15 cont’d: Who is Dave Wright? Why he’s the youth pastor from the local Calvary Church. And he just happened to drop on by with his kid who is the same age! It’s a setup. A trap! Dave Wright shakes Jimmy’s hand and we get this gem,

His grip was firm. Obviously a barbell boy, Jimmy thought. That’s a surprise. Most of the church leaders I’ve ever met turned out to be meek, mousy, turn-the-other-cheek types.

And now the youth pastor starts his pitch. Sits on the sofa saying “I’ve heard a lot about you, Jimmy”

Page 16: These next few pages I don’t know even know how to wrap my head around. Dave basically starts manipulating Jimmy and arguing with him about going to church. It’s too hard to sum up. Jimmy doesn’t want to talk to the pastor who we are reminded is in excellent physical shape like an athlete. Jimmy tries to leave the conversation but Dave won’t let him and keeps persisting.

Page 17: Dave starts poking holes in Jimmy’s need to exit the conversation. Why won’t Jimmy come to church? Jimmy just doesn’t want to. “Then you have something against the church?” <— one of the classic arguments in churchtopia. Jimmy tries to leave the conversation and goes unpstairs to his room. BUT DAVE WRIGHT FOLLOWS HIM INTO HIS BEDROOM. Dave is harassing him “You/’re evading the question Jimmy. I want to know what your problem is.” “I don’t know” Jimmy says “Not an acceptable answer” says this strange grown man in Jimmy’s room.

Page 18-19: the endless pestering continues. Why won’t Jimmy come to youth group? And Dave Wright will not take no for an answer. He keeps persisting. Just come one time. It’s 3-4 solid pages of a grown man pestering a 10 year old boy to go to church. Finally since none of the arguments are working on Jimmy they agree to a deal. Dave’s son Jacob and Jimmy will play one-on-one basketball at the hoop in the driveway. If Jimmy wins he doesn’t have to go to youth group. If Jacob wins… Jimmy has to go one time. Good Lord the manipulation.

Page 20-21: Jimmy agrees to the deal to determine his church attendance based on a pick up game of basketball. Mary Barclay is concerned. Jimmy is convinced he can’t lose because Jacob is shorter than him.

Chapter 3

Pages 22-25

The basketball game of consequence. Jimmy starts out strong and the game is at 9-6 with winner scoring 10. And it’s at this point that suddenly Jacob becomes an amazing basketball player and Jimmy then recalls that there had been a local basketball legend called the “Thieving Kangaroo” who could jump unnaturally high and block shots and Jimmy remembers the athlete had forgone the sport and went into the ministry. And Jimmy quits the game because he realizes that Dave and Jacob are natural athletes and they knew all along that Jacob was gonna beat Jimmy… the whole thing was a setup.

** I wish everyone could read how this character is portrayed because it’s the creepiest shit of all time. He’s a gaslighting, lying manipulator who uses every trick in the book to get Jimmy to do something he doesn’t want to do. Wild stuff. This is a book for 10 year old kids normalizing this kind of tactic to children.

Chapter 4

Page 26: Jimmy is reading the pamphlet that Dave Wright courteously left behind. And Jimmy is mad because he knows he was tricked and he feels like he shouldn’t have to go to church on a lie. But he realizes he has no choice but to go… for reasons. And while Jimmy is thinking about how to get out of his dilemma there’s a tap at his bedroom second story window.

Page 27: It’s TONY! Do 10 year old kids usually climb through second story windows to visit friends or is this a bad 80’s teen movie trope? So much of this seems like it’s meant for an older teen audience. Because Jimmy is trying to explain that he can’t hang out with Tony because he’s being punished. Tony is bummed because “A couple of us are going out to Allen’s Pond. I heard that a bunch of Nathan’s friends are gonna get drunk and stuff.” Yes. A bunch of 10 year old kids apparently sneak out at night to watch Tony’s older brother and his friends get hammered. JFC. Jimmy says he can’t go because he has to go to church that night. And Tony starts mocking him for going to church. Jimmy asks Tony to go with him…

Page 28: Tony declines to attend church. He would rather watch teenagers get drunk. So he “laughed as he slithered down the tree branch and disappeared out of sight.” Get it? Slithered? Tree? Jimmy sits down on his bed to read the pamphlet which is titled… *checks notes*… “If you were to die tonight…” And now Jimmy is suddenly worried about dying. Something he never really considered as a 10 year old kid. But since a grown adult has thrust a pamphlet about death into the kid’s life it’s all he can… ahem… focus on.

Page 29: Thinking about death makes Jimmy think about his Dyin’Grandma™ which is certainly not at all the reason Jimmy is acting out. And he realizes what kind of maniac gives a kid my age a booklet that talks about dying? They must be warped. This is the most wild propaganda I’ve ever read. The projection is off the charts. It’s how christians think non-christians think.

Chapter 5

Page 30: Dave Wright and Jacob pick Jimmy up to take him to Youth Group.

Page 31: Jimmy was surprised by some of the faces he recognized. Many of the most popular kids from school were there. (This never happened in any church I ever went to.) Jack Davis is there! And Lucy and Oscar! And Jack tells Jimmy that his parents used to make him come to church but now he actually likes it and has fun with all his friends! Love bombing 101!

Page 32: Dave Wright takes the stage. He asks new people to stand up and introduce themselves. Jimmy doesn’t want to so Dave calls him out in front of the whole room. This is the way people get manipulated from the pulpit. Jimmy is wishing he could be watching drunk people at Allen’s Pond instead of being at youth group having to introduce oneself. One of the church deacons is invited to speak and Jimmy’s eyes glaze over with all the weird words and concepts.

Page 33: After the quick sermon Pastor Dave announces game time! And now Jimmy has a blast. He has so much fun playing games with everybody that by the time he has snacks he realizes that it’s almost 9 o’clock! He’s had so much fun he didn’t realize time had slipped away. And now pastor Dave Wright ends the evening with a quick pitch. He holds up a pamphlet like he gave Jimmy. And this is where he tells the kids about how, yes, they like to have fun when they meet up… but they’re actually there for something very serious.

Page 34: Dave has given a lot of the kids this pamphlet. And none of them have read it because it’s about death! And they’re a bunch of kids who are living in the moment and they’re too young to think about death.

“See, these booklets are supposed to make you think, if only for a minute. Any of us could die at any time. Any of us could die right now. The same right now that you live in day after day. I’m not trying to scare you. I’m just saying there’s more to this world than we realize.

Page 35:

… There’s a lot more to it than games, television, music, what the other kids are doing, finishing your homework, or eating all the right vegetables. In fact, there’s a whole other world. An eternal one. One that goes on forever. And it’s not some kind of comic book place. It’s God’s place. It’s real. And it’s even more real than this world.”

Jimmy is absolutely hooked on these amazing words. And it’s here where the pastor describes how God wanted to be a part of this real world and so he sent Jesus… bet you never saw that coming….

“God stepped into our world. He put on skin and hair and muscles and clothes and became just like us.”

Page 36: This page is the full delivery of the christian pitch. And Jimmy is fucking blown away even though he’s been going to church his whole life. And when Pastor Dave starts explaining how Jesus died for you, Jimmy.

“Do you understand? He had to do it— and He did it for you.”

I can literally smell the interior of a stale youth group room in some musty church as I read this. Telling 10 year old kids that Jesus had to die because they were all sinners but he loves them so much. And this resonates with Jimmy because he is clearly a fucked up bad kid and Jesus came to save bad kids like him! This is the solution to the earlier dilemma where Jimmy thinks he’s a bad kid!

Page 37: So what’s the catch? What does Jesus want in return for dying for your imperfect asses?

“He wants your life,” Dave said in a harsh whisper. “He wants every bit of you: your heart, your mind, your body, your soul….”

the chapter concludes with:

“Maybe you think you’re too young– this stuff is for grown-ups. It isn’t. Even if dying is years and years away for you, the decision to believe in Jesus, to accept him into your hearts and give Him your lives, begins right now.” Dave looked Jimmy square in the eyes. “Jesus wants you right now.”

Holy fuck.

Chapter 6

Page 38: Jimmy is thunderstruck by this amazing message at Youth Group and now he’s realizing that Jesus died for him. Whoa! Pastor Dave gives Jimmy a ride home.

