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I “Persecuted” a Christian Today

billy sunday preaching

Last Monday, I had outpatient surgery to remove a benign tumor from my upper abdomen. Today, I returned to the surgeon’s office so he could remove the dressing and check the incision. I no longer drive, so my wife has to drive me to and from my medical appointments. Typically, while Polly checks me in, I slowly walk to the designated waiting area. Polly and I were apart all of five minutes, but that was enough time for me to “persecute” a Christian.

After sitting down in the waiting area, I couldn’t help but see and hear a loud, boisterous Evangelical Christian trying to evangelize a man sitting near him. I am not sure how the one-way conversation started since it was in progress when I arrived. What I do know is that while I was sitting there the Evangelical man told the unsuspecting “sinner” that his mother was in Heaven is she was saved; that some Christians believe you can’t lose your salvation and others believe you can; that he personally believed that once a person asks Jesus to save him he can’t fall from grace; that going to church doesn’t make you a Christian; that sometimes churches treat people badly, saying he had experienced such treatment himself; that people who don’t get saved go to Hell. His last words to the man were as follows: “I know you are a good man.”

Five minutes of loud in-your-face preaching, with the “target” not saying one word in response, just nodding his head in polite Midwestern fashion. As Polly was walking up the hallway to where I was sitting, I decided that I had had enough of the Evangelical man’s unwanted abusive behavior. I said to him in my preacher’s voice, “maybe the man doesn’t want you badgering him. Maybe we (there were six people sitting in the waiting room) don’t want to hear your bullshit. I know I don’t.” 🙂 And with that, the Evangelical man sat down and didn’t say another word. All praise be to Loki for his kindness.

I am plumb worn out (and irritated) by Evangelicals who think they have a duty and right to harass people in public. It was evident that the “target” wasn’t interested in what the man was selling, but was too polite to tell him to fuck off. Of course, Evangelicals reading this post will say, “Bruce, that sinner’s blood is on your hands. If he ends up in Hell, God will hold you accountable! It’s evident God sent the Evangelical man to the sinner to preach the gospel to him.” No, what is evident is that the Evangelical man didn’t care about social boundaries. I’m sure his pastor taught him to look for opportunities to witness. Evidently, his pastor didn’t warn him about curmudgeonly atheists who might be lurking nearby. 🙂

Come Sunday, I have no doubt the Evangelical man will tell his pastor and fellow church members that he was “persecuted” for sharing the gospel.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 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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  1. Avatar
    Karuna Gal

    Once time I was on the bus and this rather ratty looking guy missing a few teeth started “witnessing” at me from across the aisle. Now, I am usually polite and mousy but this fellow made me lose my temper. I told him angrily that I didn’t want to hear any of his spiel. He tried a second time and I told him I wasn’t interested. He finally shut up. The funny thing was that I was still a Christian at that point. 😄

  2. Avatar

    Fortunately living in Northern New Jersey we have the mantra of life and let live, otherwise known as leave people the f#$% alone.

    Of course, ding dong Christian nationalists like Mike Flynn think we have to force Americans to live in a(n evangelical white conservative authoritarian bigoted patriarchal) Christian nation. Yuck.

  3. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    I’d have to say the loud, boisterous ” witnessed” in that waiting room was wrong to hold court ,as he was doing. It shows lack of manners and discretion- one should be outside in the parking lot or sidewalk, because after all, the guy was rather noisy. There’s a time and a place for doing it. I’m sure he felt he had to, was probably afraid not to, especially with all the crazy things going on here in the U.S. and overseas. Pastors will say Jesus may ” deny you before the Father” if you keep quiet. Southerners are notorious for doing this in places that aren’t appropriate, like indoors,waiting rooms. His being loud and clueless about where he was at, kind of shows that. On the bus the other day, this bossy elderly- looking Pentecostal Holiness church member was trying to be forceful in inviting people to a food giveaway at a local transit hub, in T.G.. I don’t celebrate that day personally, and told her so. And she barks, ” well, you can still get something to eat !”. It was trays of meals from Pollo Loco for this event. …….My plans for that day involve going to bed and having Chinese food. Her eyes twinkled behind her glasses in a way I found quite off- putting. There is an obvious meanness about her, and I’m not open to conversation with a person from such sects,as they were my first church experience anyway. Smug and bossy. They’re often that way. I was irritated,but I didn’t bother with her. I can just imagine the kind of parent and grandparent she is.

  4. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Yay Bruce!

    The behavior that Bruce and some commenters describe is aggression, full stop. The only question is whether that aggression is subliminal (e.g., served up with Midwestern politeness or Southern charm) or overt.

    When I was teaching in a yeshiva, I learned about Halakhic law. Some of it actually makes sense, like the proscriptions on visiting the sick. It actually recognizes that sometimes people need to be left alone to rest. By that standard–or any of human decency–trying to “save souls” in a waiting room or other health care setting is, at best disrespectful and, at worst, harmful to the person being preached at, who may need peace and quiet as much as physical comfort.

  5. Avatar
    Wesley Sandel

    I got more than fed up by the pseudo-Christian white trash a long time ago and now just tell them, “There is no god and no satan, no heaven and no hell. But if you do see that god who told you that women should die in back-alley abortions, tell him to go f- himself.”

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Bruce Gerencser