A long-time friend who Gina and I have had the joy to reconnect with since we moved to Dunedin and who was formerly a member at First Baptist Church Indian Rocks (a church in close proximity to our current home and church #4 in my memoir “Renaissance Redneck”) told us that several members of that church were aghast that she was enjoying time with us. They said, “How could you hang out with a ‘homewrecker’ like Gina? And don’t you know that Randy will not even visit or speak to his girls and their family?”
This kind of “Christian” bullshit infuriates me. It shouldn’t, I’ve put up with it my entire life—but it still does. There is no attempt to substantiate facts, just a vicious rumor mill that intends to assassinate the character of the people they gossip about because they no longer are a part of their cult.
Fact #1 — Gina is the exact opposite of a homewrecker. She faithfully clung for 34 years to a highly dysfunctional husband who was (unbeknownst to her) living a double life because she believed it was her Christian duty.
Fact #2 — My home was wrecked long before Gina and I hooked up. It was destined to fail by my former wife’s abusive father and a horrific “Christian” life coach who falsely called himself a counselor and was anything but that. And for the six years previous to Gina coming on the scene my former marriage had descended into a living hell.
Fact #3 — I was faithfully married for 26 years before our marriage began to disintegrate because I was asking too many questions about religion and life, my devastating existential crisis, and because I quit the ministry after a 30-year career. During the years of 2000-2011, I was a hurting person.
Fact #4 — My former marriage essentially ended in 2006 after I confessed a six-month affair with a close friend. The next six years were a living hell, and we mistakenly tried to save the marriage because of our Christian beliefs and fear of what people would think. This was SIX years before Gina and me reconnected.
Fact #5 — My biggest regret is not asking for a divorce in May 2006 after I left the stage of the church and months before my first affair.
Fact #6 — Since May 2012, when my former marriage ended and I fled the shame and condemnation of the way too small and hyper-right-wing town of Franklin, my two girls and their families have refused to accept my countless tearful apologies and heartbreaking requests to reconcile. They have also adamantly refused to permit me to meet my three grandsons. They will not return or reply to my emails, texts, or phone calls to this day. They have rendered me dead to them.
Fact #7 — This past October as I settled into a flight to Nashville I glanced up and watched in abject heartbreak as my youngest daughter, her husband (who was formerly one of my closest friends), carried their little red-headed boy coldly past me to the back of the plane. I was not sure if they had seen me. After much thought, I texted them both and asked if I could please meet their son at the baggage claim, but I also added if they did not want to see me I would respect their wishes. The husband texted me back and replied this was not the time nor the place for that. There is no way you can imagine the heartbreak as I listened to the voice of my grandson whom I’ve never met, squealing in delight as the plane took off. There are no words to describe the pain.
So, please, you so-called Christians, get your fucking facts correct before you spin the rumor mill. This is exactly why I left the church and why I have no respect at all for people like this who call themselves Christians.