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Tag: Pornography

Dear Mrs. Evangelical, If Your Husband Has a Porn Habit It’s Your Fault

symptoms of porn addiction

Does this describe you? Then you are a porn addict!

Just when I think Evangelicals have run out of ways to blame women for the sexual weaknesses of men, I stumble across yet another “blame the woman” article. In an article titled What Women Don’t Understand About Men Who Struggle With Pornography, Jennifer LeClaire, senior editor at Charisma Magazine, interviewed social researcher Shaunti Feldhahn and Craig Gross, the founder of

Charisma News: What do women not understand?

Feldhahn: In general, women are largely unaware of what men are confronted with every day in this culture. Because we are wired differently, we don’t realize that when a man sees a woman who is dressing to overtly draw attention to a good figure, it creates an instant sexual stimulation and temptation in his brain. Even if he doesn’t want that to happen!

And many men make rigorous choices every day to look away, and take those thoughts captive. They fight down the temptation to look, and to let their thoughts go in sexual directions. But other men have gotten pretty weary of the struggle and have made poor choices. And they feel shame that they are trapped, are hiding it and don’t know how to get free.

Charisma News: Why will a woman’s ability to understand help solve the problem of porn?

Feldhahn: In my research over the years I’ve seen that if a husband is struggling with just being visual in this culture, or is actually struggling with porn in some way it is almost impossible for him to get free of it if his wife doesn’t understand or if she doesn’t see why he would even have this temptation, and isn’t supportive of him as her husband. If she’s condemning and furious instead, it certainly may be an understandable reaction — but it definitely won’t incentivize him to open up. And a man needs to open up, to get help.

Gross: We tell women that everything from everyday visual temptation all the way to hard-core porn use will only become more of a problem when it is hidden. Men have to be willing to be vulnerable and open. We have to be willing to bring stuff into the light in order to work on it.

Some men do talk about it with other guys. But in this book, we share with women that the only way a man is going to be willing to talk about it with his wife, is if it’s safe. And it is only going to feel safe if she can talk about it with him, without freaking out. But right now many men assume their wives will freak out, so they stay silent. So they stay trapped. I’m not blaming women for this, mind you. The guy should be willing to open up to other guys. But all too often, his wife is the only person he shares his heart with. So in practice, this becomes the one area that he doesn’t talk about with anyone.

Feldhahn: I’ve heard many a man say he wouldn’t dare to talk about this with his wife . . . but only because “she wouldn’t understand.” I haven’t found a single man who has said he doesn’t want his wife to understand. Most men said if she could somehow understand, he would actually love to know that she was on his team. That he could talk to her. That this stuff didn’t have to be hidden anymore. Honestly, that is huge.

Gross: Think about the vast difference it would make if men didn’t need to fight this battle on their own, in the dark. If they could talk about it with their wives. Getting women up to speed on this and enlisting them as partners is critical…

Once again, it’s up to wives to help their husbands find “victory” over porn. Few within the Evangelical community bother to ask if “porn addiction” is even a thing. Hint: it’s not. As with any human behavior, people can obsess over someone or something, and it becomes some sort of addiction. However, most men (and women) are able to look at porn without any deleterious effect. Evangelical men are told viewing porn is a “sin,” a vile, filthy habit that can only be broken through the mighty power of Jesus. Perhaps, Evangelicalism is the problem. Instead of laying guilt and fear of judgment on the heads of men, how about telling them that it is healthy and normal to view adult pornography? (When I use the word porn, I am referring to adult pornography that is recorded by consenting adults. I am a libertarian when it comes to sexuality. What consenting adults do in private is of no concern of mine, nor should it be the concern of the government.)  At the very least, couples should have frank, open discussions about pornography and sexual expectations.

Marriage is a contract between two people. Each party must agree to the sexual parameters of the marriage. For example, a wife might say, I have no problem with you watching porn, but don’t expect me to be a sexual gymnastics performer. A husband might say, if you want to watch Magic Mike down at Chippendale’s, that’s fine. Just don’t expect me to bust a move like Magic Mike. All that matters is consent and agreement.

Puritanical morality continues to drive the debate over pornography and behaviors traditionally labeled sexual sins. As a result, both men and women often feel guilt and fear when engaging in behaviors the Bible and Pastor Bubaloo call sins. This leads to an unhealthy view of sex and marriage and often leads to mistrust in a marriage.


Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

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.

Porn Addiction and Masturbation in Evangelical Churches

how to stop masturbating

Did you know that one of the biggest problems facing Evangelical Christians is masturbation? Recently, Pure Life Ministries, a Fundamentalist “purity” ministry started by Steve Gallagher, published an article about what they believe is a “sexual sin” crisis facing American Evangelicals.

According to Ed Buch, Pure Life’s vice president for counseling services, countless Evangelical Christians are “porn addicts.” Their porn addiction has led to an epidemic of sexual self-gratification among sexually active Evangelicals.

Buch states:

Yeah, I think it’s definitely getting harder and harder to maintain that illusion that sexual sin is not a problem in the [Evangelical] church today. But there probably still are those who are just oblivious to it, or in denial over that situation. Because study after study is getting done now; surveys and polls are being done on a regular basis by people like the Barna Group and Focus on the Family, which are qualified organizations. They are really looking into these things and are consistently churning out numbers that tell us that fifty percent of the men in a congregation are addicted to pornography. Twenty percent of the women in a congregation are addicted to pornography. Focus on the Family did a poll that said that forty seven percent of families say that porn is a problem in their home.

And none of this should be really shocking because one of the stats that I saw recently was that eighteen percent of pastors are addicted to pornography. I’m using the word addicted here Brooks. It’s not just that these people are occasionally consuming something that they shouldn’t. These are men and women who are compulsively addicted to pornography and other forms of sexual sin. It’s a huge problem in the church.

But do you know what always stands out to me hand in hand when I see these statistics? I’ve read the letters to the churches in the Book of Revelation, and two of them specifically mention sexual sin as an issue in the church. What that tells me is that sexual sin in the church has been a problem, it is a problem, and it is going to continue to be a problem, even as we go through the very end times.


Well, let’s first go back to the verse I just quoted out of 1 Corinthians 6, where Paul was writing and saying that these various ones will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Among them he listed fornicators, adulterers, homosexuals and sodomites. That pretty well covers abroad list of sexual sinners right there. So, I suppose the other issue that isn’t on that list, that really most people latch onto, is masturbation. When it comes to this issue of masturbation, there are many who believe that it’s not a sin. Even some pastors may teach that sort of thing, that masturbation is not a sin.

But I can tell you this.  I’ve been in addictions counseling for over 20 years and in my ministry experiences, I can assure you that just like cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana, those things that are the gateways to harder drug use and abuse, masturbation is a gateway to other forms of sexual sin. And sin always begins in the heart. So, when Jesus addressed sexual sin, and He did, that’s exactly what He pointed to. Do you remember the passage in Matthew, in the Sermon on the Mount? He said that if a man looks at someone lustfully, he’s committing adultery in his heart (Matthew 5:28). And so, whether I look at someone literally walking by or driving by, or something, and I’m looking at them lustfully, or whether it’s simply happening in my mind’s eye while I’m masturbating, I’m still committing sin. I’m committing the sin of adultery in my heart. And when I fantasize and masturbate, that’s what’s going on.

Then Jesus went on to say shortly after that, that it’s from within, it’s out of the heart of men that proceed evil thoughts, or fantasies, or you might say adulteries, fornication, and so on (Matthew 15:19). Jesus is telling us that those more offensive, deeper forms of sexual sin are actually rooted in our heart. They arise out of our hearts. So, when masturbation is corrupting our hearts, it’s feeding into those other forms of sin that will eventually flow and follow out of that same heart.

Do you know what I find in our counseling, Brooks? There are a lot of men who want to hold on to that sin masturbation and make it some kind of a pet sin that they don’t have to give up.  They’ll give up a lot of other things, but not that one. And they’ll continue to struggle with that one for a little while. And that’s why in his book At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry, Steve Gallagher devotes an entire chapter to this topic of masturbation. Because it is one of those myths that people have held onto, that it’s not really a sin. He addresses that pretty thoroughly in the book.

The bottom line to all of this, Brooks, is that masturbation, of which some people use the term self-gratification, and I’ve seen more and more recently, people are even just calling it self-sex; all of those terms, whichever one you choose, they’re pointing to the root of selfishness. I’m literally having sex with myself if I’m engaged in masturbation. So, if you look at the whole of Scripture, the full teaching out of the Bible, there is no way you can defend such a selfish behavior as being compatible with your Christianity.