Page 39: Jimmy wanders in a daze into the house thinking about how much Jesus wants him right now. And it’s at this moment in the narrative that Mary tells Jimmy to go take a bath. While he’s contemplating Jesus. Which brings me to a page that was so… um… uh… fuck.

I can’t summarize this. You have to read it for yourself.

Jimmy went into the bathroom, turned on the water, and stripped down. He thought about God putting on skin, hair, and muscles so He could be like us… so He could die like us… for us. For me.

The words wouldn’t leave Jimmy alone. They were like rubber bands, so that no matter what his mind wandered to in the warm cocoon of the bathwater, it snapped back to those words. For me. And He wants me right now.

Jimmy absentmindedly scrubbed himself, then pulled the plug at the bottom of the tub. The water gurgled and gulped. He stepped out of the tub. What if I said yes? he wondered as he dried himself off. What would happen if I said He could have me right now?

His heart beat a little faster at the thought. Would angels sing? Would he hear God whisper in his ear? Would lightning strike the house? What would happen?

Jimmy wrapped the towel around himself, strolled towards his room– got halfway there when he remembered he had left the clothes on the bathroom floor and went back to get them– then resumed his journey. Jesus wants me right now. What if I say yes?

Say yes.

In his room, Jimmy looked around for the small, black Bible his grandmother had given him for his birthday a couple years before. It had his name in gold letters at the bottom of the front cover. What had he done with it? He got down on his hands and knees to look under the bed. Was that it in the far…

*Dave stares at camera*

This is a lot of description about a naked 10 year old kid saying Jesus can have him whenever he wants him.

I’d like to bleach my brain now.

ANYWAY PAGE 41: It is at this point that a naked Jimmy on all fours looking for a bible under his bed suddenly realizes he wants to give his life to Jesus.

He stayed on his knees. Quietly, without fanfare or announcement, the yes slipped from his head to his heart. It happened in the fraction of a second while Donna’s muffled radio played on the other side of the wall, his mother coughed once downstairs in the living room, and the night was otherwise silent enough for him to hear the pounding in his chest and the blood rushing past his ears. Yes. He pressed his head against the side of the bed. You died for me, and I’m sorry, and now You want me– all of me– and I’m saying yes.

Jimmy is now a Fucking Evangelical™.

I feel like I need to start smoking cigarettes again after all that.

Chapter 7

That was NOT the end of the book. There’s 85 pages to go!

Page 42: Mary awakens on Sunday morning… btw, the last several chapters occurred during a single day. Jimmy went to one youth group meeting and nakedly accepted Jesus an hour later. ANYWAY. Sunday morning Mary comes down and is shocked to discover Jimmy dressed and ready for church.

Page 43: Donna and Mary wonder if Jimmy has a fever because he’s now acting so strange. Being dressed and ready for church and all.

Page 44: Jimmy returns to church, but the first time ever he’s actually excited! Now that he’s said yes to Jesus he can’t wait to see how different the church experience will be. He bumps into Dave Wright.

Page 45: Pastor Dave is shocked to see Jimmy looking less than surly and wants to know what’s wrong. Jimmy confesses he said “yes”.

“Yes?” Dave looked puzzled.

Jimmy nodded. “You said Jesus wanted me, and I said yes– He can have me.”

“Yahoo!” Dave shouted scooping Jimmy up in his arms. It wasn’t what Jimmy expected, and he was a little embarrassed when everyone in the hall stopped to look. “Praise God!”

“Hey! Cut it out!” Jimmy said.

Dave put Jimmy down. “Jimmy that’s wonderful! Wonderful!” and he grabbed Jimmy again for a bone-crushing hug.

“Lay off!” Jimmy said.

“Sorry.” Dave let him go. “I’m a tactile person.”

“I hope it is isn’t catching.”

“It means I’m a huggy kind of person.” Dave said with a laugh.

Would this book be banned in Florida? Asking for a friend.

Page 46: The conversation ends with pastor Dave promising to invite himself over to Jimmy’s home to learn more about Jimmy’s conversion. Jimmy then joins his mom in the church for the main service. And for the first time he is enjoying it.

Folks… I accepted Jesus into my heart about 10 zillion times and it never made church not suck for me.

So, Jimmy is suddenly enjoying the hymns and doesn’t understand the message fully but there is a joy in him that is new. And it’s at this moment of spiritual bliss that he tells his mom that he accepted Christ. And Mary with tears in her eyes hugs little Jimmy.

Page 47: Jimmy is not embarrassed to be hugged by his mom and Donna watches them wondering why they’re acting so weird. End. Of. Chapter.

Somebody was actually paid to write this. This book sold copies.

Chapter 8

Page 48: Begins with the sentence: “Dave, his wife Jan, and Jacob invited themselves to a Sunday dinner at the Barclay’s.” Mary says there’s plenty of food and worries that George hasn’t gotten back from visiting sick grandma. Jimmy is stoked. Getting to have a big meal celebrating his conversion is like Thanksgiving! It is noted that Jacob and Jan are very quiet while Dave regales everyone with stories about his life in the ministry.

Page 49: After dinner, Jacob gives Jimmy a present. It’s a brand new bible– because they weren’t sure if Jimmy who always went to church every week had one or not. Remember this is the conversion of a kid whose family already goes to church all the time. Anyway… written on the inside cover

“To Jimmy Barclay, for saying yes to life’s greatest adventure… with Jesus! Love, Dave, Jan, and Jacob.”

They’ve known Jimmy for one whole day, invited themselves to dinner, and now are giving him gifts with love. Ok. Now Dave wants to know how Jimmy feels after accepting Jesus. Explaining that for some people it’s an overwhelming experience. And he’s pulled Jimmy aside because there are some things Jimmy needs to know.

“Like what?”

“Well…” Dave paused as if trying to choose his words carefully. “Being a Christian isn’t like anything you’ve experienced before. You and Jesus are directly connected now because His Spirit is living inside you. That means things are going to change for you.”

“Change? Like how?”

“For one thing, you’re going to grow as a Christian. That means you’ll develop and mature in the faith….

Page 50:

“It takes work Jimmy. The Spirit doesn’t just take over and automatically do things. You’ll have to read your Bible every day and do what it says. You’ll want to pray as much as you can. You’ll need to spend time with other Christians at church. And you’ll want to tell others bout your faith. It’s a great adventure, Jimmy, it really is!”

But then the warning…

“But make no mistake Jimmy. It’s an adventure that can be difficult and painful sometimes. You’ll see.”

Cue Ominous music. And it’s at this stern warning that suddenly George comes home from visiting dying Grandma. George is surprised by all the activity in his home.

Page 51: Good news George! Jimmy accepted Jesus! That’s why there’s a strange family having dinner in your home giving your kid gifts. George is overwhelmed by the news and gives Jimmy a big ole hug. He’s just so damned happy that his fuckup of a kid has finally come to Jesus. The feels, people. The feels are intense here. Moments later everyone is gathered to hear the news about Grandma and it sucks she is dying faster now. The cancer is cancering hard AF. It doesn’t seem fair to Jimmy that now that he’s a Christian his Grandma is going to die.


You all really need to read this. I can’t do it justice.

Page 52: Pastor Dave suggests that they all should pray for Grandma Barclay because of course he and his family ARE STILL THERE AS GEORGE DISCUSSES THE IMPENDING DEATH OF HIS KID’S GRANDPARENT. And it is at this moment… that Pastor Dave… holyfucksticks… feels that maybe Jimmy should be the one to pray since he’s a new christian. The fucking pressure. Jimmy attempts to do some thee and thous and he’s sucking at it and Donna makes fun of him– because she’s not upset about her Grandma or anything. Jimmy tells her to shut up and now George also pressures Jimmy because this is what God really needs. A 10 year old kid who just was manipulated into accepting Jesus hours earlier and now has to pray for his grandma to not die in front of two sets of families that are apparently all best buddies now.

George put his hand on Jimmy’s arm. “Son, just pray what’s in your heart. Just pray for Grandma.”

So Jimmy prays

“Dear God, please make Grandma better, Amen.”

Spoilers. Jimmy’s first prayer will be answered with a firm NO. And now Pastor Dave leads the family in the real prayer that is thoughtful and eloquent and, wow, I need to start drinking again to get through the rest of this.

