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Leaving the Evangelical Bubble and Entering the “World”

Man hiding in box

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. (KJV, 1 John 2:15-17)

Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. (The MESSAGE, 1 John 2:15-17)

As an Evangelical for fifty years, I believed the Bible was the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. I believed saved people — those bought and redeemed by the blood of the virgin-born, sinless, crucified, and resurrected Son of God, Jesus — should (must) follow the teachings, commands, and laws of the Protestant Christian Bible. I was an all-in kind of believer. And I expected my wife, children, and the members of the churches I pastored to be all-in too.

The Bible condemns “lukewarm,” cultural Christianity. For example, Revelation 3:16-17 says:

I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless. (The MESSAGE)

According to 1 John, God commanded me to not love the “world,” neither the things that are in the “world.” In Evangelicalism, particularly the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement, the “world” was anything contrary to the teachings of the Bible. Well, that’s not true. The “world” was anything contrary to your pastor’s interpretation of the Bible. As an Evangelical pastor for twenty-five years, I defined for congregants what it meant to “not love the world” through my preaching, teaching, and lifestyle. While my preaching moderated on this subject over the years, I always believed that Christians were to stand with God, the Bible, and their church against Satan and the world.

I stood against the “world” in my preaching and way of life, as did Polly and our six children. We certainly were, at times, hypocrites, but we genuinely tried to live lives separate from the evil influences of the “world.” This way of life governed where we went, what we wore, who we associated with, what we read, and virtually every other aspect of our lives. That’s why we were in our late 40s before we drank alcohol for the first time. Polly was 45-years-old before she wore her first pair of pants. Outside of our two oldest children attending public school for two years, all of our children either attended a private Evangelical school or were homeschooled. Our three youngest children were homeschooled from kindergarten through grade 12. We didn’t own a TV for the first 20 years of our marriage, and even after we let Hellivision into our home, I fought numerous “spiritual” battles over whether we should have one. (Please see The Preacher and His TV.) The TV and Satan won. 🙂

Being teetotalers, we tried to avoid businesses that sold alcohol. This proved to be an exercise in futility. If you only want expensive goods and lousy food, shop and eat at places that don’t sell alcohol. We finally gave up, believing that God would protect us from infection by the “world” when we occasionally shopped or ate at worldly establishments.

Our lives were surrounded by God, Christians, the Bible, and the church. We lived in a bubble that insulated us from the “world.” I have had lifelong atheists (just today) tell me that Evangelical Christians are stupid, ignorant, and numerous other pejorative words (missing the fact that they were insulting me). I have had atheists tell me that there must have been something wrong with me for it to take 50 years for me to leave Christianity. What these atheists fail to understand is that many people are born into Evangelical families. They grow up in Evangelical homes, attend Evangelical churches every time the doors are open, attend Evangelical colleges, marry Evangelical spouses, and start the indoctrination and conditioning all over again with their children.

When you are in the Evangelical bubble, everything within makes perfect sense. It is only when you step outside of the bubble that you see how insane many of the things within the bubble actually are. (Please see What I Found When I Left the Box and The Danger of Being in a Box and Why It Makes Sense When you Are in It.) Is it any wonder that many ex-Evangelicals require years of therapy to come to terms with and overcome the indoctrination and conditioning of their past? Worse yet, people who leave the “one true faith” often lose many, if not all, of their friends and experience fractured relationships with their parents, grandparents, siblings, and extended family. For lifelong Evangelicals, deconverting is an excruciating, painful process.

One of the things I had to learn on my journey from Evangelicalism to atheism (please see From Evangelicalism to Atheism Series) was that the “world” was not the problem I thought it was. I had been told a lie, and I repeated that lie over and over to the people I pastored. My life, and that of my family, was wrapped up in a lie — that the “world” was inherently wicked/evil/sinful and must be avoided at all costs.

