Everybody Say Amen [NOOK Book]

Overview

Gold Pen Award-winning author ReShonda Tate Billingsley returns to the Houston congregation of her #1 Essence magazine bestseller, Let the Church Say Amen, in this warm and powerful sequel.

When her husband hears God's call to become a preacher, Rachel Jackson Adams is distressed -- she grew up a preacher's daughter, and knows how difficult life under the microscope can be for a reverend's family. But hot-headed Rachel has toned down her wild...
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Everybody Say Amen

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Overview

Gold Pen Award-winning author ReShonda Tate Billingsley returns to the Houston congregation of her #1 Essence magazine bestseller, Let the Church Say Amen, in this warm and powerful sequel.

When her husband hears God's call to become a preacher, Rachel Jackson Adams is distressed -- she grew up a preacher's daughter, and knows how difficult life under the microscope can be for a reverend's family. But hot-headed Rachel has toned down her wild ways, and for the sake of her marriage and her two children, she is now the reluctant first lady of Zion Hill, unafraid to rock the boat with her unconventional ideas for revitalizing the church. When her son, Jordan, begins fighting at school, Rachel turns to the boy's father, Bobby -- Rachel's first love from years ago. Married now himself, there should be nothing between them except their concern for Jordan -- so why does seeing Bobby again feel so distractingly tempting? With her brothers facing dramas of their own, and her father, Reverend Simon Jackson, recovering from illness, Rachel must listen carefully to discover what God truly wants for her -- and to decide if Bobby is the lover of her dreams or the devil in disguise
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416538769
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 7/10/2007
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 194,700
  • File size: 341 KB

Meet the Author

ReShonda Tate Billingsley is the #1 national bestselling author of numerous novels for adults, as well as the Good Girlz teen series. She recently won the NAACP Award for Outstanding Literary Work for Say Amen Again. She is also the author of the nonfiction book The Motherhood Diaries. Visit her website at ReShondaTateBillingsley.com.
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Read an Excerpt


Prologue

If looks could kill, Lester Adams would definitely be pushing up daisies.

Rachel glared at her husband and silently played her mantra in her head: Do not act a fool. You are a strong, mature woman who has left those childish ways behind you. Whatever you do, do not act a fool.

That had been Rachel's theme for the last five years, and had helped her out of numerous situations. It wasn't working today.

This fool must be on crack. Rachel inhaled deeply. "What did you just say?"

Lester got up and began his usual pacing as he tried to explain to his wife the reasoning behind his decision.

"It's not like this is something I just want to do on a whim," he said.

Rachel massaged her temples. She had done so well at walking the straight and narrow since she'd tied the knot. Marrying Lester had been the best decision she had ever made. He kept her grounded. No, he wasn't the most handsome thing, but he loved her unconditionally, and that love had made her want to be a better woman. But what he was saying now was absolutely insane.

"I talked this over with your father and he's pleased with the decision," Lester added nervously.

Rachel remained at a loss for words. She stared at her husband. The red pimples were gone from his sandpaper-colored skin thanks to Proactiv, and she'd convinced him to shave off the red mop that had sat on his head for years. Now he wore a closely cropped fade. Right about now, though, she wished she could grab that head of hair and shake some sense into him.

"Baby, I know you don't understand this." Lester sat down next to her. She immediately stood up. It was her turn to pace their spacious three-bedroom apartment.

"You're right. I don't," she said. "I don't believe you're standing here telling me this."

"Come on. You act like I'm telling you I had an affair or something," Lester tried to joke.

"I think I might be able to handle that better than this." Rachel shot him a look to let him know she wasn't joking.

Lester sighed. "Rachel, when the Lord calls, He calls. This is my destiny. You know how I've been telling you I was tired of insurance and felt I had a greater calling. Well, this is it."

Rachel spun on her husband. "A preacher, Lester? You want to be a preacher? Even worse, you want me to be a preacher's wife?" She stared at him as if that was the absolute craziest thing she'd ever heard.

"That's exactly what I want, Rachel."

Rachel cocked her head in confusion. "What makes you think those people at Zion Hill -- 'one of the most prominent churches in Houston,' as they like to boast -- will let you be their preacher anyway?"

"Come on. After Reverend Wright got arrested in the pulpit, I think the board wants someone safe like me."

She could understand that much. That whole situation had been a fiasco. Deacon Wright had finally gotten his wish a year ago when Rachel's father, Rev. Simon Jackson, had stepped down as pastor of Zion Hill. The deacon was able to get his nephew, Milton Wright, in as the church's new preacher. The only problem was that Reverend Wright never informed anyone of his outstanding warrants for hot checks -- more than fifty thousand dollars' worth.

