I took a month off from writing, and now it is time for me to resume my regular writing schedule. Thank you for hanging around until I returned. My mind is filled with blog posts ready to come to life. Now, if I wasn’t so damned tired from my month-long vacation.
All 26 men swept up in a five-day Tri-City operation to combat online child predators have now been charged, with five more appearing Wednesday in court.
William J. Barrett and Andrew L. Sanders both face Sept. 5 trials in Benton County Superior Court, while John M. Scheline, Darren J. Kerbyson and Gabriel Saenz have Oct. 2 dates.
Four of them are charged with attempted second-degree rape of a child and have been released from jail after posting $10,000 bond each.
Barrett is locked up on $25,000 bail because he has additional charges, including bringing methamphetamine and a glass smoking device to the meet-up.
They were arrested as part of a multi-agency effort, dubbed “Tri-Cities Net Nanny Operation,” between July 5 and 9.
Undercover detectives answered postings on various websites and placed their own ads claiming to be kids as young as 11 or parents who were offering their children for sex. Some of the suspects showed up to the predetermined location with condoms and sex toys.
The first three men arrested when authorities were still setting up the operation had Tuesday court hearings. The remaining 18 men are scheduled to appear Thursday.
Scheline, 40, was fired from his job as executive director of Ignite Youth Mentoring after the allegations surfaced. The Pasco father previously served as a pastor at Faith Assembly in Pasco and lead pastor of Bozeman Christian Center in Montana.
Investigators found an advertisement Scheline placed June 13 on Craigslist suggesting that a married dad was looking for a young boy, court documents said.
When a detective responded July 5 as a father offering up his 13-year-old son for sex acts, Scheline allegedly discussed in explicit detail what he would do with the boy.
Scheline eventually was given the address of an apartment. When “the (undercover) son” answered the door, Scheline turned and left and was taken into custody as he tried to get out of the complex, documents said.
I have decided to take a month-long break from blogging. I plan to start writing again on August 1st; that is if Donald Trump hasn’t caused a nuclear war by then. If he has, it has been good knowing you. It’s been two and a half years since I have taken a break, so I am due. Physically and psychologically I am worn out. Throw in a recent car accident — Bambi’s Dad ran into the left front of our 2015 Ford Escape — a fall that broke my relatively new iPad Pro — which Apple will replace for a mere $600 — a mounting financial problem due to medical debt, and one of my sons inexplicably and stupidly walking out on his wife and four children, well, I am ready to go over the rainbow with Dorothy and Toto. Since my wife prefers that I remain among the living, I thought it best to take a break, not only from blogging, but also social media.
Polly and I have a short trip planned for July 14-17 — our thirty-ninth wedding anniversary. We plan to stay at the historic Boone Tavern Hotel in Berea, Kentucky. While there, we plan to travel nearby back roads looking for trouble and suitable photography subjects. On the 16th, we plan to visit the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Harrodsburg, and on the 17th we have tickets for the Cincinnati Reds vs.Washington Nationals baseball game. Our youngest son and his girlfriend will be house-sitting for us, along with babysitting Bethany, our dog, and our cat.
I also plan to do some seriously needed work to my photography site, Defiance County Photo. I have been trying to get a photography business up and running, but so far the gods are working against me. I need to invest some time in doing some promotional work, along with expanding my portfolio. I also plan to morph into Santa Claus come November and December, hoping that between this and my photography business to make some much-needed cash. I just received the pattern for my Santa suit. Polly and my youngest daughter, both of whom are excellent seamstresses, have agreed to make the suit for me. I have the beard and the build, now all I need is the suit. I have some thoughts about merging the Santa gig and my photography business during the Christmas season, offering area residents personal access to the man from up North — and no I don’t mean Michigan.
I hope to come back from my sabbatical reinvigorated, ready to take on the Evangelical horde and the Trump administration. I do plan to re-post several posts every few days from 2015 and 2016 while I am gone. Hopefully, these posts will keep readers engaged until I return August 1st.
Mary Ellen Mayo, a friend and loyal reader of this blog died June 19, 2017 of congestive heart failure. Mary Ellen was 56. Mary Ellen infrequently commented, often choosing to comment when she felt I needed encouragement or moral support. Some long time readers may remember her using the Amazonfeet moniker. Mary Ellen, a resident of Florida, battled a number of health problems. (She had Marfan Syndrome.) I was Facebook friends with Mary Ellen. We shared not only our experiences with chronic illness, but also a commitment to progressive political values and a love of cats. A few days before Mary Ellen died, her last post to Facebook was the cat meme posted above.