Chapter 9

Page 53:

The Wright family went home late in the afternoon, but not before confirming Jimmy would go to the evening service. They wanted him to go forward at the closing altar call to present himself as a candidate for baptism.

Holy shit, I do not like Dave Wright. The entire 9 chapters so far have taken place in the span of Friday night to Sunday afternoon. And now they want Jimmy to go back to church. This is literally how cults behave. The love bombing. The intense pressure to conform. The quickly wrapping people up in situations where they’re pressured to step beyond boundaries and comfort zones. Like that language is literally written into this. Jimmy is constantly remarking about being uncomfortable and feeling pressured… but then he does everything the adults tell him to do. And I suppose an argument can be made that this is fiction… but in 48 hours Jimmy went from smoking to being grounded to having a youth pastor invade his home and argue and manipulate him into going to youth group where he hears precisely one sermon and proceeds to give his life to christ while wearing nothing but a towel and now grandma is dying and Pastor Dave Wright– that fucking name is wild you can not imagine what it’s like to be in my head reading this book fuuuuuuuck– is now insisting that Jimmy get baptized.

What. A. Fucking. Weekend. I don’t know about you but I’m exhausted.

And Jimmy is, too, because after he promises Dave he’ll go back to church he goes upstairs and starts to read his Bible starting in Genesis 1:1 but he falls asleep during the second chapter and while he “dreams of firmaments, ocean waves, and blinding light” when Tony suddenly appears at his window to wake him up.

Page 54: Yes… we’re going the whole way folks. If I have to suffer through this so do you. So Tony arrives to tell Jimmy about what he missed out on the night before because he went to church.

“Allen’s Pond! Me and Brad Woodward followed my brother and his friends to the barbecue area on top of the hill. They took booze and everything! You should’ve seen them!”

After Jimmy asks if they were caught Tony mentions a near miss and then this corker of a line:

“You really missed it,” Tony said. “That’s what you get for going to that stupid church meeting.”

And then Jimmy gets defensive and tries to argue that it was actually fun but Tony says something sarcastic.

Page 55: And Jimmy reflexively says that something happened to him at church. And Tony wants to know what. Does Jimmy dare confess that he’s now a Christian? So… he does. He tells Tony he became a Christian. And Tony thinks this is a brilliant idea to get out of trouble. But Jimmy tries to explain no he really did this. Tony. Does. Not. Believe. Him.

Page 56:

“I don’t get it, Jimmy. Did they brainwash you or what? You’re tellin’ me you’re turning into a Chip Bender or something?” Chip Bender was a former friend of theirs who became a Christian and talked about Jesus all the time after that. It drove everybody at school nuts.

Now Tony expresses concern and mockery that Jimmy is gonna become a monk. Jimmy’s mom calls for him to come down to go to church again. Tony mocks hims some more as he leaves. “See ya Mr. Sunday School.” Tony says as a parting shot. Jimmy is sad to realize Tony isn’t a real friend.

Page 57: So Jimmy is at church with the family and he’s steaming about his encounter with Tony. And now he’s starting to regret becoming a Christian. What if he does become like Chip Bender? He starts to get cold feet. And now the altar call of the service has occurred and Jimmy doesn’t want to go up. But George comes to the rescue!

“I know it’s a little embarrassing,” he said. “Will you let me go up with you?” George wraps his arm around Jimmy and marches him up to the front of the church past all the rows of people sitting. “Jimmy accepted Jesus last night and would like to be baptized.”

The page closes out with this and continues onto the next page… I’m just gonna do the whole thing.

Jimmy looked up at his dad’s face and suddenly realized tears were rolling down his cheeks.

“Because my son accepted Jesus, I want to rededicate my

Page 58:

“life to Christ,” George said and squeezed Jimmy’s shoulder.

“Me, too,” came a tear-filled voice from behind Jimmy. He turned. It was his mother.

“So do I,” came a younger choked-up voice. It was Donna.

As the organ played softly, the Barclay family collected themselves into a tender embrace. And Jimmy found himself crying, too.

It’s so wholesome. The perfect family.

Chapter 10

Page 59: Only 3 more pages to get to the halfway point! Monday morning Jimmy is awakened by the preacher on Odyssey’s only Christian radio station who was “making a case about lazy Christians who never talked about Jesus to their families, friends, and neighbors.” he made his point by citing Acts chapter 2. Man Jimmy has been a christian for one whole day, lost a friend, made his whole family double down, and now he’s listening to Christian Radio programming!

Ain’t kid’s literature grand?

Page 60: So this is two pages of Jimmy listening to the preacher on the radio and about how important it is to witness to people and proselytize like Peter and the disciples did! Jimmy is hooked already and willing to do what the preacher is telling him. If Peter and the disciples witnessed to thousands of people, surely Jimmy can do it at school! A knock at the door of his bedroom…

Page 61: … signals that it’s time for him to go to school and put his new found faith to the test.

It would be his first day there as a new Christian, and he wanted to make it count. If Peter could bring three thousand people to their knees, Jimmy could at least do the same with a couple of kids. One way or another he was going to make an impact.

And he did.

This has been the world’s most intense religious conversion. It took one whole day to become a street preacher.

So Jimmy hasn’t seen Tony until lunchtime when he spots him sitting with Brad Woodward. The two are discussing the events at Allen’s Pond because that is what 10 year old kids talk about in school. Tony tells Brad that Jimmy didn’t go…

Page 62: because he was in trouble and had to go to church.

“Did I tell you that Jimmy’s religious now? He’s gonna grow up and be one of those TV evangelist guys.” Tony and Brad laughed.

Oh the mockery of heathens. Some back and forth and then Jimmy decides to try his hand at evangelizing for the first time to his two friends– who spend their free time watching older kids get drunk– in the middle of school.

So Jimmy sent up a quick prayer for the Holy Spirit to help him make Tony and Brad fall to their knees right there.

At school. During lunch hour. After being a Christian for one whole day and now listening to Christian Radio for one whole morning.


Take a quick break.


Have a smoke!

Where the fuck do I go for therapy for this?

such a mind fuck.

Page 63: The whole page is Jimmy attempting to proselytize to Tony and Brad who keep mocking him and making fun of him and Jimmy is struggling and wishing he was better at this like Dave Wright!

Page 64: More of Jimmy being teased because he sucks at witnessing to his friends who mock him to the point of near tears. He leaves the school cafeteria passing the kids from church Jack, Oscar, and Lucy who tried to call out to Jimmy to join them– because they’re the good kids– and Jimmy doesn’t hear them because he’s too upset.

Chapter 11

Page 65-68: Jimmy goes home and is still upset that Tony didn’t immediately become a Christian like he did and that it seemed the Holy Spirit hadn’t helped him at all when he prayed to have a successful witnessing session. Jimmy finds the bible his Grandma had given him and she had written,

“For Jimmy, Do not let people look down on you because you are young, but be to them an example in your speech and behavior, in your love and faith and sincerity. (1Tim 4:12) Love, Grandma B.”

This makes Jimmy think about Dyin’Grandma™ and how he wishes he could tell her that he’s a believer now. He decides to try praying for the first time and is interrupted by Donna who tells him that Jacob Wright is here to visit him. This entire book moves from point to point so fast it will make your head spin.

Jacob stopped by to check on Jimmy because his dad had run into Jack Davis who had blah blah blah and Jacob wanted to visit and check on Jimmy to help him understand that witnessing to people is hard. And the chapter concludes with Jacob explaining how hard it was his first time (these kids are both 10):

“Yeah,” Jacob confirmed. “I felt embarrassed and mad. And… I thought I might cry in front of everybody. It was terrible.”

Jimmy sat down on his bed next to Jacob. He looked intently at the brown-haired kid who didn’t talk much but came by at just the right time as if he had been sent by someone.

Jimmy realized he wasn’t alone after all. His wish-that-was-really-a-prayer had been answered.

They talked until dinnertime.

Was recently reading about how the tactic of street preaching is designed to result in failure and humiliation that forces believers back into the comfort and safety of the cult and here it is spelled out for kids where Jimmy realizes this kid he’s known for 2 whole days is now his new best friend sent by Jesus after the world humiliated him for proselytizing. Amazing.