The police had come and arrested him right in the middle of Sunday morning service. Wright had taken off running right in the middle of the sermon with the police chasing him all the way down the street. It was a nightmare that took Zion Hill months to live down.

But what Rachel couldn't understand was why her husband had to be the replacement. "Since when did you even want to be a preacher? Besides, you haven't been to theology school or anything."

Lester sighed in frustration. "Not every minister is trained in the Word. For some, it's just a calling."

"You really think those people at Zion Hill will let somebody with no experience be their preacher?"

"I've been a member of that church since I was born, Rachel. They support what I'm doing wholeheartedly. They know me and they don't have to worry about any mess like what happened with Reverend Wright. And it's not like I'll just jump in the pulpit. Your father has agreed to mentor me. I can also take part in a six-week theological seminar. And I'll work closely with the deacon board."

"Lester, this is insane." Rachel tried to reason with him. "You can't possibly want this. Is this some early midlife crisis or something? If so, go buy a motorcycle or get a tattoo."

"Rachel, if you half paid attention to me you'd know that I have always felt something was missing in my life! I've been praying on it and meeting regularly with your father about it," Lester said. "I've even preached a couple of times at different churches in the city already."

"What? When did this happen and why didn't I know anything about it?" Sure, she was wrapped up in her own little world most of the time, but surely she would've known about her husband having a desire to preach, let alone actually having preached somewhere.

Lester cast his eyes downward. "You never show an interest in what I'm doing. I didn't want to hear you try to talk me out of it, so I didn't tell you what I was doing."

Rachel shook her head as she continued walking back and forth across the room. She looked at the family photo of her, Lester, Jordan, and Nia. Both of her kids loved Lester to death. For Nia, he was the only father she'd ever known, since her real daddy didn't half fool with her. Jordan's father, Bobby, was in his life, but the nine-year-old still loved him some Daddy Lester. Rachel couldn't believe she was about to lose the happy home she'd worked so hard to build. But that was what was about to happen because there was no way on earth she would ever be a preacher's wife. She wasn't as buck wild as she used to be, but she definitely wasn't first lady material and didn't care to be first lady material. "This is too much," she said. "This is just coming out of the blue. Are you sucking up to my father, trying to be like the great Simon Jackson?"

Lester jumped to his feet, his frustrations becoming evident. "It's not like that at all. This is not a decision I've made lightly."

Rachel put a finger in the air and began wiggling her neck. She had been doing so well in keeping her ghetto ways at bay. But so much for that. "Decision? So you've already decided?"

He lowered his voice, obviously trying to remain rational. "Rachel, please understand..." He reached out to try and take her arm. She snatched it away.

"I'm not understanding anything!" She leaned in and pointed her index finger in his face. "You understand this. I ain't trying to be a preacher's wife. I spent my life as a preacher's daughter. I hated it growing up. The church always coming first in my family. My daddy never being around. Those holier-than-thou people watching my every move and passing judgment on me. It was horrible! But I didn't have any choice then. I have a choice about this!" She was fuming and was not about to back down. She had to let him know she meant business. Lester was a softie when it came to her. Always had been. She had to make him see this idea wasn't remotely feasible.

"What are you saying, Rachel?" Lester looked like he wanted to cry.

"What does it sound like?" Rachel stared defiantly at her husband.

"It sounds like you're giving me an ultimatum: either you or the Lord."

Rachel didn't budge. "You can make it sound as horrible as you want, I'm just telling you, I ain't trying to be a preacher's wife. Let me rephrase that. I'm not gon' be a preacher's wife."

Lester inhaled deeply before speaking. He looked her in the eye. "And I am telling you," he said, his voice taking on a strength she'd never heard, "I give you everything you want and then some. I cater to your every need, your every wish. But this is something I'm not wavering on. This is my calling and if you don't like it, you can leave." With that Lester turned and stomped out of the house.

Rachel was shocked. In their five years of marriage Lester had never so much as raised his voice at her, let alone issued her an ultimatum. But he had to be confused if he thought his little temper tantrum would change her mind. He was just going to have to find another "calling," because there was no way in hell she was going to be a preacher's wife.

