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The Wearying Life of a “Separated” Christian

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Leslie Allebach blogs at Growing4Life: Never Satisfied with Status Quo. She, along with countless other Evangelicals, spend their waking hours devoted to Jesus, the Bible, and the church. As the following excerpt shall show, Leslie is chasing a “separated life,” constantly judging and reassessing every aspect of her earthly existence:

The new Christianity (the mystic, self-centered, ecumenical version) is literally in everything. Once we are aware and start looking for it, we find it everywhere. While there are still a few pure churches, they are few and far between (as many of you can probably attest to). It’s an additive that comes in just bits and pieces at first. Although, unlike sodium benzoate, it is more like a terrible yeast that grows uncontrollably until it’s taken over the once-sound church or ministry.

But it begins as a bit. Just a tiny promotion of a false teacher here. A joining with a false church there. An almost invisible twist on the Gospel here. A book or movie recommendation there. Little things that look minuscule to the average church goer. But these little compromises spell disaster to the one who has taken the time to compare what is happening in this new Christianity to God’s Holy Word.

You see, you have to know what you are looking for and that it actually exists before you can understand what is taking place.


But what is my duty now? Do I just ignore the truth and live life as normal? Or do I have a responsibility to share the truth and make some changes in my life? Changes that might mean giving up favorite products that I’ve used for years?

I am guessing you can see the clear parallel here. When we begin to see the truth of this new (i.e. false) Christianity, it requires something of us. And it isn’t a fun process. The truth rarely is. One by one, we start eliminating things that contain it. Books, music, movies, and other forms of compromised “Christian” entertainment. We start evaluating our churches and what they are preaching from the pulpits, teaching in their Sunday Schools, and using as books for their small groups and Bible Studies.

Whether we are discussing an unproven additive or a wave of unbiblical teachings, there will always be scores of people to tell you to relax. Trust the narrative. Stop witch-hunting. Stop being so negative. Stop doing your own research. Just. Stop.

But we can’t stop. Because it is the truth that sets us free. It truly is. It may be an easier road to not know it in the short term. But, in the long-term, knowing the truth is always best. Knowing the truth is what keeps you spiritually and physically healthy. It protects you from the harm and danger of the world. It keeps you from being deceived. Spiritual truth is what keeps Satan from devouring you.

So how in the world do we find this spiritually life-saving Truth?

It is in God’s Word. If we are in the Word and reading it and studying it with a humble heart and a readiness to obey, no matter the cost, God will show us the truth. We don’t need to study the ways of false teachers or make a long list of who has compromised. We can simply compare them to scripture and see, fairly quickly, if someone has compromised.


This life is hard, isn’t it? I wish I could say I have this down, but I definitely struggle with the first reason, particularly. I can grow exhausted and in my exhaustion, I grow lazy. My flesh whispers “what does it matter, anyway?” and I give in. (That is one of the things I am looking most forward to in heaven– no whispering flesh!!)

But we must endure to the end. We may cave to laziness or an unwillingness to give something up or to the ridicule that is sure to come, but when God helps us to see it, we must acknowledge it, confess it, and then move on. Thankfully, we have a wonderfully forgiving God and He loves us dearly.

Allebach admits that pursuing the “separated” life is hard, and that she finds her struggle for purity and perfection exhausting. Instead of embracing and enjoying life, Allebach seeks to “endure to the end” so that she might be saved. This present life is just a means to an end. Prepare to meet the Lord thy God, the prophet Amos said. Everything experienced in this life is just preparation for the life to come.

I spent much of my life seeking a path similar to that of Leslie Allebach. Be ye perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect Jesus said in Matthew 5. Ditto for being holy. If one believes the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God and Jesus commands his followers to obey every law, command, and precept, it’s hard to live a nominal Christian life. If the goal is to hear Jesus say “well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord,” how can a Christian not pursue separation from the world? After all, I John 2:15 says:

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.

