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Tag: Social Media

I Am No Longer on Social Media

social media

I recently closed all my social media accounts. This will allow me to focus my attention on this site instead of dealing with multiple streams of comments and messages. If people want to comment on something I have written, they will have to do so here. Further, if people want to email me, they will have to do so through the Contact Form. My health continues to be the tail that wags the dog, so I’m being increasingly forced to focus on essentials, cutting out superfluous services and activities.

Thank you for your understanding.

Let me conclude this post with a bit of stupidity from Evangelical Christian John Fanortney (likely a fake name). You can read my previous post about Fanortney here.

john fanortney (1)
john fanortney (2)
john fanortney (3)
john fanortney (4)

Fanortney posted his last comment hours after I closed my YouTube account. If you close your YouTube account, your comments are deleted. Instead of recognizing and understanding this, Little Lord John Fanortney thinks I deleted my comments due to his withering exposure of my inconsistencies and leftist ideas. Sure, Johnny boy, sure. 🙂

bruce-gerencser-headshot

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.

Armchair Evangelical Psychologists

armchair psychology

When I started blogging in 2007, I made the decision to use my real name as I attempted to tell my story. I also decided that I would not protect the guilty. Since Evangelical churches, pastors, parachurch groups and the college I attended are a part of my storyline, I decided their names should be part of my story. Doing this has upset a lot of people, especially when a web search for their name, church, or group brings up my blog on the first page.

If you take time to search for websites mentioning my name, you will find sites with articles deconstructing my life. You will also find my name and articles mentioned on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Free Jinger, Reddit, and a number of public/private sites.

Since I write using my real name, and I am the only Bruce Gerencser in the world, it is not hard to find a wealth of information, positive and negative. I knew when I started blogging that I would open myself up to intense scrutiny. I knew that people would lie about me, distort my story, and try to besmirch my character. This is the price I pay for being a public figure.

Those of you who have read this blog for years know I stopped blogging several times when the emotional and mental stress became too much. (That I have been blogging now for six years straight is nothing short of a miracle.) What changed? Thanks to me seeing a counselor on a regular basis, I have learned to handle the stress that comes from having a public blog that is widely read. This doesn’t mean that I plan on blogging until Jesus comes again, but I hope I have enough mental and emotional wherewithal to withstand the pressures that come my way. If anything puts an end to my writing career it will be chronic illness and unrelenting pain. Recent health circumstances have had me circling the proverbial blogging drain, but, so far, I have been able to find the stopper, keeping me from disappearing. No promises, but I live for another day.

Several years ago, a man by the name of Steve Ransom sent me an email that I shared with readers in a post titled Steve Ransom Lays Down a Challenge to Bruce and His Fellow Atheists. He purported to have a new argument that he was sure would set me back on the right path to God. All he really had was a deconstruction of my life, and how I had followed a false God. There was a time such a deconstruction would cause me mental and emotional angst. Not anymore.

When I started blogging, I thought if I just told my story people would understand, even if they disagreed with me. I thought if I just explained myself, that my critics would at least understand my viewpoint. I know, I know, quite naïve of me.

This subject came up one day during counseling. I expressed my dismay over Evangelicals not being willing to accept my explanation of my life. Who knows my life better than me, right? My counselor told me:

Bruce, you think they care what you think? They don’t give a shit about what you think.

And he is right. I know that those who tear into my life aren’t interested in anything I have to say. They have read a handful of posts, maybe even twenty-five or thirty, and they are now ready to render judgment, and render they do. It’s happened countless times over the years, and it will happen in future. Evangelicals can’t help themselves, so I let them have one opportunity to say whatever is on their mind. One comment, that’s it. Then it is time for them to move on.

There was a time when I engaged every Evangelical commenter. I thought if I just explained myself, they would understand. I now know better. Now that I know they don’t give a shit, neither do I.

Of particular note are Evangelical critics who think they have me figured out psychologically. Instead of accepting at face value my explanation for why I left the ministry and left Christianity, they delve into what they believe are the psychological reasons for my divorce from Jesus and my abandonment of the church. According to them, I abandoned all I loved and held dear because I was angry, bitter, jaded, hated God, ad infinitum. Instead of accepting at face value what I say about my Evangelical past, these critics, use a nit comb to go through my life, looking for the “real” reason I am an atheist today. 

I used to try to answer such people, but after years of doing so, I decided to leave them to their own devices. I know that nothing I say will change their minds, so why bother, right? Such people are not my target audience, so why give one moment of my time to them. I remain committed to helping those who have doubts about Christianity and those who have left the faith. They are my church, not those who sit in the back pews throwing horse shit at me as I share my life’s story.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

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.