Chapter 12

Page 69: The next day at school Jimmy finds Tony has written him a note mocking his new faith. Man, Tony sucks. None of my secular friends were ever that bad. Jimmy tries to eat lunch by himself to avoid mean Tony. But Tony and Brad find him and sit down at his table saying, “So, how’s the preaching Super Christian?” More insults. They call Jimmy “Saint James”…

Page 70: The harassment continues.

“He’ll wear a blue shirt with an S in the middle of it,” Tony said. “For Super Christian!” Then Tony sang the Superman theme and stretched out his arms as if he were flying around the table.

This shit is wild. So Jimmy tries to leave and Tony says “shouldn’t you pray before you go?” Jimmy manages to break free from these bastards and finds Jack Davis and Lucy outside at recess and tries to join them BUT–

Page 71: He hears a hissing sound and:

He turned around just as Tony and Brad, arms outstretched, raced around him like two Superboys. They hissed through their teeth to make it sound as if they were flying through the air.

“It’s Super Christian!” Tony announced. “Faster than a speeding Bible!”

And so they keep calling Jimmy “Super Christian” and he gets so mad HE TRIPS BRAD.

Page 72: Tony gets in Jimmy’s face rightly calling him out saying, “Super Christians aren’t supposed to make people trip.” So Jimmy feels like crying again and Tony can tell Jimmy wants to cry so he makes fun of him for needing to cry so Jimmy… *checks notes*… PUNCHES TONY IN THE NOSE.

George is driving Jimmy home from the Principal’s office wondering why on earth witnessing to someone leads to punching them. A question we ALL want to know.

Page 73: Jimmy says he was being teased and George doesn’t care. Jimmy doesn’t understand why Tony is treating him so mean when he’s not mean to other Christian kids at school and here we get a deep insight into what the problem is– remember the problem with Jimmy acting out IS NOT BECAUSE HIS GRANDMA IS DYING OF CANCER. It’s because:

“But the other Christian kids weren’t his best friend, were they?”


“Think about it, Jimmy. You were best friends, and suddenly you go through a change that Tony’s not a part of. Since then he’s been teasing you and picking on you, right?”…. George rubbed his chin. “I’m just guessing– and I’m not trying to excuse what you two have been doing to each other– but… isn’t it possible that Tony thinks you rejected him?

Page 74: Jimmy’s. mind. is. blown. And so George explains how Jimmy becoming a Christian might be too much for Tony and now he feels left out of Jimmy’s new amazing life. And Jimmy figures they could still be friends if Tony wouldn’t be a cunt– I’m paraphrasing here. And then we get this sage advice:

“I don’t know,” George said with a shrug of his shoulders. “Sometimes Christianity can tear friends– even families– apart.”

God is Love, eh? He then proceeds to ground Jimmy for 2 more weeks. And now Jimmy is mad that Tony has gotten him in trouble AGAIN. Fuck Tony. What a bastard.

Chapter 13

Page 75: So Jimmy gets home and has to go up to his room and he’s pissed and pacing around his room when his mom pokes her head to tell him that PASTOR DAVE LEFT YOU SOME READING MATERIAL.

Jimmy went to his desk. He wished he’d been there when Dave came. He needed to talk to Dave or Jacob. He frowned again and thought how stupid it was that Jacob was taught at home. If he’d been at school with Jimmy, he could have helped Jimmy deal with Tony and Brad.

They even sneak in a little homeschoolin’ reference! Pastor’s kids homeschool!

Page 76: A booklet called “Tips for new Christians” is on his desk. It says things like this:

“Purity is a vital part of the new Christian’s life,” the book said. “You need to be pure in what you see and hear and do. As a new believer, you don’t want to expose yourself to anything that will stunt your growth in Jesus. With a prayerful heart, look closely at the books you read, the television shows you watch, the music you listen to. Maybe it’s time to clean your house– and your soul– of risky un-Christian material.”

The target audience of AIO is 9-12 year olds, btw. So Jimmy sees the tapes in his stereo that Tony had played the night Jimmy got busted smoking.

He picked one up and thought about purity. This’ll stunt my growth in Jesus. Clenching the thin tape between his fingers, he angrily pulled it out of the case. It fell to the floor in ribbons.

It made Jimmy feel good. Pure, he thought.

He pulled the tape out of another cassette. And another. And another– until he had exhausted his own collection and wondered how pure his parent’s and sister’s collections were.

Holy shit Jimmy is not fucking around after being a Christian for 3 whole days. He will cleanse the world of blasphemous material. Only 49 more pages to go!

Page 77: So Jimmy cleanses the world– or his home of blasphemous material (while he’s supposed to be grounded). At first the family is confused as to when and how Jimmy destroyed Donna’s room. Because the narrative makes no sense. George is perplexed at what has gotten into Jimmy. And Jimmy says, “We don’t want anything in our house that will stunt our growth in Jesus, right?”

Look he’s only reading the book that a strange grown man left in his room which his parents had no problem with, right?

Page 78: So we learn that Jimmy tore down Donna’s posters, went through her books, and removed music… and then George reminds her how when she first became a christian she ALSO was overly enthusiastic and put bumper stickers all over their car HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. And how it’s total normal for new converts to lose their minds with enthusiasm and they need to balance that enthusiasm with consideration. Give Donna back her stuff, Jimmy. He explains all their stuff is in a box by the trash can.

Page 79: Yes, he cleansed and purged his parents belongings as well. “You guys really oughta be ashamed of yourselves.” Jimmy said.

Chapter 14:

Page 80: Back at school and Tony approaches Jimmy wanting to talk about what happened the day before.

Page 81: Yes, it’s mean ole Tony who is the one offering an apology instead of the Christian kid.

“Look,” Tony said. “I shouldn’t have teased you so much. It’s just that… well… I don’t get this Christian thing. That’s all.”

Dad was right, Jimmy thought. Tony acted like a jerk because he felt Jimmy was rejecting him–…

To bury the hatchet, Tony invites Jimmy to join him and Tim Ryan at the gazebo in McAlister Park. Tim is the kind of kid that brought bullets from his dad’s gun to show off once so you know how this is gonna end up. Jimmy reminds Tony that he is on restriction and has to go home. Tony gives him an alibi and Jimmy realizes this is the olive branch moment of repairing the friendship. Sooooooo….

Page 82: The Gazebo. Bum bum buuuuuuuuuuum. Tony and his friends are already there by the time Jimmy shows up. And shortly after arriving here comes Tim Ryan! And he’s got a bag filled with something whatever could it be?

“Did you get them?” Tony asked.

“Yeah!” Tim said. “My dad almost caught me, though.”

“What is it?” Jimmy asked.

“Here.” Tim opened the bag for everyone to look. Inside

were strings of firecrackers, a small rocket, matches, and a small can of lighter fluid.

“Great!” Tony said.

“What’s the lighter fluid for?” Cory Sleazak asked.

“Oh, just in case it’s too windy to light the fuses,” Tim answered. “I figured it’ll help keep everything burning.”

Tony took charge. “Gary, keep an eye out. We don’t wanna set these things off when somebody’s coming.”

“We’re setting them all off?” Jimmy asked.

Tony smiled and said, “Yeah! Fourth of July at the beginning of October!”

“The noise’ll make people come running. We’ll get in trouble.” Jimmy said.

Tony frowned at him. “Not if we light the fuse and run, you idiot. We’ll soak the long fuse in lighter fluid so it’ll burn while we run. Then we can watch the fireworks from the woods.” He turned to Tim and instructed, “Let’s get it going.”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Jimmy said, knowing full well that he would look like a party pooper.

“Quit being a spoilsport!” Cory said. “Or should we call you, Saint James?

“Shut up,” Tony snapped at Cory. “He’s not like that. Now come on, let’s put everything on the floor and get it ready.”

Jimmy watched silently as Tony and Tim stretched the string of firecrackers along the wooden floor, paying careful attention to the fuse.

“What should we do with the rocket?” Tim asked.

*Dave stares at camera*



I wondered at the beginning of the book if Tony was the character that was supposed to represent Corey Burton being a bad influence on me.

When I turned this page and read that name my blood went cold in a way I’ve never experienced.

