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Another Failed Facebook Interaction with a Liberal Christian

I don’t know why I keep trying. What follows is a discussion I had on a friend’s Facebook page today with a local liberal Christian — a mainline Lutheran. The focus of the discussion is a meme I posted to my page, which my friend shared on his page.

sovereignty of God

Christian: What an awful perspective. God is love and that is what Jesus preached. There are some things in the Old Testament that are questionable. Life and everything is how you choose to take it and live it. I choose love and happiness not the negative aspects. Those who do not believe don’t believe in God or Jesus so non of this(what the Bible says) matters to them. One does not have to believe to be a good person.

Christian: That is Old Testament. He gave us Jesus so our sins will be forgiven. We experience pain and suffering as a result of this world. I teared up the other night at my brother’s concert because of the wonderful message. ✌🏼❤️

Christian: He also gives us free will-big mistake on some people’s part!! I myself, have not made some good decisions and have suffered physically but I have turned to God to help me through these. He never promised that we will not suffer. I also don’t understand why some people suffer much more than I have and why He hasn’t stopped it. I am with you there!! Also some people take being a ‘Christian’ to a level that God never intended. It doesn’t make them any better than someone else!

Bruce: Well, it matters to the degree that their religion materially affects me. Evangelicals, in particular, don’t seem to want to live and let live. They are Heaven bent on shoving their religion down my throat and evangelizing my grandchildren (Lifewise Academy) who attend public schools. The primary Christian sect behind the 1/6 Insurrection? Evangelicalism.

Bruce: I didn’t read the comments you objected to, but you did make theological claims about the nature of God, the sovereignty of God, and Freewill. While I understand you are just stating your opinions, you did posit that your peculiar brand/flavor of religion is superior to others. Surely it is fair for someone to question/challenge your hermeneutics — in a friendly way, of course. Now if your intent was just to give a testimonial . . . that’s different.

For record, I was part of the Evangelical church for fifty years; a Bible college trained pastor for twenty-five years. I am now an atheist (and a liberal, politically.)

Christian: I did not post that my peculiar? brand/flavor of religion is superior to others. That is a lie. You are far from your biblical roots. Also politics and religion should not mix-that statement is irrelevant. You had better review your hermeneutics and learn how to be a better truthful,respectful person. You have fallen off the boat and are unfortunately have drowned in your hatefulness instead of the love of God. Yes, I am shaking-I don’t deal well with people like you.

Christian: I agree with your statement about evangelicals. I was in no way shoving my religion down someone’s throat. I was just stating what I have learned as a lifetime Lutheran. I can understand why you left that particular ‘kind’ of church.

Bruce: Wow.

You said:

“What an awful perspective. God is love and that is what Jesus preached. There are some things in the Old Testament that are questionable. Life and everything is how you choose to take it and live it. I choose love and happiness not the negative aspects. Those who do not believe don’t believe in God or Jesus so non of this(what the Bible says) matters to them. One does not have to believe to be a good person.”

This is a theological statement. You objected to the meme by positing that your religion of “love” (which you showed none of in your response to me) is better/superior/Christ-like.

You don’t know me, yet you think it’s okay to personally attack me. Let me share with you what the Bible says about such behavior:

“Answering before listening is both stupid and rude.” Proverbs 18:13

Bruce: You don’t know anything about me, yet you have jumped to all sorts of conclusions.

The reasons for my deconversion are many. I would be more than happy to share them with you.

You seem to confuse directness with hatefulness. I am the former, not the latter. Ask around. I doubt you will find anyone who says I’m “hateful.” Life is too short to hate.

Bruce: Virtually every Abrahamic religion believes in the sovereignty of God — God is in control. If humans can thwart the will and actions of God, he is not in control.

The Bible has much to say about God’s absolute rule and authority, right down to who he does and doesn’t “save.” Man doesn’t have free will in a soteriological sense. We “choose,” but only because God chose (election, predestination) us first. Even science today questions whether humans have “free will” — in the colloquial sense of the word. Most people think they have naked free will/libertarian free will. It “seems” right. I suspect, however, it’s not.

Christian: Yes love is better than hate. Then why do you say hateful things to me? Love IS Christlike. Truth is better than you telling lies about me by saying things I didn’t say. (Or misinterpret what I said)Calling someone stupid and rude is worthy of turning you into the Facebook police. I am done with your hate and negativity. Deconversion (Do you think it makes you superior by using big words?)

Bruce: sigh. I didn’t say anything hateful to you. I’m sorry that you can’t see that.

Bruce: deconversion: The loss of faith in a given religion and return to a previously held religion or non-religion (typically atheism, agnosticism, or rationalism).

Christian: I know what deconversion is.

Christian: I am also sorry that you did not take in ALL that I wrote either. I agree with you about leaving the ‘church’ that you left-Baptist- evangelical,I believe?(And also we share the same political views.) All I was doing is sharing what I think and follow. It always seems to turn nasty when people talk about their faith and it doesn’t have to be that way. Why can’t we just talk and be decent human beings? I do not quote the Bible or get philosophical. I know what I believe (and do question some things in the Bible). I use what brings me peace. I am highly educated but I think it is offensive when people pull out the big words or quote from the Bible. I would love to hear why you left organized religion but I wouldn’t want it to turn into a debate. I have had my beliefs for 74 years and will go to my grave with them. I am at peace in my life and wouldn’t like it any other way. I hope you too have found peace(I said that to another atheist friend of mine and she didn’t like it).

Bruce: When you share your beliefs/opinions/ruminations on social media, you should expect people to respond. ‘Tis the nature of the medium.

Christian: Yes, I read everything and why should I care what you were before. I was just saying I agree and can see why you left the evangelical church. You are the one who seems to jump to conclusions!! I try to say something nice and you turn it around-there lies the problem with our colliding personalities!!! Randy is a terrific person but I no longer will comment on his religious/ non religious posts.

