Jesus Freaks: Sins of the Father
Author:Andrea Randall

Jesus Freaks: Sins of the Father

 

Andrea Randall

 

 

 

 

 

Dedication

 

 

For Quinlan, Paige, and Aiden. You made me believe when I’d thought I’d had faith all along. Everyday I’m certain I learn more from you than you do from me. I love you.

 

 

 

 

 

Author’s Note

 

 

Just read it. I wouldn’t dream of asking you to “empty your mind” or “come in without any prejudice or expectations,” because that would belittle you and, frankly, the content of this book. It’s not above or below anyone. How it needs to be read is from right where you are at this exact moment.

 

There will be things you agree with and things you disagree with, both with equal fervor in your reading of this book. All I ask is that you see it through to the end, and then you talk about it. The good, bad, and ugly of it. Maybe the beauty, too, if you’re so inclined.

 

Take a deep breath, and enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

 

Keep Your Eyes Open

 

 

The drive to campus isn’t really the time for a parent to try to talk their child out of going to their selected college. Mom’s trying her best, though.

 

“It’s not too late.” Her eyes look out the windshield onto the empty road. There’s nothing out there except for everything she’s tried to get me to avoid becoming.

 

Like my birth father, she’s afraid. She’s so afraid of me turning into someone I’ve barely spent a combined six months with over my entire eighteen years.

 

“Kinda is.” I smirk and do my best to hide my grin.

 

I suck my bottom lip into my mouth as I consider my answer, a habit I’ve had since long before I pierced the skin with a metal ring.

 

“That,” she says, pointing to my mouth. “You know you’re going to have to take that out before you get on campus.”

 

I roll my eyes and grin. “The nose ring can stay, though. I’ve already checked.”

 

She shakes her head, a resigned sigh coming from her tight lips. “You’ll reconsider after this year. That’s still the deal.”

 

Most parents have to force their kids into a specific institution for a year. Try this for one year, then if you want to change your mind, you can, is what most parents plead to their children. Not Wendy Sawyer. And certainly not when it comes to her daughter attending Carter University.

 

I was raised in a proper Episcopalian household, but Carter University—founded in 1925—is the bearded lady of theology-based universities as far as well-meaning Anglicans are concerned. Sure, they’re probably nice people, but…really?

 

And my mom, along with everyone I’ve known since I was in kindergarten, has been quick to remind me about those who might not be nice. Carter University is as well known for their flamboyantly conservative professors as they are for their gorgeous campus. Okay, that is sugar-coating on my part.

 

For years, members of the administration at Carter have been embroiled in one contentious political battle after another. Not on behalf of the university, they’re quick to amend, but, let’s be honest. Carter prides itself on turning out the world’s foremost evangelical pastors, on-the-ground missionaries, and teachers sent to like-minded elementary schools who take evolution during their studies only because it’s required by the states in which they plan to teach.

 

That doesn’t mean they’re not nice people on the basic human level of nice. But when viewed through the lens of my gay marriage-supporting, Planned Parenthood-volunteering upbringing, “those people”—the opposition—are viewed as evil. Ironic, really, when you think about it under the Christianity umbrella of love and forgiveness.

 

“I did get a full scholarship, Mom,” I’m quick to remind her as she navigates toward the exit that holds my future. For at least the next year.

 

Carter’s alumnae are loyal, pouring in millions of dollars a year to ensure that the moral fiber of America doesn’t fall to shreds in the span of a generation. Their words, not mine. But those millions, when not being used for conservative agenda pushing, are used to give nearly every student a significant scholarship. Carter doesn’t want to leave any like-minded passionate student to fall by the wayside of a secular university.

 

My mom sighs, running a hand through her greying curls. I hadn’t noticed the soft lines on her face until this moment—turning the skin under her eyes into supple pillows with creased cases. She looks kind of like I imagine Julia Louis-Dreyfus looks post-Golden Globes. Real life Julia, not TV Julia. I can’t help but wonder if my college decision is affecting her deeper than I initially considered.

 

“Look at that,” she whispers as we curl around the far border of the university grounds.