One of the interesting aspects of my writing is that some of the subjects I cover actually embolden the Evangelical churches, pastors, and believers I critique. If Evangelicals are anything, they are conspiratorial, and they often think they are being persecuted for their faith. So when I write negatively about Evangelicalism, they often see me as a pawn of Satan, a tool being used by the Prince of Darkness to attack and destroy Christianity. People like me “attacking” their faith is a sign to them that they are on the right track.
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you… (John 15:18-21a)
- The world hated me, so the world will hate you too
- The world persecuted me, so the world will persecute you too
Never mind that Jesus was talking to the Disciples. Many modern Evangelicals are certain that Jesus was talking about them. They are taught from their youth up that the world, the non-Evangelical world, is the enemy of God and a threat to the faith once delivered to the saints.
The author of 1 John had this to say in 1 John 2:15-17:
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
I John is clear:
- Christians should not love the world and the things that are in the world
- Those who don’t love the world and its lusts and do the will of God will live forever
Now, most Evangelical Christians are quite the hypocrite when it comes to practicing these verses. Most Evangelicals love the world just like the atheist does. (and many atheists/non-Evangelicals live far better lives morally and ethically) They own houses, land, and cars, and furnish their homes with all the trappings of the American way of life. While they do, at times, push back against the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, for the most part, there is little difference between the Evangelical and the non-Evangelical.
While they ignore their own “worldliness”, they don’t ignore the worldly, godless, anti-Christian writing of people like me. Instead of realizing that their own worldliness, indifference, and irrelevance, is the biggest threat to the future of Evangelicalism, they instead think that people like me, liberalism, or secularism is the “real” threat.
I find this kind of thinking quite amusing. On a typical day, The Way Forward has a thousand or two page views. On a day when I hit the Evangelical dog squarely with a rock, the page views might jump up to five or six thousand. On a rare day, when I am found to be nipping at the feet of one of the Evangelical gods, the number of page views might reach ten thousand. Yes, these numbers are larger than many blogs have, but hardly earth shattering. I am one man among seven billion. I highly doubt that I am more than a gnat flying around the bared, dirty ass of Christianity.
Yes, the number of people who have come to appreciate my writing grows each day and I appreciate every reader who hops on the Bruce Crazy Train. But, I know that I will never reach the masses and that has never been my goal. I am just one man with a story to tell. My story resonates with some people and infuriates others. Some will hop on the train for a while and then hop off. They move on, get tired of me, or I write something that pisses them off. (and trust me, I will, sooner or later, write something every reader will disagree with)
I never started writing so I could gain a large number of readers. Writing was/is cathartic for me, and money wise it monthly costs me less than one visit to a therapist. As I have said before, writing is like therapy, and I have encouraged more than a few people to begin writing, knowing that putting their thoughts and feelings into words can be quite liberating. Writing allows me to talk out loud, and while I am grateful that more and more people are listening, that was never the goal. I would still write for an audience of one, the one being Polly, because she has to read what I write. I have some family members who don’t like my writing, so they refuse to read. That’s fine. There is no test at family gatherings to see if my children and extended family have read this blog.
My goal has never been to attack Evangelical Christianity or cause people to lose their faith. (many Evangelicals confuse directness, observation, and critique with attack and hate) Yes, some people have lost their faith because of my writing, but I suspect their loss of faith was far more complicated than just reading something I wrote. Most people who deconvert can point to numerous reasons and writers for why they deconverted. I am just one small voice whispering in the night. If people find my whispers of value I am grateful. If they don’t, I still plan on whispering.
There is nothing I can do about some Evangelicals becoming emboldened by my writing. I am sure the people from Elevate City Church, Fresh Life Community Church, King’s Cross Church, Xperience Church, Steven Furtick’s church, First Baptist Church in Hammond, Longview Baptist Temple, King’s Way Baptist Church, and almost every Independent Fundamentalist (IFB) who has ever read this blog, view my writing about them as PROOF that their beliefs are right. They are taught to view the attack of Satan, who is, in this instance, Bruce Gerencser, as a sure sign that they are on the right path. As a result, they become emboldened in their faith and this encourages them to keep keeping on.
I know there is nothing I can do about this. My writing will always be a motivator for some Evangelical Christians. I suspect my writing has improved the prayer life of many people. One former pastor friend actually called a church prayer meeting to pray for me. Some people even go so far as to pray imprecatory prayers, hoping that their God will show the world what he thinks of apostate blasphemers like me. As of 9:00 AM EST on January 21, 2014, God has not answered their prayers. Maybe today!
The past six years have brought me into contact with hundreds of people who were once Christians. Some of these people comment on this blog and some email me expressing their appreciation and support. Over time, as we interact with one another, we have become friends. While we have never met face-to-face, as much as the digital world allows us, we have become good friends. My life has been greatly enriched by the friendships I have made through this blog.
I know that there are a lot of lurkers who read this blog. Sometimes, they will wait for a year before commenting. One man waited five years before he dared to comment, left one comment, and then returned to lurking. I know that I am, in some small measure, helping people I will never come in contact with. They are an IP address and a geographical location in the logs; but they ARE real people and I must never forget this. While I write primarily for myself and for those who find themselves in agreement with me, I know that the vast majority of people who read this blog will never makes themselves known to me. They will never comment, never send me an email, or never make a blog donation. It is enough for me to be a small, silent, unknown measure of help to them, the atheist reverse of, you will never know how many people you helped until you get to heaven. In my case, I never will know since there will be no heavenly accounting for me, just death.
My goal has always been, beyond the personal benefit, to write in such a way to help those who have left Christianity or who are considering leaving. I am not an evangelist for atheism and I have no greater purpose than to be an effective, passionate, and honest writer. If people find help along the path of life, I am grateful. (usually, at this point, some Evangelical zealot will say, GRATEFUL TO WHO?)
I know that I am in the sunset years of my life. Even if I live to be seventy-years old, I have less than fourteen years to live. If I live to seventy-one, Polly and I will have been married fifty-years. I want to live until I die, but I know that the health problems I have suggest that a long life is not in my future. I intend to continue writing until I physically can’t write any longer, get tired of writing, or run out of things to say. Until then, readers will love me or hate me. Perhaps when I stand before the Evangelical God on Judgment Day, he will consider how emboldened the faith of some Evangelicals became because of my writing. Perhaps God is using my evil for good, right? I have no worries about Judgment Day. I live, love, and write…and that is enough for me.