Bruce: This has nothing to do with colliding personalities. I do agree that Randy is a terrific person — 98.9% of the time.

You have made several wrong assumptions about the trajectory of my life. My beliefs — theological, political, social — evolved over the twenty-five years I spent in the ministry. Just because I once was an Evangelical doesn’t mean I always was one.

Bruce: Words have meanings. Deconversion and its cousin deconstruction are not “big” words. They (generally) accurately describe the process of loss of faith. You seem to think, without evidence, that I used the word “deconversion” so I could be “superior.” I used the word because it best describes the process of loss of faith.

Sigh, right? (Please see Why I Use the Word “Sigh”.) My goal was to meaningfully interact with this woman, hoping to share with her my perspective on the meme and Evangelical Christianity. I could have went after her incoherent theological beliefs, but I chose not to. For whatever reason, she made it personal. In her mind, I was being “hateful” towards her. My words were so offensive that they should be reported to Facebook! Worse, she attacked my character, suggesting that I was trying to be the smartest guy in the room by using big words. By the time our discussion concluded, I wondered who the Hell she was talking to. It sure wasn’t me. 🙂

As readers know, I am more than capable of eviscerating people with words. I can be snarky, but generally, I try to be respectful, knowing that lurkers are reading my posts/comments. While most of my interactions are with Evangelical Christians, I do, on occasion, cross swords with liberal/mainline Christians, I find discussions with them to be quite frustrating, much like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall. As the aforementioned Christian showed, she has spent 7 decades picking and choosing what she wants to believe. All Christians are cafeteria believers, but liberal believers have turned it into a fine art. In their minds, the Bible is a book of suggestions. The OT God is different from the NT God. They focus on the LOVE of God, ignoring his judgment, wrath, and holiness. In other words, they do what all Christians do: shape and mold a God in their own image.

And that’s fine. I much prefer liberal Christianity when it comes to good works and the mark it makes on the world. Evangelicalism is harmful, both psychologically and physically. It destroys lives, harming children and adults alike. I have been blogging for almost sixteen years. There’s never been a time when someone left a comment on this site that said “liberal Christianity ruined my life.” I am good friends with several liberal Christians. I love the fact that we can talk about anything. That’s not the case with Evangelicals. Why? Liberal Christians have few theological hills they are willing to die on. Evangelicals, on the other hand, see every molehill as Mount Everest.

During the deconversion process, I tried to embrace liberal Christianity. I desperately wanted to hang on to “God.” Unfortunately, I found liberal Christianity to be intellectually unsatisfying. I found myself saying, “why bother”? What I was left with was a social club of sorts, with wonderful, thoughtful people as members. This was not enough for me, especially during football season. 🙂 While I genuinely love and respect my mainline Christian friends, I cannot intellectually embrace their beliefs. I love their good works, but not their theology.

In early 2008, Polly and I and our three youngest children attended Grace Episcopal Church in Defiance. Grace is a dying congregation of mostly elderly people. The music was atrocious, and on Sundays when the priest wasn’t there, the lay sermons were droning monuments to incoherence. We loved the priest and found the congregation to be friendly toward our family (though no attempt was made to assimilate us into the congregation). On our first Sunday there, one of the matrons of the church said to us “Welcome. You can believe anything you want here.” In this particular church, the Bible and theology were irrelevant.

In the fall of 2008, we attended Ney United Methodist Church for a few months. We loved the pastor and his family. The music was more lively than the unsingable high church music at Grace, but no attempt was made to embrace us as a part of the membership. The pastor (who is an Evangelical), Ron Adkins and I got along famously. We had numerous conversations about Evangelicalism and theology. However, by this time it was too late. Fourteen years ago this coming Sunday, we walked out of the doors of the church never to return. A letter to the editor of the Defiance Crescent News I wrote two years after we left the church caused a problem for Ron. He decided to publicly respond to me, ending our relationship. (Please see Evangelical Pastor Ron Adkins and THE Agnostic.) Evidently, my letter caused a stir in the membership, so he felt obligated to respond to me. Ron no longer pastors the church. For a time Ron was associated with the Free Methodist denomination. Presently, he pastors the Urbana Church of Christ in Christian Union in Urbana, Ohio. (I pastored a Christian Union church in Alvordton, Ohio in 1995.)

Polly and I attended other liberal/mainline churches as we attempted to find a church home. What we typically found was awful music, barely tolerable preaching, and nice people who took no interest in trying to engage us at any meaningful level outside of shaking our hands. Of course, we found these same things in Evangelical churches too, although Evangelical music tends to be more inspiring and singable. While our politics, social beliefs, and pacifism better aligned with the liberal/mainline churches we visited, we found their lack of passion and interest off-putting. In the end, both of us came to the conclusion that we had no interest in trying to breathe life into corpses.

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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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You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

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My Recent Interaction on Social Media with a Fundamentalist Christian Named Soupy Sales

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What follows is a recent discussion I had on Facebook with a local Fundamentalist Christian named Soupy Sales (SS) on the subject of abortion. I also had conversations with four other local Evangelicals. I typically don’t engage in such discussions on social media, but I felt the urging of the Spirit, so I did so. I doubt that I changed hearts or minds, but, maybe, just maybe, I planted a few seeds of doubt. You can read all of the discussions here.

Enjoy! 🙂

SS: If you want to kill a baby (abortion sounds better)…it’s between you and God…So leave me out of your murder. I don’t want to have to pay for your abortion…praying God opens your eyes.

Bruce: no, it’s between a woman and her doctor.

Abortion is a medical procedure. Let’s say you needed a heart transplant and I’m opposed to heart transplants for religious reasons. Should I be able to keep you from getting a heart transplant? After all, I don’t want to have to pay for it (through insurance premiums or taxes).

Participating in the American social contract means we will, at times, pay for things we disagree with.

SS: American Social contracts doesn’t include supporting murder of an innocent life….

Bruce: then why are you complaining about having to pay for them? Which is it?

