insight is sometimes worth a life's experience."
~~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
I'm starting this from a cruise ship docked outside Ketchikan,
Alaska. Just waiting for my family to wake up! So
this issue is short because it's due the morning after I get
back in town. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy.
ETA: Ha. Yeah... So now I'm home
and it didn't end up being that short. But it does only
have one "feature" and I tend to try to have at least two per
issue except when there's a lengthy story. Oh well.
Too jet lagged to do anything about that. I hope you like
rambling cause there's plenty of it below!
JABB's Angel Rules Part II
So back in JABB
369, I introduced JABB's own version of the "Angel
Rules." The backstory is thus: Martha Williamson and her
team of writers decided on several rules that they'd carry
throughout TBAA regarding the angels and what they could and could
not do. I then expanded upon those, creating new ones to
address situations specific to JABB. So now I'd like to get
to a handful more. As I said before, these are "rules" I use
for writing JABB stories. I do feel they're in keeping with
TBAA but, as always, people may disagree.
To start, here's an addendum on the
question of can angels be ill or injured?
In 369, I wrote that I wasn't decided on if angels could be harmed
while in their own (not human) form. Well, with "Abide With Me," I reached a
conclusion: yes sorta. Those who have read that story will
recall that Andrew was injured in a few different ways.
First, his captors sometimes physically assaulted him.
Second, he was deprived of sleep, food, contact with friends and
Home, and cut off from many other comforts. Third, Max
recounted this to JenniAnn: When they'd... they'd give us a
hard time... it was damn weird. I could see them swing at
me. But I never felt a thing. Andrew said it was an
angel and I believe that. But I wish... I wish one had
protected Andrew, too. When I'd get back to where they
were keeping us... Andrew would be there looking like
hell. I don't know what they did to him when we were
separated. Worst part was then they'd haul him off so I
think he was getting the beating twice."
JenniAnn puts together that Andrew was the angel protecting
Max and thus taking the blows. Obviously he was in his own
angelic form at the time given neither Max nor his attacker(s) saw
Andrew. Even though Max says Andrew was "looking like hell,"
I don't believe he was physically hurt while protecting Max.
I believe Andrew was drained and very emotionally hurt by the
men's violence. Then pair that with the fact that those evil
men were punching, kicking, etc. Andrew when he was in human form
and that makes for a very sorry state for Andrew. But the
visible wounds and the TBI all stemmed from injuries Andrew
experienced while in human form. The PTSD could have come
from both. The psychic wounds Andrew received while
protecting Max would have only manifested themselves physically in
terms of impacting the time it took to heal the human form
wounds. Think about if you cut your finger. It takes
much longer for that wound to heal when you're stressed but the
stress itself isn't causing the wound. So Andrew's angelic
form's psychic wounds could have slowed down the healing of his
human form's physical and emotional wounds. And if you
actually understood that the first time you read it through, good
for you! Cause I didn't and I wrote it. ;-)
Anyhow, this brings us to...
Can angels die?
I have to be honest and say that I feel like this shouldn't
even need to be addressed. The short answer: no. I
think this may have even been in the original rules but so many
fanfics have gone against it and had one or more angel die that I
feel the need to address it. So... no angel in JABB stories
will ever die. It's simply not possible in their
reality. TBAA left it a little blurry whether they could die
when in complete human form. Monica did honestly seem
fearful for her life in "Black Like Monica." So I dunno what
the writers were going for with that but, personally, I can't
foresee an angel ever dying in a JABB story regardless of what
form they're in. It simply doesn't interest me and it's a
little hard for me to write outside of my beliefs and I don't
believe real angels die. Ever.
The above does not, however, mean that an angel's friends may not
fear that fate. For them, the angels' immortality is a
matter of faith and thus can be questioned. And in some very
select cases, they may even wish the angels could die. Both
perspectives get brought up in "Abide With Me" (yes, that story
really did force me to decide on some rules). JenniAnn
genuinely feared Andrew might be killed in Afghanistan. That
sounds crazy but you have to consider that she was grieving,
anxious, and angry. Her reasoning abilities definitely
suffered. Further, though she may be a bit of a rogue
Catholic, she definitely is a Catholic and (like yours truly)
majored in Theology. She very much believes that God is
immortal and, in fact, the ultimate Immortal being without
beginning or end. And yet, as a Trinitarian, she also very
much believes that on one very dark day God's heart stopped, all
vital systems shut down, and He was clinically and physically
dead. Most mainstream Christians would agree with that but I
think for those of us who have studied Jesus' life to a perhaps
too detail-oriented degree, that doctrine can take on an almost
grimly obsessive streak that surfaces with considerable strength
during times when one's not mentally stable. In that state
of mind and with that background, I think it's understandable that
JenniAnn feared Andrew might die but her believing that in no way
made that fate likely or even possible. No more did Owen's
belief that it might be better if Andrew could die rather than be
endlessly tortured. It was simply never a possibility.
