The Latest from Bruce

Questions?

Is there a question you’d like me to answer or a subject you’d like me to write about ? If so, here’s your chance. If you have a question you’d like me to answer or a subject you’d like me to write about , please leave your request in the comment section. Any subject…ask away.

Doing this from time to time helps me understand what is important to the readers of this blog. I have plenty of subjects to busy myself with, but I would love to hear from you,

Thanks in advance for helping me improve  this blog.

Almost Everything You Wanted to Know About Bruce Gerencser

questions

Updated July 30, 2015. Twice a year, I pin this post to the front page so new readers can read it. Enjoy!

I wrote the following to inform those who don’t know me about my past and present life. While this is in no way the sum of my life, it should help to answer some of the questions readers might have. I try to be open and honest. If you have a personal question you would like me to answer, please send me an email or leave your question in the comment section.

I also wrote a humorous follow-up to this post. You can read it here.

How do you pronounce Gerencser?

Grr IN Sir

What nationality is your name?

Hungarian

How old are you?

58

How long have you been married?

37 years

How many children do you have?

Six

How many grandchildren do you have?

Ten, nine granddaughters and one grandson

How many times have you been married?

Once

Where do you live?

Rural NW Ohio, the village of Ney. One stoplight, one gas station, one pizza place/bar, and one restaurant/bar. We have lived here since 2007.

Do you own your own home?

Yes

What color is your hair?

Well it used to be bright red, some say orange. These days, it is a faded, dull red, mostly white. (see picture above)

How tall are you?

Six foot

How much do you weigh?

I currently weigh 350 pounds. I weighed 160 pounds at age 18, 180 pounds the day I got married, and 225 pounds five years after I married. I am twice the man I was on my wedding day.

Which hand are you?

Left, 100% left.

What color are your eyes?

They range from gray to sparkling blue. Polly says my eye color is determined by my mood.

What is your body shape?

I have short legs (29 inch inseam) and a long body. One man told me I was built like a fire plug.

What’s wrong with you?

How much time do you have? I have suffered with depression most of my life. I have Fibromyalgia, diagnosed in 1997. Since 2007, I have had non-specific neurological problems that affect my ability to stand and walk. I live with daily, unrelenting pain. I walk with a cane and often have to use a wheelchair.

What sports teams do you root for?

Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, Louisville Bats, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Toledo Mud Hens, Cincinnati Bengals, and Ohio State football and basketball.

I am also a dirt track racing fan.

Did you play sports?

Yes, I played Little League and City League baseball and City League basketball. I played one year of junior high football.

I was usually good enough to make the team, but I tended to be on the far end of the bench. (except for City League basketball. I was a starter)

Should Pete Rose be in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame?

Yes

What do you like to do for fun or to relax?

Go anywhere with Polly.

Attend a sporting event with my sons.

Read non-fiction books.

Take a walk in the woods, or a walk anywhere with the love of my life by my side. These days, it is usually Polly pushing me in a wheelchair when we take walks.

What are your hobbies?

I am a serious amateur photographer. I use Sony, Tamron, and Sigma equipment.

I have extensive computer/Windows software knowledge. I build my own computers.

I also like to garden and work in the yard when I am able.

When did you buy your first computer?

1992, a V-Tech 286

Who are your favorite authors?

Thomas Merton, Henry David Thoreau, Bart Ehrman, and Wendell Berry, along with countless other authors who have helped me along the way.

What is your favorite comic?

Get Fuzzy

What foods do you like?

Food

Do you drink alcohol?

Yes, I like wine and spirits. I am not a beer drinker.

What are your favorite restaurants?

Mad Anthony’s in Fort Wayne and Auburn, Indiana, Red Lobster, and Texas Roadhouse

For dessert, I like Eric’s Ice Cream in Defiance, Ohio and Dietsch Brothers Ice Cream in Findlay, Ohio

What is your favorite ice cream?

Rocky Road and Mint Chocolate Chip

What is your favorite candies?

Double dipped chocolate malted milk balls from Dietsch’s, Clark, Zero, Zagnut, Snickers, and Milky Way candy bars, and Goetz’s Carmel Creams

What communities have you lived in?

Over the past 58 years, I have lived in:

Bryan, Ohio (numerous times) Ney, Ohio (twice) Farmer, Ohio Deshler, Ohio Harrod, Ohio Findlay, Ohio Mount Blanchard, Ohio Alvordton, Ohio (twice) Newark, Ohio (twice) Buckeye Lake, Ohio New Lexington, Ohio (twice) Junction City, Ohio Mount Perry, Ohio, Glenford, Ohio Somerset, Ohio

San Diego, California Chula Vista, California

Tucson, Arizona Sierra Vista, Arizona Hereford, Arizona Yuma, Arizona

Pontiac, Michigan Clare, Michigan

Elmendorf, Texas

How many houses have you lived in?

16 houses by age 21 and 18 more houses since Polly and I have been married.

How many cars have you owned?