Mary Ellen will be missed. I am blessed to have been her friend. Mary Ellen was a member of First Unitarian Church in Orlando, Florida. Her church family will hold a memorial service for her on Monday, July 3rd.
I am always interested in having people write guest posts for this site. If you are interested in writing a guest post, please use the contact form to email me. You can choose any subject. If you are a Christian, you can even write a post telling me how wrong I am about God, Christianity, and the Bible. Anonymous posts are okay. Several readers have emailed me in the past about writing guest posts. I am w-a-i-t-i-n-g. Seriously, if you have something you would like to say, I am more than happy to post it here. The ball is in your court.
Since around May 2, 2017, the Contact Form email function has not been working correctly. I am working with Flywheel, my service provider, to track down why it is not working. The emails show up in the WordPress admin panel, but they are not being forwarded to me so I can easily respond to them. If you have been wondering why I have not responded to your email, this is why. I hope to have this problem resolved by Monday evening. Thank you for your patience.
Several months back, I shuttered the Facebook page for this site. After talking with readers who used Facebook as their primary way to read my writing, I have concluded that deleting the page was a mistake. The goal of every writer is to have as many people as possible read their writing. With that in mind, I have made a new page for The life and Times of Bruce Gerencser. On this page you will find every post that is published to this blog. You can find the page here. Please LIKE my page if you are inclined to do so.
I still have a personal Facebook account. If you would like to be friends with me on Facebook, please send me a friend request. I am quite selective about who I friend, so please do not take it as a personal slight if I don’t accept your request. I tend to accept friend requests from people who comment on this blog or people I have had some sort of private interaction with in the past. I do NOT accept friend requests from Evangelicals, nor do I accept requests from atheists who spend their waking hours waging war against Christianity. I treat Facebook as a place where I can hang out with family and friends. While I don’t have a problem with spirited discussions about politics and religion, I don’t want to spend my time on Facebook engaging in fruitless discussions that never end well.
Readers can continue to read this site via RSS or receive a daily email digest of my writing. You can sign up for the email digest using the form at the end of every post or the form on the sidebar. You can unsubscribe at any time.
I want to take a few moments to thank those who have financially supported me during the first four months of 2017. I appreciate each donation. Donations are used to pay for server, software, and general site costs. Any excess donations are used to take Polly out on the town.
PayPal donations (monthly and one-time) through April 31, 2017
Patreon Monthly Donations Though April 31, 2017
If you would like to make a donation via PayPal, please go here. If you would like to become a monthly supporter via Patreon, please go here. You can also support this site by buying books through our Amazon Bookstore.
Last December, I mentioned that Polly and I were facing increased financial pressure due to never-ending medical bills. Several of you made donations to help with our need. Thank you for doing so, Every donation, big or small, is appreciated. The financial pressure remains, and I suspect it will always be there until Polly collects on my life insurance. Nothing like a little gallows humor, right? I have no illusions about my future health-wise. Medical care is expensive, and if Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans get their way, it will only get more expensive.
In my preaching days, I would ask people to pray. Prayer is no longer an option — not that it ever paid a bill — so all I can do is let people know that we have a need. If you are inclined to help, I appreciate it. If not, that’s okay too. Regardless, I will continue to do what I can to provide quality writing for those interested in what I have to say.
I appreciate your love and support. My life has been immeasurably blessed by the people (many who are now friends) I’ve met through this blog. I hope that you have found, in some small way, my writing to be helpful.
If I can ever be of help, please let me know. You can contact me via the contact page. If you would like to text me, please let me know and I will gladly give you my text number.
If you read this blog via RSS, you might receive a post that was not meant to be published. I write down my thoughts on draft posts, and later I turn them into finished products. I inadvertently hit publish instead save draft. I plan in the next day or two to write a post titled, What Evangelical Pastors Think They Know About Atheists. You who might have viewed the draft outline are now privy to what I intend to say. Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone.
Effective today, I have made some changes to my social media accounts. These changes reflect the fact that my social media accounts drive very little traffic to this site. My goal as a writer is for people to read my writing, and if they so inclined share it on their own social media accounts and/or leave comments. Me posting article links to my own social media pages is not the same as readers doing so. What I have found is that I get a minuscule amount of traffic from Twitter, and even less from Google+. My Facebook page drives a small amount traffic to this site, but the hassles of maintaining the page and dealing with God’s Avenging Servants® far outweigh the traffic benefit. I have also found that much of the Facebook traffic comes from the memes I post, and not my writing.
