Jesus Land – surviving racism and both sexual and spiritual abuse

Jesus Land: A Memoir

I recall a Joel Barker video, “The Power of Vision.” In the video Mr. Barker relayed the story of Victor Frankl who wrote, Man’s Search for Meaning. If I recall correctly, the mental image of seeing his daughter again fueled his imagination and helped Frankl to survive life in a Nazi concentration camp.

Florida played somewhat the same role for Julia and David. Suffering racism and the spiritual abuse of their parents they often talked of reaching Florida, the beach and “freedom.” Periodically Julia would  tell David something like, “Remember Florida.” After a series of events in their late teens the two were sent away. Once exiled to Escuela Caribe they relied on their relationship and the promise of “Florida” to weather continued racism and the spiritual abuse of houseparents, teachers and workers in the “reform school.”

Julia Scheeres wrote a memoir chronicling a period of life with her adopted brother, David. Dreams of going home live and die and find new meaning as the two learn the necessity of deep human relationships.

I  often winced while reading the story. At other times I wanted to shout out loud, “YES!” Discouraging. Inspiring. Infuriating. Triumphant. Depressing. Hopeful. Too many stories are written to resolve in hopeful ways. When I glanced ahead to the first paragraph of the Epilogue I realized this story did not resolve so easily, if at all. Florida, even “Florida,” never came.

People need each other. You get the feeling Julia or David left alone may have succumbed to the horrors and wilted under their weight. Reading of the “look” and the development of “code” at Escuela Caribe illustrates the value of “together.” Powerful connections transcend words. Read the story. Be saddened by the reality of racism. Be appalled by the spiritual abuse. Be enraged by the sexual abuse. Be inspired to invest deeply in others. Come away ready to fight injustice – end racism, our sexual predators and expose spiritual abuse. Read it and not be moved … don’t bother reading.

About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.