This Week With Christians on Social Media

social media

Guest post by ObstacleChick

I didn’t even make it through a week before finding a lot of really good Jesus-ified quotes. My personal favorites are the pumpkin quote and the one in which the writer believes that Jesus/God prevented all sorts of awful atrocities before they happened. Let me know your favorites and your thoughts in the comments!

“Have you prayed about it as much as you’ve talked about it?”

OC: Can Christians stop talking about praying? Why can’t they just go pray in private? That’s what Jesus would do . . . he even said so.

Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin. God picks you from the patch and brings you in (John 15:16). Then washes all the dirt off of you. (2 Corinthians 5:17). He opens you up and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, and greed, etc. (Romans 6:6). Then he carves you a new smiling face (Psalm 71:23). And he puts his light inside you to shine for all the world to see (Matthew 5:16).”

OC: . . . And when Halloween is over, you sit on the front porch and rot until someone throws you in the garbage.

“You don’t have to please others. Just do what God wants you to do, because at the end of the day, it is only He who can satisfy your heart. Not the approval or applause of other people.”

OC: I kind of like it when other people applaud. . . and I haven’t heard God applaud. He’s pretty silent. Silent God.

“He who counts the stars and calls them by their names is in no danger of forgetting his own children.” – Charles Spurgeon

OC: Nah, he doesn’t forget him, he just lets awful things happen to them.

“Trust me, I know what I’m doing — God”

OC: God, you sure have a terrible way of showing it — hurricanes, cancer, children being abused, accidents that you could have prevented . . .

“When you pray be sure that you also listen. You have things you want to say to God. But He also has things He wants to say to you.”

OC: He needs to speak up — I never could hear him. Maybe he should have sent me an email.

“I believe the time is coming when we will not be able to take our Christianity as casually as we do now.” – A.W. Tozer

OC: I wish they’d all take it so casually that it would just go away. . .

“Have you ever stopped and wondered what God has done in your life that you aren’t even aware of? Maybe He healed you before you even knew you were sick. Perhaps He saved you from a fatal car crash that never happened. I have felt like God has protected me more times than I count, so I can only imagine how many times He has rescued me when I was unaware that I was even in danger. Take a moment to thank God for protecting you. He is always watching over you and He’s there for you even when you don’t realize it. What an awesome God we serve!”

OC: And your evidence that these sicknesses or illnesses that almost happened but didn’t happen because GOD intervened is what? That’s like me saying, oh, I almost won the lottery but then I didn’t because of the devil. Or sin. Or something.

“Simply believing in the existence of God is not exactly what I would call a commitment. After all, even the devil believes that God exists! Believing has to change the way we live.”

OC: Well, I’m an atheist and I don’t believe in the existence of either God or the devil. But just for the sake of argument – what is it about the existence of God that would provoke me to change the way I live? Fear of retribution? And you think that’s a good motivation?

“Dear God, please: 
Teach me.
Keep me.
Hold me.
Help me.
I want to be better than I was yesterday. 
Tomorrow is a new day! Repent and get closer to Jesus!”

OC: If I have a goal I want to achieve, I design or find a plan that lays out the steps I need to do in order to reach that goal. Reaching the goal is not always guaranteed, but the process of completing each step helps me to gain the skills or knowledge necessary to potentially reaching a goal. Never have I achieved a goal by sitting back, repenting to God/Jesus, and asking him/them to do all the work.

This Week With Christians on Social Media

social media

Guest post by ObstacleChick

Here are some fun religious quotes I found this week from my acquaintances on social media.

“When it’s not in God’s time, you can’t force it. When it is God’s time, you can’t stop it.”

OC: I recall that the Bible says that with God, a day is as 1,000 years and 1,000 years is as a day. I’m supposed to hang around for 1,000 years to see which it is? Wouldn’t it make sense if I took some action on my own?

“We must stop compromising the word of God to appease men, and begin guarding what was entrusted to us. Which is the absolute and infallible truth of God. – Adam Cappa”

OC: Because it’s just SOOOOOOO clear in the Bible what is the infallible truth of God.

“Be patient, everything is coming together – God”

OC: Another exhortation for me to hang around for a day or 1,000 years or whatever . . .

“Dear Jesus, help me to surrender my anxiety today, to quiet my mind and stop striving, so that I may see that You are God. Thank You!”

OC: Because seeing God is way better than seeing a therapist and taking Prozac.

“Trust Jesus when everybody seems to be getting a miracle but you. When you feel forsaken and yet remain faithful, you are the miracle. — Beth Moore, The Quest”

OC: Yet another exhortation to do more Jesusing for a day or 1,000 years instead of actually making a plan and taking action.

“If you want God to close and open the doors, let go of the door knob. — TobyMac”

OC: I’m seeing a trend among these quotes . . . sit back and don’t do jack.

