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Actually, the "Left Behind" series is not the first set of book(s) that depict the 
Christian belief of the anti-Christ coming and those who are "left behind" must 
live through the tribulation that follows.  I can remember in the 1970's a 
paperback book (can't remember the name of it now) that was about this topic and it 
was fiction--- a best-seller at the time (it wasn't "The Late, Great Planet 
Earth"...but something else).
The United Nations was in this book also but the organization had re-assembled 
under a new "world order" and was addition, there was a "head leader" 
of the Order that everyone seemed to trust to lead the nations...on his desk was a 
plaque that read..."Things Change Prayer"...which is the opposite of the Christian 
motto that states: "Prayer Changes Things."  
I remember reading the book and trying to figure out how the adult characters would 
survive the problems that they were facing during the tribulation (at the time it 
included strange concepts such as ....barcodes on the foreheads or right hands of 
individuals which would allow them to purchase items such as food, clothing, or 
other items those who did not take the mark would not be able to "do business" or 
make monetary transactions (a symbol suggested to align with the Biblical 
prophecies of "the mark of the Beast" or the "devil.")  As the book continued, 
there were many characters that were involved in different levels of belief  but I 
realized that the UN leader WAS the "villain" or the "anti-Christ" in the book 
after I figured out the code...."Things Change Prayer".....each word was made of up 
of 6 letters...Things (6)  Change (6)  Prayer (6) the anti-Christ was hiding 
(in plain sight) behind a sign on his desk that symbolized HIS numeric 
code....666....or the Devil.
I was about 13 years old when I read the book and it obviously had an impact on 
both me and my memory... but it was a great book that I enjoyed reading because it 
dealt with religious beliefs, futuristic ideas, mysterious problems, and a pretty 
good ending.  I see the Left Behind series and think that there really isn't much 
difference in what they've presented....they've just extended the story, added more 
characters, and made it feel like you're living through The Tribulation as you 
continue to eagerly read the books to learn what is going to happen next.
I have the series in our well as The DaVinci Code...and numerous other 
religious-related titles (in non-fiction too).  I'm open to suggestions from 
parents, students and staff for ideas on these types of additions to our 
collection.  It's all about community standards and not what people in NEW YORK 
CITY think....after all, I'm in TEXAS (and it ain't the same here as it is thar, if 
ya haven't noticed yit!)    I think the books fill a need and despite the critic's 
remarks or comments....I still have them.  
(You should see my "fair and balanced" government section....Sean Hannity, Al 
Frankin, Dick Morrison, Ann Coulter, Tommy Franks....and the list continues!) <g>
Shonda Brisco, MLIS
Trinity Valley MS / US Librarian
Trinity Valley School
Fort Worth, TX  76132
817-321-0100 ext. 410
"Those who have the highest expectations for the web in terms of student research, 
are those who work
with it, and students, the least."  -- LM_NET librarian


From: School Library Media & Network Communications on behalf of edward nizalowski
Sent: Fri 1/21/2005 3:21 PM
Subject: [LM_NET] Gen: Left Behind Series (commentary - a bit long)

        I had a student mention this series early in the year.  Anytime a student 
mentions a book of some kind, it presents a lead that you definitely want to 
pursue.  I accidentally came across a reference to the series in the 
Labor-Community Reporter (December 2004) published by Opportunities for Broome 
(Broome County, NY).  The author was quoting Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times:

        "According to Kristof, these books tell how the born-again Jesus will 
return to earth to destroy the Hindus, Muslims, Jews, certain unborn-again 
Protestants, Unitarians, of course the agnostic's, and yes, even the Catholics, 
(notwithstanding the Bishop's recent tilt to the Political Right in favor of our 
best known born-again living in the White House), by throwing them all into an 
everlasting fire pit."

