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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Literary
  • Language:English
  • Pages:271
  • eBook ISBN:9781626757745

Donald's Cross

by Joseph Todd Emerson

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A preacher's kid hears the voice of God before setting out on his vision quest to change the world by defeating his state's anti-gay marriage referendum.


The culture wars have descended and have disturbed the comfortable and privileged residents of Pernoit County, Virginia. Caught in the midst of this conflict is Donald Ross, the eldest son of Dr. Eric Ross, the Senior Minister at Grace Progressive Church. Donnie has two things on his mind as he enters the summer between his Junior and Senior years at Logan High School, finding a job and improving his baseball swing. He never intends on becoming an avid volunteer to defeat his state’s anti-gay marriage referendum. Yet, after being entrusted with a secret from his favorite teacher and receiving a personal revelation from God, Donnie ventures upon his quest to heed the call of the Prophet Isaiah to “seek justice.” Along the campaign trail, Donnie is constantly asked to step out of his comfort zone by Cameron Hamilton, the Justice Coalition’s senior political strategist. During that summer, Donnie reframes the campaign’s message for his generation and conquers his fear of public speaking. As a senior, Donnie consistently faces down, Lloyd Chambers, his principal and an institutional proponent of reaction and homophobia. Donnie’s active engagement with the marriage equality campaign challenges his childhood friendships and the vestiges of his own personal power. Meanwhile, Donnie begins to forge new relationships with Alden and Aliceanna Dodge and Daniel Shelby, the youngest son of the state’s most ultra-conservative minister, while new priorities begin to emerge. When Donnie is assaulted by his best friend, Jake Kneath, in the restroom during Logan High School’s Homecoming dance, he struggles emotionally. Yet, a new and profoundly stronger resiliency is resurrected giving him the courage to face the daunting challenges to passionately take up his cross and follow Christ and to support his friend’s decision to come out of the closet in order to live a more authentic life.

About the author

Dr. Joseph Emerson is a career educator. His research interests include the politics of education reform, adolescent political socialization, and the role of religious faith in cultivating personal leadership capacities. His previously published work includes a doctoral dissertation on educational interest groups, a policy paper on reframing school board governance, and a critical review of the literature on teachers’ unions. He has served as a peer reviewer for educational research journal. A portion of his dissertation's second chapter is currently being used as a template by to professors of educational leadership in lobbying members of the United States Congress.