SS: .here in simple words for you to understand….because people like you are trying to get it pass to be free for every woman who wants to get one…understand…

Bruce: you mean like every other medical procedure? Yes, insurance should be required to cover all reproductive services just like they do other medical procedures. We need to stop making carve-outs for “offended” Christians.

No need to insult my intelligence. Do better.

SS: murdering an innocent life doesn’t offend you…so sad..

Bruce: I reject your claim that abortion is murder. That’s a religious claim; one, I might add, that has dubious Scriptural support. You are certainly free to let your religious beliefs inform your medical decisions. However, your religious beliefs should play no part in the medical care of others. We are a secular state. There’s a wall of separation between church and state. Thus, what you or any other Christian wants shouldn’t matter. That it does reveals how far afield we are from our founding principles.

If supporting reproductive rights makes me a “murderer” so be it. I don’t care one whit what you think of me. My wife, my adult daughters, my ten granddaughters, my sister, and the women who will be protesting the reversal of Roe v. Wade on Saturday? They are the people who matter to me. I learned long ago that no amount of arguing will change the minds of forced birthers. (For the record, I was anti-abortion for 45 years.)

SS: it not my claim…it’s God’s words….read Proverbs 6 verses 16 to 19. This country was founded in God we trust not do whatever you want. So you are saying you didn’t learn anything after 45 years. If you really care about your family than lead them to the truth not to hell. No one is forcing anyone to have a baby….there are protective products out there or sustain having sex until you are married. Shame on you. Go read the context and reason that Thomas Jefferson wrote in the constitution about church and state separation. Read his words not mine or anyone’s else for the truth…if you can handle it.

Bruce: Saying the Bible is a God’s word is a “claim,” for which you provide no evidence. The Bible was written by mostly unknown men. It is a human text through and through. To say it is a God’s word is a faith claim, one that I reject.

You do know I was in the Evangelical church for fifty years, right? A college-trained pastor for 25 years. I know what the Bible says inside and out. But, its words are irrelevant. We live in a secular state governed by laws. Forced birthers are using the power of the state to rob women of bodily autonomy, civil rights, and equal protection under the law. As is our right, those of us who value the rights of women will protest.

I’ve read Jefferson’s words. I’m quite familiar with the separation of church and state.

SS: first…The Bible is God’s holy word…you are not rejecting me…you are rejecting Jesus. A believer job is to spread the word….especially when someone is lost…No one is stopping a woman from having an abortion. It’s between her and God…She makes the choice. Abortion is killing an innocent baby. She should be shown both sides not just one. To be a preacher…you are called by God ….not a college trained person. Satan knows the Bible better than me or you. Just because you belong to a church doesn’t make you saved. You should know that. You must lay down your life and take up your cross. Jesus said that…You should know that. Matthew 6 verse 24. Obviously, you don’t study your Bible or the first amendment. In closing…Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Matthew 15 verses 13 and 14. Shame on you for leading people to hell.

Bruce: sigh. Do you really think quoting Bible verses will make a difference with me? Really?

I likely know more about the Bible than you do. I spent over 20,000 hours reading and studying the Bible. So pick the subject and let’s talk. Or you can keep verbally masturbating, thinking your proof texts mean anything except to you.

I understand where you are coming from. I once was just like you.

Feel free to email me via my blog. I’m more than happy to engage you in discussion.

SS: I’m quoting God’s words not mine. As Jesus said….No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mam-mon. Matthew 6:24. You should know that. Yes we were once the same…sinners..but now I’m saved and converted…Jesus is my Lord and Savior. If don’t believe in God’s word…what’s there to debate about…your non-believe…really…for person that confess to be pastor…your language. Do you really think you know more than our maker? I leave you with Psalms 14: 1….The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

Bruce: no, we were once the same: saved/born again Fundamentalist Christians. My storyline. You don’t get to control it.

Isn’t amazing that God always agrees with you; or that the Bible always supports your peculiar beliefs? A-m-a-z-i-n-g.

Do I know more than your deity? Of course I do, he/she/it is a myth.”God” doesn’t know anything. People do. That’s why I’m talking to you, not the ceiling.

OMG! You called me a fool! Why, I’ve never, ever had that happen before. Again, I reject the authority of the Bible, so I don’t care what it says. I’m more concerned with what my God, Polly Gerencser, 🤣 says than a fictional deity.

I’d be more than happy to discuss with you the Bible itself: its nature, history, inerrancy, infallibility, immoral teachings. Better yet, I will gladly pay for one of Dr. Bart Ehrman’s books on these things and have it shipped to you. Ehrman, a NT scholar at the University of North Carolina, is an expert on these issues.

I don’t like the pants you are wearing! Tough poop, you say? So it is with people who try to police language.

SS: So you going to take the words of a man than Jesus. I did not call you a fool…I quoted you a Bible verse. I leave you with Psalms 118 verse 8…It is better to trust in the Lord than put confidence in man. Praying God opens your eyes to the truth…if it be God’s will.

Bruce: you do know Jesus never wrote anything, right? Not one word. We have no idea what Jesus said. The gospels were written by unknown authors 30-80 years after the death of Jesus; that the oldest copies of the gospel manuscripts — copies of copies of copies — were written 300-400 years after Christ’s death. There’s no evidence for the claim Jesus spoke the words in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. I know you have heard differently, but what you have been told is not true (and most educated preachers know it’s not true).

You put your trust in “men” all the time. Even with religion, you put your trust in preachers, teachers, and books. The Bible is a compilation of books, all written by, mostly unknown, men. Most of the books of the Bible were not written by the men whose names are attached to them. Seminary and college-trained preachers know this, yet they hide the facts about the Bible from their congregants. They lie because they don’t want church members to lose “faith” in God/Bible. Truth matters, and pastors owe it to people to tell them the truth about the nature and history of the Bible.