Buchs, Gallagher, and Pure Life Ministries believe that Evangelical churches are filled with “porn addicts.” What should we make of this assertion? Is “porn addiction” even a thing? Sure, people can become addicted to many things, but has Internet porn turned half of all teen and adult Evangelical church members into addicts? Imagine for a moment an Evangelical megachurch with 20,000 members. Does Buch expect anyone to believe that this church has thousands and thousands of porn addicts; men (and women) so obsessed with porn that they spend every waking moment on the Internet, fulfilling their lustful desires? This, on its face, is absurd. Do Evangelicals look at porn? Sure, many do, including pastors. Do Evangelicals masturbate after watching YouPorn and other sites? Sure, many do. However, is this a sign of “addiction”? Of course not. Why, then, do Evangelicals confess to porn addiction?

Theology is the problem, not “addiction.” Evangelicals are taught, often from birth, that they are hopeless, vile, wicked, broken sinners whom God hates; that salvation from original sin comes only through the merit and work of Jesus Christ on the cross and his resurrection from the dead three days later. Evangelicals are taught from the earliest ages that they are in some way defective, and the only way to change this is by getting “saved.” Yet, as Buch makes clear, even after Evangelicals are “born-again” they still have a problem with “sin.” Why is that? Supposedly, Evangelical Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He is their ever-present teacher and guide. Yet, the Holy Spirit is no match for porn. Evangelicals also have the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. Yet, it seems the words of God are powerless to stop church members from viewing porn. And finally, Evangelicals have their churches and pastors who provide frequent reinforcement of Godly sexual mores. Yet, all the preaching, teaching, books, conferences, and Christian blogs/websites do little to turn eyes from 36DDD to Jesus. What gives?

Evangelicals go through life believing they are weak. Sure, Jesus saved them, but Satan and the “world” continue to tempt them to sin and lead them astray. Making matters worse is that Evangelical preachers frequently remind weak congregants that God/church/pastor expects them to follow the Bible’s strict moral code (and a-biblical moral standards adopted and enforced by church leaders). ALL sexual activity outside of heterosexual/married/monogamous sex is a sin against the thrice-holy God. Even the most natural of sexual behaviors, masturbation, is a sin.

Instead of teaching church members sexual responsibility, Evangelical preachers beat them over their heads with God’s No Fun Book. This leads, of course, to fear and guilt. Evangelicals who engage in normal, healthy sexual activity fear exposure and judgment by God and the church. They are laden with guilt over their inability to stay on the straight and narrow sexually. Giving in to one’s natural desires only leads to more and more fear and guilt. As former Evangelicals can attest, this fear and guilt destroy one’s sense of self-worth.

Sadly, as long as people continue to attend Evangelical churches, the fear and guilt cycle will continue. The only permanent solution is for congregants to leave churches that promote sexual repression and find congregations that affirm normal, healthy expressions of sexuality. Let me also add that deep immersion into repressive theological beliefs such as those espoused by Buchs, Gallagher, and Pure Life Ministries may require competent secular counseling to overcome. Help awaits, but it requires exiting places where abuse and repression are normalized in the name of the God of the Bible.


Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

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.

Then and Now: The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

kate upton 2017 swimsuit issue cover
Kate Upton, 2017 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Cover Model. (See Upton interview here)

Warning! PG-13, slightly adult conversation ahead!

I have on and off over the years subscribed to Sports Illustrated (SI). Published weekly, SI features stories about athletes and sports leagues. One issue every year is devoted, not to sports, but to the wonders of the female body. The Swimsuit Issue, as it is called, is chocked full of photographs of bathing suit-wearing models. SI chooses exotic locations for the photoshoots. The photographer part of me lusts over what can only be described as a dream gig — splendid locations and beautiful women. What’s not to like, right?

