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Want to Share Your Thoughts on Donald Trump, Brett Kavanaugh, or #metoo?

your story matters

Are you angry over how Donald Trump treats women and how he denigrates them publicly? Do you have passionate opinions about the sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump or Brett Kavanaugh? Do you support the #metoo movement? Do you have a personal story to share about being sexually abused, raped, or sexually harassed? Are you appalled by Evangelical support for President Trump, Brett Kavanaugh, and the idea that what happened in high school — even sexual assault — shouldn’t disqualify a man from public office? Are you sickened by how Evangelicals abandoned any sense of moral authority, choosing instead to be shills for the Republican Party? If so, I want to hear from you.

If you are a woman and have something you want or need to say on these matters, I want to extend to you an invitation to write a guest post (or multiple posts) for this site. I think it is important for readers to hear from women on these issues. Guest posts can be any length, and can either be written anonymously or under your own name. If you are interested in writing a post but fear your writing/English skills are lacking, please don’t let that hinder your participation.  I have a first-rate editor who will edit your post, making sure the grammar and structure is correct. Your point of view will not be changed in any way. My editor is a progressive woman, so you can rest assure that she will do all she can to help you.  You may have noticed frequent guest posts by ObstacleChick.  OC is also a woman. Her recent letter to Evangelical women was posted as written with only a few minor grammatical corrections. She will tell you that I don’t alter content. It’s your story, and I want to provide a forum for you to tell it. You don’t have to be an atheist or agree with me to write a guest post.

Interested? Please email me expressing your interest via the Contact Form. I will then provide you with my private email address to which you can send me your post. All correspondence between us will be held in the strictest of confidence.

Thank you!

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Questions: Bruce, What Was Your View on the King James Bible?

questions

I recently asked readers to submit questions to me they would like me to answer. If you would like to submit a question, please follow the instructions listed here.

Richard asked: During your time in in the IFB what was your particular view on the KJV? Did you change this view prior to leaving Christianity?

I grew up in Baptist churches that only used the King James Bible. These churches weren’t King James-only per se. It just that the King James was the only Bible version these churches used. I don’t remember ever hearing a sermon on why church members should only use the KJV. This all changed with the publishing of the New International Version (NIV) in 1978 and the New King James Version (NKJV) in 1982. This forced Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches and pastors, along with IFB college and seminaries, to stake out positions on English Bible translations. The college I attended in the 1970s, Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan, was decidedly King James-only. Professors and students were required to use only the KJV, and chapel speakers were required to do the same. Using a different translation was grounds for immediate expulsion. At the same time, however, the KJV extremism of Peter Ruckman was also banned, I suspect out of trying to avoid the infighting that Ruckmanism tended to foment. (Please read Questions: Bruce, In Your IFB Days Did You Encounter Peter Ruckman?) That said, Ruckman’s teachings found fertile ground in which to grow, and more than a few Midwestern graduates are Ruckmanites. They proudly advertise their beliefs about Bible translations by displaying on their church signs and literature KJV 1611. (Back in the day when Polly and I were looking for a church to attend, we took KJV 1611 on a church sign to mean: Danger! Infected with incurable disease. Do not enter!)

I entered the ministry a defender of the inspiration and inerrancy of the Word of God; “Word of God” being the King James Bible. While I was never a follower of Peter Ruckman — I despised his nasty, vulgar disposition and that of his disciples — I generally believed as he did: that the King James Bible was God’s perfect word for English-speaking people. I wasn’t one to spend much time preaching about Bible translations. Everyone knew that at the churches I pastored we ONLY used the King James Bible.

In the late 1980s, I read several books that called into question my belief that the King James Bible was inerrant. I concluded that no translation was without error, and that inerrancy only applied to the original manuscripts. I took the approach that the KJV was the best and most reliable translation for English-speaking people. I held this position until the late 1990s.

In 1995, I started a non-denominational church, Our Father’s House, in West Unity, Ohio. I would pastor Our Father’s House for seven years. It was here that my theology, politics, and social values began to change. In 2000, I decided to change which Bible translation I used when preaching. I had already been reading other translations in my studies, but using anything but a KJV for preaching was a big deal, at least for me. Congregants? They couldn’t care less. I used the New American Standard Version (NASB) for a year or so, eventually moving to the English Standard Version (ESV). I was still preaching from the ESV when I left Christianity in November 2008. Devotionally, I read Eugene Peterson’s masterful translation, The Message. I found great joy and satisfaction when reading The Message translation. It was a Bible that truly spoke the language of the common man.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve 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. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Questions: Bruce, How Did You Make Your Final Break From Religious Belief?

questions

I recently asked readers to submit questions to me they would like me to answer. If you would like to submit a question, please follow the instructions listed here.

Mary asked: Bruce, how did you make the final break from [religious] belief? I still vacillate quite often and struggle w/the emotional turmoil that follows. thanks for taking time to answer the questions we are posting.

As an Evangelical, I could point to the date, time, and place Jesus saved me. I know when and how I was saved because I was there when it happened. For most of my life, I had what Evangelicals call a know-so salvation. The Apostle Paul had a know-so salvation too. In his letter to a young preacher by the name of Timothy, Paul wrote:

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. (2 Timothy 1:12)

Being a Christian, then, was all about “knowing”; about certainty of belief. The same cannot be said for my current state of unbelief. I have written tens of thousands of words about my deconversion and how I went from a preacher of the gospel to no longer believing the “truths” I once preached. I can point to the date when I attended church for the last time, and I remember the day when I said to myself (and to my wife), “I am no longer a Christian.” I can point to the 2009 letter I wrote to Family, Friends, and Former Parishioners as my equivalent of Martin Luther’s Ninety-five Theses. Yet, I haven’t had what I call a born-again atheist experience, and I don’t know many unbelievers who have.