My offer of a Bart Ehrman book stands. I’ll even give you a copy of one of his books that you can pick up from my home in Ney. I’ll put it on my front porch so you don’t even have to talk to me. Surely, truth matters to you. If your faith is as strong as you claim it is, surely a “book” won’t harm you. You deserve to know the truth about the allegedly inerrant, infallible Bible. Let me know.

SS: your belief and trust is in man and in the world….I believe and trust in Jesus the creator. Praying for your eyes to be opened.

Bruce: no, you trust in “men” too. When you go to the doctor, dentist, lawyer, or auto mechanic, you put your faith and trust in “men.” You do this countless times every day. If not, you’d sit in a corner of your home, waiting for God to do everything for you.

My eyes are wide open, friend. That’s why I’m an agnostic atheist and a humanist. You keep wanting me to return to the garlic and leeks of Egypt. No thanks. Why would I ever want to return to slavery and bondage? My life is better in every way post-Jesus.

But, by all means, keep praying. We will what kind of pull you have with the triune God.

My offer of a Bart Ehrman book still stands.

SS: for someone who supposedly believed has turned so easily. Peter 1 verse 21 …For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Question what made you change from supposedly loving Jesus to hating Jesus? For your 25 years of a being a so called pastor nothing but a big lie in your eyes. Shame on you for being a wolf in sheep clothing. You can keep your Satanic books written by world centered scholar. Always, praying God’s will be done not mine.

Bruce: I have written extensively about my story. Seek and ye shall find. I’ve provided numerous links on this post.

There is a difference between a claim and evidence. Quoting a Bible verse is a claim. Where’s the evidence for the truthfulness of your claim? Just because you said so?

I wasn’t a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Just ask any of the people I pastored. Sadly, you have refused to answer any of the challenges or questions I offered up. Instead, you resort to insults and proof texting. I am used to such treatment from Evangelicals. When someone can provide no evidence for his claims, instead of admitting this, he attacks his interlocutor.

You are so certain you are right, that you fear reading anything that might challenge your Fundamentalist assumptions. It’s just a book. Surely, your God is more powerful than a book.

SS: both the man and the woman will answer for their choice…Nobody has the right to kill an innocent baby .

Bruce: according to the Bible, babies aren’t “innocent.”

In Genesis 6-9, we have the story of Noah and the Flood. God killed everyone on earth save eight people. Did God kill any “innocent” babies?

SS: glad you found your Bible…now let’s see if can read some Bible…Question …How do you know if there were any children at that time? Everyone is born in sin..a baby is considered to be innocent until the holy ghost convicts their heart and let’s them know that they are a sinner….and they need salvation. Being supposedly a pastor, you know this. Have you ever in your 50 years of studying the bible…heard the age of accountability? You should…So sad….for your lack of knowledge.

Bruce: why do you seem to be incapable of interacting with people you disagree with without insulting them?

Actually, there are several different views of the age of accountability. Most Evangelicals don’t believe babies become sinners, they are sinners (from conception). “I was shaken in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

Regardless, the age of accountability is a red herring that has nothing to do with God killing innocent people. I used the word in a colloquial sense, as you did.

Based on Genesis 6-9, God killed innocent babies. Many scholars believe upwards of 6 million people were killed in the flood. Are you really suggesting that there were no fetuses, babies, young children, or developmentally disabled people killed in the flood?

SS: 1 Timothy 6: 20 and 21. ..O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.

For your information you are one who said that you were smarter than me and God. I just asked a question if you have 25 years of being a pastor and 50 years of studying …why is understanding and knowledge of the Bible lacking.

So sorry your feelings got in the way of our discussing the truth.

Listen…Jesus is my Lord and Savior…I pray to God everyday thanking him for saving a sinner like me.

Obviously, the only thing you want to do is argue a point that has been settled along time ago….bye…still God will open your eyes before its too late.

SS: Hey you need to hang around with Bruce because both of you: hate the Bible, believe in abortion and can’t handle the truth…..praying God will open your eyes before its too late…..bye…got better things to do…

Bruce: feelings? Nope, you are an amateur compared to other Evangelical assholes over the years. Most of you seem incapable of having a discussion without hurling insults or attacking someone’s character. Please go to the Bible and find out what it says about your behavior. Start with the fruit of the Spirit, the sermon on the Mount, and what Jesus said about how you should treat your enemies. You might also want to check out what Paul said about “corrupt communication.”

This is my last comment.

Be well.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

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.

Friend Me on Facebook

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Last year, tired of dealing with trolls and insufferable Evangelical zealots, I left Facebook. Unfortunately, this move cut me off from many of my friends and family members. So, I have decided to return to Facebook. If you are inclined to do so, please send me a friend request. I am interested in friendships with people who regularly read my writing and support the work I do. I am NOT interested in friendships with trolls and apologists. I treat Facebook like the corner pub on a Friday night; a noisy boisterous place to hang out with family, friends, and acquaintances.

You can find my social media profiles here:

I look forward to interacting with you on Facebook.

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bruce-gerencser-headshot

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.

Dear Frank, Is Bruce Backslidden or Was He Never Saved To Begin With?

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Rick, 1996, Our Father’s House, West Unity, Ohio

Several years ago, I received a Facebook notification about approving something Rick, a friend of mine, wanted to post to my wall. Rick is a long-time friend, former parishioner, and frequent reader of this blog. What’s interesting about his request is that he meant his message to be a private one sent to a friend of his by the name of Frank. The reason I got the notification is that he inadvertently tagged me. Here’s the message Rick sent to Frank — also a man I have known for many years.message to frank

Don’t be put off by Rick’s poor language skills. Several years ago, Rick had a major stroke. This affected his ability to write sentences. Best I can tell, the stroke has not affected his ability to study and read the Bible, nor has it affected his ability to read religious materials.

I met Rick in the late 1990s. At the time, I was pastoring Somerset Baptist Church in Mt. Perry, Ohio. Rick, a Calvinist, was looking for a Calvinistic church to attend and someone recommended that he check out Somerset Baptist. Rick joined the church, happy in knowing that he had found a man who was conversant in the doctrines of grace (the five points of Calvinism). For the next five years, I would drive two times a week — thirty miles round trip — to New Lexington to pick Rick up for church.