Over 60. The cheapest cost $25.00, the most expensive cost $29,000.00

What car do you currently own?

2015 Ford Escape

What was your favorite car?

The 1970 Chevrolet Nova SS I owned in the 1970’s.

What was your least favorite car?

Any of the cars I owned that were made by American Motors.

Besides pastoring, what jobs have you worked?

Janitor, gas station attendant, short order cook, newspaper motor route, life insurance salesman, sweeper salesman, restaurant general manager, network manager, durable medical equipment supply office manager, dairy department manager, grocery stock clerk, workfare/court offender program manager, litter control manager/officer, building code enforcement officer, grant manager, real estate updater for auditors office, farm worker, mechanic, cable box repairman, shipping and receiving, turret lathe operator, and numerous general laborer jobs in factories.

What was your favorite job?

Restaurant general manager

What is your favorite color?

Blue

What are your politics?

Liberal, progressive, socialist

Are you an atheist?

Yes

Are you a humanist?

Yes

What is your worldview?

I am agnostic on the God question. I can not know for certain if a god of some sort exists, but I think it is highly improbable. It is possible that a deity of some sort might some day reveal herself to us, but I highly doubt it. I am convinced that all of the deities in the human panoply of gods are the creation of humans.

I live my day-to-day life as an atheist. Thoughts of God never enter my mind unless I am writing an article for this website.

I try to live my life according to the humanist ideal spelled out in the various humanist manifestos.

Do you fear going to hell?

No more than I fear Micky Mouse breaking into my house and stealing my TV.

In other words, since heaven, hell, and the devil are the fictions of humans, I don’t fear hell.

What churches did you pastor?

Montpelier Baptist Church, Montpelier, Ohio-Assistant Pastor

Emmanuel Baptist Church, Buckeye Lake, Ohio-Assistant Pastor

Somerset Baptist Church, Somerset, Ohio-Pastor

Community Baptist Church, Elmendorf, Texas-Pastor

Olive Branch Christian Union Church, Fayette, Ohio-Pastor

Our Father’s House, West Unity, Ohio-Pastor

Victory Baptist Church, Clare, Michigan-Pastor

What was your favorite church?

Our Father’s House West Unity, Ohio

How many churches did you start?

Five

I helped start Emmanuel Baptist Church, Buckeye Lake, Ohio

I started Somerset Baptist Church, Somerset, Ohio and Our Father’s House, West Unity, Ohio

While co-pastor of Community Baptist Church, Elmendorf, Texas, I started two churches, one in Floresville, Texas and one in Stockdale, Texas.

Have you ever been baptized?

Three times

I was baptized as an infant at the Lutheran church in Bryan, Ohio

I was baptized when my parents joined Eastland Baptist Mission in Bryan, Ohio

I was baptized at Trinity Baptist Church, Findlay, Ohio after I made a public profession of faith.

When were you saved?

I made a public profession of faith at Trinity Baptist Church, Findlay, Ohio at the age of 15.

When were you called to preach?

I was called to preach several weeks after I was saved.

Where did you attend college?

Midwestern Baptist College, Pontiac, Michigan 1976-79

How many churches have you visited/preached at in your lifetime?

Over 150

What can you tell me about your wife?

We met at Bible college. Polly is a pastor’s daughter. She is my lover and best friend. She is an awesome cook, a great seamstress, and she never lets me have all the covers.

What can you tell me about your kids?

Well, there are six of them, four sons and two daughters. The three oldest are married and have children of their own. Five of them are gainfully employed. Our oldest daughter has Down Syndrome.

Are your children Christian?

You’ll have to ask them. None of them are Evangelical and all of them have left the faith of their youth.

Do you have any siblings?

Yes, a brother and sister. They both live in Arizona. (Chandler and Tombstone)

Are your parents still living?

No. My father died at the age of 49 from a stroke and my Mom committed suicide at the age of 54.

What kind of music do you like to listen to?

I like every style of music except rap, old style country, and opera.

Who are your favorite artists?

Matt Nathanson, Eliza Gilkyson, Darius Rucker, Theory of a Deadman, Staind, Seether, Lucinda Williams, The Carpenters, Collective Soul, Sugarland

What is your favorite movie?

Mosquito Coast and Hell in the Pacific

If you could live any place in the world where would you live?

Anywhere near water as long as Polly is with me and my children live 20 minutes away.

Why do you blog?

I have a story to tell and blogging is my way of telling it.

Why do you stop blogging from time to time?

Depression and health problems.

Have you made a lot of money blogging?

Yes, millions of dollars. So much money that I don’t know what to do with it.

Serious answer? Last year, blog donations totaled less than $500.00. I don’t write to make money. I write because I want and need to.

Are you writing a book?

Yes, I started it a dozen times and I hope to have it done before I die.

What’s most important to you?

My family

What’s least important to you?

The approbation of others.

What is your favorite season?

Fall

If you had one piece of advice to give me, what would it be?

