It’s My Story and I’m Going to Tell It

this is my story

It is not uncommon for Evangelicals to question my motivations for blogging. I have the audacity to share club secrets; to point to where the bodies are buried. Worse yet, I call into question club beliefs and practices, daring to suggest they are irrational, mythical, or harmful. I am viewed as an enemy of Jesus and a hater of Christianity. Some Evangelicals even say that I hate Christians themselves — a Trumpian falsehood if there ever was one.

I have been called a liar, a man filled with pride who wants, needs, desires, and craves the approbation of my fellow atheists, non-Christians, and liberal Christians. On a few occasions, I have been accused of “being in it for the money.” I snarkily addressed this accusation recently in a post titled, Christian Man Attacks Me Because I Ask Readers to Monetarily Support My Work. Some Evangelicals have said over the years that my life story is fabricated; that they know people who know people who know people who say I never pastored ____________ church or lived in ______________ community. These conspiracy theorists — all Trump supporters, I suppose — ignore all evidence to the contrary and unjustifiably label me a liar.

Then there are the Evangelicals such as my former pastor friend Bill Beard, who oh, so politely ask me to not to share my story. Why? It’s harmful to people of faith, especially those who were once congregants in the churches I pastored. This concern is indeed valid, but if me telling my story causes loss of faith, what does that say about the staying power of their faith? Many Evangelicals find my unbelief disconcerting. One former congregant — who told me that he couldn’t be friends with me any longer because my deconversion caused him too much angst — said to me, Bruce, if YOU can lose your faith, anyone can. This congregant knew I was a mature follower of Jesus; a man who studied and knew the Bible; a man who lived out his faith day by day; a man whose family was governed by the complementarian, disciplinarian teachings of the Bible; a man who wasn’t afraid to stand for truth. Yet, I walked away from Christianity and I am now an outspoken atheist. My loss of faith causes doubt and questions, and the typical Evangelical answer for such things is to close your eyes, plug your ears, and repeatedly sing Jesus Loves Me.

I have been blogging for ten years now. I was a Christian when I started blogging, and readers who have been with me from the beginning have watched me journey from Progressive Christianity to atheism. They have watched me start and stop blogging several times, aware of how painful for me deconversion has been. They have watched as Evangelicals savaged me in their churches, on their blogs, and former iterations of this blog; watching as this savagery cut me so deeply that I bled out before their eyes. In time I would arise as a phoenix from the ashes, only to abandon my blog twelve or eighteen months later. Long-time readers will remember blogs such as Bruce Droppings and The Way Forward.

In the fall of 2014, I had yet again another meltdown and stopped blogging. Close friends waited to see if I would rise from the dead. In December 2014, I indeed — unlike Jesus who remains buried in a forgotten grave in Palestine — arose from the dead, ready once again to tell my story. In December 2018, this blog will be four years old. Imagine that, long time readers, FOUR YEARS OLD! Evangelicals haven’t stopped attempting to silence me, so why no classic Bruce meltdowns, why no running from the battle bruised and bleeding?

There are five reasons why this blog has survived:

  • I finally stopped giving a shit about what Evangelicals said or thought of me.
  • I finally understood that a lot of people really do love and support me and enjoy and appreciate my writing.
  • I finally stopped giving Evangelical zealots a platform in the comment section. The one comment rule for Evangelicals dramatically reduced stress levels. (See Comment Rules) Want to take Bruce Gerencser to the woodshed? Want to expose him as a liar, a fraud, or a servant of Satan? Get your own blog. (See Dear Evangelicals.) Keeping the comment section relatively free of Evangelical excrement has allowed a community to develop. Yes, this policy reduced the number of comments, but it allowed thoughtful unbelievers and doubters to comment without being savaged by Evangelicals. it also allowed me to focus on being a help instead of battling intransigent Fundamentalists.
  • A woman by the name of Carolyn came into my life. Almost three years ago, I received an email that basically said, I love your writing, but it needs some help; “help” being editing. From that point forward, Carolyn has edited most of the posts on this site, including old posts (if you see a post with a date — say 081615 — on the bottom, that means you are reading an old post Carolyn has edited.  Not only has her editing improved my grammar and overall writing, she has encouraged me to keep at it even when I feel like throwing in the towel. I will likely never meet her face to face, but she has become a dear friend. By the way, she edits my writing free of charge, a true act of friendship and kindness.
  • Several readers decided to take an active role in dealing with Evangelical comments. Their willingness to respond to these commenters has dramatically reduced my need to do so. Often, I just reply *sigh* — which means in the Greek “not this shit again!” — and leave it to them to challenge and engage Evangelical commenters.