Polly and I left Christianity in November 2008. We gathered our children together and told them of our decision, that they were free to choose their own paths. Then, in early 2009, I sent out a letter to hundreds of people titled Dear Family, Friends, and Former Parishioners.

I wrote (edited for grammar, spelling, and readability on July 29, 2021):

Dear Family, Friends, and Former Parishioners,

I have come to a place in life where I can no longer put off writing this letter. I have dreaded this day because I know what is likely to follow after certain people receive it. I have decided I can’t control how others react to this letter, so it is far more important to clear the air and make sure everyone knows the facts about Bruce Gerencser.

I won’t bore you with a long, drawn-out history of my life. I am sure each of you has an opinion about how I have lived my life and the decisions I have made. I also have an opinion about how I have lived my life and the decisions I made. I am my own worst critic.

Religion, in particular Baptist, Evangelical, and Fundamentalist religion, has been the essence of my life from my youth up. My being is so intertwined with religion that the two are quite inseparable. My life has been shaped and molded by religion, and religion touches virtually every fiber of my being.

I spent most of my adult life pastoring churches, preaching, and being involved in religious work to some degree or another. I pastored thousands of people over the years, preached thousands of sermons, and participated in and led thousands of worship services.

To say that the church was my life would be an understatement. But, as I have come to see, the church was actually my mistress, and my adulterous affair with her was at the expense of my wife, children, and my own self-worth. (Please see It’s Time to Tell the Truth: I Had an Affair.)

Today, I am publicly announcing that the affair is over. My wife and children have known this for a long time, but now everyone will know.

The church robbed me of so much of my life, and I have no intention of allowing her to have one more moment of my time. Life is too short. I am dying. We all are. I don’t want to waste what is left of my life chasing after things I now think are vain and empty.

I have always been known as a reader, a student of the Bible. I have read thousands of books in my lifetime. The knowledge gained from my reading and studies has led me to some conclusions about religion, particularly the Fundamentalist, Evangelical religion that played such a prominent part in my life.

I can no longer wholeheartedly embrace the doctrines of Evangelical, Fundamentalist Christianity. Particularly, I do not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, nor do I accept as true the common Evangelical belief of the inspiration of Scripture.

Coming to this conclusion has forced me to reevaluate many of the doctrines I have held as true over these many years. I have concluded that I have been misinformed, poorly taught, and sometimes lied to. As a result, I can no longer accept as true many of the doctrines I once believed.

I point the finger of blame at no one. I sincerely believed and taught the things that I did, and many of the men who taught me were honorable teachers. Likewise, I don’t blame those who have influenced me over the years, nor do I blame the authors of the many books I have read. Simply, it is what it is.

I have no time to invest in the blame game. I am where I am today for many reasons, and I must embrace where I am and move forward.

In moving forward, I have stopped attending church. I have not attended a church service since November of 2008. I have no interest or desire to attend any church regularly. This does not mean I will never attend a church service again, but it does mean, for NOW, I have no intention of attending church.

I pastored for the last time in 2003. Almost six years have passed by. I have no intentions of ever pastoring again. When people ask me about this, I tell them I am retired. With the health problems that I have, it is quite easy to make an excuse for not pastoring, but the fact is I don’t want to pastor.

People continue to ask me, “what do you believe?” Rather than inquiring about how my life is, the quality of that life, etc., they reduce my life to what I believe. Life becomes nothing more than a set of religious constructs. A good life becomes believing the right things.

I can tell you this . . . I believe God is . . . and that is the sum of my confession of faith.

A precursor to my religious views changing was a seismic shift in my political views. My political views were so entangled with my Fundamentalist beliefs that when my political views began to shift, my beliefs began to unravel.

I can better describe my political and social views than I can my religious ones. I am a committed progressive, liberal Democrat, with the emphasis being on the progressive and liberal. My evolving views on women, abortion, homosexuality, war, socialism, social justice, and the environment have led me to the progressive, liberal viewpoint.

