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Are You Interested in Writing a Guest Post?

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I am always interested in having people write guest posts for this site. If you are interested in writing a guest post, please use the contact form to email me. You can choose any subject. If you are a Christian, you can even write a post about how wrong I am about God, Christianity, and the Bible.

Have a story to tell about your life as a Christian and subsequent deconversion? Testimonies are always welcome. I have found that readers really appreciate and enjoy reading posts about the journey of others away from Evangelicalism. Perhaps you are someone who has left Evangelicalism, but still believes in the existence of a deity/energy/higher power. Your story is welcome too.

If you worried about grammar or spelling, don’t be. Carolyn, my ever-watchful friend and editor, edits every guest post before it is published. If she can turn my writing into coherent prose, trust me, she can do the same for yours.

Anonymous posts are okay, as are articles previously posted elsewhere. If you have written something for your own blog and would like to post it here, please send it to me.

If you have previously written a guest post, I am more than happy to publish another one from you. Some readers have become regular contributors. It’s important for readers to hear from other writers from time to time.

Several readers have emailed me in the past about writing guest posts. I am w-a-i-t-i-n-g. 🙂 Seriously, if you have something you would like to say, I am more than happy to post it here. The ball is in your court.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

An Evangelical Pastor’s Wife Loses Her Faith and Finds Herself

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A Guest Post by Sarah

I was raised in a Fundamentalist Baptist church. I was saved and baptized at about the age of six. Throughout my youth, I remember being wholly devoted to Christianity. I remember family praising me as a young child for the example I set because I wouldn’t eat a bite at meals until I made sure everyone prayed together. I also remember being the “good Christian girl” through high school and college. I prayed, faithfully attended church — even by myself after I started driving — and read the Bible voraciously. I sought to be completely devoted to Jesus. I said all the right things and did all the right things. I sang, led Bible studies, and served God. All my extracurriculars were associated with the church or faith-based things, other than being involved in my community arts organization as a teenager, mostly acting in plays. I was so certain about Christianity until the moments in which I wasn’t. In my late teens, I began to incorporate the following story into my salvation testimony to prove I had truly been born again and to use it to allay any doubts I or anyone else might have about the authenticity of my faith.

Baby Sinner

My mom has always talked about how I was such a headstrong young child, so much so that she didn’t know how to parent me. Mom told me she once went to our pastor crying about me because she didn’t know what to do with me. Recently, she told me a story I had never heard before — that she remembers the first time she really connected with me was in a Pizza Hut when I was about four years old. It made me sad because my daughter is almost four.

My daughter is so much like me. My relatives who knew me as a child say being around my daughter is like being around me again when I was her age. Even though she’s headstrong and hard for me to manage sometimes, I feel we have more moments of connection than I can recount from my own childhood. To hear my mom say she distinctly remembers not having a real moment of connection with me until I was four years old makes me question what was really going on with me back then.

Mom said I was difficult until I “asked Jesus to come into my heart” then it was like a switch was flipped on in me and I became “better.” Now that I’m a parent of a toddler, I realize that my issues as a toddler and young child weren’t the spiritual issues of a hell-bent sinner, but that I was lacking something somewhere, stability or attention or love or something. I was well cared for as a kid and I had a good childhood. I don’t think I was neglected or abused, but whatever was lacking, the problem wasn’t spiritual or that I needed Jesus, but it was behavioral, that I needed something real from my parents, whatever it may have been.

Seeds of Doubt

In my teens, and especially college years, I struggled with doubt. I have a lot of questions. My mind dissects things, deconstructs things to the minutest details, and rebuilds them to understand what’s happening, how things work, and what is the logic behind them. But I’m also naturally loyal. I was loyal to the presuppositions of my faith that were ingrained in me since before I can remember. I questioned, but I never sought answers outside of my faith community, even in college.

One of my biggest regrets is that in college I did not lean into and explore all kinds of thinking. I dabbled in things because I went to a state school. I couldn’t get away from it in mandatory philosophy classes and English classes where I was introduced to secular ideas. I learned what ideas were out there, but I never truly considered them. I observed them from behind the hazmat suit of Fundamentalist Christianity I wore. In fact, I remember driving two hours to my home church to attend a special service where a visiting preacher preached a sermon he called “Babylon University.” He used the story of Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Babylonian captivity to set a principle for those of us going to college to be “in the world, but not of the world.”

Marriage Obsession and Denied Sexuality

As a teenager, I was obsessed with getting married. My church’s worldview, and being a child of divorce, as well as my dad dying from suicide two years after my parent’s divorce when I was 13, caused me to desire stability that was foundational to my obsession with marriage, along with my natural sexual desires that wouldn’t be satisfied until I got married.

