Part two of two; click here to read part one.

Fabio's supportive females
While evangelicals may be ambivalent about the body of Christ, they are less hesitant when it comes to the bodies of Christians. These characters would feel right at home on the covers of romance novels. Meier describes one of his main protaganists as "a six-foot-four-inch blond Nordic weight lifter" (imagine Fabio explaining prophecy) and his girlfriend with "striking blue eyes. Any possible plumpness was poured into a figure that clearly held [Nordic] Jimmy's full attention." Another woman is petite, though "her figure lacked nothing in maturity." Robertson's Lori is "tanned" with a "flawless complexion … blonde … light blue eyes … striking," not to mention "cheerful and upbeat," while Pastor Jack is "a tall, powerfully built man in his early seventies with gray hair pulled back into a pony tail." LaHaye/Jenkins are more perfunctory, settling for such generic descriptions as "drop-dead gorgeous" and "a young Robert Redford."

One gets the impression that the six-feet-plus males who populate these novels reflect a deep-rooted insecurity about Christian manhood. Left Behind has an unraptured-but-soon-converted character, Rayford, describe this ambivalence through his former attitudes toward his raptured son: "He didn't have the killer instinct, the 'me first' attitude Rayford thought he would need to succeed in the real world. He wasn't effeminate, but Rayford had worried that he might be a mama's boy—too compassionate, too sensitive, too caring." The implied question these novels raise is, how can we be tough and independent and be like Jesus? No father of school-aged children—a role that calls for the soft virtue of ...

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