My wife, Polly, and I have six children — four boys, and two girls. As children of an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) preacher and his wife, they lived sheltered lives, safe from Satan and the world. Our two oldest sons attended public school for two years. Outside of that, our children either attended a private Christian school or were homeschooled. Our two oldest children attended Licking County Christian Academy for one year and our three oldest children attended Somerset Baptist Academy, a school I started, for five years. Our youngest three were homeschooled from kindergarten through grade twelve.
We didn’t have a TV for years. I detail my battle with the TV here: The Preacher and His TV. And even after we got a television, I carefully controlled what our children could watch. Our youngest children fondly remember watching programs such as Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, Lois & Clark: The Adventures of Superman Continue, Five Mile Creek, Quantum Leap, and Sliders. We also let them watch G-rated/PG-rated movies. The goal was always the same: to protect them from the “world.”
In the late 1990s, our (my) view of the “world” began to change. We were still quite Fundamentalist, but we loosened the reigns, so to speak, when it came to “entertainment. Our older sons were allowed to listen to contemporary Christian music. I remember when I brought home a PETRA CD. Polly thought God was going to strike us dead and burn our house to the ground. Alas, God didn’t give a shit about what kind of music we listened to.
In the summer of 1997, I told Polly I wanted to take the children to the drive-in theater. Polly and I hadn’t been to an evil Hollywood movie since our teen years, and our children had never been to a theater of any kind. Polly, ever worried about God getting us, thought it was a bad idea to go to the drive-in. I assured her that God would be okay with us going to the movies. After all, we were going to see Air Bud and George of the Jungle. 🙂 Sure enough, we learned that God didn’t give a shit about what kind of movies we watched either. Our family and a wonderful time at the Wauseon Drive-in Theater. Our children were 18, 16, 13, 8, 6, and 4 the day the “world” won and Satan took over our family. 🙂
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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