Genre: Coming of Age / Christian
Is faith a religion?
Is faith a lifestyle? Is faith just the opposite of sin? Maybe faith is about one defining moment in your life…
In Bible-Belt culture, sexuality and sin are pushed so closely together that children grow up fearing sexual urges, seeing opportunity as devil-sent temptation and a teenage marriage as the only cure. But what happens when Christian youth revolts? They don’t just go out into the world. They lunge into depravity—angry at God, disillusioned with life, and full of evil intentions.
This issue is explored in Attempted Rapture: The Complete Series, told through six apocryphal stories, organized by chapters and verses.
The Book of Hal | The Book of Anne | The Book of Amara
The Book of Katey S. | The Book of Pride | The Book of Jaded Sapphira
Each book is a modern Christian allegory, and each character represents an evolution in the Christian perspective of sin: Agnostic, Heretic and Repentant. The three main characters also parallel biblical parables including The Prodigal Son, Lady Wisdom and Madam Folly.
Hal Persill is the agnostic believer, a young man plagued by doubt and temptation, and who feels alienated from his rural hometown of “Radrick” after a long stay in New York. Amara Stallart is a preacher’s daughter and a shining star of Christian loyalty that clings to her family ties and moral upbringing. Anne McNamary is an ex-Christian profligate and a notorious exile from the community who lurks somewhere in the big city. Whose faith will survive intact when certain destruction strikes?
Attempted Rapture is a hard-edged Christian novel that will challenge your view of faith or anti-faith. Author Late Mitchell Warren explores the concept of Christian faith, modernizing the parable of “The Prodigal Son” with an experimental mix of poetry and prose, humor, sermonizing, and harsh interior monologues.
This tragic parody explores the issue of Christian guilt and Church indoctrination with biting satire and heartbreaking pathos. It’s a story about true love, demonic sex, and the cataclysm that results when faith interferes with human desire. The reason for the two extremes is a symbol of the duality of faith, and in some cases, the double lives that people live in order to reconcile their beliefs.
“Attempted Rapture was first published in 2004. All rights reverted back to me in 2011. However, as I looked at the book, I realized two things: it was slightly dated and yet had a lot of potential to expand beyond what it was.
About the time I wrote the original book I was at a complicated time in my life. One where I was questioning traditional Christianity, the only reality or perspective I had ever contemplated. For many years before that I was a practicing minister, and an educated right-wing Christian, who embraced science and tolerance, but still insisted that God’s hand was in everything.
As a god-fearing minister, I wrote about various people that I knew from church, from my community, and embellished quite a bit on their lives. These tales from church (I named it A View from God )were not only embellishments but prophetic, as to what would really happen when we all came of age. When I first wrote Attempted Rapture I viewed it as the destruction of my youth, my youthful ideals, and the deaths of many of these archetypal characters. In reality, I was slowly discovering that we really had nothing in common with each other, besides the fact that we had shared childhood experiences in church.
Much of the content was purposely written to be sacrilegious, obscene and offensive because I viewed it as my way of breaking the chains, not necessarily rebelling against the church, but breaking out of my own mental prison, a self-created Hell Fire of misery and self-denial. It should come as no surprise that I lost many friends over the publication of the book, since they were scandalized by the way I really viewed life—which, according to the book, was nihilistic, obscene, cold-hearted, and without redemption. To this day, I argue that The Sinner—admittedly a mean-spirited book that parodies religion and satirizes what we perceive as morality—was not an expression of my true nature, but my criticism of the world, particularly those who insist on judging the world and claiming that an omnipotent God is their personal big brother, ready to protect them from evil. Life is a learning experience. I don’t see why anyone would want to be protected from learning.
Holiness is not purity. It is revelation after living a full life. That in mind, the idea The Saint came to me as I was editing most of the sex and offensive content out of the original book. It occurred to me that in the last few years, even as I grew distant from mainstream Christianity, I seemed to endear myself to religion and to the idea of God or a supreme intelligent force.
More importantly, seeing other people follow their hearts and find happiness in religion—seeing the culture and the family aspect of this tradition—struck me as the right of humanity, a privilege beyond compare, a personal paradise. For one to disrupt that, out of their own weak need to desecrate religion, to attack and bludgeon their childhood bully, is akin to serving an evangelical right wing Christian.
I’ve often told people before that I respect true atheists, the ones who are confident in their anti-belief and who believe in liberty and the right for people to choose. Militant atheism is a form of bullying and is made up of vengeful people who, like sexually suppressed Christians, cannot let go of their own life traumas and disappointments. Perhaps it is in retaliation to hundreds of years of religious oppression, but I don’t believe oppression is the answer to oppression.