We only have one life. I just celebrated my sixty-fifth birthday. Born when Dwight Eisenhower was president, I am nearing the end of life. My body tells me that time is running out. If I were still an Evangelical Christian, much like Leslie, I would be working on making sure that my spiritual house was in order; that I was ready to meet my Lord and Savior face-to-face. Fortunately, fifteen years ago, I saw the “light.” Since then, I try to spend as much time as possible with Polly, our six children, and thirteen grandchildren. I want their last memories of me to be good ones, not memories of a husband and father so devoted to Jesus, the ministry, and evangelizing sinners that I had little time for them; that I had little time to exhale and enjoy life.

I have a bucket list, things I want to do before I die. I am calling this summer “Summer 2022 Bruce Gerencser Death-Defying Bucket List Tour.” So far, I have heard Breaking Benjamin, Halestorm, and Theory of a Deadman (and their opening acts) in concert, with Drive-By Truckers, Lydia Loveless, Collective Soul, and Switchfoot still on the schedule. Polly and I plan to take a daylong steam train ride next month. While doing these things (and others) this summer has extracted a high price from me physically, I intend to do all I can to check things off my bucket list. Why? This is the only life I will ever have, and I want to go out with a bang. And why not? Life after death is a myth, so I only have a short time to do the things I want to do. Leslie is willing to sacrifice her present life in hope of a divine payoff after she dies. But what if she is wrong? What if this life is all she has? BUT IT’S NOT, Allebach will likely say. The Bible says _____________. Yeah, about that. What if the Bible is not what Evangelicals claim it is? What if it’s just the words of fallible men? I for one am not willing to gamble my life away on the irrational belief that an ancient religious book written thousands of years ago by mostly unknown men is the rulebook/blueprint for my life. Bruce, what if you are wrong? I’m confident that I am not. I’ve seen no evidence that suggests I should give the Bible one moment of my time. (The only time I ever look at the Bible is when writing for this site.) Instead, as a good humanist, I seek after meaning and purpose, pleasure and happiness.

Allebach will continue pursuing the separated Christian life until something happens that causes her to doubt and question her sincerely held beliefs. If this never happens, she will arrive at the end of life, hoping and praying that her separated life will be sufficient to gain her entrance into Heaven. If she is wrong about God, Jesus, the Bible, and the afterlife, she will never know. Death ends life for all of us, regardless of our beliefs. When I die, I will remember nothing. But, maybe, just maybe, before my brain shuts down and my heart stops pumping blood, I will have a brief moment when a smile comes to my face as I think about the summer of 2022. I hope I will have the opportunity in that moment to say to the love of my life, thank you.

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

    Being separated seems to make this woman paranoid, too. Always having to be on the watch for bad doctrine. Very exhausting.

    I’m glad you are going places. Husband and I have a project to finish and then we hope to do a little vacation. It was a little easier doing stuff when one of us had more energy. Now both of us are debilitated, although at least husband doesn’t suffer from the same amount of pain. Thank Loki! 😉

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    I have relatives who think this way. While I would find it exhausting (and I remember worrying about all my ‘sins’ as a kid and teen) they THRIVE on it. The harder they work to be righteous, the more exalted they feel. Sanctimony oozes from every pore.The haughty, prideful way they believe they’re doing HIS WILL makes them feel good. All the things they’re giving up and not being allowed to look at/touch/do/think about pale in comparison to their anticipation of all the goodies they’re gonna get in heaven for being good little girls and boys. I still would not take away the comfort that my mom derives from her faith, but I sure wish I’d never been indoctrinated and wasted so much time with that shit while I was growing up. UGHHHHHH

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    Ha ha, her phrase that heaven is ‘no more whispering flesh,’ resonates. Cos I spent decades living as she did, worrying over every darn silly small thing that might displease my implaccable lawd. Like you too felt, I think, Bruce. Two verses bothered me. One was that however much I jesused my socks off 24/7, 365 days a year, ‘my righteousness was as filthy rags.’ And that however high I got on the ladder of purity and closeness to gawd, there was the verse ‘Cleanse me from my hidden sins.’ There was always more sin, more filth in my life (or in x-tian jargon ‘in my heart,’) that I needed constant cleansing from….so grateful I’m free of that utterly exhausting way to live, trying to please a fictitious monster deity.