Fundamentally, this blog remains a place for me to tell my story. I am one man with a story to tell, and I intend to keep telling it as long as I am physically able to do so. For Evangelicals who wish I would shut up and go the hell away, I say, sorry, it ain’t gonna happen. Evangelical churches frequently feature testimony segments, or they have big-name preachers and con-artists come to their churches to tell how God led them out of atheism and saved their souls. Some of these exaggerators-for-Jesus recount their lives as witches, new agers, mobsters, porn addicts, or homosexuals, and describe how Jesus delivered them from their sin and gave them eternal life. Some Evangelicals write books or start blogs with the express purpose of testifying to what Jesus has done for them. Other Evangelicals take to the streets, their places of employment, or go door-to-door, telling all who will listen about the wonderful, matchless grace of God. All of these people are doing what, exactly? Telling their story. And that is all I am doing.

Some Evangelicals don’t like how I have portrayed them in my writing. How dare you say that about me! How dare you say that about my pastor! How dare you say that about my church! How dare you air our past interactions! Why, Bruce, you make me look bad! Well, you should have treated me better, then. If you weren’t such a bully or an ass, the story I tell would be different. To the degree that you play a part in my life story, I am going to share that with readers. Instead of bitching, moaning, and complaining, either pray and ask Jesus to silence me or admit that you, much like yours truly, said and did things that were harmful to our congregants and families. I have found it cathartic to admit and own past bad behavior, and I challenge you to do the same. Your mileage may vary, but I plan to keep on writing. Consider my writing about you akin to you using me as a sermon illustration or a cautionary warning. Me writing about you is a cautionary tale of what happens when a man becomes a Fundamentalist sot; when one’s ability to reason and think critically is smothered by religious dogma, arrogance, and certainty. What’s good for the atheist is good for the Baptist preacher, yes?

I know it infuriates some preachers that this blog ranks first page for their name or the name of their church/ministry. (Polly’s family HATES that this site is prominently featured when people search for them or their church/ministry.) Sometimes, this site is first on the first Google page. That’s what four years of blogging have given me — increased readership, page views, email subscriptions, social media sharing, and high search ranking. I appreciate that people are willing to support and publicize my writing. As with all writers, I write to be read. All writers (and public speakers such as preachers) have a bit of narcissism in them. I want people to read my writing, even if they are raising Holy Heaven about what I have written.

The name of this blog is The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser: One Man’s Journey From Eternity to Here. I plan to keep telling my story until either Jesus comes again or I lose the ability to reason and write. My money is on dementia claiming me before Jesus does.

Thank you for being a reader of my writing. I find it humbling that anyone except Polly would want to read what I write. I will do my best in the days ahead to put out writing that is worthy of your support.

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About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve 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. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

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19 Comments

  1. maura

    your blog is one of the high points of my day. good grammar, bad grammar, i think you are doing a great job, under difficult circumstances. i would send ou some thoughts and prayers but right now they are all going to the nra for their money problems

    Reply
  2. Justine Valinotti

    Bruce—I read your blog for the reasons you’ve mentioned and because, as a former person of faith, some parts of your story parallel mine. But the chief reason I read your writing is that I admire and respect your integrity.

