â€œSomething you should know up front about my family: we believe that Jesus is coming backâ€¦I donâ€™t mean metaphorically, like someday in the distant futureâ€¦I mean literally, like glance out the car window and, â€˜Oh hey, thereâ€™s Jesus in the sky.â€™â€
Young Aaron Hartzler accepted his parentsâ€™ 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 couldnâ€™t help but hope that Jesus would hold off until he had a chance to live a little. â€œThere 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.â€ 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. â€œThe problem is, I donâ€™t want to surrender my talents to God. What if he makes me use them as a missionary or Christian schoolteacher? That isnâ€™t the life I want for myself.â€ Soon, Aaron is questioning everything, and though he deeply loves his parents, he is beginning to find their narrow view on religion stifling. â€œThere 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?â€ How Aaron resolves his dual life, comes to terms with his sexual identity and manages his parentsâ€™ expectations forms the basis of this simply told true story that rings true whether you believe in the Rapture or not. Aaron Hartzlerâ€™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, Hartzlerâ€™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 whoâ€™s ever tried to figure out where their family role ends and their individuality begins.