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    I hope your summer of 2022 is wonderful! So glad you and Polly are making good memories!!! Life is so much better since leaving bible religion! SO MANY wasted years, but still- I am doing my best for the last 15 years since we left the bible cult- to really LIVE LIFE & leave behind all of the crazy making “rules/sins/beliefs” that I was told I had to do or not do to please “god”. I live to do my best to LOVE my family, my TRUE friends…and I don’t miss the fakeness of the church “friends”. Tho I know some are sincere, it’s still very sad they are bound up in fear & ridiculous and crazy dogma! They live in a prison of their own making. I choose freedom- free to be ME. I wish others could get free from the crazy of bible religion…but we know that is usually very difficult, but it CAN be done! I am grateful for you Bruce & all you do! So glad we have gotten FREE.

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    Bruce, I hope you have a ton of fun this summer pursuing your bucket lost! Collective Soul puts on a good show!

    Seeing the pictures captured by the James Webb Telescope really helps to put things into perspective. We are seeing light from galaxies that existed BILLIONS of years ago and likely no longer exist. The universe is HUGE, and evidence shows it is expanding. We are tiny miniscule insignificant blips in the universe, a bunch of cognizant primates fighting over shit here on a planet we are destroying, a planet that’s likely to be destroyed by an asteroid at some point. So let’s try to experience as much good and help our fellow cognizant primates in the process. At some point I will cease to exist, just like my parents, grandparents, and generations before me. But damn, there’s still a lot I want to see. I can’t imagine wasting my existence on upholding some notions of purity like this person is trying to do. I think of the Jewish purity laws and how exhausting it is for observant Orthodox Jews to live that way. Damn. What a waste.

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    I’ve been re-reading Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” and want to see a production of it. I’ve also been reading about the John Birch Society and its founder Robert Welch.

    They are quite relevant to this time and the subject of this post. Puritans like the ones in Miller’s play found “witches” where they weren’t. Likewise for Welch/JBS and Communists. In both cases, innocent people’s lives were ruined or destroyed by false accusations about their lifestyles or political affiliations.

    I see the parallels in what folks like Ron de Santis are doing. They are “finding” Critical Race Theory and other “inaccurate” representations of American history in culture in school curricula and “grooming” in classrooms or any other place where adults work with young people. Of course, neither he nor his allies have provided any evidence of such things–because they don’t exist. But, like Joseph McCarthy and Donald Trump before him, de Santis and friends have figured out that all they have to do is repeat something often enough for people to believe it.

    So it is with all of the satanic messages and influences folks like Leslie Allebach find in, well, everything. If Puritans could find witches among women who didn’t make men happy, JBS members could find Communists “under people’s beds” and grandstanding politicians can turn up nefarious ideas and practices in every educational venue, it’s not a stretch for someone like Allebach to believe that nothing is “pure” enough for any true Christian.

    I am not a psychologist, but I suspect that their mental state pretty closely aligns with the APA definition of “paranoia.”

    Fun fact: Robert Welch got rich selling Sugar Daddies, Sugar Babies, Junior Mints and Pom Poms to the world’s kids. That’s how he was able to fund the founding of the JBS.

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    Poor little christian, so pure in that shining white city on a hill. She of course cant figure out that the hill is actually a pile of shit and garbage and cant smell it because it surrounds her nonstop. As for all the worldly stuff that keeps coming in, its from the garbage trucks from the nearby city dumping their loads continuing to elevate her own opinion.

    In all seriousness though, she reminds me of Jennifer LeClaire who always saw demons everywhere.

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    Brian Vanderlip

    Been reading some psych stuff on narcissism and cannot help myself seeing how the evangelical tunnel vision for ‘sinlessness’ is so much like the narcissist gaslighter, only in this instance it is the self gaslighting that same self… One is led to believe that you cannot trust your own guts and mind and must abdicate it in order for ‘someone else’ to take over. This is sick stuff! The black book should be sold with warnings on the cover: Evangelical belief will make you sick!