“He turns coal into diamonds, sand into pearls, worms into butterflies. He can turn your life around too. — TobyMac”

OC: Translation: we humans are lesser, yuckier things that need Jesus to make us into something better.

“One day there will be no going back to life as usual. One day there will be no more night and no more dying of any kind. The sea and the grave, death and Hades will have given up their dead and the righteous Judge will have assigned final destinies (Rev. 20:11-15). When that eternal day comes I suspect we who were saved from our sins by the blood of Christ will ponder this life and wonder how we ever really called it ‘being alive.’ — Beth Moore, The Quest”

OC: What she really wants to say is that all the SAVED will be partying it up in heaven and saying na-na-na-na-boo-boo to all the unsaved who are suffering eternal torture in HELL for not believing the correct doctrines.

“There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain that binds you!”

OC: Or you could just hit the weight room a little more often. . .

“Stop listening to every dysfunctional thought and tell your mind to align with the word of God.”

OC: Because there isn’t anything dysfunctional in the Bible, the Word of God, no-sir-ee Bob!

This Week With Christians on Social Media

social media

Guest post by ObstacleChick

Here is a sampling of some of the posts I have seen this week from Christians on social media. Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments!

“If God could close the lions’ mouth for Daniel, part the red sea for Moses, make the sun stand still for Joshua, open the prison for Peter, put a baby in Sarah’s arm and raise Lazarus from the dead, then He can certainly take care of you. Have faith in Him.”

OC: You do realize those are myths, right?

“God is still trying to write your story. Quit trying to steal the pen.”

OC: Yeah, because I totally want an invisible deity to make decisions for me.

“God has a reason for allowing things to happen. We may never understand His wisdom, but we simply have to trust His will.”

OC: I don’t have to.

“The motto ‘Be yourself’ has become Satan’s counterfeit to God’s ‘Be holy as I am holy’.”

OC: If by “holy,” you mean that I get mad and order my followers to kill all the people in a land I don’t like and steal their virgins as wives, or to smash infants against rocks because I don’t like the people in that land, or that I send she-bears to kill some children who taunted my favorite prophet, I think I would rather pass on holiness and be myself. I don’t do those things.

“God will put you in positions you didn’t even apply for.”

OC: God, the original abuser, leading clergy by example.

“I have learned that spiritual discontentment is a gift from God. When God is leading you somewhere different or changing you…He puts this thing in our hearts that force us to get quiet before Him so that we can hear the next steps. It makes you want to do whatever it takes to get to that next place as He is moving & stirring your heart. It makes you adjust locations, friendships, relationships, jobs & churches. Don’t be scared of this tugging because God is LEADING your life. You’re in the most beautifully uncomfortable place. Flow with Him. – Heather Lindsey”

OC: Or it could just be heartburn and you need to take some Alka-Seltzer.

“I want to take time today to thank God for all that He has done for me. He sent the rain for dry thirsty land. He sent the grain to feed hungry man. He sent the birds to sing in the tree. But when he sent JESUS he sent him for ME.”

OC: Because I need me some JESUS in my life!

“In a world where right is wrong and wrong is right, we can run to the Bible whenever we’re unsure what to think or do.”

OC: Because the Bible is so incredibly clear in its message and has no contradictions whatsoever.

“Faith means obeying God, even when all my questions aren’t answered.”

OC: Because nothing makes more sense than going into a situation without having answers, facts, or data.

“Life is fragile, handle with prayer.”

OC: Because handling with care is inferior to handling with prayer.

This Week With Christians on Social Media

social media

Guest post by ObstacleChick

Most of the time when I check my social media accounts, I can be sure to find at least one post by fundamentalist evangelical Christians that either elicits an eye roll or a chuckle from me. Here are some good ones from this week, along with my comments.

“To pray ‘Thy Will be done’ I must be willing, if the answer requires it, that my will be undone.” – Elisabeth Elliot

OC: Bruce has written quite a few posts concerning Christians’ interpretation of the answers to prayer. If one prays for something that doesn’t happen, then the Christian says, “It wasn’t God’s Will.” If one prays for direction between option A and option B, the Christian usually just chooses what he or she wants to do. If it works out, then Yay! the Christian successfully understood God’s Will. If it doesn’t work out, then it was a “lesson from God”.

“Don’t worry. God’s never blind to your tears, never deaf to your prayers, and never silent to your pain. He sees, he hears, and he will deliver.”

OC: Yeah, that’s what makes him such a jerk – he sees and hears but he doesn’t actually deliver . . . just ask all the victims of every natural disaster EVER. Oh, yeah, the “God’s Will” thing again . . . it’s a mystery, isn’t it?