I know some of you are sure to ask, what does your wife think of all of this? Quite surprisingly, she is in agreement with me on many of these things. Not all of them, but close enough that I can still see her standing here. Polly is no theologian. She is not trained in theology as I am. (She loves to read fiction.) Nevertheless, I was able to get her to read Bart Ehrman’s book Misquoting Jesus and several others. She found the books to be quite an eye-opener.

Polly is free to be whomever and whatever she wishes. If she wants to start attending the local Fundamentalist Baptist church, she is free to do so and even has my blessing. But, for now, she doesn’t. She may never believe as I do, but in my new way of thinking, that is okay. I really don’t care what others think. Are you happy? Are you at peace? Are you living a good, productive life? Do you enjoy life? Answering in the affirmative to these questions is good enough for me.

I have six children, three of whom are out on their own. For many years, I was the spiritual patriarch of the family. Everyone looked to me for answers. I feel somewhat burdened over my children. I feel as if I have left them out on their own with no protection. But, I know they have good minds and can think and reason for themselves. Whatever they decide about God, religion, politics, or American League baseball is fine with me.

All I ask of my wife and children is that they allow me the freedom to be myself, that they allow me to journey on in peace and love. Of course, I still love a rousing discussion about religion, the Bible, politics, etc. I want my family to know that they can talk to me about these things, and anything else for that matter, any time they wish.

Opinions are welcome. Debate is good. All done? Let’s go to the tavern and have a round on me. Life is about the journey, not the destination, and I want my wife and children to be a part of my journey, and I want to be a part of theirs.

One of the reasons for writing this letter is to put an end to the rumors and gossip about me. Did you know Bruce is/or is not_____________? Did you know Bruce believes____________? Did you know Bruce is a universalist, agnostic, atheist, liberal ___________?

For you who have been friends or former parishioners, I apologize to you if my changing beliefs have unsettled you or has caused you to question your own faith. That was never my intent.

The question is this: what now?

Family and friends are not sure what to do with me.

I am still Bruce. I am still married. I am still your father, father-in-law, grandfather, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, and son-in-law. I would expect you to love me as I am and treat me with respect.

Here is what I don’t want from you:

Attempts to show me the error of my way. Fact is, I have studied the Bible and read far more books than many of you. So what do you really think you are going to show me that will be so powerful and unknown that it will cause me to return to the religion and politics of my past?

Constant reminders that you are praying for me. Please don’t think of me as unkind, but I don’t care that you are praying for me. I find no comfort, solace, or strength from your prayers. So be my friend if you can, pray if you must, but leave your prayers in the closet. As long as God gets your prayer message, that will be sufficient.

Please don’t send me books, tracts, or magazines. You are wasting your time and money.

Invitations to attend your church. The answer is NO. Please don’t ask. I used to attend church for the sake of family, but no longer. It is hypocritical for me to perform a religious act of worship just for the sake of family. I know how to find a church if I am so inclined: after all, I have visited more than 125 churches since 2002. (Please see But Our Church is DIFFERENT!)

Offers of a church to pastor. It is not the lack of a church to pastor that has led me to where I am. If I would lie about what I believe, I could be pastoring again in a matter of weeks. I am not interested in ever pastoring a church again.

Threats about judgment and Hell. I don’t believe in either, so your threats have no impact on me.

Phone calls. If you are my friend, you know I don’t like talking on the phone. I have no interest in having a phone discussion about my religious or political views.

Here is what I do want from you: I want you to unconditionally love me where I am and how I am.

That’s it.

Now I realize some (many) of you won’t be able to do that. My friendship or familial relationship with you is cemented with the glue of Evangelical orthodoxy. Remove the Bible, God, and fidelity to a certain set of beliefs, and there is no basis for a continued relationship.

I understand that. I want you to know I have appreciated and enjoyed our friendship over the years. I understand that you cannot be my friend anymore. I even understand you may have to denounce me publicly and warn others to stay away from me for fear of me contaminating them with my heresy. Do what you must. We had some wonderful times together, and I will always remember those good times.