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Frank and Rick, 1993, Somerset Baptist Church, Sunday Dinner

One Sunday night, while on our way to the church, Rick was waxing eloquently about double predestination and whether children who die in infancy and developmentally disabled people are automatically a part of the elect — those whom God, from before the foundation of the world, has chosen to save. I told Rick, with a slight irritation in my voice, that Calvinistic Baptist great Charles Spurgeon believed such people were numbered among the elect. Rick, not the sharpest tool in the shed when it came to social cues, continued to defend God having the absolute right to eternally torture anyone, including infants and developmentally disabled people, in the Lake of Fire. I could feel anger welling. I thought to myself, has Rick forgotten that I have a developmentally disabled two-year-old daughter with Down syndrome? Doesn’t he care how hurtful his words are? I slammed on the brakes and told Rick to get out of the car. He could walk to church, I told him. I quickly cooled down, telling him, I didn’t want to hear another word from him about whether infants and developmentally disabled people are elect. Rick complied, moving on to other hot button Calvinistic issues.

Let me share another Rick memory, one that I think readers will find funny. Rick worked third shift at a residential home for the developmentally disabled — Mount Aloysius. Unsurprisingly, Rick was quite tired by the time he arrived for Sunday morning church. Try as he might to stay awake, Rick would often fall asleep. Rick snored, so the entire congregation knew when Rick was sleeping. Sunday after Sunday I watched Rick fight sleep, his head bobbing back and forth during my hour-long sermons. One Sunday, Rick bobbed his head back and then forward just as he did Sunday after Sunday. This time, however, Rick’s head traveled forward farther than he intended, smacking the pew in front of him. I stopped preaching and went to Rick to make sure he was okay. Fortunately, the only thing harmed was his pride. After the service, I told Rick that perhaps he should skip the Sunday morning service when he worked the night before. That way he could be rested and mentally fresh for the Sunday evening service. By the way, this was the only time in twenty-five years of pastoring churches that I told someone, please don’t come to church.

I haven’t been Rick’s pastor for over twenty-seven years, and the last time I saw him was in 1996 when he and Frank drove to West Unity, Ohio to attend services at a new church I had planted. Since then, I have traded a few emails with Rick, but nothing of substance.

rick and bruce
Rick, Bruce, Greg, and boy, 1993 , Somerset Baptist Church, Sunday Dinner

Rick’s message is a reminder to me that people still talk about my deconversion. People who knew me well — as Rick and Frank once did — are still trying to square the pastor they once knew with the atheist named Bruce Gerencser. In Rick’s case, he wonders if am just backslidden, or is it possible that I never was saved. I am sure Rick prefers the backslidden explanation. I am sure trying to wrap his mind around the possibility of me never being saved is too much for him to emotionally and intellectually handle. If I was never saved, this means that Rick was taught for five years by an unsaved pastor, a man he heard expositionally preach hundreds of times; preaching that he believed was empowered by the Holy Spirit. I am sure he remembers the countless hours we spent after church talking theology. I am sure he remembers my love, kindness, and compassion, and my willingness to, week after week, drive to New Lexington and pick him up so he could attend church. I am sure he asks himself, how is it possible that the Bruce I knew was never a true Christian.

The easy out for Rick is for him to embrace Arminianism with its belief that saved people can and do fall from grace. Doing so would mean that I once was saved, but now I am not. Of course, Rick’s Calvinism keeps him from believing I have lost my salvation, so he is forced to psychologically torture himself with thoughts about whether I am backslidden or was never a Christian to start with.

I wish Rick nothing but the best. I hope he will, in time, come to terms with my current godless state. I chose to be exactly where I am today. Or did I? Perhaps all of this has been decreed by God, and the person ultimately responsible for my lost condition is the divine puppet master, John Calvin’s God.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

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.

A Social Media Discussion Between an Evangelical and an Atheist

pascals wager

What follows is a discussion between an atheist friend of mine and an Evangelical. I no longer engage in such discussion on social media, choosing to focus on my blog, but the following discussion reminds me of the discussions I once had with Christian zealots on Facebook and Twitter. In just but a few comments, the Evangelical trots out an interesting version of Pascal’s Wager, threats of judgment and hell, with a zesty seasoning of you are angry and bitter to round out the discussion.

Enjoy!

social media discussion atheist christian (1)

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President Trump and Race: Fighting Generational Racism

donald trump 2
Graphic by Matt Bors.
Note: I realize this is a long post, but it was impossible for me to address the issue of racism in 1,200 words or less. I hope you will read to the end, and then share your thoughts in the comment section. I would also appreciate you sharing this post on social media.

Donald Trump. What more can be said about the orange-haired toddler currently inhabiting the White House. Fair-minded people see Trump as a narcissistic psychopath whose entire approach to policy and governing can be summed up in one word — winning. In recent weeks, mental health professionals have begun to question the president’s sanity and mental fitness. Could it be that the millions of people who voted for my dick-is-bigger-than-your-dick Trump were duped by a man who is mentally unfit for office? Or is Trump more like Jack Nicholson’s character in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest — a man who is artfully manipulating the system for his own good. Looking at the tax overhaul plan released today by Trump, I would suggest the latter. The president is asking Congress to reduce the number of tax rates, while also reducing the rate on the highest tax bracket from thirty-nine percent to thirty-five. Trump also wants Congress to do away with the estate tax, drastically reduce corporate tax rates, and fundamentally change how American corporate profits earned overseas are taxed. The big winners in the president’s plan are millionaires, billionaires, and large corporations. In other words, Trump wins big, to the tune of millions of dollars a year in reduced taxes. And when he dies his vast estate would be passed on to his heirs tax-free. Talk about winning. Trump wins on both sides of the grave.