The path from belief to unbelief is often long, arduous, and littered with stops, reversals, collisions, and a host of other things that complicate deconversion. In my case, I was part of the Christian church for fifty years. I spent twenty-five of those years pastoring Evangelical churches. Days, months, and years were spent devotedly worshiping and serving Jesus Christ. Tens of thousands of hours were given to reading and studying the Bible, reading theological tomes, praying, preaching, teaching, evangelizing the lost, and ministering to the needs of congregants. I was as deeply immersed in Evangelical church life as anyone could be. I was a sot in a religious sense, drinking in all that Christianity had to offer. Becoming an unbeliever, then, required detoxification. My mind was, and still is, filled with knowledge about Christianity, the Bible, and the experiential aspects of faith.

Unbelief is a frontal assault and challenge to a life of religious belief. For decades, I said I believed this or that. I was sure of my beliefs, having no doubt whatsoever that what the Bible said was absolute truth. It was only when I allowed agents of unbelief a seat at the table of my life that I began to have questions and doubts. These honorable, thoughtful voices of doubt and unbelief asked of me what the Devil asked of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Yea hath God said? Answering (and continuing to answer) this question caused doubt and further questions. Questions begat questions, to use King James vernacular. This steady stream of questions ultimately led me to conclude that what Christians believed about the Bible was not true, and that the Christian narrative could not be rationally or intellectually sustained (at least to my satisfaction). I came to see that believing the Biblical story about God and Jesus required faith, a faith I did not have.

So, I can point to the last Sunday in November 2008 as the last time I attended church, but I can’t, even today, say that all vestiges of Christianity are gone from my mind and life. I suspect, thanks to my deep immersion in Christianity, that my life will never be totally and completely free of Christianity. What’s gone, though, is the hold religious belief had on my intellect; on critical thinking skills; on my thought processes. Belief and unbelief are more like two ships passing in the night. The farther I journey away from belief, the more comfortable I am with unbelief. Of course, Evangelicals will tell me that what is really happening is that my heart is growing cold and dark and that I am becoming a reprobate — one who passes a line of no return when it comes to the Christian God. I am far enough along in my journey that I can dismiss out of hand all such denunciations as the masturbatory verbalizing of people who can’t figure out my story and fear that they too could lose their faith. Feeling cornered, zealots lash out at Evangelicals-turned-atheists with cheap, shallow, worn-out apologetical arguments or turn to lambasting them in blog posts, forum comments, social media posts, and sermons. None of these things bothers me in the least now. I see such reactions from believers as their attempts to square with their theology how it is possible for such a devoted follower of Christ as myself to totally abandon the beliefs he once held dear. Baptists, in particular, have a big problem with trying to square their soteriological beliefs with my storyline. Finding themselves unable to square things theologically, they conclude, absurdly, that I am either still a Christian or I never was one.

I remember the near-constant emotional turmoil I experienced during the early days of deconversion. Long-held beliefs were demanding attention. Bible verses flooded my mind, reminding me of what happens to those who reject Christ. Christian friends and family members and colleagues in the ministry piled on in their attempts to stop me from sliding further down the proverbial slippery slope. All of these things, along with more late-night wrestlings with doubt than I care to remember, caused quite a bit of emotional upheaval.  But, over time, these things began to fade into landscape in my rear-view mirror. All I can say to Mary is this: be patient. Deconversion takes time. To quote a well-worn cliché, life is a journeynot a destination. The destination for one and all is the same: death. What matters, then, is the path we walk among the living. Here’s the advice I give on my About page:

You have one life. There is no heaven or hell. There is no afterlife. You have one life, it’s yours, and what you do with it is what matters most. Love and forgive those who matter to you and ignore those who add nothing to your life. Life is too short to spend time trying to make nice with those who will never make nice with you. Determine who are the people in your life that matter and give your time and devotion to them. Live each and every day to its fullest. You never know when death might come calling. Don’t waste time trying to be a jack of all trades, master of none. Find one or two things you like to do and do them well. Too many people spend way too much time doing things they will never be good at.

Here’s the conclusion of the matter. It’s your life and you best get to living it. Someday, sooner than you think, it will be over. Don’t let your dying days be ones of regret over what might have been.

I have found that the more I focus on the things mentioned above the less I find myself bothered by doubts and questions about the rightness of my decision to walk away from Christianity. I suspect that I will always have niggling doubts about the matter, but I no longer fear being wrong or worry about eternal damnation. As the old gospel song goes, I have gone too far to turn back now. I have weighed Christianity in the balance and found it lacking in every way. While another deity of some sort may yet appear on the horizon — and when it does I will weigh its claims as I did the claims of Christianity — I am confident that the God I once served is no God at all. Coming to this place took time, so to Mary I say, relax and enjoy the journey. You likely intellectually already know that Christianity (along with other religions) is false. All that remains is for your emotions and psyche to sync with what you know to be true.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve 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. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

“But He’s a Good Person”

brett kavanaugh

Guest post by MJ Lisbeth

During his Senate confirmation hearings, Brett Kavanaugh testified about the good and great things he’s done throughout his life: He has “mentored” many female students; 21 of the 25 clerks he hired while a US attorney were women. Why, he even coaches his daughters’ basketball team!

I have no reason to doubt that he has done whatever he can to offer women opportunities in the law, politics, academia and other areas. I also am willing to believe him when he says he is committed to equality or even when he says he’s tried to live an “exemplary” life.

