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I See That Hand

raised hands

Originally written in 2018

I’m lying in bed on my right side, with my left arm and hand extended straight up, hoping to relieve some of the pain in my arm. (I would later learn that herniated discs in my upper spine were causing the arm pain.)

Polly walks in and says, “I see that hand!”

(Polly’s mom is having surgery on Thursday and she’s driving to Newark to care for her mom for a day or two.)

I reply, sarcastically, “you should go to your mom’s on Wednesday so you can go to church with her.”

(Polly’s mom attends an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church where the pastor asks non-Christians to raise their hand if they would like prayer. To each raised hand he replies, “I see that hand.”)

With all the might of a scorned Baptist preacher’s daughter, Polly says, “HELL NO!”

I reply, “actually you should be saying HELL YES! If you don’t want to be saved you are saying YES to HELL!”

Polly laughs and says, “uh, huh, once saved, always saved!”

I reply, “that’s right….”

And we both have a hearty laugh, safe in knowing that no matter how much we mock God or deny his existence, we still get to go to Heaven when we die. Sweet, right?


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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  1. Avatar

    It is funny to think that evangelicals believe that we ex-evangelicals could end up in evangelical heaven whether we like it or not. Would that then mean we went to hell?

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    At least you have a sense of humor about things. BTW, I read through the ABOUT page and I agree: Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame.

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    🤣🤣🤣 love it !

    Oh dear …. my reaction above came back to me saying it’s too short ! 🙈
    I can assure you my chuckle was long and hearty. DL

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    When I was a kid, I would surreptitiously look around when the pastor was seeing hands. There weren’t nearly the number of hands as he claimed.

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    MJ Lisbeth

    Seeing hands that aren’t raised? Evangelical pastors gaslighting people? Who woulda thunk it?

    Obstacle–I have often thought that for religious fundamentalists, “heaven” means knowing that folks like us are in hell, or headed for it. Could that mean that if we end up in their heaven, it’s hell for them?

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Do you have any evidence for your claim outside of your personal feelings and peculiar interpretation of an ancient religious text?

      You, Robert, are the one in for a rude awakening. So am I. It’s called death. And then it’s over.

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      So you think you’re safe from this “rude awakening,” Robert? Nope. A god that thinks eternal torture is “just” is obviously barking mad, and not even the most devout follower would be safe in its presence.

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Bruce Gerencser