Even though I was raised by a single mom who dated and had boyfriends with whom she was having sexual relationships, I was sexually and relationally conservative because I held so closely to the teachings of the church, even more so than to my mother’s parenting. I remained a virgin — mostly — until I got married at 28.

At 18, I began a “courtship” (think Josh Harris “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and Elisabeth Elliot’s romance with Jim Elliot) with a man in my church who was 15 years older than I. He was 33 at the time. This was my first serious relationship. This relationship was supposed to be a “courtship” overseen by our parents, but considering he was 33 and my only parent was a single mom who, along with her boyfriend, (eventually my stepdad), thought the whole thing was super weird, it was mostly overseen by my youth pastor and his wife and my church’s pastor and his wife. By the way, the whole thing top to bottom makes me cringe today and I’m so grateful I did not marry that guy.

I became engaged or “betrothed” (ugh!) but thankfully my mom, and eventually, my church, helped me end the relationship before it got to marriage. After our engagement, my husband-to-be began acting strange — overbearing and potentially abusive. My mom and youth pastor encouraged me to move away to live on campus at the college I was currently attending.

I didn’t want to move away, but I heeded my mom. Living on campus, this was the first time I became depressed. However, I got involved with a church and made good friends and when I left campus for the summer, I realized I was sad to leave and couldn’t wait to go back. I had a great college experience. My friend group grew beyond the church. I became a resident assistant and really enjoyed my friendships with my fellow housing employees. Looking back, I have some regrets about missed opportunities, but nothing that makes me hate my time there. I didn’t date anyone in college, but I wasn’t without my crushes. I literally fell in love with one man, but we never dated, surprisingly. At one point I did feel like God told me I would marry a pastor. Good to know, God.

Not long after college, I moved back to my small town because I missed my church. I eventually connected with a former high school classmate that ended in another broken engagement after three years of an on-and-off-again relationship. After one final rebound boyfriend to whom I nearly lost my virginity, I met my husband.

My husband and I have an amazing relationship and chemistry. If I have any belief left in miracles, then the one miracle I have in my life is Matthew. When I lost belief in God, I felt free to say, “I believe in Matthew and in our love,” but also, I believe in myself and my place in the world.

During that strange time, especially as an unmarried, 20-something, between graduating college and meeting Matthew at age 28, I fell into a deep depression that lasted years; I don’t think it ever fully lifted. This is when I started to lose my faith, though I didn’t talk about it. I had suicidal thoughts. The loneliness facilitated by my church’s beliefs as I waited for marriage was debilitating and I believe denying my sexuality gave me sexual frustration that contributed to my depression. I suspect if I had a different worldview at the time that would have allowed me healthy sexual expression outside of marriage, then I would have carried a lot less shame and guilt about masturbation, which I discovered in college.

Meeting my husband lifted my depression. We had a quick romance. We met and were married between February and November of the same year. I was so happy. Within three years we had two children. My life up until I met Matthew felt so slow and especially those last few years in my 20s felt like a slow grind. Since meeting Matthew, change keeps coming and coming. Big stuff — marriage, babies, becoming a pastor’s wife, losing my faith as a pastor’s wife, moving from a very rural area to a city. When we got engaged, we were looking at a decent combined annual income, but halfway through our engagement, we both lost our jobs. We started marriage and had babies living in extreme poverty and mutual depression over our situation. It was traumatic, but our relationship remained strong.

Loss of Faith

In October 2019, I remember really struggling with doubts about my faith, and that’s the first time the thought entered my head, “I’m not a Christian.” I thought God gave me that thought. The next day, I was emotionally moved by a sermon my husband preached to respond with a recommitment to my faith and I was baptized again.

But doubts resurfaced and I began struggling with deep depression again. Around January 2022, I told my husband that I wanted to take some breaks from attending church, like maybe one Sunday a month, I don’t go, or I visit another church. He was supportive of me doing that. However, I never followed through on it because someone in the church broke her back and I stepped in to fulfill her responsibilities. It put my plan to take a break from church on hold as I needed to be there for these things. I didn’t mind it. It helped me a little because I felt I had more purpose with church than just getting the kids dressed to go and wrestle them into a pew and fight to keep them quiet.

Then in May 2022, my stepdad asked my mom for a divorce after 15 years of tumultuous marriage. It was with this backdrop that I just got tired of pretending that prayer did anything, that faith had any meaning, that Christianity was true, or that maybe God was even real, and if he was real, that he (or she or them) even cared about things the way my church said God did.