Maybe this is a total coincidence and in no way did the author who was regularly throwing shade at Corey Burton for being a bad influence on me decide to name an antagonistic character PLAYING WITH FIRE… “CORY”… IN A BOOK INSPIRED BY MY SMOKING AND MENTAL HEALTH MELTDOWN.


Got to be.

Must be a total coincidence and in no way can a connection possibly be drawn to prove that what I was experiencing might have ACTUALLY BEEN HAPPENING.

The funny thing is…

Fucking Evangelicals™ don’t believe in coincidences, do they?

Doesn’t everything always happen for a reason, in EvangelicaltopiaLand™?

And yes… I waded through 83 pages of this garbage just to bring you that one tiny piece of evidence to bolster my claim that the production staff had a bee in their bonnet about L’il DaveyBoy™ and his smoking and hanging out with friends the staff didn’t approve of.

And maybe I’m wrong…

But you will never convince me of that at this point.

Page 84: This is the page where Jimmy and Tony and CORY decide to soak everything in lighter fluid to make certain it catches fire and they soak the floor boards of The Gazebo which is made of wood. The answer to every question on this page is “more lighter fluid” effectively. Amazing that the Cory character shows up in this particular scene where the kids are literally. playing. with. fire.

So they toss the match and run to the forest! They see smoke!

Holy Coincidental Metaphors, BadMan!

Page 85: Tony and Jimmy and Cory watch from woods as the first of the firecrackers start exploding. This is awesome! Then the rocket suddenly shoots up and spirals back into the Gazebo and EXPLODES! There’s smoke and they’re convinced the gazebo has now caught fire and will burn down. So… THEY RUN. Jimmy gets separated from his terrible friends in the commotion and the page ends with Jimmy thinking: The gazebo is going to burn down and it’s all my fault.

Page 86: So Jimmy runs home thinking maybe he should tell his parents. He’s upset. He’s near tears. He’s wondering what the Christian thing to do is now that he’s been a Christian for 3 whole days and is responsible for arson now. He arrives home and low and behold his entire family is there WITH PASTOR DAVE AND JACOB. Silent Jan is not with them this time. And just as Jimmy fears that they’re all gathered because they’ve heard he burned down the gazebo in McAlister Park… the truth bomb hits him: Grandma is getting worse. And they all have to leave right away to go visit her!

Chapter 15

Page 87: The whole family has to go to the hospital and they realize Jimmy doesn’t have any of his school books BECAUSE HE LEFT THEM AT THE GAZEBO THAT BURNED DOWN. He stalls and says he left them at school and his dad offers to take him there but thankfully PASTOR DAVE WRIGHT offers to drive Jimmy to go get his school books so he can do homework at the hospital while his Grandma dies.

Page 88: So Dave is going to take Jimmy to alleviate his parents being overwhelmed.

Dave hugged Mary, then George, then Donna. “God be with you,” he said.

“We’ll pray for you.”

“Thanks,” everyone muttered.

With a hand on each of their shoulders, Dave guided Jimmy and Jacob to the door. “I’ll have him back in a few minutes,” he said.

This mofo is waaaayyyyy too handsy with a 10 year old boy he just met 3 days earlier. But, it’s cool because he’s a pastor, right? What could possibly go wrong with trusting your kid to hang out with a pastor that’s love bombed him for 3 days straight? Sorry… there’s an impending death in the family to worry about.

In the car with Pastor Dave, Jimmy confesses where his books really are. At the gazebo. Pastor Dave suddenly realizes that Jimmy doesn’t know about his Dyin’Grandma™… he was crying for some other reason.

Page 89: They arrive to the gazebo and… it… has NOT burned down. And THERE’S JIMMY’S BOOKS. Just some charred bits of paper and some blast marks. But, otherwise no permanent damage. Phew. Until Pastor Dave notices the debris…

Page 90: Dave wants to know what happened and Jimmy feels compelled to tell this man EVERYTHING. Pastor Dave Wright wrightly tells Jimmy he needs to confess his sins to his parents. And that maybe he’ll have to pay for the damage he and his friends did to the gazebo and he should get his friends to help pay. That’s when Jimmy realizes that Tony isn’t a real friend and we get hit hard with the following lesson:

Dave stopped at a traffic light and studied Jimmy. “This isn’t unusual, you know. You’re going to have battles with your old friends. They’re going to want you to act like you always did, and you won’t be able to. It’ll cause a lot of conflict– more than you’ve had already. Jacob knows.”

Jimmy turned in the seat to look at Jacob, who sat in the back.

“My best friend wasn’t Christian,” Jacob said. “And he

Page 91:

“didn’t care when I became a Christian. But he thought I’d keep doing all the stuff we used to do, and I couldn’t. I mean, we weren’t bad kids, but everything changed. I wanted to do more things at church, and he wouldn’t come with me.”

“What happened?” Jimmy asked.

“He stopped being my friend,” Jacob said sadly.

“But Tony and I have been friends since the first grade!” Jimmy said. “I don’t have to stop being his friend just because I’m a Christian, do I?”

“If he expects you to do the kind of mischief you did today, how can you stay friends with him?” Dave asked.


And so Pastor Dave prays and Jimmy is envious that his prayers sound so amazing and he mentions this to Pastor Dave Wright who

Page 92: just laughs and reminds Jimmy he’s only been a Christian for a few days and he can’t be expected to do amazing prayers that fast. Slow down there, kiddo! And now Jimmy wishes he could be like Dave and Jacob and be as good of Christians as they are. But Dave checks him. Hey man… you don’t want to be like us because we’re imperfect.

“Don’t do this to us, Jimmy,” Dave said with a sudden seriousness. “Keep your eyes on Jesus. If you look at us, you’ll only be disappointed. We have problems; we make mistakes. Keep your eyes on the One who saved you, okay?”

(Two sentences later…)

He watched Dave and Jacob drive away. He had no idea it would be the last time he would see them.


Chapter 16

Page 93: The Barclays have a 4 hour drive ahead of them to go see Dyin’Grandma™. Jimmy decides this long car ride is the moment to confess to his parents about not burning down the gazebo. Mary is aghast. And George decides to increase Jimmy’s punishment AGAIN. Because clearly all the punishments are working so well at controlling Jimmy’s insane behavior at this time in his life WHEN HIS GRANDMA IS DYING. No link is ever made between Jimmy’s Grandma dying and any of his wacky shenanigans. Donna chirps in with the line “It seems you’re getting in more trouble now than you did before you became a Christian.”

Page 94: So many thoughts swirling around L’il BarclayBoy’s™ head that he drifts off to sleep only to awaken when his father tells him, “You have no idea how thankful to God I am for your newfound faith.” They arrive to Grandma’s house but she’s in the ICU.

Page 95: They decide who will sleep where and everyone agrees not to sleep in Grandma’s bed… just like Hal’s chair. And the next morning Grandma’s helper lady shows up to greet the fam. Telling them that Grandma had fallen with a sharp stomach pain because the cancer was cancerfying her and there’s nothing anything can be done SHE. IS. GOING. TO. DIE. and all we can do is pray. But Jimmy has doubts because none of his prayers have worked so far. So they all have to go to the hospital. Jimmy is not cool with hospitals.

Page 96: They walk to Grandma’s bed where she’s dying of The Cancer and she looks super old and has tubes and wires sticking out of her and while they’re all staring at her decrepit ass, Jimmy thinks back– I shit you not– to the pamphlet Pastor Dave gave him called “If you were to die tonight” and it’s as he’s thinking of the reality of deathification that Grandma Barclay opens her fucking eyes and says

“Where’s Jimmy?” Jimmy moved toward the bed so she could see him.

“Ah,” she coughed. “I knew it would happen. I always knew it.”

Page 97: “I’ve been praying for you since before you were born. I knew you would meet the Lord. I prayed every day.” And then Grandma weakly says there are things she wants to tell Jimmy but she’s just feeling too damn weak and so everyone ushers themselves out of the room so Dyin’Grandma™ can get more sleep. Jimmy chills in the waiting room until she wakes up again. Donna and Mom go to the mall for reasons. Grandma is now awake and she wants to see Jimmy.

Page 98: Jimmy hangs out with Grandma who is so very very happy that Jimmy is a Christian now. She has so much she wants to tell him but unfortunately there’s not much time left BeCaUsE sHe Is DyInG. Jimmy says he’s praying for her and she says it’s good he needs to be praying all the time about everything always.