You have one life. There is no heaven or hell. There is no afterlife. You have one life, it’s yours, and what you do with it is what matters most. Love and forgive those who matter to you and ignore those who add nothing to you your life. Life is too short to spend time trying to make nice with those who will never make nice with you. Determine who are the people in your life that matter and give your time and devotion to them. Live each and every day to its fullest. You never know when death might come calling. Don’t waste time trying to be a jack of all trades, master of none. Find one or two things you like to do and do them well. Too many people spend way too much time doing things they will never be good at.

Here’s the conclusion of the matter. It’s your life and you best get to living it. Some day, sooner than you think, it will be over. Don’t let your dying days be ones of regret over what might have been.

The Funny Version of Almost Everything You Wanted to Know

questions

Updated July 30, 2015. Twice a year, I pin this post to the front page so new readers can read it. Enjoy!

Warning! What follows is not suitable for children or fundamentalist Christians.

If you have not read the serious version of Almost Everything You Wanted to Know About Bruce Gerencser, please read it here.

I have noticed in the search logs that people are looking for information (more likely dirt) on Bruce Gerencser. They are entering search strings like Bruce Gerencser, Bruce Gerencser sermons, Bruce Gerencser bio, etc. Many times they misspell my name, spelling Gerencser: Gerenscer, Gerenser, or Gerencer.

In order to facilitate their search for the Kim Kardashian lowdown on my life, I thought I would write two posts, a serious one and this one.

Where can I listen to your old sermons?

There are no online sermons of me preaching. For many years, all of my sermons were taped. I am sure there are tapes of my sermons gathering dust in former parishioner’s closets.

All told, I preached over 4,000 sermons.

What is your shoe size?

10EEE

What clothes do you wear most of the time?

I wear blue jeans and tee shirts 99% of the time.

I still have a tie I bought in 1976. I haven’t worn a tie in almost ten years.

I don’t wear shorts in public and I have not taken my shirt off in public in over 30 years. I know all the babes in Ney are just waiting for me to go strutting down the street with no shirt. I am sure they will think, what a stud. Or maybe they will call 911.

I always wear a hat in public. Usually I wear a Reds or Bengals hat.

What kind of underwear do you wear?

The invisible kind

What is your…?

Don’t even ask. I am told that it is big enough. But, the person telling me this has only seen one flesh and blood man naked. Compared to what I have seen, uh, well somewhere on the internet, I doubt I will become a porn star any time soon.

Are you on Social Security?

No. Thanks to listening to well-off, hate the government preachers, I opted out of Social Security when I was 24. (seemed like a good, money-saving idea at the time) By the time I realized those preachers were full of shit and opted back in, it was too late. While I can not draw Social Security Disability, I will be able to draw Social Security based on my secular work when I turn 62 1/2.

Do you have animals?

Yes, I currently have a dog that somehow stayed behind when my youngest daughter moved out. I also have two cats. Polly tolerates and sometimes loves the animals. Thanks to my mother, I am a hopeless animal lover.

Do you kill spiders?

No

Never?

Never, it’s the Buddhist in me.

Are you afraid of snakes?

No

I do wish the snakes that stand in fundamentalist pulpits Sunday after Sunday would climb into a hole never to be seen again. Dare we hope?

What kind of temperament do you have?

Why, just ask my family. I am quiet, meek, passive, and never get angry. Ok, I might be lying just a bit.

Back in the real world, I am temperamental and have a wry sense of humor. I can quickly become angry, but my anger quickly dissipates. I don’t hold grudges and I am quick to forgive.

My humor has gotten more risqué post Jesus. I blame this on my children.

Do you have any identifying marks?

I am circumcised. That sure as hell had to hurt. I don’t remember it, but it sure left a scar.

I have a scar on my nose from skin cancer surgery and a scar on my left hand from carpal tunnel surgery.

I have a scar on my leg from being bit by a dog when I was 11.

I have short legs, a long body, and no butt. I have spent most of my life pulling up my pants and tucking in my shirt. I wear suspenders lest locals someday open their newspaper and read Local Atheist Moons Christians at Meijer.

What was your greatest sports achievement?

As a 12-year-old, I won third place in the Deshler Punt, Pass and Kick contest. There were four kids in my age group.

Are you allergic to anything?

Bees and Republicans.

If you had to concoct one meal, what would be in it?

The Whopper from Burger King, french fries from McDonald’s, onion rings from Sonic, washed down with a super sized Pepsi. And then, for dessert, a banana split from Eric’s Ice Cream.

Man, I wish I could eat this meal right now. Sounds like a dying man’s last wish.

Do you drive a car?

Very rarely. Polly does 99% of the driving and she should do the other 1%. I have driven hundreds of thousands of miles in my lifetime. No, I am not exaggerating. For a number of years, when I was a pastor in SE Ohio, I drove 40-50,000 miles a year. Polly rarely drove.