At the end of July 2022 and with the help of Bruce’s blog, I told my husband I considered myself a Christian agnostic. Christian in that I am content to practice a social Christianity for the sake of his ministry. I sincerely don’t want my faith status to disrupt his profession and passion and I sincerely love my Christian friends. I don’t want to cause him controversy and pain within the church.

I would be socially Christian in the outward trappings, but I told him that I refused to pray privately. I decided to act as if God didn’t exist, and if he did, then let him reveal himself clearly to me. So far, God hasn’t. I haven’t been struck by lightning. I’m the same person I’ve always been. I cuss more and pray less. My thoughts on abortion and sexuality are changing. But I’m essentially the same person. Better, I think, in how I treat others and how I treat myself.

I’m happier and more at peace with myself and the world as I face depression as essentially an atheist. I would much rather face depression without faith than face it with faith, as if I’m thrown into a fight with a demon with a bag over my head.

Moving Forward


I don’t know what the future holds for me as a non-Christian married to a devoted Christian who still feels a special call to be in church ministry. We have toddlers so we have many years ahead of raising children. My husband has resigned from the ministry for the time being for reasons not related to me. He is excited about finding a new church to join in our new city. I told him that I don’t think I’m eligible to become a new member of a church and that I don’t intend to hide the truth about my faith status from people we meet in churches. I don’t mind attending church with him some, because I enjoy having that connection with the whole family, but I’m also looking forward to exploring slow Sundays with no expectations except to truly rest.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Is Getting “Saved” Better Than Any Human Experience?

nothing no one compares to jesus

According to many Evangelicals, getting “saved” is better than any experience humans could possibly have. Is this really true? Or is it, perhaps, essential for Evangelicals to convince themselves of this in order to justify claims that Jesus is the best friend, spouse, and lover anyone could ever have? Evangelicals are convinced — outwardly anyway — that their Jesus is the most awesome dude that ever walked on planet Earth; and even now from his Father’s third heaven, he continues to show that he is the best-God-ever. According to those who are saved and sanctified by the mighty blood of Jesus, their Savior, Lord, King, and Vending Machine Operator is da bomb. No matter how good, kind, and loving someone might be, no one is a match for J-E-S-U-S. Jesus H. Christ is the sum and end of everything. If Jesus was in the running for Man of the Year, he would win every year. No man, woman, or deity can compare to Jesus. Or so Evangelicals say, anyway.

What’s odd here is the fact that not one Evangelical has EVER seen Jesus. Two thousand years ago, Jesus was nailed to a Roman cross and crucified. While Jesus purportedly made a surprising return to life after being dead for three days, he disappeared a short time later, never to be seen again. Evangelicals allege that Jesus is now sitting on a throne in Heaven, busily hearing and answering their prayers; but they have no evidence outside of the Bible for this claim. Imagine a friend telling you that her spouse/boyfriend is an awesome person; that he is quite the lover; that no one in the entire world is as good as he is. Yet, when you ask, I would sure love to meet this hunka burning love of yours, she replies, You can’t. He’s invisible. What would your next thought be? That’s a rhetorical question, of course. Rational people would encourage their friend to seek out professional psychiatric help. Yet, because loving the invisible Jesus is a religious belief, we are expected to, without judgment, smile and say, that’s nice.

Most Evangelicals enter into a saving relationship with Jesus one of two ways: either they grow up in the church or they have a crisis in their life and someone tells them, Jesus is the cure for what ails you! The latter tend to have powerful emotional experiences that they believe is Jesus delivering them from their crisis (sins). Sunday after Sunday, Evangelical preachers present Jesus as the elixir for the soul. Never mind the fact that humans don’t have souls. Most people believe they do, and that’s what makes them perfect targets for preachers promising invisible fixes for their invisible, sin-blackened souls.

Once people are convinced that Jesus has awesomely saved them from their sins, it is not much of a stretch to believe that their conversion experience is the best thing that ever happened. And people who have been conditioned this way go through life believing that nothing will ever measure up to that moment they prayed the sinner’s prayer and Jesus, by and through the power of the Holy Spirit, saved them. Making love, watching your first child be born, holding your first grandchild in your arms, and countless other awesome emotional experiences we humans have —  none of them measures up to mouthing a prayer at a Baptist church altar or praying to the TV at the end of a Billy Graham Crusade.

Sunday after Sunday, the “Jesus is Awesome” trope is preached, sung, and reinforced. Is it any wonder, then, that many Evangelicals truly believe that getting saved is better than any other experience they could have? Even if some Evangelicals believe otherwise, they have to pretend that the three minutes of sex they had with Jesus is the best fuck ever. This, of course, leads to a paucity of experience; a life where no experience measures up the moment they were saved.