Over time, the bathing suits have become skimpier, reflecting our society’s increasing comfortableness with nudity. Every year, Evangelical groups express their outrage over the Swimsuit Issue, and every year countless Baptist preachers rush to the mailbox so they can preserve their SI copy before their wives get a hold of it. But, of course, Evangelical morality police are not the only people who get a self-righteous hard-on over the Swimsuit Issue. So do Catholic groups such as Catholic Youth Apostolate (link no longer active):

That takes us to the other half of your question, one of swimsuit models on magazines. Again, the real question here is one of intent. Swimsuit catalogs exist to sell swimwear for women. One could safely say that these kinds of images should be harmless to someone striving to live chastity [sic]. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue (we use this example because the SI Swimsuit Issue is the highest grossing, most widely distributed issue of their magazine every year… interesting, for a magazine that is supposed to be supporting a culture of sports fandom) exists to sell supermodels to men. No one purchases that particular issue of SI in order to buy a new swimsuit for his wife. The women in those magazines are styled and posed in such a way that could easily lead anyone viewing them to lust – they’re often topless, sometimes naked; posed not to show off the swimwear, but their bodies.

One might say, ‘But I’m just admiring their beauty, what’s wrong with that?’ The problem lies in JPII’s quote above – you can’t admire their full beauty as a human person, because you don’t know them. All you have to admire is their physical form, separate from their heart, mind, and soul, so it’s impossible not to objectify them. Furthermore, the women in those magazines don’t express the wide variety of God’s beauty in all men and women – all the women in those magazines are roughly the same size and shape, a cultural standard of ‘beauty’ that simply means ‘sexy’ and is impossible for the average woman to achieve. Beauty is much broader than the images displayed in magazines. It’s not that these images show too much, but too little.

Does this mean that if you happen to catch a glimpse of the cover of the SI Swimsuit Issue in the check-out line at the grocery store, you have sinned? Probably not. But in order to grow in the virtue of chastity, it would be wise to not pick it up and flip through the pages. In as little as two-tenths of a second, an image can be emblazoned in one’s memory for years. And Jesus would rather you not risk it, since he said that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Mt 5:28). Again, make no provisions for the flesh…

This could just as easily of been written by an Evangelical preacher.

Back in my Evangelical preacher days, I would watch for the Swimsuit Issue to be delivered so I could throw it in the trash before one of my teenage sons or I was led into horrible sexual sin. One particular year, the magazine never arrived. Hmm, I thought at the time. I wonder what happened to it? Months later, while working on a vanity light in our master bathroom, I found the missing issue hidden above the cabinet. How did this magazine get here? I wondered. Come to find out, one of my sons had intercepted the magazine and hidden it. I made sure my mag-stealing son knew that he had sinned against God, and then I tore the magazine up and threw it away. Today, we heartily laugh about this story, but at the time, absconding with the magazine was viewed as a serious act of disobedience to God. I felt it my duty to ensure that my sons were not exposed to pornography, be it Playboy, Hustler, or the SI Swimsuit Issue.

Fast forward to 2017. The SI Swimsuit Issue arrived in our mailbox. I spent 20 minutes or so looking at the magazine while we were driving to Defiance for our granddaughter’s basketball game. I didn’t have lustful thoughts or feel the need to masturbate or engage in sexual intercourse. Shouldn’t I have been filled with lasciviousness as I dared to gaze upon the exquisite bodies of the fairer sex?  What’s changed between now and twenty years ago? Gone is the fear and guilt caused by the teachings of Evangelical Christianity about sin — especially sexual sin. As many former Evangelicals will attest, once the fear and guilt are no longer a part of the equation, things once considered “sin” can be enjoyed (or not, depending on one’s tastes and desires) without feeling like the reader just committed a heinous crime. Now that God, the Bible, and Evangelical moralizers no longer have my attention, I am free to be a normal, healthy heterosexual man. What is most interesting is that, once something is no longer taboo, it often loses its power and draw.