You are free from me if that is your wish.

I shall continue to journey on. I can’t stop. I must not stop.

Thank you for reading my letter.

Bruce

— end of letter —

Thoughtful readers will see and feel my pain and anguish in this letter. The David Tees of the world will see more reasons to criticize me and condemn me to the flames of Hell. To the former I say, thank you for listening and walking along with me on my journey. To the latter? Read my mind 🙂

As I reentered the world, I lost all of my friends, save two. All of my former colleagues in the ministry wrote me off. My best friend wrote me several scathing emails, never inquiring about how I was doing or how my family was doing. (In retrospect, I grossly underestimated how our deconversion would affect our children.) I received letters and emails from angry or confused former parishioners. (Please see the Letters section on the WHY? page.) I even had a former church member and Christian Union pastor drive from southeast Ohio to my home in the hope of convincing me of the error of my way. (Please see Dear Friend.) Our 25-year friendship ended that day.

Even though I worked secular jobs while pastoring, I was ill-prepared to totally immerse myself into the wild, wooly world. The world can be a dangerous place, especially for naive sheep turned goats. I had to learn how to navigate an environment that was foreign to me. I had to determine what it was I really believed about, well, everything. After fifty years of governing my life by the teachings of the Bible, I was left with the task of developing a moral and ethical framework for my life — a work that continues to this day.

In many ways, life was easier in my Christian days. The Bible was God’s divine blueprint and rulebook for my life and that of my family. God said it, and that settled it! No need to think, reason, or wrestle, — just believe and obey. Life is so different now. There’s no blueprint or rulebook to follow. I am on my own, and armed with skepticism, reason, and common sense I chart a new course for my life. I have made a lot of mistakes post-Jesus. However, each day is another opportunity for me to be a better “worldly” humanist.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

You can contact Bruce via email, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

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

29 Comments

  1. Avatar
    BJW

    My family was treated pretty bad by fellow Christians. It happened decades ago, and although we made an attempt at attending church in other places, we just couldn’t get over that pain. Now, Christians will say we left because we were treated badly. Except in the end, being treated badly caused us to begin to question the things that were previously comforting. I know some fellow Christians (even in the ministry) who have seen the bad and the ugly in their churches. They are still good people and good Christians. So questioning a church or denomination’s teachings isn’t necessarily an end to belief or faith in God…but it certainly can be.

    Anyway Bruce, thank you for being honest and open. Somehow, not one of these men (and occasional women) fundies/evangelicals can figure out that if they were truly kind, empathetic people, that we would at least treat them kindly on your blog. But no, they come here expecting US to kiss their asses, while they spew mean and vicious comments and threats. You certainly show the value of being a humanist and show the empathy these Christians lack.

  2. Avatar
    leigh

    Man, that last bit really hits home. I was not in as deep (‘only’ southern Baptist) nor as long (became heathenized in my mid-30s), but I remember clearly thinking that crap, I now had to well and truly think for myself. About everything. But even though it’s a lot of ‘work’ I’m so glad I’m now free to accept the world and its humans for the nuanced, ambiguous mess that it is.

  3. Avatar
    Kel

    Bruce, thank you very much for being so honest.
    Me and my family might not be as “all-in” as you and yours were but my parents are certainly devout Evangelicals.

    At this point in my life, I’m no longer sure if I can remain an Evangelical. But I’ve definitely stopped introducing myself as one because I realise my views on certain things are no longer aligned with the Evangelical official position.

    The fact is, I tried very very hard to be a good Evangelical Christian, at a significant cost to my own well-being and my mental health. I cried so many times, begging God to help me bear my cross faithfully. Of course every Evangelical has their own share of difficulties, but some are “luckier” that the Evangelical status quo fits their personal circumstances and predispositions much better than it does others. To those who would say that I should not depend on “my own strength” and start relying on God, please show me a detailed step-by-step instruction on how to do exactly this.

