Longreads

Sara Eckel | Longreads | June 2018 | 17 minutes (4,267 words)

Sometimes, while out with a friend I’ve known for 10 or 20 years, I’ll pivot on my barstool and ask, “Did I ever mention that I’m a born-again Christian?” The question rarely computes. My close friends know I grew up in an agnostic household, and they’re pretty sure the only Sunday morning activities I leave the house for are yoga and brunch.Some have even heard me casually describe myself as an atheist. Nevertheless, on a bookshelf in my parents’ house, there’s a Bible with an inscription in my loopy 10-year-old handwriting: “Today, I am a born-again Christian.” Below that, the words “Hallelujah!” in a woman’s elegant, slanted script.

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The ceremony took place at that woman’s house — in my memory, her name is Mrs. Hannah — in the suburb of Cincinnati where my family lived during…

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