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Angel's War

Angel's War

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Angel's War

Lunghezza:
227 pagine
3 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Apr 6, 2015
ISBN:
9781329044715
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Angel’s War is about relationships that bring us closer to God and one’s that drive us away. The mega church is a focal point of so many Christian lives and this story questions faith in God or faith in the all mighty mega church. It is riveting, emotional and will leave you wanting more. It will have you questioning whether you believe.
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Apr 6, 2015
ISBN:
9781329044715
Formato:
Libro

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Angel's War - Janice Brantle

Angel's War

Angel’s War

By

Janice L. Brantle

Copyright

Copyright 2014 by Janice Brantle

Library of Congress Cataloging-In Publication Data

Brantle, Janice

Angel’s War

ISBN: 978-1-312-82111-8

Dedication

This book is dedicated to my good friend KG.  Thank you for being my strongest critic as well as my strongest supporter. You believed in me before I really believed in myself.  Your support means the world to me. Thank you

Prolog

You little cunt! yelled the bishop, slowly rising from his massive desk.

My, my, my, choice words for a bishop.

You think you can ruin me? Huh you little bitch!

You have a stellar vocabulary. I see your fancy college education is paying off. If your congregation could see you now… The bishop was fully erect now. He reached under his desk and pulled out a silver plated nine millimeter, placing it on top of the desk. He had all sorts of thoughts running through his mind. He just couldn’t go out like this. He’s been on top far too long to let some little smartass bitch take him down like he was nothing. Blinding rage clouded his vision. He gripped his gun harder.  His hearing was muffled.  The last thing he heard was…

Great. Now the big bad bishop needs to hide behind a gun?  What you gonna do? Shoot me? Go ahead shoot me. You fucking coward…. BANG!  The gun went off, the smoke cleared…

Chapter 1

Help me! Jamelah, better known as Angel, screamed as she woke up from her fitful nap. Thank God no one noticed. As usual, the church was in frenzy because of the bishop bullshit sermon. Angel was shaken by the dream. It was creepy, she thought. The only thing she could remember was some dark figure surrounding her taunting, So you think you’re the chosen one.  It felt so real but I’m in church, she thought.  Aren’t demons afraid of church? She asked herself. Although her father was the bishop, she tried not to get too much into religion.  Religion was a farce.

Angel closed her eyes desperately trying to go back to sleep and drown out her father’s sermon. Although, fiery, she just couldn’t take hearing him anymore. She had no respect for the man who proclaimed he was appointed by God to save this heathen world. She saw her father commit some despicable acts growing up- including bribing the registrar’s office to get her into school only to use her for his own greed.

That’s my dad, the great Bishop E.L. Tate, Angel thought sitting in the first pew at Greater Missionary Baptist church. The E. L. stands for Edward Lawrence. But for some reason, the bishop always says E.L. as if it gives him greater importance. He’s going to hell, Angel whispered to herself as she slumped down into her seat wishing she could disappear. She hated this church and hated her father even more.

At the age of nineteen, Angel was a self-proclaimed atheist.  She hated everything about organized religion. She felt that Greater Missionary Baptist was no more than a well ran mob and her father as the biggest gangster in the South. 

The church was the biggest mega church in southeast Georgia. The church owned banks and several grocery stores and developed housing communities. Now the church was embarking on their biggest venture: a multimillion dollar shopping mall outside the city of Atlanta.

She’s beautiful! She looks just like an angel! the bishop said to Momma Sessilee but he was feeling slightly annoyed. How was he going to smooth this over with the congregation? Gregory dropped the baby off to his doorstep late one night a month after Angel was born. Everyone knew about her parentage, but said nothing.  As always, they let him get away with despicable acts. It was rumored that he got rid of the mother but wanted to keep his flesh and blood near him.   Some say he killed her but most say that was an old church legend.  Either way, she was never seen again. He didn’t do it with his own hands because the Great E. L. Tate couldn’t have blood on them.  He instructed his right hand man to do it. All his dirty work goes through him and I am sure he was all too happy to oblige in this situation.

His right hand man was Gregory Hobbs, Belinda Hobbs’ husband.  Belinda was my slut of a mother who thought she could seduce my dad away from Momma Sessile- or so the story goes. Momma Sessile was the bishop’s wife.  Of course, I couldn’t just call her momma. That would have been too painful for her especially since she couldn’t have children of her own. I was a constant reminder of her husband’s indiscretion and her bareness. I could see her hatred for me in her eyes. I can’t blame her though. Her husband trying to pass me off has her child while everyone in the church knew I was a bastard. The congregation pathetically watched her try to give the bishop an heir to the so called Tate religious empire. 