    Too often what they mean by this is that I should suffer until a miracle happens or until I feel “God’s comfort” wash over me. No practical help offered, often times not even a shoulder to cry on.

    I know that my evolving views will create a major rift between me and my family – Jesus came to bring sword and not peace after all. I know I will have to eventually dissociate myself from the fold of my youth, but the realisation terrifies me. Bruce expresses the pain better than I ever could. I will have to uproot myself – literally – from my family, my people, my culture, even my own past self. My parents are lovely lovely people and they want the best for me, but they have always seen me through the eyes of the Evangelical Jesus. I know they will be deeply hurt if I switch my allegiance.

    I don’t know what will happen in the future, but there will certainly be a lot of grieving.

    Thank you so much Bruce for this beautiful and heartfelt piece.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Family is the proverbial fly 🪰 in the ointment. Most of Polly’s Evangelical family have distanced themselves from us. Oh, they are cordial and polite, but we know we are viewed as the heretics and black sheep of the family. I bear the greater condemnation, because, in their minds, I’m to blame for what has “happened” to my family.

      We have an uneasy peace with Polly’s mom. We just don’t talk about politics or religion. Yet, we hear the disappointment or judgment in her voice. Again, she blames me for everything. She has convinced herself that Polly will come running back to Jesus once I’m dead. If Polly ever spoke her mind . . . 😂 her mom would quickly learn that her daughter has no intention of running back to any God/Jesus/Church — ever.

      I wish things were different, but . . . it is what it is.

      • Avatar
        Kel

        “I wish things were different, but . . . it is what it is.”
        Indeed Bruce, indeed.

        Thanks again Bruce and best wishes to you and Polly while you navigate this uneasy peace agreement.

    • Avatar
      Sage

      Kel, i can remember being where you are right now. There comes a point where the reality of your path is quite scary, and the next steps are daunting. It is not easy to face this type of change when your entire life was built on a belief system, and that belief system is no longer valid to you.

      I no longer have any association with people from church. I am very sure that I am not the type of person they want to any relationship with. I did not walk away from people in the church, the choice to create distance was their own. That can be a loss, but they cannot accept me, and i won’t be friends with people who want to change me.

      Family is the hardest, and in my case, its strained. I am sure this is all my fault too (note sarcasm), because I feel some of them have openly made choices to support very bigoted and hateful people, instead of supporting their family member. There are some I will not talk to – they made their choice, and I clearly see who and what they are. For the others, there is a lot we do not talk about and there is a lot of strain. All of this is my fault since all I have to do is pray, blah blah, and all would be good and I would be forgiven for my choices.

      But even with all of this, I am still happier that when I was under the thumb of Christianity. I no longer feel worthless and broken. I can live my life as best I can, enjoy the world and the people in it, and live with a lot less stress than I used to have. The choices I made, similar to what you are dealing with, were better for me in the long run, even with the losses along the way.

  4. Avatar
    Karen the rock whisperer

    Bruce, you learned what you learned, questioned what needed questioning, and walked the path illuminated by those activities with integrity. I’m still saddened, but was never surprised, that so many valued people in your life disconnected. We never know each other as well as we think we do, and we fill in the blanks with assumptions. When you shattered their assumptions, the number of blanks became scary and off-putting.

    Learning to navigate right and wrong on a case-by-case basis, supported only by core values and reason, is challenging. People with authoritarian personalities tend to gravitate (or remain in) institutions that provide a sturdy framework for their thinking, and certainly Evangelical Christianity works for that. (I don’t mean to imply that’s the only reason people stay, simply that it is most comfortable for them.) My mother got incredibly anxious when presented with a problem that her church or other authority didn’t have a ready-made solution for, or that pitted rules against compassion. She was a very compassionate person and was very comforted by rules. Rules usually won, after some justifying religious babble.

  5. Avatar
    William

    I was treated badly by a few Christians, but primarily I left because science which I researched could not square up with the genesis narrative.