“Christ offends men because his gospel is intolerant of sin.” – Charles Spurgeon

OC: Judgmental blowhards like Charles Spurgeon and name-your-favorite-evangelical-pastor offend me with their incessant talk of sin, hell, and damnation for everyone whose interpretation of the gospel doesn’t match theirs. They offend me with their assumption that everyone is filthy and pure evil until they say the magic words and *poof!* Jesus makes it all better. They offend me by offering me a “choice” between saying the magic words to become a slave to Jesus but escaping the eternal flames of hell, or not saying the magic words and facing an eternity of torture – just for existing. They offend me with their insistence that I must vote a certain way, dress a certain way, act a certain way, give money a certain way – THEIR way.

“We are sent to bless the world, but we are never told to compromise with it.” – A. W. Tozer

OC: Because Jesus needs SOMEBODY to be judgmental and to fight the culture wars. Omnipotence only goes so far with the Trinity . . .

“Drunk Lot impregnated his daughter, who bore Moab, whence came Ruth, the great-grandmother of David. Christ’s own bloodline preaches his will to save even the most messed up of families.” – Chad Bird

OC: I’ll let you guys comment on this one . . .

“Parents who know how to repent in front of their kids give them a greater gift than a Harvard education.” – Scotty Smith

OC: I’d rather have the Harvard education instead of watching my parents pray to Jesus and consider themselves (and me) worms all the time. But that’s just me, and education is what led me down the road to atheism, so there is that.

“When you realize God’s purpose for your life isn’t just about you, He will use you in a mighty way.” – Dr. Tony Evans

OC: I like to be able to make my own choices, to choose my own purpose, to have autonomy as much as possible in my life. It’s worked out pretty well so far. I guess I could just sit here and let God repurpose me. Nah . . .

“Pray, then let it go. Don’t try and manipulate or force the outcome. Just trust God to open the right doors at the right time. Amen.”

OC: The principal of our local high school tells the students every day to CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL. The point is to teach students to assess which aspects of a situation are in their control and which aspects are out of their control. Then students are encouraged to act on the aspects that are in their control. Sitting around and waiting for an invisible and silent deity to manage a situation is poor advice.

What Christian messages have you seen on social media this week? Please share with us in the comments!

This Week With Christians On Social Media

social media

Guest post by ObstacleChick

Here is a sampling of some of the posts I have seen this week from Christians on social media. Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments!

“If you neglect to instruct (your children) in the way of holiness, will the devil neglect to instruct them in the way of wickedness? No; but if you will not teach them to pray, he will curse, swear, and lie; if ground be uncultivated, weeds will spring.” John Flavel

(OC: While it is true that it is our parental duty to teach our children so that they can grow up to be self-sufficient law-abiding citizens, there isn’t a “devil” going around trying to teach our kids to be evil.)

“The gospel is simple to understand:
1) Jesus died on a cross
2) Jesus was buried
3) Jesus rose on the 3rd day
4) Jesus saves man from their sin
5) You must be born again
That is a simple gospel, now let’s tell it to the world!”

(OC: This simplification of the gospel message still makes absolutely no sense. Honestly, what came to light for me was that without the fear of hell part, I read it and thought, um, OK, whatever. Just because you tell me I just be “born again” without any explanation of what that means or why, I just think you sound nutty.)

“Prayer is the most important conversation in your day. Talk to God before you talk to anyone else.”

(OC: Yeah, it’s totally more important for me to talk silently in my head at the ceiling before communicating with real live human beings who are important in my life. Now, if Christians are using this as their version of reminding themselves not to be assholes first thing in the morning, maybe that’s OK.)

“Beautiful Jesus, thank you for taking my place.”

(OC: Jesus, your Dad condemned all humanity to suffer eternity in hell because supposedly a couple of ancestors 500 generations ago ate a piece of fruit. So your Dad had to morph himself into you so you/he could be killed and fake-die because you/he can’t really die being immortal, and if I believe the right way about you/him I won’t spend eternity in hell because of mad Dad.)

“What God knows about us is more important than what others think.” Tim Tebow

(OC: So that’s why, Tim, you had to make a big freakin’ deal about kneeling at your NFL games? Because God was too dumb to know anything about you otherwise?)

“Do you know that nothing you do in this life will even matter unless it is about loving God and loving the people he has made?” Francis Chan

(OC: I wish more Trump-loving evangelical Christians realized that they needed to love people – and to show their love for people through assisting the less fortunate – rather than trying to legislate their ideas of morality on the rest of the nation.)

“Faith is not about everything turning out okay. Faith is about being okay no matter how things turn out.”

(OC: While there are times we need to accept what we cannot control, there are other times when we can control outcomes if we take certain actions. Just sitting around passively taking whatever happens in life is not a good way to live.)

Bruce Gerencser