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Synopsis: Do You Hear What I Hear?
When JJ Rogers begins hearing God speak to him, he turns his life upside down, giving up a promising career in football, dropping out of school, and starting a church. However, years later, when he is diagnosed with schizophrenia, he realizes that the voice of God he had been hearing was a symptom of his illness.
He then must embark on a spiritual journey of self evaluation to see if anything he has done so far has been worthwhile or even right. And what does it mean to hear God’s voice anyway?
Excerpt: Do You Hear What I Hear?
“God told me.” Those were the words the missionary had said. Rational thought wasn’t important, knowledge of the plan wasn’t important, concern for his family wasn’t important; the only thing that mattered to this missionary was that God had told him to pack up his things and move to Belize where there was a “wonderful work” just waiting to be started.
JJ’s family had been attending Fairfield Second Baptist Church since before it was started. Fairfield didn’t have a First Baptist Church anymore because back in 1951, Fairfield First Baptist Church hired a new pastor who started teaching things different from the constitution of the church. In fact, no one to this day even remembers what the specific theological issue was, but it didn’t really matter because the church split happened, Second Baptist was formed, First Baptist folded, and Second Baptist took over the building after changing the sign out front. JJ’s grandma and grandpa on his mother’s side were founding members of Second Baptist and told the story every June of when they moved into their first building which was after all the former building of the church.
JJ thought it was all a little too complicated, but he didn’t really mind. He loved his family, they loved the church, and he was willing to go along for the ride until he moved away.
He first realized that he hated Fairfield when he and the family took a road trip to Disneyworld in Florida during summer vacation after his 5th grade year. On the trip, he saw buildings and cities, fields and mountains, and in Florida, he discovered something that very few people ever appreciate well enough. He discovered the ocean. Fascinated by the waves as they would come to shore, crash and then return to the sea, he made a commitment then and there to do whatever it would take to become a well-traveled person. He would get a job that allowed for great explorations to be made or at least one that would lead him to interesting destinations. He wanted to travel, and as far as he knew, the paper mill in Fairfield wasn’t big on arranging business trips for its factory workers.
Since that moment in Florida, JJ had hated Fairfield. Everything about it began to get on his nerves. He didn’t like the smell of the town. He didn’t like the way people dressed. He didn’t like the length of the stoplights when no one was coming the other way. He didn’t like the school. He didn’t like his teachers…
He did, however, like Alyssa Raush…