I have become accustomed to Polly’s driving. It hasn’t been easy. I like to be in control and that includes being in control of the car. She has learned to ignore me except when I am screaming, watch out, we are going to die!

Do you swear?

Hell, no.

Have you ever killed anyone?

Just myself, one fast food and junk food meal at a time.

Have you ever looked at pornography?

Really, you are asking this? I am a guy. Next question.

Have you ever committed adultery?

Yes. Jesus said if I look at a woman to lust I have committed adultery with her in my heart. I must admit I have an adulterous heart. My wife now says we are in an open marriage, so I can look but not touch. Touching will bring the death penalty.

Do you have any irrational fears?

One, flying on an airplane. I did it once and it ain’t happening again, ever! If my brother or sister in Arizona die before me, they better keep them on ice until I get there. I will be taking the bus or Polly will be driving me. No planes. The good news is that I will likely die before them, so I don’t have to worry about flying again.

Have you ever committed a crime?

Felony or misdemeanor?

I shoplifted clothing as a teenager, mainly Levi jeans. My Dad thought Rink’s Bargain City, also known as Bargain Shitty, and Twin Fair were fine clothing stores.

Years ago, I stiffed the IRS by not claiming cash gifts from parishioners as income. This is a common practice among clergy.

A teenage friend of mine and I stole his father’s 1955 Chevrolet and turfed a bunch of lawns. We made the newspaper the next day.

As a teenager I pelted cars with apples, water balloons, and snowballs. I now threaten to beat the shit out of kids who do the same to me.

I have had more traffic tickets than I can count, but none since 1985.

Last fall, I found 27.00 in a school parking lot. I thanked the Sky God for his blessing and put it in my pocket. I did look to see if anyone was nearby that the money might belong to. My eyesight was pretty bad. After the game, I used the money to buy dinner.

What are your favorite sodas?

Pepsi, Suncrest Cream Soda, Jones Cream Soda, Big Red, and Faygo Rock and Rye

I refuse to drink diet pop. Diet pop is like taking Vicodin without the Hydrocodone. Why bother?

What are seven things you hate?

Any team from Ann Arbor, Michigan that is playing Ohio State

The Saint Louis Cardinals

Fundamentalism, wherever it is found

Rude, self-absorbed people

Air conditioning

Dentists

Any fart but my own

What is your favorite practical joke?

I put brown shoe polish on toilet paper and then came out of the bathroom screaming at my kids about who left the shitty toilet paper in the bathroom. Much to their horror, I proceeded to put the toilet paper in my mouth.

Have you ever used illegal drugs?

Never, but I sure would like a joint. I think it would help with my pain. Anyone from Colorado coming this way?

Have you ever had an affair?

Only with God, Jesus, and the church. They sure turned out to be lousy lovers.

What’s the oldest thing in your house?

You mean beside me and Polly?

Old photos of family are the treasure I hold on to. I have the baseball glove I bought at the age of 14 from JC Penny. I also have a knife my Dad gave me 44 years ago.

What are your favorite homemade desserts?

Pumpkin pie

Cheesecake

Vanilla pudding with vanilla wafers and meringue on top, but only if it is made exactly like my Mom made it. Polly finally accomplished this task over the holiday. I can now die in peace.

Anise cookies

Oatmeal, raisin, and chocolate chip cookies

Any cake my mother-in-law-makes

Oreo’s, they are homemade, right?

What things do you refuse to get rid of?

Polly

I’ve had the same metal desk and file cabinet in my office for 30 years. They were made in the 1950’s, back when Americans made stuff.

What was the first car you owned?

My first car was a 1960 Mercury Comet. I let an unlicensed friend of mine drive it one day and he lost control of it. The car hit a ditch bank and flipped over several times. He ended up in the back with the seat on top of him and I ended up with my head sticking out of where the windshield used to be. The car was totaled. I paid $200.00 for the car. To hear my friend tell it, we were going 100 mph when he lost control. The car had a six cylinder 144 CID motor, with a top speed of 68 mph. He was doing about 40 when he lost control.

What magazines do you read?

Digital Photography, Harper’s, Mother Jones, National Geographic, Orion, Outdoor Photography, Popular Photography, Shutterbug, and Smithsonian.

I also read magazines when I use the toilet. If no magazine is available, I read the ingredients on whatever is nearby. Always learning.

If you could sit anywhere with Polly where would it be?

Ok Bruce, they want a romantic answer. The fifty yard line at the Super Bowl is not what they are looking for.

On the banks of the Blanchard River, Riverside Park, Findlay, Ohio

The eastern shore of Lake Michigan when the sun is setting.

What are your toilet habits?

I put the seat up when I pee and I don’t put it back down. I don’t care which way the toilet paper roll dispenses the paper.

Do you have a reoccurring dream?

Yes, and it involves Pamela Anderson. Enough said.

I hope you have had some fun with this post. I have no doubt this will not satisfy those looking to get some dirt on me or discover who the r-e-a-l Bruce Gerencser is. Who knows, maybe they will find out I am really a transvestite, vegan, University of Michigan loving man. After all, the lies told about a person always make for better news than the truth.

