Rapture Practice: a true story by Aaron Hartzler



“Something you should know up front about my family: we believe that Jesus is coming back…I don’t mean metaphorically, like someday in the distant future…I mean literally, like glance out the car window and, ‘Oh hey, there’s Jesus in the sky.’”

Young Aaron Hartzler accepted his parents’ literal belief in the Bible and their strict rules about what pop culture he could consume without question. But when his parents talked about the Rapture, that moment when Jesus would return to Earth and take all the Christians up to Heaven, Aaron couldn’t help but hope that Jesus would hold off until he had a chance to live a little. “There are so many things I want to do before I go to heaven, like drive a car, and act in another play, and go to the movies.” And as Aaron grew older, tasted freedom at summer camp and started to see how other people interpreted the Bible, he began to wonder if he could continue along the path his parents set him on, especially when it came to his future. “The problem is, I don’t want to surrender my talents to God. What if he makes me use them as a missionary or Christian schoolteacher? That isn’t the life I want for myself.” Soon, Aaron is questioning everything, and though he deeply loves his parents, he is beginning to find their narrow view on religion stifling. “There are all sorts of Christians with all sorts of different rules, not to mention other people who believe in other religions. What about all of the people on the other side of the world who believe as strongly in their God as we believe in our God? Are they going to hell because they were unlucky enough to be born in the wrong place?” How Aaron resolves his dual life, comes to terms with his sexual identity and manages his parents’ expectations forms the basis of this simply told true story that rings true whether you believe in the Rapture or not. Aaron Hartzler’s moving memoir about growing up in a conservative Baptist home where Jesus was considered a member of the family hit me hard in the heart muscle. Although the evangelical Christian lifestyle may seem peculiar to some, Hartzler’s physical and psychological struggles to make his family happy while still trying to follow his own dreams are universal and will be completely understood by anyone who’s ever tried to figure out where their family role ends and their individuality begins.

2 thoughts on “Rapture Practice: a true story by Aaron Hartzler

  1. I am so glad you reviewed this! I have wanted to read it since it came out but it’s one of those I know I’ll never get to. It’s nice to know that sometimes a story like this doesn’t end in heartbreak and total estrangement.

  2. Hi Jennifer

    After reading several of your reviews on the Reading Rants blog, I think you might enjoy my newly (self) published YA fiction novel, during your next review cycle. Your review of ““Rapture Practice: a true story ” by Aaron Hartzler displayed the depth of insight that I am seeking for an early reviewer.

    My book, Perfect Imperfection, centers around the adventures of a not-too-smart, over-weight young man with a receding hairline who stumbles onto and into a secret benevolent society of scientists, called Perfect Imperfection or PI. With assistance PI’s accelerated learning and artificial intelligence technologies, Billings trains to become a virtual secret agent that helps humanity in the face of accelerating scientific, ecological and social evolution. The antagonist, Blackbeard, an elite black hat hacker, employs cutting-edge tech to land the biggest score of his career. An epic virtual game of cat and mouse ensues, with everything in the balance.

    I’ve tried to give hope to the reader despite the path the world is on, that there is a way to save us. The point behind the story is to show we can overcome the trivialness of our imperfections, be they physical, social, intelligence or economic. I will donate all profits of the book to causes that are consistent the book’s key themes.

    Jennifer, by way of introduction, my name is S. E. Gould, and I’m a recovering software entrepreneur and corporate finance executive, looking to spend the best part of my life writing fiction that may help inspire the world to choose a better path.

    If you are interested in reviewing, I am happy to send you a paperback version. Lastly, if you want an interview or run a giveaway for your followers, I can help you out there as well. If you are on a reviewing pause, please keep me in mind when you restart. I appreciate your consideration.

    Regards,

    S. E. Gould

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