The Preacher's Secret
The Preacher's Secret is an engaging tale about an upstanding and powerful minister who is deeply afraid of his empire crumbling if a disturbing secret is unveiled.
Sandra Andrews, a successful child psychologist residing in Memphis, TN, has always been a magnet for drawing people to her – kids and adults alike – with her infectious laughter and warm demeanor. But there is one relationship where the walls refuse to come tumbling down, the one with her father.
Apostle Raymond Andrews is the prestigious and iconic pastor of Holy Grail Tabernacle in Atlanta, GA. He prides himself on being a man who indeed practices what he preaches. Never once had he cheated on his wife with a woman – or a man. And he had never abused his children in any kind of way. He’d lived as transparent as a man could…except for this one little secret that he’s guarded with his life. Because if it ever got out, it would turn their worlds upside down!
Dinner was pleasant enough. Everybody was still in good spirits. Roberto and Esmeralda were making a fuss over everyone – refilling drinks, removing dishes, bring second helpings. I glanced over at mom. She frowned and threw her silverware on the stack of dishes Esmeralda was picking up. She really didn’t want the intrusion, but yesterday’s dinner had left her drained and she had to call them back. I was delighted to see them both. They were such a sweet couple and plus Esmeralda can make a mean chicken casserole. And after our attack on her signature dish, we were leaning back in our chairs like stuffed pigs. But Esmeralda was too busy clearing the table for desserts to notice our discomfort.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the mutt approaching the table.
“Hey, Gin-Gin, you missing mommy?” Mom started making kissing noises at the poodle. She had to know I didn’t want this dog around my food. I cleared my throat and mom looked in my direction. I glared at her while she stroked the dog’s head. Then she snapped her finger, the signal for Ginger to leave the room, and the dog was gone…and not a moment too soon because Esmeralda was placing her scrumptious peach cobbler before us. Instead of Esmeralda leaving the dining room, she stood around for a moment to see how well her dessert would go over.
“Ooh, Lord, have mercy! This just keeps getting better and better.” Dad swallowed a spoonful of cobbler and winked at Esmeralda who curtsied and left the room.
We all dug into the dessert with no one talking much since words didn’t seem to be necessary while we were enjoying Esmeralda’s hard work.
Danny broke the silence. “You know, Dad, I’m glad I’m not the father of Monique’s baby. I realized in church today how blessed I am. And how I need to turn over a new leaf and stop all this sinning.”
Sounds like baloney, Danny. All you need now is the bread.
Mom threw her hands up and looked at the ceiling. When she looked at Danny, her eyes were misting up. She gave his hand a firm squeeze. Dad then reached over and patted Danny’s shoulder just as hard.
Collier offered encouragement as well. “Man, you can do it, too. All you have to do is ask the Lord to give you a renewing of your mind.”
Danny nodded at Collier. “I know I can man. I just need some direction.”
Collier cleared his throat. “I have a testimony I’d like to share if ya’ll don’t mind.”
Dad put down his glass and pointed at Collier. “Go on and give God the glory, Son. He’s worthy.”
Collier turned to face Danny. “I can relate to what you’re going through, Danny.” He glanced at me and then looked back at Danny. “Before I got serious about my walk with God, I had a woman for every day of the week.”
Dad pushed his dessert plate back. “Tell it. Go on and shame the devil.”
Collier loosened the knot on his tie. “It wasn’t until I was…well I don’t know if I should say this… ”
Dad smacked the table and stood up. “Naw, come on with it. Who the Son sets free is free indeed!”
Collier rubbed his hands together and then looked back at Danny. “Well, as I was saying, God became real to me while I was yet in my sin.”
Dad folded his arms across his chest and shook his head. At that moment, Roberto peeped his head into the dining room and looked around the table at all of us.
“I was just getting up out of this woman’s bed and when I went to use her bathroom…” Collier’s voice trembled and he dropped his head.
Mom rubbed Collier’s hand. “You can do it. Remember, we’ve overcome by our testimony.”
Collier lifted his head with tears ready to spill from his eyes. “I looked up in the mirror and saw a vision. I just knew it was the face of God. I felt so convicted that I haven’t been able to visit another woman’s bed since.”
Okay, that had to be after we stopped dating.
Tears were streaming down mom’s face. Dad was clapping his hands and turning around in circles. Esmeralda was standing in the door with the phone in her hand, ready to call 911.
Danny got up and hugged Collier. “Man, you don’t know how much I needed to hear that.”
Collier wiped his face. “Danny, I had to tell it. I had to let you know I understand your struggle.”
Dad sat down and smiled wide while rubbing Collier on the back. Mom picked up a napkin and blew her nose. Esmeralda put the phone down and left the room. It was indeed a joyous scene, but I wasn’t moved by the earth-shattering testimony. The way Collier had groped me at the church did not fall in line with a man who’s been conformed. He probably hadn’t been two weeks good out of some woman’s bed.
Dad used his elbows to prop his head on his hands and looked at me. “Sandra, I’m sure you can use that testimony, too. It wasn’t just for your brother.”
At that moment, something stirred up inside of me. I wasn’t mad that Danny wanted to stop being a whoremonger or Collier claiming that he’d already quit. But the fact that dad was singling me out after Danny had barely escaped being a baby daddy and then giving Collier praise for finally keeping it in his pants caused something to seethe inside of me. I was not the villain this time.
I looked across the table at Dad. “No, Dad, what I could use is your testimony.”
“Young lady, don’t be coy with me. I have hundreds of testimony about the goodness of the Lord.” Dad swallowed the last bit of cobbler.
Collier grabbed my hand. “San, you okay? You don’t look good.”
“I’m fine, thank you.” Everything in me was screaming not to do it, but I was just fed up. I reached into my purse and pulled out the photograph. I walked around the table and stood in front of Dad.
“Why don’t you start with this testimony? Can you testify who the person is in this picture?” I dropped the picture in between the two of them. Mom screamed as if she’d seen a ghost. She jumped up from the table and ran from the room. Dad banged his hands on the table and knocked over his glass, which shattered into pieces on the floor.
“Get out of my house now, you good-for-nothing troublemaker! How dare you come in here and pull a stunt like this?”
Collier jumped in between me and Dad and tugged at my arm, but I pulled against him and stood firm in front of Dad. Danny picked up the picture and ran after Mom.
“Do you have a hearing problem?” Dad clenched his teeth. “Get out and don’t come back!”
Collier picked up my purse and steered me out of the front door. And I was grateful that he was leading the way because my tears were blinding me.