This begs the question of what will happen when Andrew starts
aging given one can only age so much. Ask me that in a few
What can Andrew tell his human
friends about God, Heaven, etc.?
As we all saw
on TBAA, the angels spoke endlessly about God and His love for
us. The angels of death especially spoke often of
Heaven. However, the angels steered clear of doctrinal
questions by and large and that's something I want to maintain
with JABB stories. Andrew can talk all he wants about Heaven
and God with his human friends but he would steer clear of specifics.
TBAA truly valued faith and so do I. I don't care to write
stories about people who simply get told the absolute truth and
never have to struggle with shades of gray or searching for their
own answers. For example, I can imagine that it's sometimes
been something of a struggle for JenniAnn to have grown up
Catholic and be taught that Jesus is the only way to Heaven yet
have a number of Jewish friends. At this point, she's worked
out her own answers to that but if ten years ago she'd been
freaking out about it, I do think Andrew would have been well
within his rights to assure her that her friends were not barred
from Heaven and that, in fact, he has taken countless Jewish
people Home. Yet I don't believe Andrew would ever start
deliberating Catholic soteriology for JenniAnn's enrichment.
She and all of their human friends need to make their own sense of
their beliefs and heritages until the time when they come, fully,
to the Answer at the end of their mortal lives.
Similarly, Andrew will not at any point rattle off about the
question of Joshua's divinity. That's between the human and
God. If a Dyelander were to, upon meeting Joshua, discover
that he was Jesus then I think it would be acceptable for Andrew
to speak to them fairly freely. The angel can very much hope
and pray that a human friend meeting Joshua will come to recognize
and love him. After all, Andrew loves Joshua incredibly much
and wants him to feel loved. However, Andrew would never try
to force a connection or realization. God gave us free will
and Andrew wouldn't go against that... even for Joshua's sake.
Side note: I do write Joshua from the Trinitarian
perspective. No recurring character, including Joshua, would
ever get pushy about that. As I said, I can't really write
outside my belief system and my belief system is
Trinitarian. I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and
also God Himself and I can't write any other iteration of Him
(i.e. Joshua will never be just a nice carpenter with some good
ideas and a flair for the dramatic). Very seldom do I use
capitalized pronouns for Joshua, though. He is a
fictionalized Jesus in the tradition of C.S. Lewis' Aslan and Fr.
Joseph Girzone's Joshua and I don't believe it's common practice
to refer to either of them with capitalized pronouns. So
this Joshua also doesn't get a capital except in rare cases.
Anyhow, I hope no one is put off by any of this but at this point
I kinda gotta do whatever I want to keep myself interested.
Kinda hard to write stuff when you're not interested!
Very important question: where do
Andrew's clothes come from?
I believe that the vast majority of the clothes and
accessories the angels wore on TBAA came from God. In some
cases, God may have
dressed them in the sense that they had to look a certain way for
an assignment and so they appeared clothed that way. An
example would be "Voice of an Angel." Andrew was a mime and
there's a particular look for a mime so no doubt Andrew arrived on
scene in black with white suspenders. Or at other times
(like during "A Clown's Prayer"), Andrew might be expected to dress a certain
way by his human boss and no doubt God provides those clothes if
they're not already available. Another example of clothes
coming from God would be revelation scenes. The angels
clothing changes before our eyes. Definitely a God
thing. Of course, He would take their sensibilities and
tastes into consideration but I definitely think He's providing
But then there are times when the angels are on assignment but
their clothes don't much matter. In "Face on the Bar Room
Floor," Monica recounted trying to choose shoes. That
suggests to me that the angels do all have their own wardrobes and
when clothing isn't prescribed, they are free to wear whatever
they wish. But Andrew (and no doubt some of the other angels
involved in Dyeland) also have a secondary source of clothing: the
girls. My thinking is that anything the girls buy or make
them becomes theirs without condition. They can have those
clothes and accessories in Dyeland, when on Earth, and in
Heaven. Those clothes are treated just the same as the
clothes the Father provides and He may even draw on them and
clothe the angels in them at His command. For example, if
Andrew had an assignment as a cowboy, God may have him show up in
jeans and a Western shirt of His choosing but then also a cowboy
hat Rose bought him and boots from C.J. and such. Bottom
line: I really doubt God frowns on the girls' shopping sprees or
sees them as second-guessing His fashion will. I like to
think He finds em cute and amusing. He brought this group
together and if dashing off to the Goodwill makes some of the
girls happy and gives Andrew the warm fuzzies then I can't imagine
the Father seeing that as anything but community-building.