None of the above surprises me in the least. Trump is the culmination of forty years of Republican attempts to gut the federal government, impoverish the states, and reward wealthy capitalists for their political support. Begun by Saint Ronald Reagan with what George H.W. Bush called voodoo economics, Republican economic policies are now such that there can be no doubt that their end game is the enslavement of the working class and poor and the enrichment of the corporate oligarchs who now rule (and own, bought and paid for with campaign donations) federal and state governments. And these haters of progressive values are not finished. We still have Paul Ryan and his Tea Party cohorts masturbating to a statute of Ayn Rand with Adam’s Smith invisible hand. These despisers of the poor will not rest until all the social progress gained since World War II is returned to the “hell” from whence it came. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Civil Rights Act, the Gun Control Act, Welfare, Food Stamps, Obamacare — gone, gone, gone! In its place is a resurgent wild west where corporations are free to misuse and abuse their employees, pollute waterways, foul the air, and donate millions to politicians who do the bidding of their business overlords (along with a military tasked to protect corporate interests across the globe).

Underneath the anti-human policies mentioned above is a subtle, and, at times, not so subtle, racism. There is no doubt, at least in my mind, that President Trump is a racist. And white supremacists, Steve Bannon of Breitbart fame, David Duke of the KKK, and the white marchers that took to the streets of Charlottesville think so too. White America — eighty-two percent of white Evangelicals vote for Trump — overwhelmingly voted for President Winner. While this in and of itself isn’t proof that Trump is a racist — after all, the overwhelming majority of blacks for voted Barack Obama — the president’s speeches, policies, executive orders, and Tweets — despite the token blacks at his Ain’t I Wonderful pep rallies — reveal that the man is indeed someone who is, at the very least, indifferent to matters of race. While some on the left want to give the president the benefit of the doubt, suggesting that he is a non-politician learning on the job, I am not one such person. Eight months of living in the swirling vortex of a Donald Trump presidency has shown me that the man is a racist.

If I had any doubts about Trump’s racism, events that have transpired over the last week have put an end to them. He is, without a doubt a racist. First, there’s the president’s verbal and Twitter attacks of black NFL and NBA players. My counselor and I were talking about this very matter today, and he asked me if I noticed how Trump artfully moved the reference point of discussion. When Colin Kaepernick took a knee, it was to protest racial injustice and police brutality against people of color. Over the weekend, hundreds of black (and white) NFL athletes refused to stand for the National Anthem. Their reasons for protesting range from racial injustice and police violence against blacks to Trump calling them sons of bitches and demanding team owners fire them. Trump moved the discussion goalpost by changing the point of reference from race to patriotism. The protests had nothing to do with race, according to the president, and everything to do with disrespecting the American flag. Trump did the same thing when he was sharply criticized for his atrocious tone-deaf comments after the white-supremacist-driven carnage in Charlottesville. The protest wasn’t about race. Oh no, the marching whites in Charlottesville were protesting the left’s attack on their Southern way of life, complete with Confederate flags and Civil War monuments. By turning these protests on their head, Trump hopes to avoid being labeled a racist. Sadly, many of his followers have followed right along with him, asserting that neither they nor President Make-America-Great-Again are racist.

Want to see how racist many people in America still are? Just turn to the comment sections on news sites and blogs, or slog through posts and comments by Herr Donald supporters on social media, and you will see George Wallace-worthy — I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever — racism. From support of Trump’s racist immigration policies and his callous indifference to the suffering of non-white Puerto Rico to their defense of his on attack black athletes and whites who oppose his policies, these dog-whistle-hearing sycophants show that we are generations away from living in a post-racial society.

If you doubt these issues are about race, let Steven Colbert of The Late Show fame,The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, and Nick Wright from ESPN put your doubts to rest.

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I am sixty-years old. I grew up in a flag-waving, John Birch Society-supporting, Evangelical home where racism was never far from the surface of day-to-day life. My parents moved to California in the 1960s. It was there that they were exposed to the virulent racism at the heart of American exceptionalism, Christian nationalism, and ideologies trumpeted by Richard Welch, Jr, the founder of the John Birch Society, 1964 Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, and Democratic/Independent candidate George Wallace. I have no doubt that the preaching of their pastor, Tim LaHaye, from the pulpit of Scott Memorial Baptist Church helped to stoke my parents’ rage against blacks, Mexicans, Martin Luther King, Jr, the Black Panthers, the United Nations, Vietnam War protesters, and anyone and everyone who ran afoul of their white sensibilities.

none dare call it treason john stormer
None Dare Call It Treason, 2.2 million copies printed in 1964 alone
It should not be surprising, then, that their eldest son, picked up on and adopted their beliefs. As a first-grader in the San Diego public school system, I took several of my mother’s books to school, one of which was None Dare Call it Treason by John Stormer. One of the books had graphic photographs of violence perpetrated by Communist Russia. I primarily brought the book to school so I could show my fellow classmates the photos. My teacher quickly confiscated the books and sent them home with me at the end of the day with a note saying the books were to remain at home. I am sure my parents were proud of my preaching of right-wing gospel.

As a young adult, I frequently told racist jokes. While I often had to hide my racist views of blacks in public, in private conversations with fellow white restaurant managers I would lament the laziness of black employees. Even in our foster care provider days when we had a black teen girl living with us, I saw myself as a benevolent white out to help a helpless black girl. I was, without a doubt, the son of Robert and Barbara Gerencser, warriors for all things Christian and white.

My views on race began to change while this black girl lived in our home. In 1983, I started a new Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church in Somerset, Ohio. Needing local housing, we arranged to rent a farm-house from a retired teacher. The day we called to pick up the keys for the house, this virtuous pillar of all things Christian told us that she was going to rent the house to a family member instead. This, I later learned, was a lie. The truth was that she discovered we had a black foster child living with us, and according to someone who knew her well, she “wasn’t going to have a nigger living in her house.” We moved, instead, to New Lexington, thirteen miles south of Somerset. There we enrolled our foster daughter in the local public school. She was the only student of color in the school. Needless to say, this made her a target of racist rednecks who made her short stay there a living hell. Eventually, our foster daughter was returned to the system in hopes of her being placed in a home located in a more racially diverse area.