I will leave it to Evangelical men to guiltily shuffle into the darkness with a flashlight to look at their copy of the Swimsuit Issue. I no longer need to deny myself pleasures, wants, and desires. I know that the Swimsuit Issue is not everyone’s cup of tea. Each to his own, right? No one is forced to look at the magazine. People are free to subscribe, not subscribe, or cancel their subscription over what they believe is Sports Illustrated’s promotion of “soft porn.”

leyna bloom
Leyna Bloom, 2021 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Cover Model

2021 brings us an SI Swimsuit issue featuring a Transgender woman. Evangelical culture warriors are losing their collective shit over this. OMG, how dare Sports Illustrated portray a transgender person as “normal.” In their minds, this is just another sign of the collapse of Western Civilization, a sign of the imminent return of Jesus. Perhaps, SI should do a Women of Faith swimsuit issue. Would that make Evangelicals happy? Finally, “modestly” dressed women to lust over. Or maybe they should do a Gay Men of Faith swimsuit issue for all the repressed gays in Evangelical churches. Here’s what I know. Preachers Bobs all across America will buy the latest SI swimsuit issue so they can gather “information” for next Sunday’s sermon on the LGBTQ people. And with only God and Satan listening in, these preachers will lustfully say themselves, “I wonder if she still has a dick”?

Did you, or your father, back in your Evangelical days, subscribe to Sports Illustrated?  How was the Swimsuit Issue “problem” handled? Did your pastors preach sermons about the Swimsuit Issue? Do you know of anyone who committed adultery or fornication after perusing its pages? Do you know of anyone who, after viewing the scantily clad models, turned to pornography? (You know, the Swimsuit Issue acting as a gateway drug of sorts.) Please leave your thoughts in the comment section.


Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

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.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Evangelical Pastor Steven Lee Preaches Anti-Porn Hysteria


We are living in an increasingly pornographic age. The widespread accessibility of porn and the ability to be seemingly incognito leads to private addiction, marital destruction, and sexual abuse, all of it driving the horrific industry of sex trafficking. We know that pornography is damaging marriages, children, and churches. Statistics and anecdotes reveal the devastation. The connection with sexual exploitation and sex slavery is increasingly clear. The harm done to one’s community and spiritual life, while often subtle initially, is immeasurable over time.

And our society cheers us on in the gluttonous satisfaction of lust. Sexual immorality is repackaged as self-expression, liberation, and sexual enlightenment. Pornography is “normal,” and holiness is old-fashioned or even legalistic. Unfortunately, as prevalent as this poison is, pornography still isn’t talked about much in many of our churches [no, but it sure is watched].

— Steven Lee, Pastor of Preaching & Vision of the North Campus of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Desiring God, Anti-Porn is Not Enough, June 10, 2021

Defiance City Schools Blocks Student Access to This Site

defiance city schools

It has been brought to my attention that the Defiance City Schools is blocking student access to this site. Several of my grandchildren attend Defiance schools. On the one hand, I find this fact hilarious. However, this site is being blocked as a porn site — which it most certainly is not. Either their filtering algorithm is wrong, or someone at the school has blacklisted this site. It is possible, I suppose, that the Black Collar Crime series is triggering a block, but why not block just those pages instead of the whole site? I am the only public atheist in this area, so I do, at times, wonder if I am being deliberately censored for my lack of belief. I recently tried to join the Current Events in Defiance, Ohio Facebook group. My request was rejected, and a message asking why went unanswered. Again, I wonder, why? The same goes for email letters to the editor of the Defiance Crescent-News disappearing or anniversary announcements (twice) not making it in the paper. I get it. I am an odd duck, a black swan in the midst of a bevy of white swans. However, I am also a loving, kind, decent, thoughtful human being. Regardless of my religious and political beliefs, I do what I can to be a good father, husband, and grandfather. When my children or grandchildren hear my name mentioned at Northwest Community StateCollege, at their public schools, or at work, I want them to be proud to be related to me — even if they disagree with my beliefs. (My children have been accosted at college and their places of employment by people demanding they defend something I have written. Small town, country life. I tell them that it is okay to say they don’t know me, but so far, my children have not done so. They must be hoping for a big inheritance after I die.) 🙂

I called my oldest son about Defiance City Schools’ block. I told him, “I hope your kids know Grandpa doesn’t run a porn site!” He laughed and said, “They do.” I don’t care what others think about me (okay, maybe I do a little bit), but I do want my children and grandchildren to think well of me. It matters. Someday, I will be ashes floating on the water of Lake Michigan, sinking into the deep to be seen no more. This blog will remain my testimony to the world (as long as Polly keeps paying the hosting fees). As my grandchildren get older, they will naturally be curious about their grandfather’s writing. As has been the case for my older grandchildren, my younger grandchildren will one day do a web search on my name and discover this site. Years ago, one of my granddaughters told me, “Hey Grandpa, I found your blog today!” That’s all she said, but she had THAT look on her face; you know the one that says, “I know your secrets.” 🙂 And that’s okay. I don’t talk politics or religion with my grandchildren unless they ask me a question or join a discussion I’m having with one of their parents. I am content to let curiosity kill the proverbial cat.