Unbelievers know, however, that life offers us all sorts of experiences — good, bad, and indifferent. And some of these experiences rise above the normality of life and make our Top Ten Experiences List.  A few years ago, Polly and I attended a Darius Rucker concert in Fort Wayne. We had never been to a country concert, so we didn’t know what to expect. Boy, were we in for the time of our lives! There was a buzz in the arena from the start. When Rucker hit the stage and started singing, we found his performance to be every bit as powerful as anything we had ever experienced in church. And believe me, we had experienced the power and presence of the mythical Holy Ghost many times. Yet, here was a heathen — by Evangelical standards — bringing down the Shekinah Glory (the glorious presence of God) as he sang. For two hours, Polly and I, along with thousands of other people, were emotionally raptured away. It was an experience neither of us will ever forget.

I could spend the next hour detailing the salvation-level experiences I have had in my life; the difference being that these experiences are rooted in reality, not myth. As a retired photographer, I have witnessed and photographed moments in time that were breathtaking; every bit as awesome as walking the sawdust trail and getting saved. It’s too bad for Evangelicals that every experience in their lives post-salvation must be relegated to an inferior status. To do otherwise is to worship a false God. Anything put before the jealous Evangelical God is considered idolatry. Jesus alone deserves all the praise, honor, and glory. Yes, Evangelicals have all sorts of awesome experiences in their lives, but the praise, honor, and glory for experiencing them must always be given to Jesus. Life = Jesus. Or so Evangelicals say, anyway.

Many of us have likely heard an Evangelical preacher say, the most important decision you will ever make in your life is getting saved! Ponder that thought for a moment. Was the salvation experience I had at the altar of Trinity Baptist Church in Findlay, Ohio on a fall night in 1972 of such a nature that no other decision in life would be as important? Fifty-one years have passed since I asked Jesus to save me from my sin. I can say that, while getting saved was certainly transformative, I have made countless decisions and had numerous experiences that were every bit as awesome as that moment in 1972.

As a non-Christian, I don’t have to measure life’s experiences by a momentary episode in time. My wife and I have made love countless times over the past forty-five years. Sometimes the sex was okay; other times it was good; and sometimes it was bed-frame-breaking, chandelier-rattling awesome. Imagine if I had to say that every sexual experience was not as good as the first time. While it was certainly thrilling to have sex for the first time, I have definitely experienced lovemaking that surpasses that first 100-meter dash. Awesome, but quickly over. And that’s the point I want to make to Evangelicals. Don’t make your salvation experience the end-all. Don’t believe what your preachers are telling you about life. If you are blessed with long life, you will have many wonderful experiences, experiences that are every bit as mind-blowing as Jesus. You will never feel this, however, as long as Jesus is lurking in the shadows. Don’t let Elwood P. Dowd’s pooka named Harvey get in the way of you experiencing all that life has to offer.

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Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

How IFB Churches Handle Premarital Sex and Unwed Mothers

fornication

The Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement believes that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. Within its pages, True Believers® will find everything they need pertaining to life and godliness. The Bible, then, is a roadmap or a blueprint for life. Follow it and all will be well. Don’t follow it and you risk chastisement/judgment from God. IFB adherents are literalists who believe that all one needs to do to be pleasing to God is to strictly follow the commands and teachings of the Bible. Much like other sects, IFB congregants pick and choose which commands to practice and which to ignore. Their buffet line may have different foods from, say, Orthodox Presbyterians or Southern Baptists might have on their buffet, but the end result is the same: individual believers picking and choosing the foods they want to eat, ignoring the rest.

Most IFB preachers believe that while each Bible verse has only one meaning, it has many applications. It is in applying the various commands/laws/precepts of the Bible that IFB churches and pastors develop what are called standards. These standards often become an extra-Biblical law that True Believers® are expected to follow. Failing to follow these standards will cause fellow church members to question your devotion and commitment to Jesus/church, and in some instances may cause them to doubt that you are a Christian. Thus, it is not uncommon for IFB church members to outwardly conform to these standards even if they don’t actually agree with them. All that matters is that you look the part.