During the almost twelve years I pastored Somerset Baptist Church, my understanding of the complexities of race and the systemic problems faced by people of color began to change. I wish I could say that I had a Damascus road experience and the racist blinders over my eyes immediately fell off, but alas I can’t. It took years and years for my racist tendencies to fade into the fabric of racial equality and inclusion. And even to this day, I am not certain that I am blind to skin color. Several weeks ago, I participated in forum discussion on the subject, Does Racism Exist in Northwest Ohio? (You can listen to the podcast here. The podcast is also available on iTunes.) My answer was, yes, and I gave several examples to bolster my point; that underneath the white Christian veneer of rural Ohioans is a latent Obama-hating, affirmative action-hating, racism waiting to be unleashed. Last November, seven out of ten voting locals voted for Donald Trump. Confederate flags were unfurled for all to see. Racism, once buried safely below rural respectability, was legitimized and encouraged to rise to the occasion. The result is there for all to see on social media and on the editorial page of the Defiance Crescent-News.

During the aforementioned forum discussion, I mentioned an example of how Mr. Progressive, Mr. Color Blind Bruce Gerencser still had deeply buried racist tendencies. Several months back, while driving by Galilee Baptist Church on Ottawa Street in Defiance, I remarked, that’s where blacks go to church. True, Galilee is primarily attended by blacks, but when I drove by the next dozen or so churches, why didn’t I say, that’s where whites go to church? This illustration might seem quaint or not worthy of mention in a discussion on racism, but to me, it revealed that I still, to some degree, saw things from a racist perspective. I suspect that I will spend the remaining days of my life continuing to root out deep-seated prejudices towards people of color.

My wife, Polly, grew up in a family where racism was multi-generational, especially on one side of her family. I don’t remember Polly’s parents making strong racist statements, but their view of blacks revealed itself when they negatively talked about “colored” people. Why was skin color germane to the stories? Does it matter whether the wino, homeless man, thief, or murderer was black? Shouldn’t the crime or behavior be the focus of discussion? Yes, that’s how it should have been, but a racial designation was always attached when the perpetrator was a person of color.

Over the years, Polly and I heard family members tell countless jokes and stories about blacks. Sometimes, the stories were about how their white churches, in a paternalistic way, helped out this or that black family or how the white colonialist missionaries they supported were helping poor, ignorant blacks see the truth of the white Jesus gospel. Several discussions revolved around whether missionaries should require new black converts to dress and behave like Western whites. The answer, of course, was yes. Western Christianity was viewed as superior to African and Caribbean norms. Women were expected to wear bras, men ties, and everyone was to sing hymns the way they were sung at First Baptist Church. Black culture was a problem to be eradicated, not embraced, and missionaries were tasked with westernizing — in Jesus’ name, of course — their target groups.

A recent social media dust-up I had with the sixteen-year-old son of Polly’s Fundamentalist preacher cousin made me realize that the racism in her family is multi-generational. In a post titled Christmas, 1957-2014, I talked about the 2010 Christmas gathering for her immediate family. I wrote:

Christmas of 2010 was two years after President Obama was elected to his first term. Polly’s family didn’t vote for him, and through the night they made known their hatred for the man, Democrats and liberals in general. Polly and I, along with many of our children, voted for Obama, so the anti-Obama talk and the subtle racism made for an uncomfortable evening.

Most years, a gag gift is given to someone. This particular year, the gag gift, given to Polly’s uncle, was an Obama commemorative plate one of our nephews had bought on the cheap at Odd Lots. The grandchild of one of Polly’s uncles asked him what the plate was for. He replied, to go poo-poo on, poo-poo being the fundamentalist word for shit. This was the last straw for us

Fast forward to 2017, the grandchild mentioned above is a Fundamentalist Christian teenager, a staunch supporter, as were the three generations before him, of right-wing extremism. Recently, the boy raged against those (blacks) who refuse to stand for the National Anthem during pre-game ceremonies at professional sporting events. The latest protests, which he perceived was dishonoring of the military, the American flag, and the Christian way of life, resulted in him attacking those who refused to stand.

Here’s what the boy posted several weeks back:

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Several days ago, he posted a similar screed.

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Generally, I treat Facebook as a place to hang out with like-minded family and friends. I avoid political and religious discussions, preferring to look at shared photographs and cat videos. If I happen to inadvertently befriend someone outside of our extended family who is a Trump supporter or a right-wing Christian extremist, I quickly unfriend them. Life is too short for me to spend time wading through rivers of Trumptastic bullshit. Things are, however, a bit more dicey with family members. Polly and I, by far, are more progressive and liberal than many of the people we call family. When it comes to religion, we are the only out-and-out unbelievers in the bunch. While a handful of family members voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and Hillary Clinton in 2016, most of them vote Republican, and having had enough of the Kenyan-born socialist Obama, voted for Donald Trump over Clinton in 2016 (a few voted for Gary Johnson).

Knowing this about our extended family, I avoid political discussions with them, choosing to alternately laugh and cry over the lies and distortions they post on their Facebook walls. For whatever reason, yesterday I decided to respond to the aforementioned comments. Here’s what I said:

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My response, predictably, brought out lit Tiki torches, resulting in this reply:

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Let me summarize the boy’s argument:

  • There is no such thing as racism
  • There is no such thing as white privilege
  • Whites are the ones being discriminated against

I, foolishly thinking I could make a saint out of Malcom X at a KKK rally, replied:

racism 7

Needless to say, the shit hit the proverbial fan and it is still, today, spraying across the social media. The boy told me I was ignorant, and the boy’s mother, with whom I have had several skirmishes over her ignorant posts about atheists, sent me a red-hot message, letting me know that my comments were out of line, that I was a bitter old man, and that their family was NOT racist — we know black people! I attempted to respond to her, but, by then, she had blocked me.