Page 99: Jimmy begs Grandma to get better. That it’s not fair for her to die of cancer right as he went to all the effort to become a Christian. Grandma says “you don’t need me. You need Jesus.” Jimmy thinks this isn’t fair and a core theme appears here where Grandma says that “Nothing in this world is fair or easy” and that something something something God is good and then Grandma closes her eyes and Jimmy thinks she’s died BUT NO SHE’S STILL WITH US. She whispers, “You want to meet Jesus? Well, sometimes the Lord

Page 100: “has to strip everything away from us before we can truly meet Him. And sometimes it really hurts….” And Grandma talks about how God has to strip us down and give us a good scrubbing– like Jimmy in the bathtub– so that he can remake us in His image and make us new.

“Oh Jimmy,” his grandmother said, and he saw a small tear slip from her eye and slide down her temple. “I’m so happy for you… all the adventures you have ahead of you. I’ll be watching…”

She closed her eyes again. Her grip on Jimmy’s hand relaxed completely– and let go.


Page 101: The family is having dinner with Uncle Donald and Aunt Gwen and Mary decides to call George back at the hospital because reasons so she goes to a 1995 pay phone at the restaurant and everybody is watching her and they can tell she’s receiving bad news, she returns to the table to tell everyone Grandma died 10 minutes ago. Fuckity fuck fuck.

Chapter 17

Page 102: Jimmy is bored staying at Grandma’s retirement village home while preparations are being made for the funeral and all sorts of people are coming and going. There’s not even anything decent to watch on tv. Poor Jimmy.

He tried to watch television on grandma’s portable black-and-white, but she didn’t have cable, and the aerial only picked up three snowy channels.

^ Because grandma is a RealChristian™ and doesn’t care about TV. This radio empire is definitely upset by television.

Page 103: Jimmy and the fam go to the viewing of the body. That’s the whole page. Donna doesn’t want to see the body; Jimmy does.

Page 104: Jimmy stares at grandma’s waxy corpse and thinks it doesn’t really look like her. George explains that’s because it’s the shell that used to contain her and that she’s not in that crusty old body anymore. Jimmy pats her hand and tells her to tell Jesus hi for him.

The funeral begins and Jimmy feels it’s a strange mixture of sadness and happiness.

Page 105: George tells the congregation that, “Our loss is heaven’s gain.” Jimmy starts crying and is flooded with all the myriad thoughts of a 10 year old boy who just became a Christian a week ago, beat up his friend– who isn’t really a friend, had an intense 4 day relationship with a charismatic preacher and his son who magically vanished, and now his grandma has died and the only thing she cared about in her last moments was Jimmy’s soul. What. a. fucking. week. And now Jimmy is depressed:

His mood sank to self-pity.

^ that’s literally the line.

Jimmy’s mood sank to self-pity BECAUSE HIS GRANDMA DIED. It’s so bizarre how Christians treat emotions. It’s baked into the entire cake. And these little word combos knowing that the person who wrote this knew some level of what I was struggling with. And this is the takeaway. They can’t even use the word depressed ffs.

And now he’s so upset he starts fighting with Donna in the back seat stealing her headphones and pushing her. George yells at them “This is tough enough without you two acting like babies!”

Page 106: George is so upset he breaks down into tears and Jimmy realizes he can’t remember ever seeing his father crying. And Donna blames him for being the reason that everybody is sad. It’s all his fault. Not Grandma dyin’.

“Jimmy felt awful for being so selfish.”

It’s a greatest hits of every awful thing FuckingEvangelicals™ always say about Depression.

Chapter 18

Page 107: FFS will this never end? Jimmy and fam are getting ready for church. Mary is worried that people will bother them too much. Jimmy can’t wait to see his new BFFs Dave and Jacob! He has so many question to ask them about his grandma dying. And what to do with Tony…

Page 108: The Barclay family got into the car and drove to church for what should have been a normal service. It wasn’t.

Jimmy is looking everywhere for Dave and Jacob and can’t find them and nobody knows where they are.

Page 109: So George goes to ask Tom Riley who surely knows the scuttlebutt. Jimmy sits with his mom in the church and here comes George who looks concerned. Jimmy wants to know what’s wrong. We get half a page of wait til later and then finally this doozy of an answer for a book aimed at 10 year old fucking kids…

“Do you remember Jan? Dave’s wife?”

Page 110:

“She wasn’t happy. Do you understand? She didn’t like being a minister’s wife. So she left them right after we went to see Grandma. Rather than put the church through a difficult time, Dave and Jacob went back to Dave’s family in California.”

So to avoid church gossip Dave moved without telling anyone. Good Lord this book is exhausting.

Chapter 19

Page 111: George realizes Jimmy has had a rough week and offers to give him a reprieve from his restriction telling Jimmy to use his new found freedom to take or walk or maybe go pray like most 10 year old kids would do.

Page 112: So Jimmy decides to take a walk and he can’t stop thinking about his friend Tony. And how alone he feels with everything that’s happening. And how he had to consider did he even want to be a Christian anymore if it meant he couldn’t be friends with Tony. Maybe he could tell everyone he had changed his mind. Suddenly…

Page 113: He finds himself back at the gazebo in McAlister Park. And as he’s staring at the gazebo contemplating his complicated life, suddenly Tony appears! Tony had stopped by the house and been told Jimmy was walking and off restriction. Jimmy laments to Tony what a shitty week it’s been and how he didn’t expect it all to be this bad.

Page 114: So Jimmy laments that this new Christian life is difficult. And Tony encourages Jimmy to quit and says that nothing good has come of his new Christian life– heck he didn’t use to punch Tony until he became a Christian. Tony recommends un-joining the new club. And Tony mentions that people are calling Jimmy a tattletale. Because…

Page 115: All the kids got in trouble for the fireworks at the gazebo because Jimmy ratted them out. And Jimmy admits that he told Dave and his parents and Tony explains how Dave had played racquetball with one of their dads and had ratted them all out because Jimmy had told him. So Dave is a rat. A soon to be divorced rat who can no longer be a pastor, btw. And now the other friends of Tony suddenly appear. Including Cory.

Out of the corner of his eye, Jimmy saw Gary walk around from behind the gazebo. Then Tim came around the other side. Cory stepped out from behind a tree and headed toward them. Jimmy didn’t know for certain what they planned to do, but he figured it wouldn’t be very nice.

“Look, Jimmy,” Tony said, “as long as you wanna keep playing the religious nut and getting us into trouble, we don’t want to be your friend anymore, okay?”

And Jimmy realizes he has a pivotal decision to make. He can agree to quit his religiousness and get his friends back OR… he has to choose Jesus and lose his shitty friends.

Page 116: So Jimmy decides to run. He runs into the forest but they jump on him and start kicking his ass. That’s right, his former best friend is beating him up because he’s a narc Christian! And then suddenly, an adult appears and the kids scatter and the mysterious adult helps Jimmy to his feet and a dazed Jimmy doesn’t fully grasp who’s helping him… why it’s John Avery Whittaker!! What were the fucking odds?!?

Chapter 20

Page 117: Mr Whittaker sanctimoniously tells Jimmy that he never opens Whit’s End on Sundays– just like Chik-Fil-A– but that he’d make an exception to get Jimmy some ice for his wounds.

Page 118: And it’s here where Whit calls George to come get Jimmy and while they wait Jimmy starts talking about how his friends beat him up because he became a Christian. And how since he’s become a Christian everything has gone wrong. His grandma died. Dave got divorced. His friends kicked his ass. It’s been a shitty week for L’ilBimmyBoy™.

Page 119: And Mr Whittaker asks Jimmy what did he expect would happen now that he’s a Christian? Well, Jimmy thought shit would get better. Ah… that’s the typical bullshit that most newbie Christians think, say Ye Olde Whit. So if it’s so bad to be a new Christian… why doesn’t Jimmy fuckin’ quit? Is Mr Whittaker encouraging Jimmy to stop being a Christian… or is this some Jedi reverse psychology shit?