    To be honest when I look back I see the hardcore fundamentalists were really just afraid about the onslaught of technology, science, progress and the seeming silence of their God in the face of such things. Others who knew too much scripture from online debates but no real clue how to apply it to real life people, and those who just mindlessly followed whatever it was they were taught. Free from the desire to get on with these people regardless, as they were part of my spiritual family, on looking back, I can see mostly they were not the people for me. I’m free now from people who were not my sort of people and free from a burden to try to adhere to no doubt my own peculiar interpretation of the practices of the Christian bible.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      In the Evangelical bubble, “science” never entered the equation. Genesis 1-3, read literally, of course, told us all we needed to know. Sure, we talked about science, but only to the degree that it affirmed what the Bible taught.

      I had a woeful, ignorant understanding of science. I’m still quite ignorant, but the Bible no longer stands in the way of my understanding of the world/universe I live in.

  6. Avatar
    Barry A. Watkins

    Thanks for sharing, Bruce. I led worship music for years and after my first serious doubts, it took me 20 years to process things and finally stop leading worship. Church was my life, but I couldn’t support it any more. I’m putting together a new life now. I am thankful and lucky that I’m still surrounded by a family and true friends who will love me no matter what.

  7. Avatar
    Sage

    I think most people who have deconstructed their faith can see similarities between your path and their own. A lot of people seem to think this happens because we become angry with god, or the church, or the people in the church, or that we are just being mislead by those pesky worldly liberals, atheists and humanists. If none of that is true, then we just must want to indulge in some sordid, sinful practice that god won’t allow.

    Christians cannot fathom that the very concepts that manipulate them no longer have impact when you are finally out of the box. There is no more guilt, or fear of hell. No more manipulation through biblical texts or christian literature.

    Most of us have taken a very studied approach, and have faces some serious decisions, as you described, that will cost us friends and even family. Once you have crossed the Rubicon, those who you thought cared turn away. You face the world alone, and no longer have the christian crutch or god to lean on, and you have to make your way. You make your own decisions, and are living life the best you can.

    I have been told my problem is I look at christians who are human, and that caused me to turn from faith. I am told to not look to them because they will fail. The thing is, as a preachers kid, at a very young age, I would see people praying for forgiveness on Sunday, only to go out and do that same “bad” thing on Monday, and repeat this cycle weekly. I watched them judges and accost others when they were just as bad. I learned, before I was 10, people really aren’t committed, and it makes no sense to let them influence your faith, because theirs was really messed up.

    Im also told I am angry at god. Also not true. I have no anger toward any god for the same reason that I am not angry
    at the Loch Ness Monster.

    Then people tell me I am angry at the church, or was hurt by the church, or by the church people. Also not true. I found the church, all of them, lacking, so why would I keep attending. But I will admit that I carry a lot of animosity and disgust for christians since they desire to manipulate and control everyone else. I won’t be quite while they proselytize friends, or prey on people who are in a weakened state, or try to legislate (or even call for the death of) the LGBTQIA+ community. I will always be pushing back, very hard, and not very nicely, against aggressive, judgmental christians until they stop trying to control the world.

    Freedom from the dogma of christianity made my life much better. I can now live as I should have lived for years, and am much happier and much more comfortable now. Outside of that box, the world is a good place, with many interesting people. Christians really miss a lot by staying in their box and judging the world around them.

  8. Avatar
    thatotherjean

    It must have been really hard on you and your family to jump into a “sink of swim” world after the bubble of Evangelical Christianity. Still, you’ve done a fine job charting your own course and, I assume, helping members of your family chart theirs. Congratulations, Bruce–you can swim!

  9. Avatar
    theologyarchaeology

    “I had been told a lie,”

    No the lies that you were told came from the world and evil not God, the Bible or other Christians. It looks to me that you have classic misunderstanding of what the Bible says and you failed to follow the Holy Spirit to the truth.