    Reply
  3. Matilda

    What Maura and Justine just said. I am very grateful to you Bruce for your blog, and I echo the word ‘integrity’ which is sadly lacking in many of the evangelicals who try to silence you or ask you to stop. Back in the day, leaders, pre-internet, could and did keep anything negative about themselves or their churches from the public eye. That’s no longer true. I hope it’s Ok to copy a quote from a P/NR commenter, Houndtenor. I thought he put it so well, I saved it:
    ‘Here’s what the older generation (in this case the board members and church elders) can’t figure out. (Also a lot of CEOs so this is true of everything in our culture, not just churches and schools). One way communication is dead. That’s how things used to work. Everything flowed from the top down or from the center out. But now information flows in every direction….. kids are not going to remain silent and instead of just whining to each other (what we had to do when I was in high school) they can take to social media where a lot of people will read about what’s going on. That changes things drastically from how it worked when those in charge were young. And in spite of countless examples of people being busted or facing huge public disapproval for things that they would have been able to keep quiet 30 years ago, now that shit can blow up and become a big story.’
    But x-tian leaders have a rigid mindset, put the clocks back to their autocratic authoritarian past…well, that ain’t never gonna happen..
    A sincere thank you again Bruce for your blog.

    Reply
  4. ObstacleChick

    Bruce, I really enjoy your writing. You offer a no-holds-barred narrative on fundamentalist evangelical Christianity and on current political events. These controlling religious people have worked hard for decades to force their policies on our nation, and you expose them for who and what they are. You explain their beliefs and mindset because you know who they are – you were one! Personally, you remind me of what I left behind – no, went running away from. Thank you for your work!

    And did anyone else start singing the chorus of “Blessed Assurance” after reading the post tirle?

    Reply
  5. Mary

    Just started following your blog and I admire your tenacity.
    The way the evangelicals have reacted to you has proven my point, that they are often hate filled and so arrogant. But mostly they will never open up their minds to the wonderful awesome world that is out there with all its diversity, quirks, unfairness, joy, beauty, ugliness, nature etc.
    They will never open up their mental minds to true love, peace and non judgement of their fellow man. They will never be free to really live. If they weren’t so nasty, I’d pity them.

    Reply
  6. Autumn

    I enjoy your blog enormously and have learned a great deal from it. Perhaps you should think about a book, so that when you can no longer write the blog, your words can be there for the questioning ones. A rational balanced story of why fundamentalist religion will hurt a soul rather than save it. A book for someone to read who’s dear friend is becoming ever more fundamentalist, a book to hand your sister in law who thinks that two weeks of free bible camp is completely harmless.

    Reply
  7. Becky Wiren

    Bruce, I’m so glad you do blog. You’ve helped me to understand my beliefs better, and to jettison what I don’t need. So glad you’ve found a way to keep on keeping on, without letting those nasty so-called Christians get you down.

    Reply
  8. mary g

    thanks for continuing on with your writings. it is a highlight of my day too. it is helping me to process what happened w/my parents during the jesus movement of the seventies. they gave up a paid for home, a general motors job during the golden age of union jobs to follow jesus in the ministry. they would have nothing had the older generation not saved money for their kids. yet they still constantly attend church, rant against the changes in society, and engage in constant drama over simple daily life. their church consists of about 10 elderly people who follow each other around to minor procedures in the hospital the rest of the time. the church members also show up at dr appts for routine things. they are all codependent because jesus. they view me as aloof because hubby and I made different choices and refuse to engage the drama machine. religion has created a rift in my relationship w/my parents and we rarely speak anymore because we refuse the drama and religious practices. thanks for writing about these things as so many out here have been touched by extreme religion.

    Reply
  9. cy

    I like reading what you have to say. I think I started reading your “The Way Forward” blog and did worry about your disappearance. I was quite pleased that you returned to the land of the internet. I do admire you for writing down what you have on your mind— I want to do that, but it’s really hard for me to actually type out my thoughts clearly.

    Drawing the line about not allowing other peoples opinions to dominate your blog and not caring about other peoples opinions is probably important if you want to stay sane.

    (I also like the series on black color crime. Not that I really like reading it—but I am glad someone is recording it. And, I have listened to some great and seriously funny music from your Songs of Sacrilege series.