Bruce

 

Dear Mrs. Evangelical, If Your Husband Has a Porn Habit It’s Your Fault

symptoms of porn addiction

Does this describe you? Then you are a porn addict!!

Just when I think Evangelicals have run out of ways to blame women for the weaknesses of men, I stumble across another “blame the woman” article. In an article titled What Women Don’t Understand About Men Who Struggle With Pornography, Jennifer LeClaire, senior editor at Charisma Magazine, interviewed social researcher Shaunti Feldhahn and Craig Gross, the founder of xxxchurch.com:

Charisma News: What do women not understand?

Feldhahn: In general, women are largely unaware of what men are confronted with every day in this culture. Because we are wired differently, we don’t realize that when a man sees a woman who is dressing to overtly draw attention to a good figure, it creates an instant sexual stimulation and temptation in his brain. Even if he doesn’t want that to happen!

And many men make rigorous choices every day to look away, and take those thoughts captive. They fight down the temptation to look, and to let their thoughts go in sexual directions. But other men have gotten pretty weary of the struggle and have made poor choices. And they feel shame that they are trapped, are hiding it and don’t know how to get free.

Charisma News: Why will a woman’s ability to understand help solve the problem of porn?

Feldhahn: In my research over the years I’ve seen that if a husband is struggling with just being visual in this culture, or is actually struggling with porn in some way it is almost impossible for him to get free of it if his wife doesn’t understand or if she doesn’t see why he would even have this temptation, and isn’t supportive of him as her husband. If she’s condemning and furious instead, it certainly may be an understandable reaction—but it definitely won’t incentivize him to open up. And a man needs to open up, to get help.

Gross: We tell women that everything from everyday visual temptation all the way to hard-core porn use will only become more of a problem when it is hidden. Men have to be willing to be vulnerable and open. We have to be willing to bring stuff into the light in order to work on it.

Some men do talk about it with other guys. But in this book, we share with women that the only way a man is going to be willing to talk about it with his wife, is if it’s safe. And it is only going to feel safe if she can talk about it with him, without freaking out. But right now many men assume their wives will freak out, so they stay silent. So they stay trapped. I’m not blaming women for this, mind you. The guy should be willing to open up to other guys. But all too often, his wife is the only person he shares his heart with. So in practice, this becomes the one area that he doesn’t talk about with anyone.

Feldhahn: I’ve heard many a man say he wouldn’t dare to talk about this with his wife … but only because “she wouldn’t understand.” I haven’t found a single man who has said he doesn’t want his wife to understand. Most men said if she could somehow understand, he would actually love to know that she was on his team. That he could talk to her. That this stuff didn’t have to be hidden anymore. Honestly, that is huge.

Gross: Think about the vast difference it would make if men didn’t need to fight this battle on their own, in the dark. If they could talk about it with their wives. Getting women up to speed on this and enlisting them as partners is critical…

Once again, it’s up to a woman, a man’s wife, to help a man find the “victory” over porn. Few within the Evangelical community bother to ask if porn addiction is even a thing. Like with any behavior, someone can become obsessed and it becomes some sort of addiction. However, most men are able to look at porn without any deleterious effect. Evangelical men are told viewing porn is a sin, a habit that can only be broken through the mighty power of Jesus. Perhaps, it’s religion that’s the problem. Instead of lading guilt and fear of judgement on the heads of men, how about telling them that it is healthy and normal to view adult pornography?  At the very least, couples should have a frank, open discussion about pornography and sexual expectations. If the person’s spouse is OK with them viewing porn, and yes women watch porn too, then they no longer have to slink off to the darkness of the closet with their iPad so they can watch the latest video on YouPorn.

Puritanical morality continues to drive the debate over pornography and behaviors traditionally labeled sexual sins. As a result, both men and women often feel guilt and fear when engaging in behaviors the Bible and Pastor Bubaloo call a sin. This leads to an unhealthy view of sex and marriage and often leads to mistrust in a marriage.

Notes

When I use the word porn, I am referring to adult pornography that is recorded by consenting adults. I am a libertarian when it comes to sexuality. What consenting adults do in private is of no concern of mine, nor should it be the concern of the government.

I consider marriage to be a contract between two people. Each party must agree to the sexual parameters of the marriage. For example, a wife might say, I have no problem with you watching porn, but don’t expect me to be a sexual gymnastics performer. A husband might say, if you want to watch Magic Mike down at Chippendale’s, that’s fine. Just don’t expect me to bust a move like Magic Mike.

Pastor Benny Holmes Tries New Evangelism Method: Shoot and Pray

pastor benny holmes

Benny Holmes, pastor of The Church of New Beginnings, Baytown, Texas

Benny Holmes is pastor of  The Church of New Beginnings, a full gospel church in Baytown, Texas. Holmes, a gun-toting preacher, recently shot a man who was burglarizing the church. The Washington Times reported:

A gun-owning pastor shot a man who broke into the Church of New Beginning in Baytown, Texas, and then led him through the sinner’s prayer.