When it comes to sex, all IFB churches are puritanical, believing that sexual intercourse should be reserved for monogamous, married, heterosexual couples. While there are many behaviors which will bring the ire of the church’s gatekeeper (the pastor), illicit sexual activities are viewed as sins above all others. Spend three months attending an IFB church and you are sure to hear preaching against fornication, adultery, anything LGBTQ, pornography, lust, and masturbation. In the minds of many IFB preachers, it is important to frequently remind church teens and adults of what God/church expects of them sexually. Virtually everything IFB preachers say about sex runs contrary to normal, healthy sexual desires. Thus, Sunday services all too often feature preachers screaming about sexual sin while countless congregants feel guilty for violating the Bible’s/church’s/pastor’s sexual mores. Of course, the root problem is the fact that humans are sexual beings, and it is healthy and normal to want/need/desire sexual intimacy.

What happens when it becomes public knowledge that a congregant violated his or her church’s interpretation of the Bible; when a church member gives in to their worldly, fleshly desires and commits adultery or fornication? Most IFB churches are anti-birth control for unmarried people. They ignorantly and foolishly believe that teens and adults will wait until marriage to have sex, so there’s no reason for anyone to be instructed in how to use birth control, This, of course, leads to church girls occasionally getting pregnant. How do IFB churches respond when one of their “virgins” ends up pregnant?

Some IFB churches try to hide these things from view by sending offenders away to Christian reform schools or homes for unwed mothers. Out of sight, out of mind. Other churches demand immediate marriage. Believing that the sex act binds a couple to one another (it’s in the Bible), marriage is viewed as the Christ-honoring thing to do. Years ago, in one church I worked in, a sixteen-year-old girl got pregnant. The pastor told her that she had to immediately marry her baby’s father. A private, close family-only wedding service was held, with the bride forced to wear a non-white dress. The pastor told her that white was reserved for virgins, and since she was no longer “pure” she forfeited the right to wear white. This forced wedding, of course, didn’t last. After a few years, she and her husband divorced, bringing a fresh wave of condemnation from the church congregation and its pastor.

Back in my college days, one of my wife’s friends had sex with her boyfriend before they were married. They had planned to get married soon, but as was often the case, their raging hormones won out over Jesus/Bible/church. Unfortunately, this young woman bled profusely after having sex, alerting her parents to the fact that she had broken the law of God (and her hymen). Her father forced her to drop out of college and immediately marry the man who robbed her of her virginity. She never returned to school.

Some IFB churches publicly shame and humiliate teens and adults who engage in sexual sin. My wife and I were visiting an IFB church one Sunday when the congregation and its pastor had a pregnant teen stand before her family, friends, and fellow church members and confess her sins. I felt so sorry for the girl. Her bulging abdomen was not enough shame for her. It was necessary to heap Bible-inspired judgment upon her head. Of course, once she had repented with wailing and gnashing of teeth, the church body surrounded her and showered her with “love.” One might ask, what kind of love is this? IFB love. A warped love that is conditioned on obedience; an abusive love that is extended only after the person has been violently assaulted with the Bible.

It should not come as a shock, then, that there is a lot of sexual and marital dysfunction in IFB churches. From the pulpit to the youth group, you will find True Believers® who have warped understandings of human nature and sexuality. Instead of embracing their sexuality, IFB congregants are in bondage to the Bible and a fallible man’s interpretation of an ancient religious text. Giving in to the “flesh” leads to a constant cycle of sex/guilt/forgiveness. Try as they might, once IFB church members drink a milkshake at the Dairy Queen, they always want to stop for a shake every time they pass a DQ. So it is with sex. Once you have experienced raw, exciting sexual passion, there’s no going back. Instead of acknowledging this fact, IFB preachers demand offending congregants put the proverbial genie back into the bottle and live chaste, “Biblical” lives.

If I have learned anything about IFB churches it is this: there’s a lot of fucking going on. The only difference between what goes on in secret in IFB churches and what goes on in the world is that True Believers® feel guilty afterward. The unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world don’t worry about what the Bible says about their behavior. Yes, some worldlings have problems with guilt too, but more often than not, you will find Fundamentalist religion lurking in the shadows of their lives.

How did your church/pastor handle sexual behaviors deemed sinful? Did any of the unmarried girls in your church get pregnant? How did your church/pastor respond to their pregnancy? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

The Preventable Death of a Follower

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Guest post by Troy

My brother’s story, an indictment of the Evangelical church’s response to Covid vaccinations.

In early December 2021, I got a call from my mother. “Jason has Covid and is in the hospital. When he takes off the oxygen, he can’t breathe at all.” When my mother asked him why he wouldn’t get vaccinated, his response was “God will take care of me.” And while I thought his prognosis was good, two weeks later he died. He was in his late 40s, the baby of our family, the father of two adult children, and the father and provider of three young children.