I would also believe such statements from any number of other men. Moreover, I have known many other men who, throughout their lives, gave of their time and resources to help women, as well as men and children, in any number of ways. In fact, I know of one in particular who gave over his life to helping and guiding other people.

He was a priest in the parish where I grew up. Nearly everyone sang his praises: He was a fixture, not only in the parish, but in the community as a whole.

It seems that at that time, a priest stayed in a parish longer than he stays now: Some priests spent most or all of their careers in the same place, hearing the first confessions, offering the First Holy Communion and confirming young parishioners — and their children — and grandchildren. You would also see them on playgrounds, in nursing homes or walking the streets of the neighborhood. They visited the old and sick, sometimes giving of their meager means to help.

Also, in neighborhoods like the one in which I spent my childhood, priests were the de facto therapists and social workers. Most of the men were blue-collar workers and the women homemakers; many were immigrants and few had more than a high-school education. That meant they couldn’t afford, or didn’t know how to access, therapists, and even if they could or did, they never would trust them, or for that matter, social workers, in the same way they would confide in a priest.

The particular priest I’m thinking of right now did such things, and more.

And he sexually molested me.

Now, anyone who doesn’t know that probably knows only what a “good and Godly” man he was to them. Were I to tell them, then or now, what Father did to me, it probably wouldn’t change their perceptions of him. In fact, some would turn on me — or, for that matter, anyone else who might say that he did to them what he did to me.

(I, of course, have no way of knowing whether he abused any other kids — or assaulted any adults. But, given what we’ve seen, it isn’t hard to imagine, for me anyway, that he did: Sexual predators rarely, if ever, prey on only one person.)

So, even though I thoroughly sympathize with — and believe — Christine Blasey Ford, I understand why other women signed a letter of support for Judge Kavanaugh. Most were his high school friends or classmates and said, in essence, that the young man they knew “would never do anything like that.”

That is how most sexual predators are able to go undetected for decades.  If someone treats you well, you are less likely to think he or she is capable of harming another human being. That is especially true if that someone has some sort of standing in the community — whether through family or professional connections, academic or professional accomplishments or as a spiritual leader.

Brett Kavanaugh may well have been someone who “has always treated women with decency and respect,” as the letter relates. He may also be the rigorous scholar, conscientious teacher, caring mentor, impartial jurist, loving father — and champion of women’s equality – that he proclaimed himself to be.

That is, he might be all of those things — to people not named Christine Blasey Ford. Or Deborah Ramirez. Just as the priest in my parish was a godly, saintly man to many people in my community — but not to me. Or, perhaps to some other kids or, for that matter, adults who have not yet spoken up.

It’s difficult to understand the complexities of the human mind – what makes people “tick,” what goes on inside them. As a result, none of us ever knows what evil lurks in the depths of those we think we know – even those who are “good people.”

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor Nick Arnold Charged With Online Solicitation of a Minor

nick arnold

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.

Nick Arnold, a former youth pastor at Shepherd of The Hills Lutheran Church in San Antonio, Texas, is accused of engaging in sexual conversations with underage girls and and asking them for nude photographs. Shepherd of the Hills is affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod — a Fundamentalist sect.  Arnold was working for ACTS Church Lakeway in Austin, Texas at the time of his arrest. ACTS Church is also affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

News-4 reports:

The arrest affidavit says the inappropriate conversations started more than a year ago.

The victim’s mother discovered the conversations and told police.

An arrest affidavit says Arnold coached at the girl’s school and investigators believe one or both girls attended Arnold’s religion class.

The pastor could not comment on the allegations other than to say he believes they’re an isolated incident. [ your beliefs don’t count for much here]

The letter also states Arnold left the church in June after accepting a job at ACTS Church Lakeway in Austin.

In a statement, the pastor of the church in Austin confirms an employee was arrested by Austin police for charges filed in San Antonio.

The pastor went on to say, “…as soon as we learned of his arrest, his employment was immediately terminated.”

Arnold lives in Austin and is out of jail on a $20,000 bond.

Black Collar Crime: Convicted Child Porn Lover Archie Foster is a Good Christian Man Now

archie foster

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.

Archie Foster, a self-described Evangelical evangelist,  spent thirteen years in prison after pleading guilty to twenty-nine counts of child pornography. He was released from prison last year. Foster, a registered sex offender, now operates a self-defense school that puts him in direct contact with children. According to Foster, “I’m trying to support my family. I’m trying to make a living. I spent 13 years in prison for looking at dirty pictures on the internet. I’ve never victimized anybody.”

Foster’s wife, a co-owner of Foster’s Self-Defense Academy  (a Christian ministry) in Laurel, Mississippi, told reporters that children need not fear her blood-washed, born-again husband:

He never harmed a child nor was accused of it. He WAS a porn addict like many men are and, if were honest, would admit to having had things come into their view they wish they had not seen. He got saved before going to prison and no longer looks at any type of porn and received a doctorate’s degree while in prison.

One man astutely pointed out that most men don’t look at CHILD porn, and that the argument that he didn’t touch any of the children “ignores the direct abuse committed against those kids to create the images for him to look at.” And let’s not forget that for someone to view child porn they have to go looking for it in the dark, shadowy corners of the internet. We are not talking about YouPorn here.  That Foster calls child porn “dirty pictures” reveals that he truly doesn’t get how heinous child porn really is. Worse, Foster doesn’t consider himself a pedophile, saying, “I was a productive member of the community before I offended. I wasn’t a pedophile then. I’m not a pedophile now.” According to Foster’s wife, her husband committed victimless crimes, and that they are now “Paying back is what we’re doing here. We are empowering people. We are giving people who have been abused the courage to leave, the courage to go forth and live their lives.” Man, that’s one big pile of bullshit.