Copyright © 2007 by ReShonda Tate Billingsley

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Introduction

In this sequel to Let the Church Say Amen, the lovable yet troubled Jackson family is eight years older but hasn't lost its penchant for drama. Oldest son David is off drugs and trying to pull his life together, but a visit from his ex-girlfriend brings shocking news that will change his life forever. Younger brother Jonathan is locked in a heated custody battle with his ex-wife, who is still struggling to come to terms with Jonathan's sexuality. Family patriarch Simon, now retired and still shaken by his wife's passing, slowly wades into the dating pool. At the center of the novel is tempestuous daughter Rachel Jackson, who has (mostly) tamed herwild ways and settled into marriage with the newly appointed reverend of Zion Hill, Lester Adams. Although Rachel is a reluctant first lady, she plunges into her job with aplomb, debating with self-righteous church elders and forming a group for troubled teenagers. But when her first love Bobby confesses a surprising secret, Rachel's commitments to her family and her church are severely threatened.

Questions for Discussion

1. We learn at the beginning of the novel that Rachel has changed a great deal over the last few years. Her mantra is, "You are a strong, mature woman who has left those childish ways behind you. Whatever you do, do not act a fool." How do the events of her past continue to affect her life? How do our past experiences continue to shape us, even if we try to forget them?

2. It is apparent that throughout the course of the novel Jordan has behavioral problems. Why might Jordan have been acting out? How are the children in this novel affected by the actions of their parents and other family members?

3.Did you think Angela's family's reaction to Jonathan's homosexuality was realistic? How do you think you or others you know would react in Angela's situation?

4. Simon tells Rachel, "You don't treat that man like you should...I know you didn't agree with your mother's philosophy that the man should be in charge of the household, but can you at least make him feel like he is?" Do you agree with Simon? In your experience, what is most important in making a relationship work?

5. Discuss Rachel. Did you sympathize with her? If you read the first book about the Jackson family, Let the Church Say Amen, do you feel differently about her after reading Everybody Say Amen?

6. What did you think of Bobby? Could you understand his behavior? Do you think he should have forgiven Rachel when he first learned of her affair? Do you think he wronged Shante?

7. Rachel admits that in the past she attempted to physically harm Shante and stop her marriage, and Bobby admits that he never loved Shante as much as he loved Rachel. What did you think about Shante's decision to set Lester up? Could you understand her point of view?

8. Near the end of the novel Twyla tells Rachel, "They say you reap what you sow. Maybe it just took yours a little while to come back to you." Where else does this theme appear in the novel? Do you believe this is true?

9. Did you agree with Rachel's choice to return to Lester? Do you think she was able to genuinely forgive him? If not, do you think she should have given in to her feelings for Bobby?

10. What do you think about the end of the book? Does it change your opinion of the choice Rachel made to return to Lester? Do you think Mary was telling the truth? What do you think will happen next?

11. How is forgiveness an important theme in this novel? Consider the relationships between Tawny and David, Angela and Jonathan, and Rachel and Bobby.

12. Could you relate to any character more than the others? Did you feel that any character was the novel's moral center?


ReShonda Tate Billingsley is the author of the nonfiction book Help!  I've Turned into My Mother and six previous adult novels: My Brother's Keeper, for which she received the prestigious Gold Pen Award for Best New Author from the Black Writer's Alliance and the Nova Lee Nation Award from the Greater Dallas Writing Association; the national bestseller and #1 Essence bestseller Let the Church Say Amen, chosen for Library Journal's Best of 2004 list for Christian fiction; I Know I've Been Changed, a main Selection of the Black Expressions Book Club and #1 Dallas Morning News bestseller; the sequel to Let the Church Say Amen and a USA Today 2007 ?Summer Sizzler? and Essence bestseller Everybody Say Amen; The Pastor's Wife, also an Essence bestseller and Can I Get A Witness.  Her previous teen novels are Friends 'Til The End, Fair-Weather Friends, Getting Even, With Friends Like These, Blessings in Disguise, and Nothing But Drama, all available from Pocket Books.  She is also a contributor to the anthology Have a Little Faith.  She welcomes readers to her websites at www.reshondatatebillingsley.com.

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Reading Group Guide


In this sequel to Let the Church Say Amen, the lovable yet troubled Jackson family is eight years older but hasn't lost its penchant for drama. Oldest son David is off drugs and trying to pull his life together, but a visit from his ex-girlfriend brings shocking news that will change his life forever. Younger brother Jonathan is locked in a heated custody battle with his ex-wife, who is still struggling to come to terms with Jonathan's sexuality. Family patriarch Simon, now retired and still shaken by his wife's passing, slowly wades into the dating pool. At the center of the novel is tempestuous daughter Rachel Jackson, who has (mostly) tamed her wild ways and settled into marriage with the newly appointed reverend of Zion Hill, Lester Adams. Although Rachel is a reluctant first lady, she plunges into her job with aplomb, debating with self-righteous church elders and forming a group for troubled teenagers. But when her first love Bobby confesses a surprising secret, Rachel's commitments to her family and her church are severely threatened.