I emailed Aaron Eckhart, the technology coordinator for Defiance City Schools, the link for this post. I will update this article if and when I hear from him.


Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

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.

Short Stories: The Preacher Goes to the XXX Movie House


I grew up in rural Northwest Ohio. We didn’t have XXX movie houses or strip clubs. In Bryan, Ohio, only two establishments sold adult magazines. I was nineteen and a student at Midwestern Baptist College before I perused my first pornographic magazine. I suspect many of the young men studying at Midwestern had similar experiences. Our rural, small-town cultures sheltered us from the perversity found in big cities, as did the hellfire and brimstone preaching of the churches we came from. Sexual naïveté ran wild at Midwestern, and the college’s answer was to regularly preach against sexual sin, hoping that doing so would keep students from sexual temptation.

Pontiac, Michigan was a dirty, dying industrial town. Its downtown area had numerous adult entertainment establishments, including a XXX movie house that played the latest pornographic movies and hosted amateur night stripper contests. It was not uncommon to see a dozen or more prostitutes plying their trade on downtown Pontiac street corners. One woman who comes to mind was a rather large woman with huge DDDDDDDD breasts. She would briskly walk the streets braless, breasts bouncing chin to belly button. It was quite a sight to behold.

As you might surmise, downtown Pontiac was a magnet for young, virile, horny Baptist boys. The personal contact rules (please see Thou Shalt Not Touch: The Six-Inch Rule) at Midwestern forbade physical contact between dating couples. No hand-holding. No kissing. No hugging. No nothing. Students were required to stay six inches away from their boyfriends/girlfriends at all times. Of course, students broke the six-inch rule with impunity, causing all sorts of guilt and fear. The good news was that Jesus was only a prayer away. That’s the Baptist way: sin, ask for forgiveness, promise never to sin again — wash, rinse, repeat. It’s a great way to live.

One night, after much prayer and temptation, I decided to check out the fine art films at the XXX movie house. I parked away from the theater, thinking that if anyone who knew me drove by, they wouldn’t see my car. As I walked from my car to the movie house, I could “feel” the “Holy Spirit” telling me, Don’t do it, Bruce. God says it’s a sin. The Bible says it’s a sin. Your pastor says it’s a sin. Your dorm supervisor says it’s a sin. Your preschool Sunday School teacher says it’s a sin. All these voices in my head, but one voice stood above all others — mine. I wanted to do this. I was curious about what was behind the theater’s doors. And so I made my way to the theater’s entrance, paid my admission, and found a seat at the back of the theater.

The first act of the night was an amateur stripping contest. Local young women — some of them prostitutes — stripped and paraded back and forth on the stage. This was the first time I had ever seen a woman naked. I battled conflicting emotions. On one hand, I felt guilty. I was breaking the law of God, and I was violating college rules. On the other hand, I felt excitement — sexual excitement. It was my first time seeing a woman’s body in all its glory — as naked as Eve in the Garden of Eden. What more can I say? After all of the women had performed, judges determined the first, second, and third place winners. The winners were given cash prizes.

Then it was time for the feature film. As with the amateur contest, the movie definitely exposed me to sexual things I had never seen before. Needless to say, I was fascinated by what I saw. I am sure some readers of the Evangelical persuasion are thinking, Oh my God Bruce, you were taken in by Satan’s greatest temptation — lust. I bet you couldn’t keep from doing this again, right? Sorry to disappoint you. This was my first and last trip to the XXX movie house in downtown Pontiac. I would later marry a beautiful dark-haired girl who was a wonder to behold in her own right. Why look from afar when you can see, touch, and well, you know . . .

The highlight of the evening came not on the stage, but as I was leaving the theater. As I exited and turned my head to the right I saw, much to my surprise, a graduate of Midwestern and deacon at Emmanuel Baptist Church (the church college students were required to attend). Our eyes met, and then both of us quickly turned away, pretending that we had never seen the other. This man and his wife were good friends of Polly’s parents. When their names came up in family discussions years later, I so wanted to say . . . boy do I have a story to tell!


Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

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.

Black Collar Crime: United Methodist Pastor John Hackmann Accused of Soliciting Child Pornography

pastor john hackmann

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

John Hackmann, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Marion, Illinois stands accused of soliciting child pornography.

KFVS-12 reports:

Reverend John S. Hackmann, Jr., 45, was charged with child pornography and intimidation.

The Williamson County sheriff said on Monday he had bonded out of the Williamson County Jail.

According to the State’s Attorney’s Office, Hackmann’s preliminary hearing was set for Nov. 19.

Court documents state Hackmann solicited a teen to get lewd photos of female friends that are her age. He’s accused of threatening to show the teen’s mother a private video of her and boyfriend.

Frank J. Beard, Bishop of the Illinois Area, The United Methodist Church, released the following statement:

Conference leadership has been notified of the arrest Thursday by Williamson County authorities of the Rev. John S. Hackmann II, 45, pastor of Marion First UMC.

In the best interest of all concerned, Rev. Hackmann has been temporarily relieved of his pastoral duties while an inquiry is made into the circumstances which led to the arrest.

An interim pastor will be assigned to serve Marion First during this time. It is our intention to cooperate with the criminal investigation as it unfolds.

The judgment of guilt or innocence regarding the criminal charges will come through that process. Our responsibility is to care for the welfare of the people involved and of the Church.

Please join us in prayer for Rev. Hackmann, his family, all parties involved and this congregation as we move forward guided by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

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Christians Say the Darnedest Things:Neil Kennedy Blames Women for the Sexual Peccadilloes of Men

neil kennedy

Evangelical Neil Kennedy recently wrote an article about how men can can keep themselves pure. While Kennedy says that men are culpable for their sexual peccadilloes, it’s clear from his article that he places most of the blame on women. After all, women are predators out to destroy men.

Kennedy wrote:

When societies lose the directional parameters of purpose, they cast off all restraint. The 1960s sexual revolution ushered in a degrading of America’s young people. Now, the first generation of men who grew up with unlimited access to pornography are suffering unexpected collateral damage—porn-induced erectile dysfunction (PIED).


With unrestrained access to pornography, and semi-pornographic images blasted at us daily, how can a man keep himself pure? What’s the answer? Do we put the burden on women? Cover them head to toe in black sheets? Vail their eyes?


Solomon, a man who knew women far better than most, gives us powerful principles for keeping one’s self pure:

  • Pay attention to wisdom (Proverbs 7:1-5). Wisdom is like a sister that gives you insider information about women. She says, “Listen, I’ll protect you from an affair with an immoral woman and her deceptive flattery.”
  • Keep your distance from seductive women (Proverbs 7:6-8). Sin requires proximity. Create boundaries.
  • Don’t give an ear to seductive words (Proverbs 7:5) Don’t allow a woman to whisper in your ear.
  • Go home after work (Proverbs 7:9). Men make bad decisions when they don’t have direction.
  • Bounce your eyes from the brazen look (Proverbs 7:13). Follow the example of Job. Make a covenant, a spiritual promise, with your eyes to not look lustfully. We’ve all seen the guy who looks googly-eyed at a woman. Imagine if you saw a man looking that way at your wife or daughter. Don’t be that guy!
  • Know the difference between lust and love (Proverbs 7:23). Lust is manic, obsessive, and uncontrolled desire to take something or someone. Lust takes while love gives. God is love—God is Holy; therefore, love must be holy. Contrary to popular culture, love is confined to righteousness established by God.
  • Honor another man’s wife (Proverbs 7:19). We should practice a man-code. Job recognized that looking upon a woman lustfully opened the door for his wife to serve another man (Job 31:10).
  • Don’t be persuaded (Proverbs 7:21). Seduction comes from flattery. Flattery is a type of witchcraft. It’s a manipulation by deception.
  • Understand that impurity is a trap (Proverbs 7:22). Men often say, “I’m a grown man, I am free to do what I want.” In reality, sexual sin is addictive and is a trap that enslaves men.
  • Remember that the immoral woman will embarrass you (Proverbs 7:26). You will be victimized. You’re better than sexual sin. Your purpose is greater than fantasies.
  • Consider that the immoral woman will escort you to your death (Proverbs 7:27). There’s nothing to gain in your life in the secret chambers of porn.