Page 120: The Whit is challenging Jimmy to understand why he became a Christian. Was it to please his parents? Jimmy thought Jesus would maybe do some cool stuff and make life a little better. And Whit makes clear that Jimmy becoming a Christian is NOT why his Grandma died (that probably woulda happened anyway)… but Whit also thinks everything IS connected. This is the kind of mental gymnastics so common in these realms.

Page 121: Whit gives Jimmy the pitch that God loves you so much he sent Jesus to be Jesusy but that just because Jesus comes inside you– yes I know what I wrote– doesn’t mean that any of this is gonna be easy. In fact, sometimes in this process we’re going to make all these mistakes and now the final theme of the book I inspired is being revealed:

“Here’s the next part,” Whit continued. “Jesus’ death didn’t come easily, and neither does our change. It’s a struggle, a battle, against all the things inside us that want everything to stay the way it was. That’s why we make a lot of mistakes. We do things we know better than to do. Our family might get annoyed at us. And I’m not surprised that your friends have turned against you, though I’m a little surprised they went as far as to knocking you around. They want to keep you the way that you were. But Jesus is inside you now and wants you to fight to be more and more like Him. Are you still with me?”

It’s all so fucking easy when Jesus is inside you.

Page 122: And then we get this theme about God stripping away the old you and forming you into a better new thang. And that even though Jimmy might feel alone because he lost his old friends… he still has his FAMILY. And God is there for Jimmy. AND HIS NEW CHRISTIAN FRIENDS. AND WHIT. All the Jesus people will be there for him. And his words remind Jimmy of what his Grandma had said. And we’ve come full circle with Jesus inside us. Whit ends with, “Remember Jimmy… God never takes anything out of our lives unless he’s going to replace it with something else–…”

^ every single group of people mentioned here completely failed me as a mental health patient. INCLUDING MR WHITAKER.

Chapter 21

Page 123: Jimmy is at school sitting by himself at lunch. He sees Tony across the room and realizes he’ll never be friends with Tony ever again. And it’s right at this moment that Jack Davis from Church™ shows up and notices that Jimmy has some bruises and looks like he’s been beaten up.

Page 124: And as Jack Davis from Church™ asks Jimmy about his face and laments with Jimmy about the awful week Jimmy had and what a shitty friend Tony was that Jimmy realizes… maybe Jack Davis from Church™ is the person that’s going to replace his shitty old friend in Tony. Of course, nobody could ever replace Tony… BUT MAYBE GOD HAD BROUGHT JIMMY A NEW FRIEND.

Page 125: And it’s at this moment that Jack Davis from Church™ tells Jimmy that he has been hesitant to accept Christ as his savior even though he goes to the same church Jimmy does. And so the book I inspired concludes with Jimmy proselytizing to Jack Davis– his new bestie– about how awesome it is when Jesus comes inside you.

Aaaaaaaaand scene.


Reading this book and seeing in print so many of the arguments that were used against me during this time in my life. See, I wouldn’t be having problems with Depression IF I WOULD JUST ACCEPT JESUS INTO MY LIFE.

Except… I did that a billion times.

And it wasn’t helping.

Then there’s the theory that perhaps my parents weren’t punishing me enough. This idea that Fucking Evangelicals™ have that what’s really needed to correct bad behavior is to punish someone.

And I could imagine someone seeing a 16-17 year old kid breakin’ the law and smoking cigarettes and you might think to yourself, “That kid needs an ass whooping. I’d set that kid right. No kid of mine would be allowed to behave like blah blah blah…”

But here’s the thing.

I was punished.


Waaaaaaay more than any other kids I ever grew up with.

My siblings and I were constantly grounded. Constantly stuck working off punishments.

When I was 9… I was whipped with a belt by a grown man because my 7 year old sibling played with a candle and nearly started a fire. And I was held to be the one who was responsible and not the teenage babysitter my parents had hired to look after us.

I. was. whipped. with. a. belt.

Later I would be caned with bamboo for other minor crimes.

Punishment was a regular part of my FuckingEvangelical™ childhood because my Religious Parent READ FOCUS ON THE FAMILY PARENTING BOOKS.

Well, I’m sure that corporal punishment on kids leads to quality outcomes later in life–

Oh shit <–link

Depression and anxiety and bad mental health and struggles in school.

Dammit, Dobson.

And so what you are seeing is not a bad kid rebelling, but probably a dedicated Christian kid whose brain was destroyed by an abusive system of parenting that this propaganda organization is pushing on children and families.

Punishing me isn’t going to solve the problem… PUNISHING ME CAUSED THE PROBLEM.

Notice how many times I’ve written in this blog HOW I WAS ALWAYS WORRIED ABOUT GETTING INTO TROUBLE?

I AM the poster child for the Dobsonian system of high control religious cults and the damage they do to children and how that fucks up your life later.

This blogject was created to share with the world how I believe I was utilized by a Christian Nationalist Propaganda effort to be the poster kid for the White Evangelical American Family.

I submit to you that what has happened to me is that I AM– IN FACT– the poster child for the American White Evangelical Family when all these corrupt teachings wreck the children they are designed to raise up.

And the people that pimp these systems can’t ever believe that they are wrong.

This is a trait common with Narcissism– which I believe is at the core of so many of these cults. They are narcissistic by design because the people that create them are narcissists. And we will learn more about NPD in the next sections of this blogject.

A common behavior in NPD theory is DARVO.

Victim &

And one of the common themes I experienced for decades amongst the Fucking Evangelicals™ is how they are convinced that all of my problems are entirely my own fault and can not in anyway possible be blamed on the systems I was raised in and the parenting techniques these parenting-technique-teaching-organizations sold to well-intentioned parents desperate to keep their kids safe in an ever-changing world that these parents were constantly propagandized to be afraid of.

And so a theme begins to emerge in my life and is echoed in the character that had been created for me.

Prodigal Dave.

My struggles with mental health and substance abuse and bad behavior… it’s because I’ve strayed from the Lord. Not because I’m suffering a mental health crisis by being gaslit by my parents and a production company that was using me to sell a product around the world for decades while everyone pretended this was some kind of after school hobby and any time I asked for any kind of basic feedback I’d be given a pat on the head and told to go back to school and stop dreaming about being an actor, kid…

And then when the shit hits the fan and your adorable L’ilDaveyBoy™ becomes a TroubledTeen™ does anybody self-reflect? Naaaaaaaah. How could these noble Christians filled with Ye Holy Spirit ever be wrong about anything?

This is the shit sandwich narrative I’ve had to eat for 30 years as a former evangelical who became a mental health patient.

I’m not suffering from abuse…. I’m a Prodigal.

And once I realize what a shitty sinner I am, I can come running back into the arms of all the Fucking Evangelicals™ who shunned me. So long as I return on their terms.

Just like the parable of the Prodigal Son.

I have had to live under this crap for 3 decades while Fucking Evangelicals™ literally destroy everything in my world.

This is how everybody sees me in EvangelicaltopiaLand™

A Sinner.

An Apostate.

A Lost Cause.

A Prodigal.

They beat ya up, and then force you to heal yourself.

How do you think that’s gonna turn out in the long run?

Am I the outlier here?

Or have all White Fucking Evangelicals™ developed some rather depressing and suicidal and self-harming behaviors lately?

Especially with the way you all vote (and pandemic responses).

Did this system create good and noble people who make the world a better place?

Or are White Fucking Evangelicals™– who had their asses kicked and abused by authoritarian adults all their lives in high control cults– now bowing down to an abusive authoritarian con artist because they’ve been convinced that the world is coming to an end by an apocalyptic political cult and their propaganda industry whispering into the ears of generations of FuckingPilgrimSuburbanAnchorBabies™?

If that’s not suicidal behavior I don’t know what is.


I see how this is.

You all wanted me to be the L’ilPosterBoy™ for the White Evangelical Movement?

And I failed you.

And now You want me to wear the crown of The Prodigal to prove that I’m the toxic one and not You?

Be careful what You wish for.

“The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.”

– African Proverb

Fucking Evangelicals™



red hats








first draft

March 20 2024 5:14 AM

15 responses to “After Credit Bonus Scene: The Prodigal Pt. 3, Pt. 2”

  1. Your posts leave me feeling wrung out and hung up to dry … but in a good way, because I feel cleaner now.

    Also, I’m sure you already know this, but sometimes it helps to be reminded. Questioning if you have really been abused is a classic behavior of survivors. Maybe he didn’t mean it … Was it really that bad … Am I imagining things … yeah.