With these things in mind, I am closing the social media accounts associated with this site. I will still have a personal Facebook account. If you would like to be friends with me on Facebook, please send me a friend request. I am quite selective about who I friend, so please do not take it as a personal slight if I don’t accept your request. I tend to accept friend requests from people who comment on this blog or people I have had some sort of private interaction with in the past. I do NOT accept friend requests from Evangelicals, nor do I accept requests from atheists who spend their waking hours waging war against Christianity. I treat Facebook as a place where I can hang out with family and friends. While I don’t have a problem with spirited discussions about politics and religion, I don’t want to spend my time on Facebook engaging in fruitless discussions that never end well.
Readers can continue to read this site via via RSS or receive a daily email digest of my writing. You can sign up for the email digest using the form at the end of every post or the form on the sidebar. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Several weeks ago, I switched The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser from using HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) to HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure). This switch was necessitated by Google’s plan to warn internet users when they are accessing an insecure (non-HTTPS) site. Doing so makes readers think that this site is insecure and unsafe to access. This is, of course, patently untrue. That said, it is in the long-term best interest of this site to use HTTPS.
Making this switch has one unfortunate complication. People using ancient browsers — say IE6 or Safari 5 — that don’t support modern encryption protocols will no longer be able to read this site. There’s nothing I can do about this. I encourage readers using unsupported browsers to update their browsers or switch to one that supports the latest encryption and security protocols.
Thank you for stopping by to read my blog. You probably came to this blog via a web search, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Reddit, a link on another website, or a link in an email sent to you by someone asking if you had seen this blog. Whatever path you took to get to here, I want you know that I appreciate you taking time to read my blog.
Let me tell you a little about myself. Here’s the short story:
I am a fifty-nine year old man who lives in rural NW Ohio. I have been married for thirty-eight years, have six grown children, and eleven grandchildren. I was in the Christian church for fifty years, and for twenty-five of those years I pastored Evangelical churches in Ohio, Michigan, and Texas. In 2005 I left the ministry and in 2008 I left Christianity. I am now an atheist and a secular humanist.
I have been blogging since 2007. Most Evangelicals who visit this blog fall under one of four categories:
They have questions and doubts about Christianity and are seeking answers
They are a former friend, family member, or member of a church I pastored
They are curious about my life
They want to let me know they are praying for me or they want to evangelize me, correct me, preach to me, lambast me, quote Bible verses to me, tell me I am going to hell, or tell me how wrong I am.
If you have questions or doubts about Christianity and would like my help, I am more than happy to help you. Please send me an email via the Contact form and I will get back with you.
If you are a former friend, family member, or member of a church I pastored, I appreciate you reading my blog. I know it must painful for you to read about my deconversion, but I hope you will do your best to try to understand my journey. I try to be open, honest, and transparent — character traits you at one time admired. If you are perplexed by the fact that I am now an atheist, I think you will find these posts helpful:
If you came to my blog so you could let me know you are praying for me or you want to evangelize me, correct me, preach to me, lambast me, quote Bible verses to me, tell me I am going to hell, or tell me how wrong I am, I want you to know that I am not interested in what you have to say. After ten years of being psychologically brutalized by people like you, I have zero interest in what you have to say. Based on years of experience, I know you are likely not interested in dialog or in understanding my point of view. In your mind, you already know all you need to know. You have read one, two, or five posts and are now ready to pass judgment. You are ready to leave the mother of all comments, and I am sure you will be peacock proud when you are done.
Name: (Put in fake name because you are so fearless)
Email Address: (Put in fake email address because God knows who you are)
Reason for Contacting Bruce Gerencser (Check all that apply)
_____To tell him he is wrong
_____To preach to him
_____To quote Bible verses to him
_____To evangelize him
_____To tell him he doesn’t know anything about the Bible
_____To let him know God still loves him
_____To let him know I am praying for him
_____To tell him he never was a Christian
_____To tell him he is going to hell
_____To tell him he is still saved and can never be un-saved
_____To tell him he was/is a false prophet
_____To tell him he was/is a wolf in sheep’s clothing
_____To tell him he is angry
_____To tell him he is bitter
_____To tell him his writing shows he has been hurt
_____To tell him he is fat
_____To tell him I hope he burns in hell
_____To tell him that I am praying God will kill him
_____To tell him that he has a meaningless, empty life
_____To tell him he is going to die soon and then he will find out THE TRUTH!
_____To tell him that I know THE TRUTH about him!
Once you have completed the form, cut and paste it into your email or comment.