I don’t believe in anything militant because I am anti-violence. I think truth is soft, yielding, understated, and yet harsher than any two-edged sword because it deteriorates lies from the inside out. There is truth in nature, truth in waiting, truth in communication, truth in making friends of former enemies, and truth in looking beyond your peripheral view of the world to embrace multiple perspectives.
Truth is what we find at the end of the road, after the bloodshed, after the screaming and fighting, and after the hypocrisy of our lives. The Saint doesn’t intend to be truth but a parable of humanity. I think to label it a satire or a parody would be misleading—though I will, since people can’t seem to fathom my thoughts outside the net of parody and satire—it is not a criticism of religious people or militant atheists but a reflection of what we all are inside, as children and as precocious grown-ups with nothing to show for our faith besides a friendly face.
It is ironic that The Saint has the darker ending, in contrast to The Sinner’s Happy Ending, but in the end its austerity and apparent doomsday philosophy is the redemption the story ultimately needs. Paradise is achievable but whatever your vision of paradise is will be intrinsically linked to you and your way of thinking. To escape that, to climb outside our comfy boxes and visualize a standardized, ‘perfect for most world’, at the expensive of the few, would be the act of a cruel creator. To live like a saint is to die like a saint, and so paradise will be whatever we will it to be.
Yes, of course, there was a lot of offensive sexual content in it. You don’t grow up a celibate minister without developing a bit of a complex. Much of the book is focused on sex, because Christianity, particularly in the Bible Belt, is the world’s most restrictive and suppressive religion. And this I believe in a prime motivator in ‘right-wing Christians’ who have been raised to fear sex, fear their desires, and fear other people who embrace a sensual lifestyle.
I’ve said often that I don’t believe in evil, and I do manage to find good qualities even in the most extreme examples. I believe a lack of sexual fulfillment is what causes many goodhearted Christians to become hateful and resentful of other people—what they are, what they have, what they enjoy. Because fulfilling one’s sensual desires is the opposite of austerity. It’s embracing the moment, it’s hedonistic and self-centered. It’s entirely human and it’s everything contrary to what we’re taught about self-denial and suffering being the key to happiness.
When we, the more rational and sex-positive population, question Christianity’s repressive attitude and how this contributes to their intolerance of other people who do not follow the path of self-denial, they take it very personally—as if it’s an attack on their faith, their very reason for living. They immediately go into the defensive and cling to the fundamentals of their faith. And so misunderstanding prevails and the flames of war spread. In reality what I see is very sad, and not deserving of censure, but of pity. People who are not embracing life, who are not enjoying life moment by moment, but who are waiting to die so that they can begin living.
But I always thought to myself, remember Matthew Chapter 6. If the wicked are indeed receiving their reward in full in this lifetime, why would a Christian be resentful of it? The militant, aggressive Christian who seeks—not to proselytize but to bully others into their chosen lifestyle is the ultimate form of cowardice, of betrayal, and of weakness. A true Christian can be happy with himself and with others who live by their own system of belief.
I am saying this only once: I apologize in advance for The Sinner because it is an offensive book, written to be that way. I’m not going to apologize for each and every moment in the book, because it’s something like 500 pages. The intent is not to enlighten but to disturb, to unravel, and to question everything that you think you know about morality. Many scenes were written as a dare to the reader, wondering just how far he/she will go in finishing the chapter. Some offensive scenes were metaphorical, and some scenes ACTUALLY happened to me, and so I believe I have rights to publish them. Don’t ask what parts are real and what parts are imagined. The book is 60 percent truth and 40 percent embellishment, as is life.
‘The Complete Series’ encompasses both The Saint and The Sinner, as well as the sequel Jaded Sapphira which jumps 30 years into the future. If you’re cheap like me, you’ll appreciate just reading them all in the same damn book.”
Attempted Rapture Reviews
“There are unspeakable acts aplenty in the Sinner version of this masterfully crafted monstrosity. It is in essence a how-to guide to corrupting innocence as well as a sex manual the like we have not seen since the Kama Sutra. The earnest anti-hero Hal is made to seem so sympathetic that of course those sinners reading this book will identify with him want to be him; but a better him and will of course fail. The demonic forces that surely got into the writer Mitchell Warren really work their magic on the Saint version which is marketed directly to the righteous. Cleverly it tells people, ‘Come, this is the safe version.’ Kinda like those cleaned up Hollywood movies Mormons marketed in the 90’s. But, what it takes away is hope and feeling and any sort of redemptive spirit.”
“I’ve read it twice now, which is one hell of a recommendation from me! It’s now available in an inexpensive kindle edition, so I expect its readership will finally read epidemic proportions, as it should in a county where truly great literature is making a comeback from the nadir experienced by that generation of uneducated people just under my own, which the government cheated out of a real education by putting self-esteem above accrued knowledge, history, science and the arts. Thank God (or whatever you want to call that seemly infinite sea of consciousness I call God but is better understood as the Tao) that the newer generations are grasping meaningful novels again.”