Questions for Discussion

1. We learn at the beginning of the novel that Rachel has changed a great deal over the last few years. Her mantra is, "You are a strong, mature woman who has left those childish ways behind you. Whatever you do, do not act a fool." How do the events of her past continue to affect her life? How do our past experiences continue to shape us, even if we try to forget them?

2. It is apparent that throughout the course of the novel Jordan has behavioral problems. Why might Jordan have been acting out? How are the children in this novel affected by the actions of their parents and other family members?

3. Did you think Angela's family's reaction to Jonathan's homosexuality was realistic? How do you think you or others you know would react in Angela's situation?

4. Simon tells Rachel, "You don't treat that man like you should...I know you didn't agree with your mother's philosophy that the man should be in charge of the household, but can you at least make him feel like he is?" Do you agree with Simon? In your experience, what is most important in making a relationship work?

5. Discuss Rachel. Did you sympathize with her? If you read the first book about the Jackson family, Let the Church Say Amen, do you feel differently about her after reading Everybody Say Amen?

6. What did you think of Bobby? Could you understand his behavior? Do you think he should have forgiven Rachel when he first learned of her affair? Do you think he wronged Shante?

7. Rachel admits that in the past she attempted to physically harm Shante and stop her marriage, and Bobby admits that he never loved Shante as much as he loved Rachel. What did you think about Shante's decision to set Lester up? Could you understand her point of view?

8. Near the end of the novel Twyla tells Rachel, "They say you reap what you sow. Maybe it just took yours a little while to come back to you." Where else does this theme appear in the novel? Do you believe this is true?

9. Did you agree with Rachel's choice to return to Lester? Do you think she was able to genuinely forgive him? If not, do you think she should have given in to her feelings for Bobby?

10. What do you think about the end of the book? Does it change your opinion of the choice Rachel made to return to Lester? Do you think Mary was telling the truth? What do you think will happen next?

11. How is forgiveness an important theme in this novel? Consider the relationships between Tawny and David, Angela and Jonathan, and Rachel and Bobby.

12. Could you relate to any character more than the others? Did you feel that any character was the novel's moral center?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 19 )
Rating Distribution

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2011

    Easy Fast Read!

    I never read the first book (this is the sequel). I really liked this story. It's a quick read - sometimes sad, sometimes formulaic, sometimes laugh out loud funny. Ms. Tate hits all the right notes. I recommend it if you want some easy, pleasurable reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2012

    A must read

    Drama at every turn!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Good

    Pretty awsome to read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2011

    Good story!

    A very good read.

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  • Posted June 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Recommended...

    Everybody say amen is the sequel to "Let the Chruch Say Amen." Where I enjoyed the first book better, this one is worth taking a looksee as well. Funny and definitely entertaining, I think the readers will enjoy.

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  • Posted June 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    HOLD UP WAIT A MINUTE

    THIS BOOK WAS A HOT MESS!!!!!!!!!! WHEN LESTER ADAMS TELLS HIS WIFE RACHEL THAT HE IS CALLED TO BE THE PASTOR OF THEIR CHURCH, RACHEL IS LIKE HOLD UP ONE MINUTE. RACHEL IS NOT FEELING THIS AFTER GROWING UP BEING A PREACHER'S KID. RACHEL KNOWS FIRST HAND THAT HER HUSBAND'S TIME WILL BE SPENT MOSTLY WITH THE CHURCH. AND WHEN THIS STARTS TO HAPPEN RACHEL GETS UPSET AND STARTS TO ACT OUT. RACHEL HAS NO PROBLEM TELLING THE WOMEN AT THE CHURCH HOW SHE REALLY FEELS. BUT WHEN SHE DISCOVERS THAT LESTER HAS NOT BEEN FAITHFUL TO HER HOLD ON TO YOUR SEAT. I HAD A GREAT LAUGH.

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  • Posted January 4, 2009

    must read

    I LOVED THIS BOOK, MY FIRST TIME I READ RESHONDA BILLINGSLEY AND I LOVE IT, READ IT IN 2 DAYS. I WISH I READ THE OTHER BOOK FIRST TO FAMILAR MYSELF WITH THE CHARCTERS. I WILL BE READING MORE OF HER NOVELS, I JUST HOPE SHE BRING RACHEL, BACK SOON!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2008

    A reviewer

    I truly enjoyed this book, which was a sequel to Let the Church Say Amen. I read it in four days. I'm hooked on this author. Now I'm trying to decide which one I will read next by this author.

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    Posted February 18, 2010

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    Posted August 26, 2011

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