Pastor Benny Holmes was sleeping when he heard someone break into his church on Tuesday. Surveillance video and a 911 call both appear to back up his story.

“I commanded him to stop twice, and he didn’t. So fearing for my life, I did what I had to do,” Mr. Holmes told a local ABC affiliate.

“Do you know Jesus? The Lord Jesus?” the pastor asks the suspect on the 911 call, The Blaze reported. “Say, ‘Lord Jesus. Forgive me. I have sinned. I repent. Come inside my heart. Live inside of me. And I won’t do this again. In Jesus’ name.’”

The burglar prayed the sinners prayer and then tried to leave. Holmes, following in the steps of Jesus, told the man, “If you get up I’m gonna shoot you again, OK?”

Here’s a recording of the 911 call:

Video Link

Last September, Holmes pulled a gun on a grandmother who was stealing packages from his porch. ABC13 reported:

 A pistol-packing pastor nabbed a grandmother who police said is responsible for stealing dozens of packages from homeowners’ front porches.

On September 12, Laurie Ferguson, 52, was caught stealing some packages from Benny Holmes’ front porch, according to the Baytown Police Department.

“He was at his wits end,” said Holmes’ wife, Pat. “He was determined in his mind that he would sit here, however long it took, to see if he could find her.”

Pastor Benny Holmes is seen on video bolting through his front door with a gun in hand. He ordered Ferguson to get on the ground. She did.

“She said I’m looking for my dog,” said Holmes. “He said you found your dog. Bow wow,” said Pat Holmes.

When police were dispatched to the home, Benny Holmes was holding Ferguson at gunpoint. Investigators believe that Ferguson is the same woman caught on surveillance video driving a red Ford Fiesta and taking packages from the Holmes’ porch two previous times this year. Two children could be seen taken out of Ferguson’s car. The kids are her grandchildren.

“I learned they had retrieved quite a few packages from her house,” said Holmes.

Police said Ferguson had several stolen items in her home that were taken during similar incidents in the neighborhood. Holmes said Ferguson stole a pastor’s robe that was delivered to her home in June.

Pat Holmes said she has a gift for Ferguson. She specially made a hat with the word “forgiven” that she hopes to give Ferguson one day.

In both instances, the criminal was unarmed. Thanks to Texas gun laws. Holmes will not be charged with a crime. I don’t think for a moment that Holmes feared for his life. Knowing the burglar was unarmed, Holmes could have fired a warning shot or used some other means to cause the man to leave. Instead, he shot the man in the back as he tried to run. What’s next for gunslinger Holmes? Killing someone?

Numerous right-wing news and religious sites have turned Holmes into a hero; a gun-toting, soul-saving, man of God. According to Holmes’ ex-wife, “He loves the Lord, a man of God, cares for his sheep, and certainly protects the property.”  Loves the Lord? What would Jesus have done? Where’s the verse that commands Christians to shoot and ask questions later?  Would Jesus kill a man over some electronic equipment or hold a woman at gunpoint over a stolen package. I doubt it.

Evidently, this passage of scripture is not in Pastor Holmes’ Bible:

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48

Get Right With God,Consult the Bible When Making A Decision, and Keep America Communist Free,

Now that’s a headline. What follows are photographs I shot while out and about in rural NW Ohio.

get right with god

High Resolution Photo

I found this sign along U.S. Hwy 127 south of Sherwood, Ohio.  Recently, the Defiance Crescent-News featured an article written by Isaiah Ross about this sign:

Along U.S. 127 and Paulding County Road 424 is a cross that simply states: “Get right with God.” Amid word that the beloved cross would be removed, the past few weeks have been filled with heated emotional debate.

The cross was to be picked up by the American Sign Museum located in Cincinnati, whose founder Tod Swormstedt said the acquisition was supposed to be a birthday surprise from his girlfriend, Nancy Herbert. Herbert’s friend Cate O’Hara was heading up to Bryan with her daughter when she noticed the sign off the side of the road. O’Hara, knowing Swormstedt’s involvement with the American Sign Museum, contacted Herbert to inform her of the cross. The surprise was reportedly ruined when Swormstedt was notified of it after a local newspaper ran a historic account of the cross last week. However, Thursday morning, he received news that the sign was no longer available for pickup.

The cross was placed there by Rev. Harrison Mayes around 1966 in his journeys throughout the country. Mayes took to working in the coal mines at a young age, and when he was a young man, an accident caused him to be trapped in a mine. He prayed and prayed to God, vowing to live the rest of his life in God’s service if he survived the predicament.

His prayers were answered. Mayes made it through to fulfill his side of the covenant, so he took to his bike and used his building skills to construct, paint, and place his signs where he saw fit.