Watch out for those Jezebels, men. They are out to get you!

Black Collar Crime: IFB Pastor Thomas Griffin Leaves His Wife’s Alleged Crimes in the Lord’s Hands

shannon griffin

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

(Please see Black Collar Crime: IFB School Teacher Shannon Griffin Charged with Sexual Assault)

Yesterday, I posted a story about alleged sexual crimes of Shannon Griffin, an IFB pastor’s wife and a kindergarten teacher at Jordan Baptist School in Burbank, Illinois. Today, the Chicago Tribune reported an alleged conversation between Shannon Griffin’s husband, Thomas, and a church member by the name of Mike Mollo:

Parents at the school said they sent their children to the private school because they trusted the Griffins. Now they are feeling betrayed.

“He said, ‘Dad, you got to see this,’” parent Mike Mollo said. “He pulls his phone out, and it’s a bunch of pornographic videos of her doing things to herself.”

Mollo’s two children went to the school, and his family belonged to the church.

“The second I saw that video, the very next day, I pulled my kids out of that school, and we stopped going to church there immediately,” he said.

He said explicit images of Griffin began circulating among students. Photos were provided to CBS 2 by an adult.

Mollo said he went to police and confronted his pastor, Griffin’s husband.

“I called the pastor, and I said to him, ‘You better get in front of this.’ I said, ‘All these kids are passing videos around of your wife.’ And he said, ‘It’s not my wife. It’s not her. We’re just going to pray about it. Let the lord take care of us,’” Mollo said.

Mollo said he feels beyond betrayed by what happened.

“You pay that kind of money to send your kids to a school to where you can trust these people, and they go and do this?” he said. “Betrayed is an understatement. Violated, betrayed, angry. There’s no words to describe what I was feeling.”

Note carefully Thomas Griffin’s response to Mollo:  “It’s not my wife. It’s not her. We’re just going to pray about it. Let the Lord take care of us.”

First, Pastor Griffin lied. He and his wife have been married for twenty-eight years. I am sure, by now, he knows what his wife looks like naked, and otherwise.

Second, clergy in the state of Illinois are mandated reporters, as are school teachers. Pastor Griffin was legally obligated to immediately report his wife to law enforcement. So were any school officials who heard rumors or knew about Shannon Griffin’s sexual misconduct. Sometimes, doing the right thing is hard, but Pastor Griffin had a duty to protect church and school children from his wife’s predatory behavior.

Third, it is absurd that Pastor Griffin, instead of doing what was legally and morally required of him, wanted to pray about the matter and leave it in the Lord’s hands. This is exactly what more than a few IFB preachers are known for: covering up criminal behavior. Griffin is a graduate of the late Jack Hyles’ college, Hyles-Anderson College. I can’t help but see a connection between Pastor Griffin’s response and the pernicious teachings of Hyles.

Pastor Griffin just wants to put his wife’s misconduct in the Lord’s hands. Sadly, Jesus has never, ever called law enforcement to report one of his children. Instead, he forgives their “sin” and wipes their slate clean. This is why sexual abuse allegations CANNOT be left in the hands of pastors and churches to investigate and control. In IFB churches, in particular, protecting the testimony of the church is far more important than protecting and caring for those who have been victimized by pastors and congregants alike. Cover-ups abound.

Fourth, how is it that Pastor Griffin has not, at the very least, been suspended or put on leave? His comments reveal that he does not have the best interests of the church and the school at heart. (And at some level, I understand his desire to protect his wife and their three children.) According to several news reports, Shannon Griffin was doing at least some of the things she is accused of for six years! Six years! Jordan Baptist Church is not a huge church, attendance-wise, and the school only had a hundred or so students. I find it hard to believe that no one heard any rumors about Mrs. Griffin’s alleged criminal behavior over the past six years.

It will be interesting to see how this story plays out. The overwhelming majority of Black Collar Crimes series stories feature male perpetrators. When it comes to female wrongdoers, there’s often a double standard. An adult male teacher has sex with a teenage student and it’s rape. Let a female teacher do the same with a teen boy, and it is considered every boys’ wet dream.

Bruce Gerencser