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  • In Defense of Truth

    In an age when reality is becoming gray, seeing the world in black-and-white is increasingly taboo. Stating your belief that something is necessarily wrong is a certain way to be labeled a hater, bigot, or worse. American society has become a place where we are almost unable to believe anything at all with conviction, but the gospel of Christ teaches us that we can — and should — rest in truth.
  • Monday Morning Confession Time

    A couple of weeks ago, Shannon wrote a lighthearted article as a confession, and I thought it was really cool. Since then, I've felt challenged to share a confession of my own. As a reminder, this format is based on Tim Suttle’s “Monday Morning Confessionals.” I confess that I, like Shannon, have a tattoo. I recently told this to an old high school friend of mine, and he refused to believe me until I sent him photographic evidence. I’ll spare you the horror of having to see a picture of my bare chest, but I do have a tattoo. It’s a series of numbers, and if you ever ask me what it means, I’ll probably make something up to avoid telling you what it really is. It’s not that I’m ashamed of it. Quite the contrary, actually - it’s a very personal thing for me, and I prefer to play it close to the chest (pun 100% intended). I confess that when I was a kid, my parents had to cancel game night because I got too competitive. Every Friday night, my family used to get together and play board games. It was a great time for us to talk, share, and bond, but I would get REALLY into the games. When I would lose, I would yell and throw things, so finally my parents had to cancel the activity altogether. That was a huge wake-up call for me, and it taught me a valuable lesson: the people in my life are much more valuable than my pride. I confess that there are a lot of things that I don’t know. I've always been a pretty opinionated guy - I come by that honestly through my father - but I learned several years ago that many of the things I thought I “knew” were completely wrong. It was quite a humbling experience, but it was crucial in my development as a person. Before, I thought that my confidence was a sign of strength. Since then, though, I've discovered something completely different - this “confidence” was really arrogance. Strength comes from being able to be completely honest with yourself - which, for me, meant admitting weakness and insecurity in a lot of areas. Bonus Confession I confess that I'm ashamed of my lack of dancing skills. Seriously. Don't ask me to dance, because it's not pretty. Even slow dances. I just walk in circles while I hold your hand. It's awkward. These are my confessions for today. Now it’s your turn….
  • If They’re Right

    What if the accusations against us are right? What if we're the monsters they say we are? We don't think they are, but could that be part of the problem?
  • I am the easiest person for me to lie to…

    I am the best web developer in Oklahoma. I am an amazing writer, and someday the world will know it. If I'd wanted to, I could've been a rock star - my music is JUST. THAT. GOOD. It's really easy for me to lie to myself, especially when the lie is something that I really want to believe is true. You probably already know that those three statements about myself are lies (no cruel jokes, please!), but what about these next three? I spend way too much time working - I need to establish a better work/life balance for myself. I don't know why, but I judge everyone around me. I have no personal style, and I hate it. Are those honest assessments of myself, or are they lies? There seems to be this perception that lies are always sins of inflation - puffing ourselves up to appear better than we actually are - but I think that, just as often, the opposite is true. I know that I frequently tell myself things like "Randy, you suck at this..." or "Geez, why didn't you do that? You're so stupid." But these lies of deflation - making ourselves feel or seem worse than we actually are - cause every bit as much damage as lies of inflation. Why do we do this to ourselves? Ever since I was old enough to listen, I was told that pride was a bad thing. I'm sure you've heard the sayings, like this one: Pride goes before a fall. To an extent, the sayings are true. But there is a such thing as a healthy sense of pride. Story Time As a kid, I'd always believed that all pride was bad until I was preparing for the 4th grade spelling bee. Every year, each class took a special spelling test, and the best speller from each grade would go on to the regional spelling bee. My classmate Andrew had gone to regionals every year since kindergarten, but things were going to be different this year. I was determined to go to regionals. I studied the lists, made flash cards, quizzed myself, and drove my parents crazy by spelling everything in sight. When the time came for our class's test, I was ready. After my teacher had graded all of the tests, she pulled me aside to tell me that I'd won. I'd had a perfect score. I was ecstatic. But in spite of my elation, I tried to suppress my smile. "Pride goes before a fall," I told myself. Seeing my inner struggle, my teacher told me something that I've never forgotten. It's okay to smile, Randy. You've worked hard for this. You should be proud. Pride is inextricably tied to self-worth. When I was in high school, a close friend of mine was struggling with severe depression. As he worked through his demons, he helped me realize that living a life completely devoid of pride is the same as living a life of loneliness, depression, and…