Through the course of his life, Mayes made many signs, each of which is large enough to be easily seen and read from the road. All of them share a similar message of being prepared and getting saved. Several signs stand erect in the greater region around his home in Fork Ridge, Tenn., but they are present in 22 different states. Some are as far north as northwest Ohio, where locals have seen the Cecil area cross and one that used to be near Antwerp before an accident destroyed it. As he knew his days were coming to a close, he began writing on his signs where he wanted them placed, in hopes someone would continue the efforts of his lifelong promise…

Across the road from the Get Right With God sign I found this billboard:

decision to make

High Resolution Photo

Isn’t it good to know that the Bible is a one-stop shop for all your decision-making needs. Need to decide what to make for dinner? Check the Bible? Need to know if brown shoes go with blue slacks? I’m sure that the billboard owner has a more spiritual intent in mind, something along the lines of getting saved.

Tuesday, Polly and I drove to Fort Wayne to attend the Dayton Dragons vs. Fort Wayne Tin Caps baseball game. I’ve been battling an upper respiratory infection for the past week or so, and by the time we got to the stadium I was in no shape to sit in 93 degree heat and watch a game. So we turned around and came home. Here’s a sign I photographed on a country road outside of Antwerp, Ohio.

keep america communist free

High Resolution Photo

Ah yes, Joseph McCarthy lives on.

Please click the high-resolution links to see photo full size. Most photos on this site are resized to 600×400, resulting in 60-90% reduction in size. This reduction flattens and softens most photos. I hate it, I mean I really, really, really hate it, but you’d hate it even more if I uploaded all my photos as shot and it took 5 minutes for the site to load. If you would like to save, print, or use one of my photos, please use the high-resolution photos. Any noncommercial use is permitted.

 

Why Do Evangelical Pastors Think they Know Everything?

know it all

Several months back, I asked readers to submit questions they would like me to answer. If you would like to ask a question, please leave your question here.

Scott asked:

More of a philosophical/mindset question. I subject myself to the local “Christian” Radio station from time to time and I’m curious as to why pastors preach on/think that they know “everything” once they become a pastor. I’ve heard a number blather on about science when I know 8 year olds with deeper knowledge. One radio show seems unable to have A) hosts who read more than the “Drudge Report” and watch Fox “News” and B) Show absolutely no interest in wanting to learn science, even at the “Buck Rogers” level. I know that I, like you, have a voracious interest in learning new things, old things and different things. What kills the curiosity in them?

I doubt you can find an Evangelical pastor who will admit they know everything. In fact, they will likely strenuously object by saying that they are but a humble servant of the Lord, and only God knows everything. However, in many Evangelical churches, the pastor is viewed as an oracle, a divine answer machine, always ready to spit out the correct answer to every question.

When’s the last time you’ve heard an Evangelical pastor answer a question with I don’t know. Church members expect their pastor to know everything. They expect him to be able to answer any and every question. Pastors routinely counsel church members on spiritual matters and beliefs. If they stopped here, all would be well. However, many pastors are quite willing to answer questions and give advice on virtually any subject.

How does an Evangelical pastor get to the place where he arrogantly thinks that he is some sort of super-duper, always right answer machine?

The Evangelical believes the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible word of God.  The Bible is a divine book breathed out by God and is meant to be read and understood. When a person becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit indwells them (lives inside of them) and is their teacher and guide. Indwelt by the Spirit, the Evangelical reads and studies the Bible, finding everything necessary for life and godliness.

Some Evangelicals are called to be a pastor.  This calling (some sects call it an anointing) comes from God. Every God-called pastor has been gifted by God to preach, teach, and lead the church. While most Evangelical pastors will tell you that they are first among equals, in real life the pastor is considered the king of the hill.  He is the hub around which everything turns. No matter how many elders, deacons, or church boards a church might have, the pastor stands above them all. He is God’s man, chosen to lead the church.

Evangelicals value those who are successful, those who do great exploits for God. Go to a Christian bookstore and see how many books focus on success. Most church members don’t want to hear about their pastor’s failures. No one wants to hear their pastor confess that he looked at porn on Saturday night, drank two too many beers, or had a bitter fight with his wife. They want a man who is a pillar of virtue and righteousness, a man who is a shining example of what a successful Christian should be.

Having said these things, I want to now answer Scott’s question. The reason many Evangelical pastors think they know everything is because a supernatural God wrote a supernatural book and gave it to a man who has a supernatural calling to speak supernatural truth to Evangelical church members. The pastor is the mouthpiece of God, one chosen by God to speak on his behalf.  Since the church wants assurance of belief, the pastor is quite willing to give it to them. Since doubt is of the devil, the pastor papers over the doubt with the answers he finds in the Bible. As a pastor ages, reads more books,  and studies the Bible thoroughly, he is more likely to answer a wider array of questions with “Biblical” answers.  As the church sees he is capable of answering their questions, they continue to bring the pastor more and more questions.