    P.s. please stop saying you were once an evangelical. everyone knows this fact. It doesn’t need to be repeated ad nauseum

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      David,

      When are you going to figure out that you don’t control my story line? I don’t care one whit about what you think about me or my writing.

      As far as me saying I was an Evangelical — as I told you before — I treat every post as a self-contained article. 400-800 readers each day are first-time readers. I don’t assume that they know anything about me. Further, my posts are shared on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, private discussion forums, and blogs. I want these readers to know who I am/was. So, what’s the real reason you keep bitching and whining about this?

      You can “fix” this problem quite easily: stop 🛑 reading my blog.

      Bruce, the former Evangelical pastor — 50 years in the Christian church, 25 years in the ministry (just in case you wanted to read these things one more time, David). 😂😂

    • Avatar
      Michael Mock

      Hey, DDT… Did you know that Bruce here was once an evangelical? He was! He was even a pastor — and not just for a little while, for twenty-five years.

      Do you think that informs his story? Do you think that’s the sort of thing that a casual reader/visitor might find it helpful to know? I do! Seems relevant, even topical. Full disclosure, even. I mean, I’ve been reading Bruce’s writings for years now, so I’ve read a lot of those reminders, and… funny thing… you’re the only one who seems to be bothered by them.

      Why is that, do you suppose?

      • Avatar
        Bruce Gerencser

        You have been a reader for a long, long time — several blog iterations ago. I know YOU know that I was in the Christian church for fifty years, an Evangelical pastor for twenty-five years, attended Midwestern Baptist College, have six kids and thirteen grandkids, have been married to a beautiful woman named Polly for forty-three years, and I have gastroparesis, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis. I don’t need to tell you these things, but a first-time reader doesn’t know these things, so I tell them (when it is relevant to do so). I have been talking with a VICE producer about an interview they want to do with me. She doesn’t know me. She’s read parts of this blog, and I have shared this or that bit of personal info with her. Today, I told her, “have you figured out that I like to talk?” 😂😂 We also talked about me collecting Lionel Trains. She wants to “know” me a bit, as it will inform her work. The same thing will happen tomorrow when John Richards interviews me. John already knows my story, as do many of his viewers. However, there will be people seeing/hearing me for the first time. My back story, then, is relevant and informative.

        You bring up a good point. I’ve been blogging for 13 years — millions of page views. Not one person besides “Dr.” David Tee/David Thiessen/Theologyarcheology has ever complained about me saying I was an Evangelical. Not one. Hmm . . . 😂

    • Avatar
      Kel

      Dr. Tee,

      You are repeating the same assertions ad nauseam without trying to engage with the responses you were given.

      And what “classic misunderstanding” does Bruce have? Someone’s orthodoxy can be someone else’s heresy. I’m sure that at least one of the views you hold will be regarded as a “classic misunderstanding”, damnable heresy even, by “other Christians” that you treat as a big monolith. The European Wars of Religion didn’t happen out of the blue.

    • Avatar
      Sage

      Hey, Fake Dr Tee, just to let you know, I wasn’t an evangelical, technically, but closeBut did you know he was in the evangelical church for 50 years, and was a sold out, god fearing preacher for 25 years?

      You will be glad to know this tho, your tenacity to be seen has inspired me…I have created a song, called God’s Troll, based on the song Rawhide. With full apologies and proper credit to Frankie Laine, Ned Washington (Rawhide lyricist), and Dimitri Tiomkin (rawhide composer).

      Use the Rawhide tune.

      If any of you actually start singing this, it’s not my fault…

      Trollin’, trollin’, trollin’
      Trollin’, trollin’, trollin’
      Trollin’, trollin’, trollin’
      Trollin’, trollin’, trollin’
      Oniine!
      HAH! HAH!

