I recently received an email from a bought-by-the-blood, King-James- Only Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) man by the name of Lester Rees. My response to Rees is indented.
I read your story on this website about how the big bad world dealt you some crappy cards and all.
Wow, an Evangelical who can read. I suppose it is too much for me to expect Rees to actually comprehend my writing.
I don’t believe I have ever described earth as a “big bad world.” Rees must confuse my writing with that found in the Bible and that which is preached Sunday after Sunday in Evangelical churches. Is it not Evangelicals who believe the “world” is wicked, sinful, and ruined by Adam and Eve’s fall into sin? Isn’t it the Protestant Christian Bible that says the “world” is vile; that Evangelicals are not to love the things of the “world?”
I don’t believe I have ever described my life as one where I was “dealt crappy cards.” Through this blog, I try to give a thoughtful, honest accounting of my life — warts and all. I will leave it to readers to determine the quality of my past and present life.
Guess what? Life and people have dealt me some crappy cards as well.
Rees tries to make a connection with me by saying life and people have dealt him some crappy card too. But Rees is on his own on the “crappy cards” end. Live long enough, and you are going to have wounds and scars from the people, institutions, and things you have experienced. That I have faced a lot of pain, suffering, trauma, and loss in my life is just how it is. Rees, instead of being a decent human being, chooses instead to diminish or dismiss the difficulties I have experienced over the past 63 years. Why? Jesus.
Has that made my faith in the Lord diminish? On the contrary, it has made my faith in God much stronger.
We now come to Rees’ “look at my big dick” moment. For Evangelicals such as Rees, Jesus is Viagra. Life has brought him trials and adversity too, but one tablet of Jesus Viagra has made him stronger than that pathetic, weak atheist, Bruce Gerencser.
Seeing how most people live, including those who’ve done me wrong and comparing that with God’s way, I am even more convinced now that there is a God.
It seems Rees doesn’t like his fellow humans, especially those who have “harmed” him. This is strange, by the way, since Jesus commands Christians to love those who hate them; to materially help people who are their enemies. Jesus commands Rees to love his neighbors, even if they are atheists, Muslims, or Democrats. I will leave it to readers to decide whether Rees truly loves his neighbors as himself; if his words reflect a man who loves Jesus and the teachings of the Bible.
I don’t live my life anymore in hopes of gaining anything of this world or the love of people. I don’t care about any of that at all. I live to serve the Lord and realize that my riches are laid up for me after I die. The things that most who are of this world care about the most are very vain and shallow things. I despise & reject them.
I don’t believe for a moment that Rees doesn’t “live [his] life anymore in hopes of gaining anything of this world or the love of people.” I suspect that Rees, materially, has a house, land, automobile, dog/cat/hampster, and all the trappings of American consumerism. I don’t know of one Christian who resolutely lives according to Jesus’ teachings about how to live one’s life and about material possessions. Rees talks a good line, but I am certain that he is not living in a refrigerator box, wearing one set of clothes, and giving all his money away to the poor, widows, and orphans.
And that’s okay. We only have this one life to live. Does not the wisest man in the Bible, Solomon, that we should eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; that we should enjoy the fruits of our labor?
You probably think you are soooo edgy being an atheist and all. You are not that, let me tell you.
I don’t believe I have ever called myself “edgy,” — nor have readers of this blog. Open? Honest? Transparent? Sarcastic? Funny? Sure. But “edgy?” That’s really not my style. That said, if I had any thought of being “edgy,” Rees has sure put me in my place, right?
Job, who went through even worse things than you have gone through, kept his belief in the Lord and he was rewarded by God in the end. Even if I get no rewards in this life for my firm stand I have as a Christian, so be it. I’ll get them after I die. Praise be His name!
First, we have no evidence that the story of Job is about an actual person. In fact, an honest reading of Job, the oldest book in the Bible, shows that the story of Job is a fictional work. Does Rees have any evidence for his claim that Job is a real person? Of course not. He just believes this to be true, because it is in the Bible. Well, there’s a lot of bad shit in the Bible. Perhaps Rees would like to talk with me about these things; about the nature and history of the Bible; about whether the Bible is what Evangelicals claim it is.
Second, I don’t believe for a moment that Rees isn’t interested in “rewards” in this life. I know Christians are supposed to say that, but how they live suggests that they are very much interested in material and personal gain, Religious platitudes lack honesty. We know that Evangelicals are no different from the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world. We know that Evangelicals enjoy the fruits of American capitalism and Mastercard and Visa. Rees might be able to convince the uninitiated that he is some sort of “special” Christian, but those of us who spent years intimately connected to Evangelicalism know better.
Third, Rees says that he is taking a “firm” stand for God/Jesus. There’s that Viagra reference again. What does it mean to take a “firm stand for Jesus”? Would Rees like to compare dick sizes with me? I suspect he will find that I, too, lived a rock-hard life for Jesus; that I devoted most of my life to loving and following after the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. The difference between us is that I am honest about my true self; I am willing to forthrightly account for my life. Few Evangelicals are inclined to do this. Instead, what matters is outward appearance; looking the part. That’s why it is so easy to pretend to be a Christian. Dress a certain way, use the right lingo, behave publicly as Evangelicals do, and in short order everyone will think you really love Jesus. I know Rees thinks it is hard to be a good Christian, but it’s not. Sorry, acting like an Evangelical really isn’t that hard.
Rees believes that he will receive some sort of divine payoff after he dies — which is theologically incorrect. When Rees dies, he will be buried in a grave, and will remain there until Jesus comes to earth and resurrects him from the dead, Then, and only then, will Rees be judged by God and rewarded accordingly.
Let me conclude my reply to Rees with the advice I give on the ABOUT page:
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 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.
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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