    • Oof damn good point. THIS IS WHY I NEED FEEDBACK. Sometimes others can see the forest through the trees when my nose is too close to the bark.

      This stuff puts me through the wringer, too! It took 5 days to transcribe that stupid book and 3 months to get all the materials in place while the whole thang hangs over my head… I’m such a moody person when one of these posts gets lodged in the twerking brain lobes.

      And then when it finally is purged and posted, comes the part where I hold my breath and see if I’ve achieved the goal of whether any of this resonates with others or if I’m lost in the labyrinth of my own experience.

      Your fast comment was a gift to my psyche after waiting another 2 days to post this after I wrote it. This post made me nervous lol. Thank you for your contribution to the conversation 🙂

  2. I have this book (got it used, don’t worry). Only read it once. The writing is…NotGreat. Unrealistic timing is pretty typical of this type of trashy kids book so I won’t deduct points for that. PastorDave is a creep and I wouldn’t be surprised if SilentJan left for…other reasons. The lack of grief/acknowledgement of DEATH is far from healthy. Bathtub/towel scene is weird–Is that the same writer who wrote that one episode where one of Jimmy’s parents (I think George although it could be Mary) has a SeriousConversation with him while he’s taking a bath? (Also what 10yo takes baths? have we heard of this thing called a SHOWER???)

    • I was trying to remember which episode and which writer because isn’t this the SECOND TIME WE’VE HAD JIMMY IN THE BATHTUB?!?

      And if it WAS the same writer (who was making it seem that Corey was grooming me)… one has to wonder about the projection of intent, eh?

      No wonder my mental health got destroyed by this crowd.

      Who pays for this therapy bill lol?

        • The THOT Plickens!!!

          And this dude ALWAYS threw shade at Corey for his proximity to me.

          Was also the writer I used to be pen pals with. Fascinating.

          Really not trying to call individuals out… rather let their own work call themselves out.


      This is why I can barely cope with Christian media. All those Christian movies where everything works out perfectly in the end?!

      They’re so concerned with getting across both the salvation message and the message that God works everything out, they don’t bother with realism. What about the very real situations we live where everything isn’t working out? Where it takes years to work out? Where maybe we never quite see what the purpose was, so to our eyes, it looks like it never worked out? What about the situations that are so awful, a writer would struggle to find any good or purpose at all? What about all the real people who can’t identify with what they see in Christian media—or worse, like Jimmy, end up thinking everything will work out great once they become a Christian?

      I mean, I guess the book scores some points for not telling its readers everything will work out perfectly?


  3. “Remember Jimmy… God never takes anything out of our lives unless he’s going to replace it with something else–…”

    What absolute nonsense. More than that, it’s offensive. Did the person who wrote that never truly lose anything in his life? A parent? A child? A dream? The idea that any of those things can just be replaced is appalling. That’s one reason I’ve always struggled with the story of Job. Is he supposed to think his replacement children make up for the ones he lost? Even the of a friend cannot be made up by making a new friend.

    The rest of my thoughts on this are so mixed up with my own experiences that I can’t make sense of them yet.

    Thank you, once again, for putting yourself out there. You are a valuable voice in my journey to make sense of what I was taught and what I believe now, and I am so grateful.

  4. … I need a shower after reading that book breakdown.

    Dave Wright definitely is one of those pastors who years later, you read some news report about, think of his past and realize it checks out.

  5. My brain is a bit overwhelmed by this and I don’t have a coherent response, just a few notes and scattered thoughts, long though they have turned out to be. I will say at the outset that this is a gorgeous post among gorgeous posts, and I think your analysis is pretty much spot-on. There is so much that is bonkers in this book, and yet it’s so familiar to me. And as you say, I cannot fathom what it must be like to be in your head reading this book.

    I should also note that I write this as someone who still loves Jesus, even though some of the variants of Christianity I was exposed to as a child have required a lot of untwisting of my mind.

    So: notes.

    The purity section is extremely similar to the plot of 1992’s episode #180, “Isaac the Pure”. I guess it’s a common-enough experience to 10-year-old converts that it would statistically happen to two different characters? Truth be told, I spent my teen years perpetually concerned that the music I preferred did not honour God. I re-dubbed mix tapes (yes, I am that old) from my friends to cut out the curse words, but I still had a constant, dim background drumbeat of worry that I wasn’t committed enough.

    Speaking of those friends, I was bullied plenty as a child, but I think the role my faith played was mostly my misguided understanding of turning the other cheek, so that I was silently miserable and did not seek help. After the horrors of middle school were behind me, my actual friends gently teased me about my upright behavior from time to time (or they simply classified me as straight-edge) but they were never cruel and they rarely if ever tried to convince me to do anything I didn’t want to do. It’s so weird when non-Christians are portrayed like Tony & his buds. I just don’t see it.

    More significantly, the place I grew up, at the time I grew up, was basically homogeneously Christian in culture, so there were the small minority of kids like me who took it really seriously, and the rest who vaguely believed but didn’t really care much. Anti-Christianity was not really a thing. Would Odyssey ca. 1995 be that different? I can think of one strategic reason it would be.

    Another note:
    It is well known that Odyssey writers, and especially this book’s author, are ginormous fans of CS Lewis. I also deeply admire many things about CS Lewis, even if I am not in agreement on all points. The book he wrote about his wife’s death was extremely helpful to me in a difficult time.

    Anyway, the painful scrubbing thing comes directly from Lewis, most memorably with Eustace un-becoming a dragon in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (kind of a cool scene?), but more weirdly in this real-life episode from the years before Lewis got married and especially before he lost his own wife and confronted it with gutting honesty in A Grief Observed. It’s in Sheldon Vaunaken’s book about his friendship with Lewis.

    Excerpted from

    “C.S. Lewis writes to Sheldon after his wife’s death saying, ‘you have been treated with a severe mercy’ (210).

    Sheldon comes to realize that in a strange way God’s permission of his beloved wife’s death was a severe mercy towards him. He realizes that his faith and trust in God was an inch deep at best and that his wife’s death forced him to turn to Christ for strength rooting him in his love, a severe mercy indeed.”

    I read Sheldon’s book as a teenager and was terrified for years that God would take away everything I loved most dearly because my faith was shallow. I tend to think post-1960 Lewis would recant his letter.

    So much for my exegesis of the literary and theological classic Point of No Return. (As an aside, reading these books gives a new appreciation of how much the voice actors add to the show’s quality, even though the writing for Odyssey is well above average for its genre.)

    I would also make the conjecture that the author might have felt he was being forward-minded in describing genuine challenges in the life of a new Christian rather than making the bath scene the climax, as it were. Even though it’s clumsy (this author loves wild, dramatic scenarios), the general posture that Christianity doesn’t magically fix everything is something that I have always appreciated about Odyssey, minor and major qualms aside.

    And I wonder whether this book was in part a wish that things would go better for you.

    I don’t write that in denial of the real hurts and harms that were inflicted on you or the utter incapability and – much worse – unwillingness of the Christian Industrial Complex to offer you or others any genuine support. It’s just so indicative of the system that turns people (mostly men, I think) of a certain personality type into authoritative authoritarians who view struggles as character flaws and punishment as the solution. Hello, right-wing economic, social, and justice platforms.

    One minor point where I am not sure I agree is your description of Jimmy as depressed, even though I think the overall argument you make in that discussion is tragically accurate and I don’t meant to preach to you about depression. What I think Jimmy is experiencing is SADNESS. Natural, appropriate sadness. One thing that helps sadness turn into depression, though (of depression’s many causes and factors), is denying it and blaming yourself for it. Or having others do so on your behalf, i.e. Jimmy’s World. Dave Wright’s World.

    Dave, I am so happy every time a new post appears, partly because it proves you are still writing, partly because it is a guaranteed good read, and partly because I know it will productively unsettle me for days. Thank you, again, for your work.

  6. Ugh. Having your voice-over commentary to this piece of toxic rubbish brings more clarity. And revulsion to FOTF, and AIO.
    Thanks, Dave, for your work on this. THanks for putting it together and sharing.
    I hope you can truly KNOW that you’re not alone. We believe you. Your voice matters.

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