Listen to Foster’s justification of his “ministry.” Be prepared to shovel when you are finished.

Information for this story was pulled from a Mississippi Clarion Ledger feature story by Jerry Mitchell. In the story, Mitchell reveals that churches are often safe havens for registered sex offenders, including those with ministerial aspirations. I encourage you to read the story. Before doing so, make sure you have a barf bag nearby. Trust me, you’ll need it.

Bob the Baptist Says: I Don’t Interpret the Bible, I Just Read It and Believe What it Says

you might be wrong

Countless Evangelicals claim they believe that every word of their inspired, inerrant Bible is absolutely true. In their minds, every word in the sixty-six books of the Protestant Bible is straight from the mouth of God. Thus, when they read the Bible, there’s no need to interpret it. God said it and they believe it! End of discussion.

If this notion is true, why, then, do Evangelical believers have such differing beliefs? Not only do their beliefs conflict with those of non-Evangelical Christians, their “infallible” beliefs are often at odds with the beliefs of their fellow Evangelicals. If there is ONE Lord, ONE Faith, and ONE Baptism, and all believers have God, the Holy Spirit, living inside of them acting as their teacher and guide, why all the differing beliefs? If all one needs to do is to read the Bible to find God’s truth, why do Christians hold a cornucopia of contradictory beliefs?

Suppose, for a minute, that a person living on an island came upon a copy of the Bible. This man has never been exposed to Christianity. He has never heard about the Christian God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit. Would this man naturally come to the same beliefs as Evangelicals? Surely, if all one needs to do is read the wonderful, matchless Holy King James Bible to find God’s truth, shouldn’t this man come to the same conclusions as a Bible college-trained Evangelical preacher?

If all one needs to do is read the Bible to find “truth,” then why the need for pastors, teachers, and Bible college professors? If a man just needs to faithfully and diligently read the Bible to find truth, then why do pastors spend three to seven years in college learning how to properly study and understand the Bible? Why do pastors buy Bible commentaries and other theological books to help them with their studies? In fact, why do pastors preach sermons at all? If the Bible is truth, why not just read the Biblical text to congregants? Straight from God’s mouth to their ears, right?

The fact is, the moment a person starts reading the Bible, he is interpreting the text. There’s no such thing as just reading and believing. The mind of every Bible reader is conditioned by the religious beliefs held by his culture, family, and church. So, when he reads the Bible, he is filtering its words through the beliefs, teachings, dogma, and interpretations of others. There’s no such thing as naked truth, especially when it comes to the Bible. Its text has been interpreted and reinterpreted for thousands of years. What one generation of Christians believed is often not what a different generation believed. Evangelical preachers love to think that their churches are just like the churches of first century Christians. These promulgators of ignorance believe that First Baptist Church in Podunk, Mississippi is exactly the same as the churches founded by the apostles two thousand years ago. To the uninitiated, this kind of thinking sounds absurd, but having grown up in Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches, I can tell you that such thinking is common. IFB preachers love to think that their churches are “old-fashioned” congregations. In their minds, “old-fashioned” means their churches are patterned after early New Testament churches. What it really means, however, is that their churches are like congregations were in the 1950s.

Here’s the truth: God’s “truth” is actually man’s interpretation of an ancient religious text. Beliefs are, at best, educated opinions. At worst, beliefs are opinions of poorly educated dunces who think of themselves more highly than they ought. I am at the place where, when a Fundamentalist Christian says to me, THE BIBLE SAYS _________, my response is, So what? All you are doing is expressing your opinion.

This is why the best way to engage Evangelicals is to attack the nature of the Biblical text itself. When Evangelicals speak authoritatively, their foundation is not as strong as they think it is. This is why they need a plethora of presuppositions to prop up their house of cards. The Bible is God’s Word, Evangelicals say, because the Bible says it is. The Evangelical deity is the one true God because the Bible says he, he, and he is. The Evangelical God created the universe 6,023 years ago because the Bible says he did. Humans are sinners by nature because the Bible says they are. All these “truths” are KNOWN by unbelievers, so there is no need to prove them. Atheists and their ilk live in denial of these “truths.” In fact, there’s no such thing as an atheist because everyone KNOWS the Evangelical God is the one true God. Atheists suppress what they know to be true, or so the thinking goes anyway. The only way to effectively reach Evangelicals, then, is to challenge their infallible interpretations of the Bible. We must become like the Devil in Genesis when he said to Adam and Eve, Yea, hath God said? Are you sure God said what you believe he said, Baptist Bob? Once doubt is sown in their minds, then, and only then, are they ready to critically examine the Biblical text.

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.

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.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: More Proof That Liberals Are Satan Incarnate

selwyn duke

Truth means nothing to leftists. The ends justify the means and they will literally say or do anything to achieve their aims. They’ll use violence—Antifa, BLM, rioting and attacking Trump supporters—and intimidation (doxxing public officials and confronting them in various public places) while calling conservatives fascists and blaming them for the unrest. They’ll rail against “racism” one moment and then excoriate a race (whites) the next. They’ll preach equality while practicing inequality and discrimination, as with quotas and affirmative action. They’ll claim to care about women victims (Kavanaugh/Ford affair) and then smear women victims (Rep. Keith Ellison case). They’ll say “Do it for the children,” using kids as human props, while abetting the brutal killing of children in the womb. They’ll preach tolerance but then insist this means “safe spaces” excluding conservatives and whites and that opposing views must be squelched. They’ll say it’s un-American to question election outcomes—as H. Clinton did prior to Nov. 8, 2016—but upon losing scream how an election was “stolen,” as leftists did after Nov. 8, 2016. Theirs is the ideology of Anything Goes.