Jason had a hard start in life. He was my stepbrother, a part of the joining of two families who had both lost parents in accidents; he lost his mother when he was a toddler. He had some issues with auditory processing, and I think he had trouble with conversational nuance and connecting the dots. He’d end up telling people what he thought they wanted to hear. Possibly this was his path to becoming a follower. High school was tough on him academically, college was out, so the army looked like his only option. Just before going to the army, Jason was arrested for drag racing. It’s laughable to me, he had a junker car, and I don’t know the details, but I can’t imagine he was out challenging people to race . . . but it all makes sense if it is yet another instance of following. The judge dismissed the charges since he was going into the army. But despite “following orders” being the army mainstay, following didn’t help him in the army. His testing limited him to infantry, and along with this his infantry comrades, he (nor they) wasn’t always the most upstanding of characters. The example I’ll cite is that he was with someone who looked into a car and saw a set of golf clubs, checked the door handle, found it unlocked, and took the clubs. Of course, most people would argue with someone stealing from a stranger’s car, but not a follower. Apparently, there were other missing things, and guilt by association ended Jason’s stint in the army with a less-than-honorable discharge.

After the army didn’t work out, he ended up working at McDonald’s. This is where he met his wife and also where he ended up joining her Evangelical church. (Parents of one of my friends wondered if their misguided marriage was because they both got mad cow disease by working at McDonald’s!) The follower had found his bliss. He didn’t have to try to guess what people wanted of him, no nuance or inferences, just obey the simple, easy-to-follow instructions. He also finally had a church family of people that would accept him; his disability didn’t really matter, he was “Brother Jason” and all that mattered was the remarkable zeal that is unique to the convert. While the extremes of his church were completely out of the mainstream, my mother confided in me that she was glad, because he was a follower, that he had landed there. As the army experience demonstrated, there are worse people he could be following. There are always nefarious people who will take advantage of followers.

Things turned around for Jason when our dad got him a temp job at his union shop. Dad impressed upon him what he needed to do: work hard, always be on time, and you will become a fully contracted employee. He now had a high income to lavish upon his beloved church. He was living for the LORD, and while we were on opposite sides of the religious spectrum, I certainly was happy that he finally had success in life. That said, the church truly taxed him financially. He gave 20% of his income to the church, and ended up living hand to mouth, and had his house foreclosed upon. While he listened to Dad to get and keep the job, Dad couldn’t impress upon him the abstraction of good credit.

Sadly Jason’s wife passed away 15 years ago, which led him to the Philippines, where he remarried. He ended up getting hepatitis during a return trip to the Philippines. While he recovered enough to go back to work, there were lingering health effects that no doubt made him very susceptible to Covid.

Before I proceed with my indictment, I want to reminisce back to when we were kids. It’s the late 1970s and our family is off to church. If it were Sunday, we were packing six boys into the Suburban and we were in the pews, never early unless we forgot to change our clocks back to standard time, but we were there. We pull into the parking lot and I recognize some of the teens who were active in the youth group. They wave us over, “Good morning,” “Are you guys wearing seat belts?” The answer was a big NO; for one thing, absolutely nobody wore seat belts, and if we tried, we weren’t going to squeeze everyone comfortably into even a large vehicle like a Suburban. “Oh, okay, well, we’re going to have to give you a ticket! My dad grumpily reaches for his wallet and pays the few dollars for the “offense.” “We care about you, and we want you back next Sunday.” Believe me, next Sunday we all had our seat belts on.

Now let me contrast this with the Evangelical church. While some on the religious right (in particular Franklin Graham) advocate for the Covid vaccines, most are either neutral or actively — and sometimes vehemently — hostile to the vaccines. Currently, around 500 people die every DAY from Covid — about three times the number of people who die in traffic accidents. My indictment is as follows: The Evangelical church has failed its followers. By not encouraging their “flocks” to get vaccines, they have failed them. My brother isn’t the only one; earlier in the pandemic I’d routinely see go-fund-me campaigns for large families who had lost one of their (Evangelical) unvaccinated parents. I do know that some people at my brother’s church did get vaccinated. But was it actively encouraged? Did it make the sermon every week as alcohol did? What, then, is their excuse for this failure? Ignorance? I have a lot of problems with religion. But I have zero problems with “We care about you, and we want you back next Sunday.”

One of Jason’s adult sons wistfully wondered (on Facebook) if he was off to the Paradise he had always told them about. But if Evangelicals don’t know the here and now, I have zero confidence they know the hereafter.

Evangelical pastors, redeem yourselves; I implore you to encourage your followers to get vaccinated. Heaven will wait.