        Since both the Labor-Community Reporter and the New York Times are left of 
center, I checked into some websites for other views.  Here are some other opinions:

Fundamentally unsound
Left Behind, the bestselling series of paranoid, pro-Israel end-time thrillers, may 
sound kooky, but America's right-wing leaders really believe this stuff.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Michelle Goldberg
"Left Behind cloaks itself in the conventions of ordinary airport thrillers, but it 
does far more than just provide a Christian alternative to decadent mainstream 
entertainment. It creates a Christian theory of everything, one that slates current 
events into a master narrative in which the world is destroyed and then remade to 
evangelical specifications. It's an alternate universe in which conservative Middle 
Americans are vindicated against everyone who doesn't share their beliefs -- 
especially liberals and Jews.
"There's nothing wrong with that. Everyone is entitled to their fantasies. But 
LaHaye and Jenkins are at pains to show that the Left Behind books are meant as 
more than fiction. They write on the Left Behind Web site 
<>, 'While it is true that in the broad spectrum of 
Protestant Christianity there are multiple views of the end-times scenario, the 
pre-millennialist theology found in the Left Behind Series is the prominent view 
among evangelical Christians, including their leading seminaries such as Talbot 
Seminary, Trinity Seminary and Dallas Theological Seminary.'
"So the rest of us can ignore Left Behind, or chuckle at its over-the-top Christian 
kitsch. We should keep in mind, though, that for some of the most powerful people 
in the world, this stuff isn't melodrama. It's prophecy."

A comment from Wesley Clark, found on this website:

                "Now, there's one party in America that's made the United Nations 
the enemy. And I don't know how many of you have ever read that series of books 
that's published by the Christian right that's called the 'Left Behind' series? 
Probably nobody's read it up here. But don't feel bad, I'm not recommending it to 
you. I'm just telling you that according to the book cover that I saw in the 
airport, 55 million copies have been printed. And in it, the Antichrist is the 
United Nations. And so there's this huge, ill-informed body of sentiment out there 
that's just grinding away against the United Nations."

                Apologetics Index

                        "A seminary professor who has delved into the Book of 
Revelation believes the "Left Behind" fiction series has some positive points but a 
raft of faulty theology.
                        Loren Johns, academic dean at Associated Mennonite Biblical 
Seminary in Elkhart, Ind., told a Feb. 28 convocation at Bethel College that the 
popular end-times books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins 'exude an evangelical 
warmth and passion that I find encouraging.'
                        At the same time, he said, because of the consumerist, 
militaristic values expressed, 'I view the series as a rejection of the good news 
of Christ.'
                        Johns believes the popularity of the series, and the 
public's penchant for end-times prophecy, spring from a basic misreading of 
                        Source: Professor critiques 'Left Behind' books 
<> <<ole0.bmp>>  <<ole1.bmp>>  By 
Robert Rhodes, Mennonite Weekly Review

        The publishers of Apologetics Index reject the end-time theology promoted 
by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins.

                It would seem to me that the Left Behind series in not in the 
tradition of Christian literature as written by C. S. Lewis, Lloyd Douglas or 
Morris West.  I see no problem in having literature that promotes a particular 
religious view or is meant to attract new converts, but if the philosophy crosses 
the line into bigotry and/or superiority, this becomes another issue.  Here is 
where your selection criteria can become very critical.
                        Although our school's selection policy is quite old and 
needs to be updated, such matters are addressed.  The New York State Education 
Department has this reference that is applicable: "Biased or slanted materials may 
be provided only to meet specific curriculum objectives".  This is from a 
publication that probably dates from the early 1980's. 
                        The school's internet policy, formulated relatively 
recently,  is more specific.  Students or staff are not allowed to "access, 
transmit, or retransmit material which advocates or promotes violence or hatred 
against particular individuals or groups of individuals or advocates or promotes 
the superiority of one racial group over another."  This same criteria should apply 
to any other media as well.
                        Not having read any of these books, I have to withhold 
final judgment, but I do have to question whether novels of this type belong on the 
shelves of a public school library. 

                Ed Nizalowski, SMS
                Newark Valley High School
                Newark Valley, NY

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