In fact, leftists will swear that Truth (properly understood as objective) itself doesn’t even exist, that everything is shades of gray—but then turn about and sing blatant black-white tunes portraying their political opponents as evil. This is similar to Satan, who knows that God’s rules exist but doesn’t believe they should be considered “Truth.” Leftists will superciliously scoff at traditionalists’ moral positions and insist everything is relative. But they really want to play God and have everything be relative to themselves—like the Devil.

One difference between leftists and Satan is that the latter knows God exists. That’s where the differences end. Leftists hate everything great and good: God, family, country and even the idea of countries (attacks on sovereignty). They hate religion, especially Christianity; the Church; marriage; sexual propriety; and anything else reflecting God’s plan. Thus, they not only hated the Boy Scouts before they became the Gender Fluid Scouts, but hate the idea that “boys” and “girls” even exist in any pure sense; they reject the message that “male and female He made them.” They hate virtues (good moral habits) and do violence—directly or indirectly—to every single one, be it faith, charity, chastity, honesty, diligence, temperance, kindness, humility, fortitude, justice or something else.

— Selwyn Duke, Canada Free Press, To Deal with Leftists, Imagine You’re Confronting Satan, October 10, 2018

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Democrats Filled With Demonic Spirit

bert-farias

Beginning with the election of President Trump, we are all perhaps witnessing one of the historic turning points in American history. If they were able to destroy Judge Kavanaugh, it would have been a big step toward perhaps destroying America, for it could have set a precedent. Does that sound overdramatic? Please hear me out.

This is not politics as usual. We are not wrestling against flesh and blood. This is the work of principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world (Eph. 6:12). This is all related to the death of a nation and a constitution founded on godly principles. The two things the radical leftists fear the most are the Bible and our national Constitution.

….

When you witness yet another senior Democratic senator, Diane Feinstein, deliberately conspiring in a Senate deliberation involving hiding a letter for months and the witness for weeks, and doing it totally against Senate rules—and then to complicate the matter, apparently allowing one of her staff to leak the letter to create a media firestorm, it is not politics as usual. It is the basest form of corruption and lawless manipulation.

….

As I stated, this all began building momentum after the election of President Donald Trump on that fateful day for all Democrats in November 2016. The defeat of Hillary Clinton loosened the grip on socialism and atheistic communism and the complete remaking of Barack Obama’s America.

This is the reason the day after the inauguration you heard influential celebrities like Madonna saying she has dreams of the White House burning down and being destroyed. It’s the reason other popular figures use such derogatory language and profanities against our president. Remember the image, still so clear in my mind, of the woman holding a model of the bloody head of Donald Trump in her hand?

This is not normal. It is a murderous Satanic spirit. Never in my lifetime or perhaps the entire history of our nation have we seen this kind of disrespect and dishonor for the highest office in the land. It is demonic filth and hatred.

This irrational and senseless attitude, which borders on insanity, is the prevailing spirit in our nation. It’s like a virus. The ungodly media is shaping the minds of multitudes and spreading this virus. That’s why you had the desperation to find collusion with the Russians, which, one Washington reporter, after two years of investigation, says turned up no evidence at all. Zero. Zilch. Nada. But just as with the Kavanaugh hearings, it’s never been about evidence. It’s about smearing, undermining, distorting the facts and character defamation of the truly upright.

— Bert Farias, Charisma News, We Are in a War With the ‘Rule or Ruin’ Radical Left, October 11, 2018

Black Collar Crime: Tim Omotoso Trial FINALLY Underway

tim omotoso

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 read my previous report about Timothy Omotoso here.

After eighteen months of investigations and delays, the trial of famed Nigerian/South African pastor Timothy Omotoso has begun. Omotoso, pastor of multi-branch Jesus Dominion International Church in Durban, South Africa, stands accused of sexually molesting young women, rape, and human trafficking.

The Sunday Times reports:

Graphic details of how a 14-year-old girl was groomed to perform lewd sexual acts on controversial Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso were laid bare in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Wednesday.

The state called its first witness to testify in the trial against Omotoso and his two co-accused‚ Lusanda Sulani‚ 36‚ and Zukiswa Sitho‚ 28‚ which has seen its fair share of grandiose shenanigans‚ including drum majorettes performing in front of the court building while two off-duty policewomen were thrown out onto the street.

On Wednesday Cheryl Zondi‚ now 22‚ told the court how at first she was in awe of Omotoso after watching clips of him performing “miracles” but soon became disillusioned by him after she realised the sexual acts he made her perform on him were nothing more than predatory sexual assaults.

Omotoso and his co-accused face 63 charges in total ranging from racketeering to sexual assault and rape allegedly committed across the country and abroad‚ including in Nigeria and Israel.

Please take time to watch the following short video. The victim’s testimony is heartbreaking, a poignant reminder of how “men of God” use religious terminology and persuasion to prey on vulnerable teenagers and women.

Video Link

Black Collar Crime: So Much Crime, So Little Time Issue

black collar crime
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.

angel mauricio ruiz

Evangelical Pastor Angel Mauricio Ruiz Accused of Sexually Assaulting Female Juvenile

Angel Mauricio Ruiz, pastor of Church Ministerio Cielos Abiertos, in Woodbridge, Virginia, has been charged with sexually assaulting a minor. According to the Alexandria News, Ruiz allegedly assaulted a female family member. He is being held without bond.

dustin colony-herrera

Evangelical Youth Pastor Dustin Colony-Herrera Arrested on Outstanding Warrant for Sexual Assault

Dustin Colony-Herrera, the former youth pastor at Yucaipa Christian Church (now called Active Church) in Yucaipa, California, was arrested in Oregon on an outstanding warrant for sexual assault. Colony-Herrera is accused of thirteen counts of lewd acts on a child, with sentence-enhancing allegations of targeting multiple victims in a sex crime.