I would have asked her, if your family is not racist, where did your son get his abhorrent racist beliefs? Dad? Mom? Grandpa? Church? (I featured the racist comments of one woman who attends the church this boy’s father pastors in a post titled, Christian Fundamentalist Shares the Sweet, Sweet Love of Jesus on Facebook. This boy did not come up with these beliefs in a vacuüm. He was taught these things in word and deed.

Needless to say, this Facebook altercation destroyed what little relationship Polly or I had with this particular family. And that’s fine. Perhaps, one day this boy will have an epiphany about his views on patriotism and race, along with his views on LGBTQ people, same-sex marriage, liberalism, and socialism, and vaguely remember his curmudgeonly old “bitter” atheist cousin once removed and his attempts to show him a better way. For now, he remain a textbook example of how racism and bigotry can affect multiple generations of people — even those who, with infectious smiles, say, Jesus loves you, and he has a wonderful plan for your life.

For those of you who are still talking to your uber-patriotic, flag-waving Republican/Evangelical/Conservative/Right-Wing/Tea-Party friends and family, how have they responded to Donald Trump’s racist comments and protests by black NFL players? Please share your pithy thoughts in the comment section. If you are a supporter of dotard Donald Trump, don’t bother. I’m all Trumped out.

Jesus On the Main Line, Tell Him What You Want

jesus on the main line

An Evangelical preacher, friend, family member, and reader of this blog, posted the words from the graphic above on his Facebook wall. These words came from the song Jesus On the Mainline. The lyrics go like this:

I know Jesus is on that mainline
Tell Him what you want
Jesus is on that mainline
Tell Him what you want
Jesus is on that mainline
Tell Him what you want
Call Him up and tell Him what you want

Well, the line ain’t never busy
Tell Him what you want
Wo, that line ain’t never busy
Tell Him what you want
Well, the line ain’t never busy
Tell Him what you want
Keep on calling Him up
And tell Him what you want

Well, if you want His kingdom
Tell Him what you want
If you want His kingdom
Tell Him what you want
If want His kingdom
Tell Him what you want
Call Him up, call Him up, call Him up, call Him up
You can call Him up and tell Him what you want

Well, if you’re sick and want to get well
Tell Him what you want
Well, if you’re sick and you want to get well
Tell Him what you want
If you’re sick and you want to get well
Tell Him what you want
Call Him up and tell Him what you want

And if you’re feeling down and out
Tell Him what you want
And if you’re feeling down and out
Tell Him what you want
And if you’re feeling down and out
Tell Him what you want
Call Him up and tell Him what you want

I know Jesus is on that mainline
Tell Him what you want
Jesus is on that mainline
Tell Him what you want
Jesus is on that mainline
Tell Him what you want
Call Him up, call Him up, call Him up, call Him up
Call Him up and tell Him what you want

After reading the aforementioned Facebook comment, I thought, if Jesus really was on the mainline, what would I tell him? What would I really want Jesus (JC) to do?  What follows is my phone conversation with Jesus. Please use the comment section to share your list of what you would like JC to do. I know, Jesus is not on the mainline. He’s not on any line. His dead body was buried two thousand years ago in an unknown grave. Jesus remains dead and buried to this day. Forget what you know, and play the game. Pretend that Jesus is on the mainline and you want to share your want/need list with him.

JC: Hello, this is Jesus, the alpha and omega, the first and the last, God the Father’s right-hand man, and the winner of last night’s Heavenly Poker Game®. How may I assist you today?

Bruce: Hey JC, this is Bruce Almighty. I heard you would taking calls on the mainline today, so I thought I would ring you and ask you to do a few things for me. Now, being the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful creator of everything AND the winner of last night’s poker game, you should know these things already, but I thought I’d ask anyway. I know you have been busy helping Qanon and Evangelicals advance your kingdom on earth, so perhaps you haven’t been keeping up with what’s up with me. That’s okay. Shall I begin?

JC: Please do, but hurry. I have Donald “Baby Christian” Trump on hold. I have heard through Heaven’s grapevine that Trump has a long list of things he needs to talk to me about.

Bruce: Okay! Here is my Top Ten list of things I want:

  1. Please put an end to world hunger, providing everyone with sufficient food to eat.
  2. Please provide everyone with clean, potable water to drink.
  3. Please provide everyone with housing.
  4. Please provide everyone with clean, comfortable clothing.
  5. Please put an end to war and violence.
  6. Please destroy the means of war, starting with nuclear armaments.
  7. Please do something about global warming.
  8. Please tell the religious of the world that their religions all come from the same place — the human mind.
  9. Please keep me alive until I see my grandchildren grow up and do great things to change the world.
  10. And if it isn’t too much to ask, JC, the Cincinnati Reds winning the World Series would be nice before I die.

JC: Jesus FU****** Christ, Bruce Almighty. Asking for much? I am too busy helping grandmas find their keys, curing colds, and keeping Evangelical preachers from lusting when they see a nice ass to do all these things for you.

Bruce: But, JC, your followers say you spoke the world into existence, that you saved them from their sins, gave them eternal life, and guaranteed them a future home in Heaven, just because they prayed: Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I put my trust in you, Jesus, and I promise to follow you as my Lord and Savior. In your Name. If you can do all that JC, surely you can knock out my request list in a few minutes.

NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN  (sound of a disconnected phone line)

Bruce: JC, are you there? JC? Hello? Is anyone on the line?

NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN

Bruce: I can’t believe JC hung up on me.

Several months later, Bruce Almighty is watching his beloved Cincinnati Reds put a World Series-winning beat-down on the Cleveland Indians. He lifts his eyes to the ceiling, saying, Hey JC, one out of ten. One out of ten. Is that the best you can do?

NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN

bruce-gerencser-headshot

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.

Bruce Gerencser