Please understand that the purpose of this blog is to help people who have doubts and questions about Christianity and to help and encourage people who have already left Christianity. Those who frequent this blog are like family to me, so I hope you will understand if I don’t let you fill up the comment section with your trollish, abusive, argumentative, and judgmental comments.
Please don’t try to claim that you have a First Amendment right to say whatever you want on my blog. You don’t, and you know it. But I will make you an offer: I will allow you to say whatever you want in the comment section IF I can come to your church on Sunday and preach my atheistic beliefs. Deal? That’s what I thought…
Generally, I give Evangelicals one opportunity to say whatever they want. I know my writing constipates them, so I want to allow them one enema to clear out their metaphorical bowel. Just one. Say what you think “God” wants you to say and move on. And 99% of the time, I will not post any other comments after the first one. For the 1% of Evangelicals who leave a decent, thoughtful comment, I am willing to continue approving their comments if they can abide by the comment rules:
All commenters are expected to use a functioning email address. The use of a fake or non-functioning email address will result in your comment being deleted.
Pseudonyms are permitted.
All first-time comments and comments with more than one HTML link are moderated.
Before commenting, please read the ABOUT page to acquaint yourself with my background. You might also want to read the Dear Evangelical page.
The following type of comments will not be approved:
Bible verse-quoting comment
I am praying for you comment
You are going to hell comment
You never were saved comment
You never were a Christian comment
Any comment that is a personal attack
Any comment that is not on point with what the post is about
Any comment that denigrates abuse victims
I write about issues that might not be child-friendly. Please be aware of this. I also use profanity from time to time, and I allow the use of profanity in the comment section.
The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser is not a democracy where visitors have a right to say whatever they want. This is my personal blog and I reserve the right to approve or disapprove any comment. When a comment or a commenter is abusive towards the community of people who read this blog, I reserve the right to ban the commenter.
If you can be respectful, decent, and thoughtful, your comment will always be approved. Unfortunately, there are many people — Evangelical/Fundamentalist Christians in particular — who have a hard time playing well with others. Using a passive-aggressive approach in the comment section will not be tolerated and will result in a permanent ban.
This blog is also not a place for hardcore atheists to preach the gospel of atheism. While I am an atheist, some of the people who read this blog are not. Frank, honest, open, and passionate discussion about religion, Christianity, and Evangelicalism is encouraged and welcome. However, I do expect atheists not to attack, badger, or denigrate people who still believe in God. If you are respectful, decent, and thoughtful, you will be fine.
Generally, I will post one comment from a preachy, Bible-quoting, evangelizing Evangelical. If this describes you, please make sure you say all you need to say in your comment. No further comments will be approved.
My writing is direct and pointed, and so is my response to comments. Please do not confuse my directness and pointedness with me attacking you or your religion. This is a grown-up blog, so cries that I offended you or “attacked” your religion will fall on deaf ears.
If you can play by these rules, I hope you will become a part of our community and join the discussion.
Here’s one thing I have learned over the years: most Evangelical zealots will ignore the comment rules. They think they have a right to say anything they want because they think they speak for God. But, invoking the name of God carries no weight here. If God really wants to speak to me, I am sure he doesn’t need you to carry the message. God knows where I am and he can speak to me any time he wants. So far, God has not said a word. Either he is busy, mad at me, or doesn’t exist. I am going with the last one.
If my unwillingness to allow you to foul the comment section offends you, I encourage you to start your own blog. You can have your own blog in as little as five minutes (Blogger, WordPress, and Tumblr) and then you can rage against me and deconstruct my life all you want. Be aware that several people have, in the past, decided to do this and they have found it hard to faithfully and regularly deconstruct my life (see Tony Breeden).
Most of all, I hope you will consider what your words and actions say about you as a person and the God you say you serve. What in your behavior would draw me to Jesus and compel me to come back to the Christian religion? Hundreds and hundreds of Evangelical zealots have come before you. And In every case, if given enough space to expose who and what they are, they have proved to be poignant reminders of why I am glad I am no longer a Christian.