Evangelical church members wrongly believe that because their pastor went to a Bible college or a seminary they are uniquely qualified to answer their questions. Rarely do they ask what the pastor studied in school. MemberS go to the pastor for counseling, not thinking for a moment about whether he is qualified to counsel them. Just because a man is a pastor doesn’t mean he is qualified to counsel people having mental health issues or sexual problems. In fact, the average Evangelical pastor doesn’t even have a through education on the Bible. Go take a look at a Christian college/seminary catalog and see what classes a prospective pastor takes. You will be shocked at how little they study the Bible before they graduate. Yet, when they start pastoring a church they are expected to KNOW what the Bible says and be able to answer EVERY question a church member might have.

Years ago, I preached several times for a friend of mine who pastored a Baptist church in Utica, Ohio. Every Sunday he would pass the plate, collecting an offering from the 20 or so people sitting in the pews. One Sunday he told me that when he didn’t have any money to put in the offering he would fold over a blank piece of paper and put it in the plate. He thought it was important to give church members the appearance of giving. As many former Evangelical pastors will tell you, perception is everything. My friend wanted to be perceived as a giver even when he had nothing to give.

So it is with pastors and questions. They want to be perceived as knowing everything. Older pastors become expert question-answer game players, often giving shallow, bullshit answers to any question they don’t have an answer for.   Sometimes, pastors deflect hard questions by appealing to faith or saying God’s ways are not our ways. Most often though, Evangelical pastors are ready and willing to answer what questions come their way.

I am not saying that Evangelical pastors are not experts or knowledgeable about some things. They are, but my challenge is to the breadth of their expertise and knowledge. Rather than worrying about perception, pastors would better serve their congregations by saying I don’t know or referring them to experts that do.

Scott asks, what kills curiosity in many Evangelical pastors? The short answer is…THE BIBLE. When a pastor views the Bible as the answer to every question, there’s no need to be curious. GOD SAID IT, I BELIEVE IT, AND THAT SETTLES IT FOR ME!  No need to study science because God mapped out the creation of the universe in Genesis 1-3.  History becomes HIS-story.  Instead of trawling the depths of human knowledge and experience, many Evangelical pastors stick to a handful authors that reinforce their beliefs. This breeds intellectual laziness.

Notes

Granted, many Evangelical church members are lazy and can’t be bothered with searching things out for themselves. They view the pastor as a divine Google, ready to spit out the correct answer to any search input. 

Should We Execute A Woman Who is Not a Virgin on Her Wedding Day?

stoning

According to Evangelicals, the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible, timeless Word of God. The Bible is God’s road map for life, the divine blueprint for living. From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, the Bible is one long letter from God to us. While Evangelicals use various hermeneutics, interpretive tools, and schemes to interpret the Bible, all agree that the text is the words of God.

Evangelicals also believe that God is immutable, that he does not change his mind. Malachi 3:6 says, For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed and Hebrews 13:8 says, Jesus Christ (God) the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Ask an Evangelical if God changes his mind and they will emphatically say NO! God is perfect in all his ways, the Evangelical says, and his Word, the Bible, is truth.

How then, based on what I have written above, should an Evangelical interpret Deuteronomy 22:13-21:

If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, and give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: and the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; and, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him; and they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.

The gist of the story is this; if a man goes into his wife on their wedding night and has intercourse with her and finds out that she is not as virgin, then his bride is to be brought to the door of her father’s house and stoned to death by the men of the city. There’s no ambiguity in the text. The soiled bride is to be considered a whore and executed. (If you have not read Deuteronomy 22, I encourage you to do so. God prescribes stoning for a variety of sexual sins.)

What say ye, oh believer that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible words of God?

Well Bruce, the Evangelical says, this is in the OLD Testament and we now live according to the NEW Testament. So, God changed his mind? Were his words in Deuteronomy 22 imperfect, lacking in some way? If God’s law is perfect and true, why change it? All would agree that Deuteronomy 22 is the law of God. If it is, wouldn’t God’s law be preferable to man’s law? If God’s law was good enough for Israel, shouldn’t it be good enough for the United States, a nation Evangelicals claim is Christian? Why would any Christian want to be governed by the inferior laws of man?

The recent Evangelical hysteria over same-sex marriage is rooted in the belief that God’s word/God’s law has the final say on the matter. Shouldn’t God’s law also have the final say on virgins having sex before they are married? Where can I find in the Bible the verse that says one law is applicable today, but not the other?

Jesus said in Matthew 5:17,18:

 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Jesus said that he did not come to destroy or do away the law. In fact, according  to Jesus, until heaven and earth pass away, the law of God is valid and in force. Till all be fulfilled, he said. Has everything been fulfilled? Has Jesus come back to earth? Has God made a new heaven and new earth as prophesied in Revelation 21 and 2 Peter 3? No, no, and no. Thus, the law of God, particularly Deuteronomy 22:13-21, is in force.  Every Evangelical is duty bound to support the execution of woman who are not virgins on their wedding day. The unchanging God has spoken!