    So, here is some more encouragement from the Peanut Gallery–hopefully you’ll care a little about this opinion 🙂

    Reply
  10. carol welch

    Love this entry Bruce!
    Empowering.

    I guess to some it might be confronting. lol

    Glad you rose from the ashes more than once. Beautiful. I read freedom in this piece…

    Thanks for keeping up the resurrections! For sharing your story and giving folks, like me, a platform to voice parts of our own stories…

    Congrats on the upcoming four years!
    🙂

    Reply
  11. carol

    Hmmm…just posted a comment and recevied a pop up that says I have to agree to the comment policy. But I can’t find where to agree? So, I’m gonna try posting again. Sorry it its’ a double post! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      After someone comments the first time — and for some odd reason your comment was flagged as a first time commenter — she is taken to the comment rules. Nothing to agree to. Just hoping first time commenters — especially Evangelicals— will actually read the commenting rules. 😀

      Reply
      1. carol

        Well I just replied again and I got an error message. I hadn’t filled in my identity info this time. And I didn’t copy that reply before I clicked post comment. So if it doesn’t come through, now that the short response is…

        Thanks Bruce! 😀

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          What error message exactly do you receive?

          Reply
          1. carol

            RE the “error” message:
            I typed my reply to your comment, but didn’t fill in my identifying info (email, name). I thought since I was replying, I didn’t need to.

            After clicking submit post, I got the “error” response telling me I needed to fill in that identifying info. There was a back arrow on the response. I clicked that back arrow…and was back at the comment form, but my comment was gone. So, I’ll always fill in the identifying info from now on. 🙂

            I’ll recompose that comment I lost and then condensed into, “Thanks Bruce!”

            When I initially commented (when it went through as if I was a new commenter), I had said that a “pop-up” appeared. It was actually just the comment form and I noticed the directive (about comment policy) at the top of the form. So not a “pop up.”

            Some weeks back, WordPress shut down my WordPress account due to a possible hack, or something. I followed the directions to re-open the account. Nothing was lost or stolen, that I’m aware of. But, they may be why I came through as a first-time commenter. 🙂

          2. carol w

            Hmmmm…now my reply comment looks like it didn’t go through. But I didn’t get an error notice. Was just back at a blank comment form…like when she thought I was a newbie.

            So…I’ll send again. Saved it this time! lol

            ***

            RE the “error” message:
            I typed my reply to your comment, but didn’t fill in my identifying info (email, name). I thought since I was replying, I didn’t need to.

            After clicking submit post, I got the “error” response telling me I needed to fill in that identifying info. There was a back arrow on the response. I clicked that back arrow…and was back at the comment form, but my comment was gone. So, I’ll always fill in the identifying info from now on. 🙂

            I’ll recompose that comment I lost and then condensed into, “Thanks Bruce!”

            When I initially commented (when it went through as if I was a new commenter), I had said that a “pop-up” appeared. It was actually just the comment form and I noticed the directive (about comment policy) at the top of the form. So not a “pop up.”

            Some weeks back, WordPress shut down my WordPress account due to a possible hack, or something. I followed the directions to re-open the account. Nothing was lost or stolen, that I’m aware of. But, they may be why I came through as a first-time commenter. 🙂

            ***

  12. Troy

    I wasn’t aware there was a blog called “Bruce Droppings”. Very cute though. I thought “The Way Forward” was the best name for the blog (including the present) Because your life story is one that illustrates we can’t change the past, we can only learn from it and possibly change the present and future.
    So your solution to evangelical trolls is to don the full armor of blog? he he. As Gandalf said to the petrified trolls: ‘Dawn take you all, and be stone to you!’

    Glad you have Carolyn, what an unsung hero.

    Reply
  13. Pingback: It’s My Story and I’m Going to Tell It – FairAndUNbalanced.com

  14. Dave

    Thank you, Bruce and keep on blogging. As a fellow 60 something who deconverted after years as a fervent Christian, I look forward to your humorous insights and stories of your past

    Reply

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