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Tag: Loss of Self

Dr. David Tee Explains Why He Doesn’t Use First-Person Pronouns

david tee use of we
Excerpt from the introduction of Dr. David Tee’s book, God, Korea, and Me

Dr. David Tee, whose real name is Derrick Thomas Thiessen, is an Evangelical pastor who resides with his wife in the Philippines. Long-time readers of this blog know Thiessen well. His obsession with me can be seen on his blog, TheologyArcheology: A Site for the Glory of God. In 2023, Thiessen has already written two posts referencing me, adding to dozens of posts he wrote about me in 2022. Why he is so obsessed with me is unknown. All I know to do to is either ignore him (which I often do) or respond to him, answering and rebuffing his allegations, accusations, and lies.

Thiessen is also an author. He has several books for sale on Amazon, including God, Korea, and Me. The book should be titled, “Me and the Voice in My Head.” People who read Theissen’s books and blogs are perplexed by his frequent use of third-person pronouns. He never refers to himself as “I” or ‘me.” His refusal to use proper grammar often renders his writing painfully difficult to read, similar to trying to read comments and emails from people who refuse to use capitalization, punctuation, or paragraphs. Why does Thiessen write in this manner? Thanks to Troy, a long-time reader and friend, we finally know why.

In the introduction for God, Korea, and Me, Thiessen writes:

We take no credit for the work as we prayed that God would help us get it right when we put our content on those public forums and media outlets . . . Then we use the word we, ours, theirs, etc., simply because we do not like the words ‘I’, “My’, “Mine’, and other first person pronouns. Since we asked God to be with us and help us those first person pronouns are not really acceptable here or in any of our works.

Troy stated:

Sounds like he’s a bit like Gollum in the Lord of the Rings books/movies. Gollum has two distinct personalities, Dr. T does as well. He has anointed his own internal voice to be the almighty.

Yes, it does sound similar to Gollum, my favorite LOTR character. As most Evangelicals do, Thiessen thinks God, the Holy Spirit, lives inside of him, leading, guiding, and directing his life, speaking to him in his “heart” and through the pages of the inspired, inerrant, infallible Bible. Most Evangelicals know that there is a difference between them and God. They don’t confuse the created for the Creator. In Thiessen’s case, he believes he and God are one — the royal We. Knowing this explains why he writes the way he does. When Thiessen says the things he says, it is God speaking in and through him. That’s why Thiessen never admits he is wrong or never apologizes for his distortions and lies. To do so would be to admit God was wrong or a liar.

So, what are we to make of this?

The armchair psychologists among us will say that Thiessen is mentally ill. However, none of us is qualified to make such a diagnosis. We should leave that to the professionals, and I hope that Thiessen will seek out competent psychological help. What we do know is that Thiessen is a prime example of what happens when Evangelical dogma and practice permeate every aspect of a person’s life. From this perspective, I understand Theissen quite well, as I am sure many of you do too. I understand being all in, believing that my entire purpose in life was to serve God and follow the teachings of the Bible. I was in every way a True Believer® who followed the Lamb whithersoever he goeth (as the Bible says). In doing so, I lost all sense of self. My life was swallowed up by God, the church, and the ministry. Unlike Thiessen, however, I reached a place in my life where I realized I was wrong. Of course, Theissen will say, “yeah, and you became an atheist.” Sure, and maybe that’s what scares him. Thiessen wants or desperately “needs” God. He fears that a life without God isn’t worth living. Many Christians do. Much like drug addicts who need a “fix,” many Christians need a Jesus fix to keep going. Told their lives are hopeless, purposeless, and meaningless without Jesus, Evangelicals seek out hope, purpose, and meaning through their experiential relationship with a voice in their heads.

In Thiessen’s case, the voice in his head has overtaken his life to the degree that he thinks the voice and he are one and the same. To some degree, he lives in an alternate reality. How else do we explain his lies about his past, his fake names, and his hiding out in a foreign country? Thiessen moved to South Korea and later the Philippines so he could start over. Safe from his past, Theissen has reinvented himself. He could have gotten by with this had he not decided to write books and blog posts; had he not decided to publicly accuse and disparage atheists and Christians with whom he disagrees. Such behavior brings scrutiny, and that’s why we are where we are today.

I don’t have any ill-will toward Thiessen. His frequent lies about me and attacks on my character annoy me, but more often than not, I feel sorry for the man. He is not hurting me. People see his writing for what it is. But, I do genuinely worry that the path he is on will have a bad outcome. Again, I understand, as I once was on a similar path. The difference between us is, of course, that I realized the error of my way. This doesn’t mean I am special — I was lucky. Thiessen has much to overcome before he ever regains a sense of self. If or when that day comes, he will once again be an “I” and a “me.” This doesn’t mean he will be an unbeliever. It is possible to maintain some sort of faith in Christ and still have a healthy sense of self. As I have learned, the path to “I” is long, arduous, and painful. The onion of my life had to be peeled back one layer at a time. I hope Thiessen will seek out a secular counselor who can help him peel back the onion of his life so he can find the Derrick that was swallowed up by God, the church, and the Bible decades ago.

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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Bruce Gerencser