The Press Enterprise reports:

Herrera was taken into custody last week in Medford, Ore., after Jackson County sheriff’s deputies received a request from investigators assigned to the Riverside-based Inland Regional Apprehension Team to serve an arrest warrant on the defendant.Herrera was booked into the Jackson County Correctional Facility, where he’s being held in lieu of $3 million bail.

Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Richard Carroll said an extradition proceeding to return Herrera to California is pending.

According to investigators, between 2000 and 2004, Herrera served as a youth group leader at what was then called the Yucaipa Christian Church, where he came into contact with numerous children.

Herrera resided in Calimesa at the time, and would allegedly bring minors from the group to his home, where he committed unspecified acts of molestation, Carroll said.

The alleged offenses were detailed in November by several victims, whose names were not released, after the now-adults came forward and gave statements to detectives at the sheriff’s Calimesa Station, according to Carroll.

donn ketcham

Evangelical Missionary and Serial Child Molester Don Ketcham Escapes Punishment for His Crimes

Please read my previous report on Ketcham.

Donn Ketcham, 87, an Evangelical Baptist missionary, will escape punishment for the decades-long molestation of children thanks to a judge declaring him incompetent to stand trial.

Wood-8 reports:

An Ottawa County judge ruled that Donn Ketcham, now 87, is incompetent to stand trial because he suffers from dementia.

Prosecutors told 24 Hour News 8 they don’t plan to appeal, which means the charge against him will be dismissed.

Ketcham’s alleged victims from his decades in Bangladesh — known then as MKs, or missionary kids — said the local case was their only chance for justice.

“As far as earthly justice, this was our one shot,” said Diana Durrill, of the Denver area, who said Ketcham molested her in the 1980s in Bangladesh.

Ketcham, who also suffers from Parkinson’s disease, was never charged over the allegations in Bangladesh decades ago, in part because his missionary group covered up the alleged crimes.

In his decision filed last week, Ottawa County Circuit Court Judge Jon Hulsing cited Ketcham’s age, the fact he suffers from Parkinson’s disease and his failing memory.

He is “unable to recall his attorney’s name, is unable to identify his medications, is unable to identify the date, has gotten lost when walking, obsesses over certain issues, forgets significant events, and becomes agitated,” the judge wrote in his opinion.

A state psychologist testified July 20 that Ketcham was competent to stand trial.

However, the judge wrote that “the state’s evaluator does not challenge the defense expert’s conclusion which deems defendant incompetent to stand trial.”

The judge said Ketcham would not be able to defend himself from the expected testimony of his accusers from his days in Bangladesh.

The judge also ruled that based on Ketcham’s and diagnosis, his mental abilities will continue to get worse.

“Accordingly, there is NOT a substantial probability that, if provided a course of treatment, defendant will attain competence within 15 months,” the judge wrote.

“There is no indication that defendant is malingering or in any way feigning incompetency,” according to the ruling.

Ketcham was a longtime doctor for the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism missionary camp in Bangladesh. A report released in 2016 by ABWE says it confirmed he molested 18 children and five women there in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Many were the children of missionary parents.

But the missionary group initially covered it up, even after Ketcham admitted to “perverted sin” with Diana Durrill’s young sister, Kim James, starting when she was 12. He was in his 50s. He was never charged.

“He’s been able to dodge accountability and responsibility for a very long time,” Durrill said.

Instead, after being forced from the mission field, the doctor moved back to West Michigan and started practicing medicine in Allendale in 1989.

He was accused of molesting a local girl who was 4 or 5 in the late 1990s during a doctor’s visit at his office in Allendale, with her mom in the room. The girl first reported it in 2011, but the investigation went nowhere until the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department reopened it in response to a Target 8 report.

A judge ordered Ketcham, who lost his medical license in 2012, to stand trial in December 2016, but that was delayed to see if he was competent to stand trial.

gary smitherman

Baptist Children’s Pastor Gary Smitherman Convicted of Sexual Assault

Gary Smitherman, children’s pastor at  Friendship Baptist Church in Clanton, Alabama, was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to twenty years in prison.

The Clanton Advertiser reports:

 Smitherman was convicted of one count of sexual abuse of a child under 12 on Aug. 3, a Class B felony.

“We are very happy with the sentence and glad this victim and her family can close this chapter and begin moving forward knowing this child predator will be staring at a prison cell for a long time,” said C.J. Robinson, the chief deputy district attorney for the 19th Circuit Judicial Office.

According to Robinson, trial testimony indicated that Smitherman was over the children’s ministry program at Friendship Baptist Church in Clanton and was tutoring a young female at his home with whom he had contact with through his position at the time with the church.

These tutoring sessions would last until late at night, and Smitherman began asking the victim to stay at his house overnight.

The offense that led to his arrest and conviction occurred in early 2017 at his home.

“He touched her inappropriately, and she told a member of her family,” Robinson said. “The Chilton County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.”

timothy reddin

Baptist Pastor Timothy Reddin Arrested in Child Sex Sting

Timothy Reddin, pastor of Turner Street Baptist Church in Springdale, Arkansas, was arrested after he attempted to solicit an undercover agent posing as a 14-year-old boy for sex. Previously, Reddin was convicted on child pornography charges and spent twenty-seven months in prison for his crimes.

Baptist News reports:

A former longtime Southern Baptist preacher whose ministry stalled 18 years ago when he went to prison for possessing child pornography is back in jail, this time for allegedly trying to meet a 14-year-old boy for sex.