As for Joshua... he well knows that if a woman wants to buy you
something, you best let her because whatever she's lavishing on
you may come to mean more than is at first apparent.
Since a prior rule concluded the angels do have some limited
spending money, I suppose it's possible they do sometimes buy
their own clothes but I just can't really imagine Andrew going on
a shopping spree for himself. But it's possible he'd pick up
an item or two here and there. I am aware that Andrew says
in "The Christmas Watch" that he bought his pocket watch at
Piltdown and Sons but as he said in "An Impossible Dream" that his
Father gave him the watch, I like to think the Father did indeed
purchase the watch for Andrew but had him pick it up.
Because, of course, God would know several years in advance that
there would later be good reason for Andrew to know about
Piltdown. Also, it might be just a bit much to have the
Father walk into a shop to buy a watch...
Can Andrew spend as much time in Dyeland or with his friends
elsewhere as he wants?
Definitely not. Just as Andrew didn't get to go to Paris
like he wanted, he can't go to Dyeland whenever he wants... and
sometimes he's there even when he doesn't want to be. I will
say God is pretty generous with the time He allows Andrew to spend
with his human friends... because otherwise I would be writing
normal TBAA fanfic and lotsa folks do that. I wanted to do
my own thing. But it makes sense within the story, too...
not just taking the eccentric author into account. In
Andrew's reality, his time in Dyeland always figures into God's
plan. The Father's working through those relationships and
loves all the angels and humans involved... no wonder He lets them
be together so often! But if Andrew has an assignment then
he needs to be with that assignment. Sometimes the Father
might allow Andrew's friends to be with him but sometimes
not. Sometimes Andrew's assignment might even flow directly
from or into his circle of friends. Mick, Josef, Chava,
Raquel, Max, and others have been assignments of Andrew's at
In some ways, I think of Andrew and Co. as a very large military
family... but if the military was run by Someone who was
omniscient, omnipresent, and all loving. If God tells Andrew
to go then Andrew will go wherever he's sent. Sometimes that
means packing up the family to go along. Sometimes it means
leaving them behind. But Andrew would never run off to
Dyeland against the Father's wishes.
Bottom line: if Andrew is in Dyeland that means the Father wants
him in Dyeland even if not expressly stated. It usually also
means Andrew wants to be there but, on a few occasions, God has
sent Andrew there even when he preferred to be elsewhere.
For example, Andrew was sent to Dyeland immediately after the
events we saw unfold in the TBAA finale. Really Andrew
wanted to be in Heaven but God wanted him in Dyeland so he
appeared in Dyeland. God's will always prevails.
Thankfully, Andrew's will is almost always aligned with His.
So that's it for now!
This newsletter is dedicated to John for
livening up yet another of my travels. When I took a bus
trip (my first), I ended up inadvertently revisiting "Shallow
Waters" right before. Nothing makes ya feel better when
hopping on a bus than thinking about a deadly bus crash!
Thankfully, I'm a fan of ironic humor... even if
inadvertent. Then this past week I was sitting in the ship
cabin I was sharing with my siblings during our cruise.
"Face on the Bar Room Floor" was my next scheduled episode for
re-reviewing. I really don't love that episode but John is
so darn cute in it and so, of course, I watched it... only to
have Ray Walston's character bring up a ship sinking in the
ocean. Well, at least it wasn't the same ocean.
;-) Thanks for the laughs, John!
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and Moon Water Productions. They are not being used to seek