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    Yes, that takes a lot of effort to live as Leslie does. Not only must she watch what she does and says, but the Bible says she needs to watch every thought and emotion. Her faith tells her that God is not only watching on the outside, but is inside her, diligently watching every thought and emotion to make sure they fall in line. That makes for a miserable existence.

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    in montana

    I just discovered your blog and am not only thrilled with your intelligent, thoughtful atheist/humanist views, but also to read that someone older than me (I’m 58) is so devoted to attending concerts of modern rock music. I feel somewhat alone for my lack of religious belief and my passion for indie rock, which I try to see live as often as possible. Thank you for being a fellow traveler and an inspiration. I can’t imagine being part of a culture and mindset that would take away the joy “secular” music brings to my life.

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    Karen the rock whisperer

    Susan-Anne White wannabe, if there ever was one! Bruce, I would bet you an excellent burger and fries (you pick your restaurant, I’ll pick mine) that within a decade this woman will decide that no church is pure enough for her. Alas, you probably won’t be around, and I might not, either.

    The thing is, once you start down this rabbit hole, it’s hard to do anything but go deeper. She will constantly be discovering stuff she was sure was “pure” that she now realizes isn’t. Over and over and over again. It’s a trap that she’s set for herself, and fiercely difficult to escape from. When she starts believing that breathing isn’t a pure activity, it might make her think. Or not, and she’ll depress herself with the idea that she’ll never truly be saved.

    Terrible waste of a life.

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    You are making assumptions about me that simply aren’t true. You write about a stranger as if you know her personally. But you don’t. In fact, you have never met me. But because you think you were once like me, you feel free to judge me. But, just for the record, you were not like me. Your relationship with God was obviously about legalism. Mine is about love. And that makes all the difference in the world. I recognize the antagonism and the ridicule from you and your readers and I accept it gladly.

    You said what if “she is wrong” and misses out on all that life has to offer? But, you see, I have so much joy, peace, and happiness here in this life without all of the things you mention. And I’d submit to you—what if you are wrong? Have you actually done the research to assert the claims you make about God’s Word? If not, I’d suggest you do so. Because eternity is a long time to pay for a wrong decision.

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      “ Because eternity is a long time to pay for a wrong decision.”

      Leslie, the fact that you can even utter these words and expect to be taken seriously sums up the paucity of your thinking. The idea of being rewarded in eternity (a fundamentally nonsensical concept) for an infinitesimally (by comparison) short period of lifetime, is philosophically ridiculous, way beyond absurd.

      More generally, if you don’t like pushback, being judged, then it’s best not to blog. Bruce is perfectly entitled to challenge your published views and I to interpret them as he sees fit. I don’t disagree with his views.

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        Well, that creates a question I have never considered. Can a person who makes it to heaven then do something to get kicked out? We know how power hungry Christian’s are in this world, and that was apparently they downfall of certain angels.


    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Do we really have to go over this again, Leslie, as we did a few years ago? You consider yourself a “discernment” blogger. Your blog is a public site. All I am doing is giving you a dose of your own medicine.

      Sorry, I was just like you. Like you, my life was governed by love. Love for God. Love for my fellow man. Love for the church. I’d be more than happy to discuss this with you.

      And you asking, if I have done my homework? 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

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      Leslie, if we’re wrong and the god you really worship really is so batshit insane that it would deliberately create a place of eternal torment, you’re no safer than we are. If the angels could fall, so can you. “Eternity is a long time” to think only heaven-approved thoughts and pretend that you’re having fun.

      Oh, and it’s impossible to “research” the veracity of something that exists primarily as an anthology of rather iffy mythological works. All we can determine about “God’s Word” is that it was written by mortal men in several different time periods in a rather small area of the globe, and subsequently spread (to the detriment of many indigenous peoples) by physical and psychological violence. Odds are is that it’s just vicious-minded pig crap wearing a grinning “I love you” mask over its bared fangs.

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