      Keep trollin’, trollin’, trollin’
      Though the blogs are blockin’
      Keep them comments trollin’, online
      Through blogs and tweets and facebook
      Hell bent for one look
      Wishin’ Bruce would change to my side
      All the things I’m sayin”
      Might get Bruce to prayin”
      Spirit filled and back on heaven’s ride

      Read the post, kick ’em down
      Kick ’em down, beat ’em up
      Read the post, kick ’em down
      Online!
      Tear ’em down, all for god
      all for god, tear ’em down
      Tear ’em down, all for god:
      Online!
      Hah! Hah!

      Keep postin’, postin’, postin’
      Though they’re disapprovin’
      Keep them comments postin’, online
      Don’t try to understand ’em
      Just hate the sins and judge ’em
      Soon they’ll be crawling back to god
      My heart’s calculatin’
      That Bruce I will be savin’:
      Tearing down that atheist facade

      Read the post, kick ’em down
      Kick ’em down, beat ’em up
      Read the post, kick ’em down
      Online!
      Tear ’em down, all for god
      all for god, tear ’em down
      Tear ’em down, all for god:
      Online!

      (Trollin’, trollin’, trollin’.)
      (Trollin’, trollin’, trollin’.)
      Hah!

    • Avatar
      William

      David being his usual irritated self. Another fine example of Christianity, someone with no patience for others and their story and life.

  10. Avatar
    Karuna Gal

    You were all really courageous when you left Christianity. By leaving the faith you also had to leave behind family, friends and your social web as a whole. My abandonment of Christianity, painful as it was, didn’t cost me like it did for so many of you. Would I have been as brave and left if I had to face such losses? Frankly, I don’t know.

  11. Avatar
    Barbara L. Jackson

    Would their be a way so these religious boxes cannot be forced on others? Religious schools are allowed to tell the children lies. Creation myth is a lie, and they should not be able to teach it as a science. Nor should home schooled children be told the creation myth as science. I studied biology, chemistry, and physics in high school. All students should be taught math and sciences so they can make up their own minds. However religious addicts should not be allowed to repress the intellect and learning of children.

    I do not know how to make this work. I think we need to work on this for along time before there would be a way to make this work. Maybe there should be exams every year and if the child does not pass the exam they must be sent to a “recovery” school so they know their parents are religious addicts and these myths are just that.

    Religious addicts should be considered no better than opium addicts and churches are no better than the pharmacy companies who have finally been forced to pay some money for their deeds.

    You have freedom of religion, but it is only for yourself. Abusing your children with religion should be illegal.

    • Avatar
      William

      I don’t think you can ban freedom of religion in terms of how to bring up children but you can ban some of it’s methods, for instance how many evangelicals believe in hitting their children. In Scotland for instance it’s illegal for parents to smack their child.

      • Avatar
        Barbara L. Jackson

        Religion of any variety in this country is very dangerous for children. The religion always believes it and only it is right., The people of any religion have more rights in this country because they can claim religious exclusion. They should not have to report child abuse to the authorities, they can beat their children etc.

        Reporting child abuse to the authorities does not cure everything. In this country there are many police or sheriffs departments. We need a national child protection agency. Every religion should be required to pay for it’s funding (as well as some non-religious groups) because they cause the most child abuse. They should also be given a list of all the laws involving child abuse an told they will be put on trial any time they violate any of these laws and do not report these acts of child abuse to the police.

        Home school parents should be given the same information. They should also be required to pay for the child abuse agency.

        We need a national and nationally enforced description of child abuse. Religions also often abuse girls with things like genital mutilate girls because they believe every girl should be “cut”. This is simply an example. Much research is needed.

        We need much study about how religions abuse children and as may national laws as necessary to make these things illegal,. We also need the staff to enforce the laws once they are created.

        Pedophiles and child abusers cannot be cured merely by incarceration (or by anything). They are the in the same category as rapists. Incarceration does not cure the desire to rape. People in this category should be incarcerated for life with no chance of parole because they are a danger to the entire society.

Want to Respond to Bruce? Fire Away!

Bruce Gerencser