Yesterday, I posted the following on Facebook:
I love wearing my rainbow suspenders. Sure, I’m an LGBTQ ally, but I just like wearing them. And they keep me from exposing my ass to the world. That said, wearing them during Pride Month brings out the glares. I take great joy, pleasure, and smug satisfaction in irritating the Heaven out of bigots, homophobes, transphobes, and religious Fundamentalists. No one has yet confronted me, but the glares are telling. And if someone stupidly, ignorantly, and foolishly confronts me? “I pity the fool, “ to quote Mr. T. I am an old, cranky curmudgeon. And I know words. Lots of words. You’ve been warned.
David Young, an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) evangelist — married to my wife’s cousin — responded to my post with this:
You may be old, but you don’t have to be a cranky curmudgeon.
My friend Dale D. responded:
Yes, he does! Otherwise, he’s not Bruce!
Dale understands me. We’ve been friends for years. I appreciated his willingness to defend my curmudgeonly ways.
I posted two comments. Let me give you the second one first so you understand my use the word curmudgeon:
My definition of curmudgeon: cranky and opinionated — you know, in a good way. I’ve been blogging since 2007. I’ve been a prolific writer most of my life — both as a Christian pastor and as an atheist preacher. One thing people learn about me, shit on my doorstep or attack my family and I will likely respond. Turn the other cheek is overrated, often how loving, kind people are abused by assholes. I’ve always stood up for such people, and I’m more than willing to stand my own ground. Need someone to charge hell with an empty squirt gun? I’m your guy. According to those who know me, I’m a nice guy. I’ll leave it to them to say whether my curmudgeonly personality gets in the way of our friendships. I only have three friends, but who is counting?
And here’s my response to David Young:
Spend every day getting hateful, nasty emails, comments, and social media messages from Evangelicals, and you might be a cranky curmudgeon too. Walk in my shoes, David, and then we’ll talk. When Jesus-loving people have threatened to murder you, assault your wife/daughter, or tell you they hope you die a painful death, then we’ll talk. When people tell you that the incurable diseases that are killing you are deserved judgment from God, then we’ll talk. When you are the subject of sermons, blog posts, forum articles, and social media posts (often containing lies and distortions), then we’ll talk. You see, you have no idea where I’ve been, where I am, or what I’ve experienced. We haven’t seen each other, in what, a decade? The last time we’ve had a meaningful conversation? 2005? No offense, David, but you don’t know me (or my family). As a Christian, I had to endure abuse from church members and colleagues in the ministry. What would Jesus do, right? As an atheist, I no longer have to silently endure bad treatment by others. I am free to be who I am. And at this juncture in life, this means I’m a cranky curmudgeon. But, I can be a nice guy too. To quote the Bible, do unto others as you would want them to do unto you. I’m sure this is far more than you bargained for.
Lesson? Don’t tell an old cranky curmudgeon that he doesn’t have to be a cranky curmudgeon — as if there is something inherently wrong with him. My tombstone will one day say:
Sure, I will be in Hell with my fellow curmudgeons, but to quote Frank Sinatra, I will say, “I did it my way.” 🙂
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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