Momma Sessilee basically bought my father. Momma Sessilee’s family is the richest and most treacherous family in our community. Her father, the honorable Bishop Talfalgar, ran Athens, Georgia.  He had the biggest Baptist church in the area.  His church had 8,000 members. That was unheard of in that area with a population of 86,000 people. He was the man in the area. Whatever he said went. Every politician was at his beck and call.  They knew that without his endorsement and approval they were nothing and nothing would get accomplished.

With all his power and influence, Bishop Talfalgar was very unhappy.  His wife was unable to give him an heir. After ten years of marriage, she was only able to produce a simple minded daughter, Sessilee. He loved his daughter so much. But she was dumb as a box of rocks. All he could ever hope was for her to marry well.  He wanted her to marry a strong man of God. Someone he could trust to take over and expand his empire. 

He prayed for that day and night.  As soon as she graduated from high school, he sent her to Spellman in Atlanta hoping that she would meet a good man. Not just any man but a Morehouse man. One who was trained and equipped to be leaders and pillars of the community. 

They were both happy when she brought Daddy home. But really looking at it, I think my dad got the better end of the deal. He was a skinny black boy from Alabama.  He came to the big city in hopes of making it big. His dusty little church in Muscle Shoals, Alabama wasn’t enough for him. He had mega church dreams. Sessilee was the first person he met fresh off the bus. He was a Morehouse man. Sessilee was a Spellman girl. They were inseparable from their freshman year especially, after Sessilee brought Daddy to her father’s church and then to their home for dinner.

The good bishop saw the extravagance of their home. It was a three- story brick Tudor home secluded off an expansive lake. The house was patterned after one of Queen Elizabeth’s estates in London. It was nestled in a thicket of trees as if it had its very own forest. No one could see it from the road. It was a mini castle, and Jack Talfalgar was the king.

When you stepped through the door you were in a grand foyer bejeweled with gold trim and rich opulent red high back Queen Ann chairs. What impressed the bishop was the butler. When he opened that door for the first time and announced him, the bishop was astounded. All the bishop had to see was the wealth and he was hooked. I don’t think he liked Sessilee that much. He was hungry for the fame and fortune. Grandpa Jack, Sessilee’s father, was a well-respected pastor at that time. His ministry just went televised. He had more church investments and holdings than any other church in the tri-state area. He was looked upon as one of the first televangelist pioneers.

Grandpa Jack took an instant liking to Daddy.  He said he reminded him of himself when he was younger. He said Daddy had that eye of the tiger and knew instantly that he would take care of Momma Sessilee and the family business. He was worried about who would continue his legacy because he knew his child well.  She was beautiful but a simpleton. She would never be able to run his empire. They couldn’t have any more children so his only hope was for Sessilee to marry well. 

They had a world wind courtship. It was more like a negotiated merger. After Daddy’s junior year in college, Grandpa Jack called him to the mansion for a discussion without Momma Sessilee.

Edward, I called you here today because I want to discuss a very important matter, Bishop Talfalgar said. He was sitting in his expansive office. He sat in his chair behind his massive King Henry desk looking as if he was sitting on a thrown. He had this hard stare in his black beady eyes. He was a large man with hands the size of basketballs. He was 6’6", dark as tar with a full beard and a large scar over his left eye. He claimed he got the scar in a gang fight.  He stated that the fight almost cost him his life. He prayed that night in the hospital that if God spared his life he would forever be his servant. Thirty years later, he was still serving the Lord with as much gusto as he had the day he left that hospital with his life.

What’s on your mind bishop Daddy asked. He was anxious. He wanted the bishop to mentor him. He wanted so badly to be the heir of his empire. He worked so hard for the church.  Daddy was at the church when the doors opened and he was the last one to leave. He would come up on weekends just to help clean the church. He started the college version of this ministry and became quite the charismatic minister. He felt that he needed all the practice he could get. He felt that he would be leading this great empire soon. He even courted the bishop’s daughter. Daddy constantly showered her with romance and love even though he was not in love with her. He needed a woman with a little more sass, class and intelligence. Sessilee was beautiful, but an airhead. He figured she was a means to an end. He felt that she was his golden ticket.

Ump. The pastor cleared his throat. You know I’m getting old and I can’t do the things I use to. I’ve seen my ending.

No, bishop, don’t talk like that. You have many years left in you, Edward said.

The bishop raised his hands to halt Daddy from speaking. "I know when it’s my time. The Lord and I have a deep connection. He’s told me to start grooming my predecessor. I prayed and he led me to you. I said, Lord thank you because you would be an excellent successor. I feel you care about this ministry and what it stands for as much, if not more than, I do. And, I’ve never seen a man treat my daughter with as much love and respect before. That warms my heart. So I want you to take over my church. I feel that you will take this ministry to the next level and bring us safely and godly into the new millennium."

