wings and things

Chapter 5: Bible college [1978]

on August 16, 2021

In late January, 1978, by which time I had turned 19, my parents thought it would be a good idea to get me away from my crush on Anthony and send me to a Bible college on the other side of Australia. I am not quite sure why I agreed to this because to leave the proximity of this man I was so in love with, and his elderly mother, for whom I had developed a deep affection, was the purest version of misery I have ever felt, before or, remarkably, since.

Don’t get me wrong; my relationship with Anthony was utterly platonic at that stage. After all he was over 40! My parents must have been extremely concerned. Even now, a 23-year age gap is seen to be somehow unhealthy, indecent, and/or at the very least odd and I am sure Dr. Phil would suggest therapy until the younger party came to her senses.

The trouble with me going to this Bible college was that it only made me more certain that I was certain. I knew, without a shred of doubt, that Anthony was ‘it’. So I survived the strange antics of the Bible college, despite various experiences of attempted exorcism of forbidden love from my poor confused heart, conducted by other equally confused students down in the basement of the boarding house.

Of course I now realise that this particular Bible college was what we could now call a cult. The offices where we went to lectures was at the top of a Bondi Beach high-rise and morning prayers would include all of us holding hands and looking down from our privileged perch, praying for the sinners below us. I HATED IT! The arrogance disgusted me.

I asked for a sign from God (you see I was still very much a believer) and, when, a couple of days later, I received a hand-written letter from Anthony saying that he missed me, I took this as confirmation that I was right! Of course there is more to this bit of the story but I will save that for another chapter because ….

‘Bugger them’, my dad said on the phone, ‘Come home.’

I was in a telephone box down the road from the Bible college and I was about to run out of coins. ‘Are you sure, Dad?’

‘Yes, we both want you home.’

A few days later, with my bags secretly packed, I was reluctantly participating in an evangelistic skit night when the phone rang in the office adjacent to our activity room. The minister who headed the organisation went to answer it but I already knew, even though I didn’t know how I knew.

My dad was dead.

11 responses to “Chapter 5: Bible college [1978]

  1. Anonymous says:

    Fiction could never come near to your true life experiences. Your writing is so powerful!

  2. beth says:

    This gave me chills

  3. susanpoozan says:

    Poor, poor you to lose your dad so suddenly like that and fancy ending up in a cult situation. What a life you have led!

  4. Writer Lori says:

    Whoa, Julie, did *not* see that one coming. This book is gonna be a doozy! And as others have said, ‘What a life you have led!’

  5. Anonymous says:

    Oh my goodness what a cliffhanger! Please hurry up and write the next post. And Julie, I am so sorry for the loss of your father – tragically unforeseen, even though you sensed it. But up until the end, his love shined through.

  6. Who I am says:

    Amazing chapter!

  7. Judy says:

    Oh, my goodness – a cliffhanger, Julie! I am hanging on for the next installment.
    What a sad way to lose your father – I am so sorry. But clearly, his love for you shined through with his encouragement for you to come home.

  8. judyrutrider says:

    Waiting with bated breath for the next installment.

  9. tootlepedal says:

    You have done very well to survive all this.

  10. Sometimes our heart knows stuff before the brain does

  11. A sharp intake of breath, then “Oh Shit!” regarding the news of your Dad. As for the bible college , there are other ways to commune with God. Been there , done that, but have found an accepting church to my liking.

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