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Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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This is How Dr. David Tee Sees Himself

david thiessen
David Thiessen is the tall man in the back

Recently, Dr. David Tee, whose real name is Derrick Thomas Thiessen, took the Protestia site to task for their hateful, un-Christian behavior. Protestia, the one-time love child of disgraced Fundamentalist Baptist preacher J.D. Hall, is currently operated by David Morrill, Paul Brown, Brad Schoolfield, and Seth Dunn. Protestia is known for three things: their anti-abortion, forced birth views, their obsession with consenting LGBTQ people’s sex lives, and ferreting out perceived heresy within Evangelicalism and Christendom at large. In other words, Thiessen’s kind of “Christians.”

In a post titled An Answer to Op-Ed Article, Thiessen wrote:

We have no problem with that, if they actually did do some honest refuting and challenging doctrinal errors. What our one line under our quote above was referring to was HOW they were going about this ministry. It had nothing to do with their ministry or purpose.

We think they misunderstood what we wrote and instead of asking for clarification, they go and jump to conclusions and make assumptions about what we said. Of course, right now it is very difficult to get a hold of us due to some unfortunate actions by certain people.

So here is the clarification. Our words were referring to the name calling, the insults, and other derogatory terms used by Protestia in their identification, challenges, and refuting of those people they have found to be false teachers.

We find their terminology and its use to be very unbiblical and unChristian. In the different ministries that Protestia participates in, they are not excluded from any biblical rules of conduct towards believers or unbelievers.

We will not bring anyone back to the church or to the faith by insulting them. On occasion, we have done the very same type of ministry throughout the years. Yet, we refer to people as Mr., Mrs., Miss, Dr., and so on except for those gender identity-confused people who are referred to by their birth pronouns.

We do not hurl names, insults, or even write them as that sets a bad example for our readers and disobeys the biblical instruction ‘ soft answer turneth away wrath’. We do not care how nasty those people we identify get as we are to return good for evil.

….

There are a lot of false teachers running about saying things that are not biblical and just plain wrong. If you are going to challenge them, then challenge what they are saying instead of insulting them or ignoring what they have said because you have identified them as false teachers.

….

Give credible and legitimate information not personal attacks or ad hoc statements that put a black mark against your claims of being Christian. Jesus may have insulted the Pharisees, etc., but that does not give us permission to ignore the rules of behavior Christ laid out for us.

None of us are on his level and we should be very careful not to copy him without fully understanding more of why he said what he said. We are not free to insult but we are free to identify and refute, as well as challenge those who pretend to be Christian, yet say and do unChristian things.

Thiessen lacks any sense of self-awareness. He seemingly has forgotten the countless articles he has written about me and Ben Berwick. He evidently has forgotten about his comments and emails too.

A year ago, Thiessen sent me the following mail:

Our assessment of BG. We are not going to post this publicly so do not worry about being humiliated or embarrassed.

We have analyzed BG’s behavior and words for some time now and we see a developing identity. He is a person who was a low-level obscure independent Baptist preacher who certainly gets jealous and envious of others.

His Christian work seems to have been motivated by these desires as he used his own will and not Jesus’ in his ministry as well as his being critical of those more successful, popular, and less obscure counterparts.

Instead of humbling himself and correctly following Jesus, he followed his character trait and quit. That is not a sign of a good servant of God. He likes to stand in judgment of others grading their level of spirituality with a subjective ruler judging that those observed were not practicing the faith properly.

What exact standard he used is not known, but it was his own making and not God’s. Then instead of being the example, he walks away and condemns every Christin and God for failing to meet his ideals.

Now he is just a narcissist who hopes he gains the fame and popularity that escaped him when he was a Christian. he wants to leave a negative legacy behind so that people will think he was a great preacher and now a great blogger.

In reality, he remains obscure, uninfluential, and wants to be the center of attention like he has found something new and wonderful for the world, when he is just another unbeliever in a line filled with billions of unbelievers saying the exact same thing as every other unbeliever has said or is saying.

He is a sad and pathetic figure who needs to broadcast his failure to follow Christ to the end of the world and instead of being great, he makes himself a laughingstock. Someone who could not cut it.

And yes we are still sad that you walked away from your faith.

DR. [capitalizing it doesn’t make it so] David Tee

Evidently, Thiessen’s “insults” are different from those uttered by the “fine” Christians at Protestia. Thiessen also states “that does not give us permission to ignore the rules of behavior Christ laid out for us.” I fell on the floor and laughed for twenty minutes after I read this line. Go to Theissen’s TheologyArcheology: A Site for the Glory of God blog and read the plethora of posts he has written about me. You will search in vain for any evidence of Thiessen following the commands of Christ or demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23). This so-called man of God shows no regard for the teachings of Christ on how you should treat your enemies:

Ye [Derrick Thiessen] have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you [Derrick Thiessen], 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)

The Message translation renders Matthew 5:48 this way: Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

Grow up, indeed.

