What follows is my response to a comment left by Dr. David Tee, whose real name is Derrick Thomas Thiessen, on the post titled Life with My Fundamentalist Baptist Grandparents, John and Ann Tieken. If you have not read this post, I encourage you to do so. That will give you the context necessary to understand Thiessen’s comment. My response is indented and italicized.
What a waste.
Right off the bat, Thiessen gets personal. He’s not talking about the post. He’s talking about me personally. I am a waste (useless). Thiessen has spent the past two years repeatedly making this claim with a variety of word choices. Regardless of the words he uses, Thiessen wants me to know that he views me as a useless, worthless human being. His goal in doing so is to cause psychological harm. Not to reach me, evangelize me, help me, but to ruin and destroy me. That he has been unable to so only fuels his continued assaults.
You do nothing but spread hatred towards people no one but you and your family have met. This is a travesty for several reasons.
The title of this blog is The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser: One Man’s Journey From Eternity to Here. This blog has always been autobiographical in nature; a place where I give a first-person account of my life. I am a writer and a storyteller, it’s what I do. People are free to love or hate my work. Thiessen, by his own volition, continues to read this site, even after promising never to do so again.
I have every right to tell my story, as I see it. Where my story intersects with other people, I am going to mention them by name, especially when they played an instrumental part in my life. I own every word I write. My grandparents, John and Ann Tieken materially affected my life, my mother’s life, my siblings’ lives, and Polly’s life. Fortunately, my children do not know or remember their great-grandparents. John and Ann caused horrific harm, and the only way I know to hold them accountable is to write about them. Scores of Evangelicals who attended church with John and Ann think they were wonderful people. And they were — to them. However, both of them had a dark, evil side, one that I know firsthand. All I know to do is tell my story. I will leave it to others to decide whether my words ring true. I know my words are truthful, but I can’t force people to see their truthiness. I suspect there are people who went to church with John and Ann who simply will not believe that I am telling the truth. There’s nothing I can do about that.
#1. it is only one side of the story
Yes, mine. This is an autobiographical blog. I write in the first person.
#2. the people you talk about can’t defend themselves
Correct, most of them are dead. Is Thiessen saying we can’t write about anyone who is dead? Would that include Jesus?
#3. the people you talk about do not know you are talking about them
Of course not, they are dead. My aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins know I am “talking” about them, and as of today, not one of them has objected to this post. I have heard that my Evangelical uncle wants to talk to me about the importance of “forgiveness,” but I suspect that discussion will never happen. I haven’t spoken to him in almost 20 years. Among Christian family members, my atheism is a family scandal no one wants to talk about. We can add atheism to rape, child molestation, violence, and psychological manipulation to the list of things we don’t talk about. How ”bout them Cowboys?
#4. it is full of look at me, I am a victim attitude.
Unlike Thiessen who uses plurals when speaking of himself, I write in the first person singular — you know, the way we were taught to write in school.
As far as me having a “victim attitude,” I am a victim. It took over a decade of counseling for me to finally admit that I was a victim; that I have had a lot of trauma in my life. I always thought that victim and trauma were words to describe others, not me. Finally admitting that these words apply to me has made a big difference in my life; allowing me to deal with some awful things that have happened in my life (some of which I have not shared with readers, or my wife for that matter).
It is just narcissism at its best. ‘Oh I am a victim, woe is me’ and all you are trying to do is glean sympathy from people. No one cares about ‘your story’ as it is textbook neurosis and only you are perfect in it.
Thiessen’s hostility is at a fever pitch now. His goal is to belittle and wound. He has failed on both counts.
Is writing about my life cathartic? Absolutely. Do I write to gain sympathy from others? No. Do I appreciate it when people express love and kindness toward me? Yes. I also find it gratifying that some people find my writing helpful, including people who have suffered trauma in their lives. When I write about chronic illness and chronic pain, people who are suffering find my words constructive. The same can be said for ex-Evangelicals and ex-Independent Fundamentalist Baptists. They value my insight, my insider knowledge, and my willingness to honestly talk about my life as a pastor. How are any of these wrong?
You are not helping anyone because you keep them in the same attitude you have hatred towards others and you never solve any problems. You just help people sin more.
Let me see if I can sum up what Thiessen is saying:
I am not helping anyone.
I never solve any problems.
I encourage people to hate people who harmed them.
I just help people sin.
Thiessen, of course, provides no evidence for his claims. I suspect he will search in vain for someone who would say I encouraged them to hate people who harmed them or I helped them “sin.”
As far as “solving problems,” It is not my job to solve anyone’s problems but my own. I am more than happy to help in any way I can, but each of us must solve our own problems or seek out professionals who can help us.
Thiessen loves to assert that I don’t “help” anyone. I will leave it to others to say whether I helped them. I do know that thousands of people read this blog, and I do know that people say I helped them, as evidenced by the countless emails and social media messages I have received over the years.
Thiessen operates a blog that virtually no one reads. Thiessen populates his site with my content and Ben Berwick’s content. He writes very little original content. Perhaps Thiessen would like to share how many people he has actually helped in the past year? How many emails has he received from readers asking for his help? Thiessen says God reads his blog, but the Big Kahuna has never left a comment or sent him an email. No, what’s going on here is envy and jealousy. Thiessen can’t for the life of him figure out why people love my writing, but don’t love his. He can’t figure out why people comment on my posts, but not his. Why does Bruce, the Atheist get all the attention and Derrick, the Fundamentalist gets none? Let me tell Thiessen why that is. Derrick, read your comments. Read your previous posts about me. Read the vicious, nasty emails you sent me. In your own words, you will see the reasons why people don’t like you. God doesn’t even like you, and he likes all sorts of assholes. Want to change that? Stop being a judgmental prick; an asshole; a hateful, mean-spirited person. In other words, Derrick, repent!
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.
Connect with me on social media:
You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.
Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.