“In a gist, Attempted Rapture will evoke in you a melting pot of emotions ranging from joy to angst to annoyance to confusion to delight to excitement and so on. The characters are well-developed, their personalities are very distinct that you can easily remember them in your mind. The dialogues are well-thought and well-written, especially the ones by Hal Persill, the main character in the novel.”
“Mitchell Warren’s The Saint version of Attempted Rapture was an intriguing book that, speaking from experience, well describes the frustrations and temptations of moving to another state then returning home to find his city or town not what it used to be. It is a story of vice and virtue and will be either an inspiration or a frustration to readers depending upon their attitude and frame of mind.”
“The first thing to come to people’s minds when asked to name a Texas novel, is James Michener’s epic work, “Texas”. Of course, that’s an easy one. All of Michener’s novels are epic, and typically begin with the earliest recorded background of the book he’s writing about. Nor does he cast about for titles. The book set in Hawaii was titled simply, “Hawaii”, and the book set in Texas was ‘Texas’. Another epic novel; or more accurately the first of a set that includes four Western novels; that comes quickly to the tongue, is ‘Lonesome Dove’. Made into four mini-series for television, this book set in Texas settles on a small, nineteenth century town, remarkable only for the development of characters that bring to life the historical background of Texas in a rough and tumble display of cowboys and Indians, heroes and outlaws, hard drinking and brittle romances.
More elusive is the Texas novel that has become so much a classic, we forget just where the story was set. There are very few people who haven’t at some time in their lives, read ‘Old Yeller’, and developed a lump in their throats at the tragic ending, but ask them where the story takes place, and they’ll be casting about for an answer. The truth is, this book about a thieving rascal dog, which proves its undying loyalty in the end, is set in the wild frontiers of Texas. One of the most beloved tall tales characters is listed with a birth place in Texas. As part of a series written by Steven Kellogg, who also introduced Paul Bunyan, who can forget tornado riding, star shooting, Pecos Bill? In love with Sloe-Foot Sue, who rode a giant catfish, Pecos Bill began his wild career as the greatest bronco buster of all times when he fell off a wagon train in Texas and was raised by a pack of coyotes. One of the most acclaimed books of the modern age eventually became a movie. ‘No Country for Old Men’, originally written by Cormac McCarthy, and with an adapted screenplay by Joel and Ethan Coen, described the worst characteristics of Texas country desert, amid the illegal drug trade of the 1980s. Goodreads lists over two hundred books set in Texas. Some are cowboy adventures, some are romance, some are statements of the modern era.
Among those bringing the Texas novel up to date, is Mitchell Warren’s ‘Attempted Rapture’. Warren’s daring, experimental literary work embodies Texas urban areas and landscapes, while also illustrating the Bible Belt community, and its conflict with the more permissive elements of mainstream society.
Through characters Hal Persill and Amara Stallart, two opposite pillars of logic and faith living at the turn of the 21st century, the writer explores the issues of religious faith, doubt, bitterness and attempted bliss in a disconcerting world. Unable to resist the enticing aspect of mixing parody with satire, Mitchell Warren playfully offers his book in two versions; one for the sinner who delights in graphic imagery, and one for the more saintly, who would rather refrain and simply read a very astonishing piece of literature. Set in the Bible belt of Texas, Attempted Rapture is a harsh look at the insulated lives of a Christian youth unable to cope with modern liberality. For secular society, it is a window into the problems that face these unprepared children as they reach adulthood. Their rebellion is a cultural clash between the permissive behavior extolled by the media, and their own reality of strictly spelled out morals and the consequences of violating the doctrines of their religious community.
It is a must read for those who wish to understand the implications of social separation and the effect of fundamental Christianity on youthful minds unable to fill the gap between what they had been taught and their own worldly experiences. It follows the careening path of Hal and the tortured thoughts of Anne McNamary as a physical and a spiritual storm gathers around them. It leaves you emotionally drained, filled with the strange turbulence of searchers, believers and sinners. The conclusion you draw is your own, but it’s a conclusion that will haunt you long after you have read the story. Mitchell Warren has a habit of leaving people bleeding once they’ve read his work. His writing is like a drug you can no longer do without, but that is tearing apart the very foundation of all you believed in and wanted to keep safe.”
“There were far too many subliminal messages in this book for me to read. I also began experiencing problems with demons after I bought it. My Android crashed and gave me a very weird error screen. Don’t download this book, there is something very wrong here.”
Depressed beyond all reason by now? Why not have a laugh? The “Attemped Rapture for Idiots” page is funny!
Or you can take a break from humanity and embrace dogmanity, with Warren’s free eBook, Raining Cats and Dogs.