Well bishop I’m speechless, honored, but speechless. He stammered out knowing he wanted to shout for joy.  This was the moment he waited for all of his life.  I’m not sure I can fill your shoes. I, I …

Son, I have faith in you. God has faith in you. I will take you under my wings as soon as you graduate. The only stipulation I have is that you marry my daughter. You must love her and respect her till the day she dies. She is my pride, you know.

I know. She’s my heart. I can’t do any of this without her, he said silently thinking of how he could possibly get out of marriage. At the moment, he couldn’t think of any immediate solutions. But, that was a problem for another day. Today, he thought, I am on top of the world. He was going to make this the biggest ministry in the world.

Chapter 2

With the clash of the drums, Angel was brought back to the present; Sunday mornings at Greater Missionary Baptist Church.  The drummer, Jeremiah, always ended his set by pointing his left drumstick at Angel as if to say, that one was for you. Angel was secretly in love with him; however, she hated the fact that they called him Jesus Kid. He lived and breathed the Holy Ghost and she believed he wouldn’t be caught dead with a self-proclaimed atheist.  To her surprise, he always acknowledged her. They had brunch every Sunday. Jeremiah was Gregory Hobbs’s son. No one really knew where he came from.  About nine years ago, Mr. Hobbs showed up at church with Jeremiah. He never gave an explanation and Daddy never asked for one.  It was as if he granted automatic acceptance as if they were now in the same fraternal order.

Brunch with Jeremiah became special to Angel. He shared with her his God.  His God was loving and kind. His God believed all people were good and loved them unconditionally. People didn’t have to earn love unlike her household. If she was a perfect Angel, Momma Sessilee would shower her with love. If she didn’t do things quite her way, she would be severely punished. She got punished more then she got showered with love. In the beginning, Angel tried hard to please Momma Sessilee. But now she hated her and didn’t give a damn what she did or said. Now that she was older and could fight back, Momma Sessilee just tried to stay out of her way. Angel was just fine with that. 

Jeremiah tried his best to do what his Dad and Bishop Tate wanted. They wanted him to persuade Angel into accepting the Lord and get saved. He couldn’t understand. He liked Angel the way she was. She was just misguided.

Angel, now that you’re not in school, what are your plans? Jeremiah asked over bacon pancakes and a cheese omelet.

Jer, you sound like my daddy, Angel replied over a bite of bacon pancakes they shared at the Original Pancake House.

No, seriously, I want to know. I could use you, you know.

Use me how?

As the co youth minster.

You know I ain’t into that shit, Angel replied harshly.

Must you use that language? Jeremiah said softly as to defuse the situation.  He didn’t want to upset Angel. She could go into a horrible rant about the evils of the so-called Christian society and the poor state of the black church today.  He didn’t want to hear that. He just wanted to spend time with the girl he fell in love with.

Hey if you want to help me, teach me to play the drums, Angel replied. She wanted to ease the hurt she saw in his deep-set serious brown eyes.

Drums, he said slowly lifting his head meeting her gaze. He was trying to buy some time. He was old fashioned like his father. He didn’t believe a woman should play the drums. But if he teaches her, he could spend more time with her. He could keep her safe and near him. Ever since he first laid eyes on her he felt this instinctive urge to keep her safe.

A smile slowly crossed his face as he realized that he could keep his promise to bishop and his dad:  spend time with Angel. "I would love to but under two conditions. One, we practice at the church. Two, you have to become the co-drummer with me on Sundays.

Angel wrinkled her brow ready to protest, but she knew Jeremiah. He was as stubborn as a mule. He wouldn’t budge on this one and besides church wasn’t so bad when no one was there. She kind of liked it. It was serene for her. She felt comfortable, like she was at home or meant to be there.

Ok. No problem. When do we start? she asked cheerfully.

Immediately, Jeremiah said with a smile.

Chapter 3

That night Angel went to sleep to Momma Sessilee’s incessant ranting and raving about how she needs this and that how Angel was a dead beat.  I can’t believe how much shit she talks, Angel whispered in the dark.  And I damn sure don’t understand why Daddy takes it day in and day out.  If she’s that miserable, she should just leave, Angel said as she put the pillow over her head.

Tossing and turning an hour later, Angel still couldn’t sleep. She went to her window seat and sat down to think. Gazing out the window looking at the sky nestled in a purple dream like haze giving way to a full moon, she thought about what Jeremiah asked her earlier.  Now what?  She got kicked out of Clark Atlanta University which embarrassed the hell out of bishop.  "Now

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