Thiessen continues to refuse to mention me or Ben Berwick by our names. He also refuses to properly link to the content he uses from our sites. Thiessen lies about us and routinely distorts and misuses our words, so I find it unbelievable that he can say, with a straight face that he always treats people with respect. He doesn’t, and the readers of this blog know he doesn’t. But, what do we know, right? He and God, the royal “we,” know the truth.

For the record, Theissen has written at least twelve posts about me since December 31, 2022 — one post every two days.

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Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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There is No Hope for MAGA World

maga world
Cartoon by Pat Bagley

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away . . . And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. (2 Thessalonians 2:3,11)

Millions and millions of MAGA Republicans have come under a strong delusion, believing that the twice impeached ex-president Donald Trump actually won the 2020 election. Many residents of MAGA (Make America Great Again) World think Trump is actually still the president; that he is actually controlling the military.

Recently, Daily Show correspondent Jordan Klepper went to a “Trump Rally, Not a Rally” to interview Trump’s most avid supporters. Listen, laugh, and weep.

Video Link

We are at a dangerous point in American history. Millions and millions and millions of Americans believe things that are not true. From Trumpism to QAnon to Creationism, large swaths of our country have bought into lies. And don’t think for a moment that if Trump isn’t the 2024 Republican presidential candidate, we are out of the proverbial woods. Candidates such as Ron Desanctimonous DeSantis, Mike Pompeo, and Nikki Haley are hardly any better. If anything, these candidates are even more dangerous. They don’t have the temperamental problems that Trump does, yet they are every bit as racist and bigoted as the ex-president. One need only watch what is going on in Washington D.C. with Republicans to see Christian nationalism and white supremacy on full display. My God, congressmen are espousing racist, bigoted, homophobic beliefs and conspiracy theories right on the floor of the House of Representatives. It is hard, at least for me, to see a better tomorrow in the short term. I fear our Republic is hanging by a fraying thread.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Bruce, I Pray You Will Experience a Relationship with Jesus

peanut gallery

An Evangelical woman named Candida left the following comment on the post titled Wasted Years, Oh How Foolish . . . (all spelling and grammar in the original):

It’s a pity you went through this Bruce. Quite sad. Abd you’re quite right about lots of people in church whose lives are as ‘wasted’ as that of those outside church. That’s a reality.

I must say though there are also countless people whose lives have been changed, transformed, made meaningful by their encounter with Jesus.

There’s a big difference between encountering Jesus and being in church. You can be in church singing about, hearing about, maybe also preaching about Jesus without really encountering or knowing Him. If you know Jesus, you have a relationship with him, like the one you have with a wife whom you love and cherish. It’s real.

Many confuse activities in church with relationship with Jesus. There’s no love like His. I pray you, and all others who have abandoned the faith experience this relationship and this love first hand.

The Lord bless you. And everyone. And us all too.

Candida read all of one post and concluded that I never had a relationship with Jesus. Boy, I’ve never heard that before! 🙂 How could Candida possibly know the depth and quality of my relationship with Jesus? She doesn’t know me. She was not a member of one of the churches I pastored. How could she possibly know that I had “churchianity,” and not Christianity? I could spend days telling Candida how deeply I loved Jesus; how I devoted my life to serving and following him; that I taught my children to do the same. Would it make a difference in how she views me? Of course not. All she sees is Bruce, the Evangelical pastor turned atheist. Since I am an atheist today, that means I never was a Real Christian®. The fifty years I spent in the Evangelical church and the twenty-five years I spent pastoring churches are dismissed with a wave of the hand. What Candida is saying, then, is that I am a liar; that what I say about myself and give testimony to is a lie. Why do Evangelicals find it so hard to take former Christians at face value? When Candida says, “I am a Christian,” I believe her. It’s her story to tell. I wish Evangelicals would grant me the same respect.

I have experienced the love of Jesus firsthand, as have thousands of readers of this blog. Much like marriages where couples fall out of love and divorce, we fell out of love with Jesus, finding that he was not the person we thought he was. And so we divorced him, seeking love in people and places we had long denied (because Jesus told us to do so): spouses, families, and self. We reconnected with humanity and nature, and in doing so we found love. Why would any of us want to return to a jealous, demanding lover?

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Bruce Gerencser