Timothy Lee Reddin, 67, was arrested Aug. 3 on a federal warrant for attempted coercion and enticement of a minor. According to arrest documents, Reddin messaged an undercover Homeland Security Investigations agent posing online as an underage male to arrange a meeting for sex.

….

In the past Reddin served Southern Baptist churches in Arkansas and Texas for three decades before pleading guilty in 2000 to possessing at least 10 illegal images, including one depiction of a child under 12.

Two years earlier he reportedly resigned as director of missions for Central Baptist Association in Benton, Arkansas, after two people found child pornography on a computer he used and confronted him over it.

Reddin went to prison for 27 months, after admitting to the sentencing judge that he had a weakness for child pornography but insisting would never actually molest a child. He blamed his porn addiction on sexual abuse he said he suffered at age 10 at the hands of an older boy.

Character witnesses including a fellow pastor argued for leniency, saying they believed Reddin felt remorse and was sincere about wanting to reform.

Fox-24 adds:

The undercover officer said he was on a website on July 27 in an unrelated undercover capacity when he received an unprovoked message from a website user with the profile name “Lee,” according to the affidavit

“Lee” described himself in his profile as a 62-year-old white male, 6’1″, 215 pounds and married. The profile description said, “I just wanna have fun…I like younger guys. But hell, at my age that’s just about everybody! Discreet, intelligent, witty, professional guy. Love to meet new friends. Especially naked ones,” according to the affidavit.

The undercover officer began interacting with Lee after receiving the initial message from him.

Lee began the conversation by saying “I like your hashtag! I’m no fan of our lying Pres.” He then complimented the undercover officer, saying “You are wise beyond your years. :)”

As the conversation went on, Lee said, “Yeah, a good looking 18 yr old will get hit on a lot.” The undercover officer said he wasn’t 18 and that he was on the website while his parents were out of town.

Lee asked the undercover officer for his age. The undercover officer said he was going to turn 15 in November and wanted to be around like-minded guys, to which Lee asked, “Gay I suppose?”

As the conversation continued, Lee asked the undercover officer if he had sex other than masturbation. He then went on to tell the undercover officer that many men on the website will want to have oral sex with him.

Lee later asked the undercover officer what kind of sexual activity he is looking for and what he is ready for. Lee suggested starting with oral sex and to then move onto other types of sex. He also recommended taking it a step at a time, saying “Gay pron will be your friend for a while. :)”

The undercover officer then tells Lee that he’s looking for someone he can trust to be his first. Lee responds, “If I weren’t such an old fart I’d volunteer! Lol.”

After the undercover officer said he doesn’t care about age, Lee said, “I could meet you. No pressure to do anything you decide not to.” (sic)

Lee then said “Here’s what I have to offer” and sent graphic images of male genitalia.

Lee offered to meet the undercover officer the next day for a burger and then go somewhere private so he can “coach” him on oral sex.

The undercover officer told Lee that he felt he could trust him then jokingly asked if he is going to kidnap or kill him.

“Actually, I’m an axe murderer…,” Lee said. He then added, “I’m a gentle guy really. I’m a college teacher and a businessman.”

The undercover officer told Lee he couldn’t meet the next day. He and Lee discussed meeting another time, and Lee gave the undercover officer his phone number after the officer asked how to find Lee on the website at a late time. Lee says, “Text, don’t call. My name’s Lee.”

The undercover officer said Lee contacted him another time and offered to give him pointers on having sex for the first time and offered to assist him with his first sexual experience. Lee then said, “I’ll never tell! I could go to jail!”

Sure sounds like Reddin “reformed,” eh? How about he went right back to his predatory ways,because that’s what sexual predators do. Jesus can’t fix pedophiles, so it is up to the state to make sure the Reddins of the world do NOT have access to children.

pastor jimmy orick

IFB Pastor Jimmy Orick Pleads Guilty to Rape

You can read my previous report on JImmy Orick here.

Jimmy Orick, pastor of Mountain View Independent Baptist Church in LaFollette, Tennessee, pleaded guilty to rape and attempted rape, According to the LaFollette Press, Orick has sex with a minor girl in his home.

robert browning

Baptist Christian School Teacher Robert Browning Accused of Sexually Assaulting Student

Robert Browning, a teacher at a Christian school run by Cedar Creek Baptist Church in Jacksonville,Florida, was arrested on charges of sexual battery, molestation and transmitting pornographic images to a girl under the age of 16.

News-4 reports:

He was a very good teacher and you would never know,” said Sally Blaney, whose children attend the Christian school run by Cedar Creek. “That person was old enough to know better and he should have never gone there.”

After the story of Browning’s arrest aired Tuesday, News4Jax received an anonymous tip that Browning had previously worked as a youth pastor at Old Plank Baptist Church and Christian Academy. The tipster, a mother of a child who attended youth services at Old Plank Road Baptist with Browning, was concerned that there could be other child victims who haven’t come forward.

Old Plank Baptist’s worship leader, who is also the school’s principal, reluctantly confirmed Browning had worked there, but had no other comment.

The mother who called described Browning as being overly friendly with children when he worked there six years ago.

“We’re very concerned,” she said. “I always had that guy feeling, ‘Do I let her go on trips with the church?’ He was just, I thought, a little too close to the kids.”

She is worried there could be more victims than the one teenager he was accused of having sex with at Cedar Creek’s school. She’s even concerned he could have had inappropriate contact with her daughter.

….

School officials with Cedar Creek said they were told by Browning that he was that let go from Old Plank Baptist because of a dispute with faculty.

Browning had a clean record before his arrest Saturday. Cedar Creek officials said they conducted extensive background checks on Browning before he was hired, and he passed with no problems.

An earlier News-4 report adds:

The victim’s father said he discovered the inappropriate relationship when he checked his daughter’s cellphone and found she and Browning were exchanging nude photos and lewd text messages.

“I found everything,” the father said.

According to the arrest report, the girl said she performed consensual oral sex on Browning at the church while he touched her inappropriately. Investigators found text messages between Browning and the girl about the incident.

The father said he is furious and feels betrayed by someone who was supposed to be a mentor to his child.

According to his arrest report, Browning turned himself in to police Saturday and has retained a lawyer.

Pastor John Montgomery of Cedar Creek Baptist said the school took swift and immediate action, terminating Browning immediately.

Montgomery said Browning, like all employees, was fingerprinted and checked with the FBI when he was hired six years ago.

“Of all people, I would have never ever thought that something like that could have happened,” Montgomery said. “We live in a fallen world, and people do things that absolutely shock you.”

In addition to terminating Browning and trying to support the victim’s family, Montgomery said the church was also increasing security and adding more surveillance cameras “to make sure this can’t happen again.”

The father said this is having a devastating effect on his relationship with his daughter.

“It’s torn my family apart. My daughter doesn’t want to speak to me anymore,” the man told News4Jax. “I’m actually glad this is getting out because this is so sick and people really need to pay attention to who they’re hiring and who their kids are with. We live in a sick world.”

Off My Knees: A Victim Remembers

colin kaepernick

Guest post by MJ Lisbeth

Two years ago, Colin Kaepernick did something that garnered far more attention than any game he played or pass he threw.

Those who disapproved of his gesture said he “refused to stand” during the National Anthem. On the other hand, those who approved, or simply supported his right to do so, said he “knelt” or “took to his knee.”

My response? “Well, at least he was on only one knee.”

From that position, he could leap up and run, if he needed to. Even though he’s a professional athlete, if he were on both knees, he’d have a hard time springing up and darting away.

That, of course, begs the question of why he would need to do such a thing. As an NFL quarterback who was, arguably, one of the best at his position for a couple of years, he almost certainly has the strength to fight off a would-be attacker, as well as the speed to run—and the reflexes to do either, or both.

Still, I was relieved not to see him on both knees for the same reason that, to this day, I cannot bear to see people in such a prone position — and why I never kneel.

The last time (that I recall, anyway) I knelt for any period of time was also the last time I had to see someone I love kneeling.

Even though she had to genuflect for only a moment, and I knelt only for a few more, I could barely keep myself from screaming. I couldn’t keep myself from crying the rest of that day.

It was an unusually hot day for May and, in spite of the air conditioning, everything seemed to be happening in the kind of haze that precedes storms and terrible, violent acts.

On the side of the aisle opposite from where I sat, a line of boys stood in their dark suits, almost none of which fit. On the side nearest me were a line of girls in loose white dresses that, on some, looked like oversized doll costumes.

They took one step down the aisle and stopped—except for the boy and girl at the front. It took them three or four steps to reach the altar. The boy, and the girl, knelt. The scream started to roil inside me.

The boy and girl turned their heads up. The priest mouthed the words. Even though I couldn’t hear him, I knew what they were: “Body of Christ.”

The boy whispered, “Amen,” and the priest placed a small round wafer in his mouth. He repeated this ritual with the girl. Then with the next boy and girl who came to the altar, and the ones after.

Some people made the sign of the cross for each kid receiving his or first communion. Others held their hands as in prayer. I cupped my hands in my best imitation of Durer’s sculpture—over my mouth. It was all I could do to keep the howl, the curses, I’d held from my childhood to that moment in my middle age.

Then she and another boy knelt in front of the priest. I nearly bolted out of that church. The reason I didn’t:  My family, her family and all of their friends would be upset and demanded an explanation I couldn’t give them.

Truth is, even if I could’ve given it, I wouldn’t have. The words would not come until a few days later, after we had all gone back to our homes, some of us far away.

At that moment, I was never as afraid for anyone’s safety as I was for that girl — my niece — and the boy, whom I never knew, kneeling next to her. I had never seen the priest, either, before that day, and would never see him again. But I simply could not bear to see my niece, or that boy, kneeling — vulnerable — in front of him.

Even though her face wasn’t between his knees.

She and the boy rose to their feet, crossed themselves and walked back to the pews. Even though the priest did nothing to harm her — or him — I felt as if I had failed . . . to protect them . . . to save them . . . to protect and save myself.

After the mass, we all went to my brother’s house. Spreads of salads, sandwiches, chicken wings and breasts, burgers and other foods filled the tables and counters.  I excused myself to go “to the bathroom” but snuck out the back door and across the yard into the woods, where I let out a long, howling wail and cursed out someone I hadn’t seen, or even thought about, since I was a child. Like my niece. Like that boy.

A few days later, my then-partner was talking about a wedding we would attend a few weeks later. In a church, of course. My partner — an atheist — noticed anger and bile rising through my face when she mentioned “church.”

“Hypocrites and pedophiles,” I grunted.

“What are you talking about?”

Then, as if — for lack of a better word — possessed, I sprang to my feet, stared past her, past everything and everyone and hissed, “Get your fucking hands off me, you motherfucker. God let you do it to me. But this time, I won’t.”

At least she knew I wasn’t talking to her — and that I wouldn’t attack her — which is probably the one and only time I can recall that she seemed not to know what to do.

Or maybe she did. Nothing. She did nothing. And I talked, for the first time, about the way a priest in my parish got me to kneel — between his legs.

I’ve talked about it only with a few other people since then. But I still haven’t gotten down on my knees — not for God, country or anything else.