©November 27, 2022 Randall J. Greene. All rights reserved.
Proudly designed and built by RG Creative in KCMO.

truth

  • In Light of Love

    Even greater than truth is the command to love our neighbors, but how do we show love to the people around us?
  • 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.
  • We Need to Have a Healthy Conversation

    In the last few weeks, I have become acutely aware of the fact that we evangelicals are horrible participants in discussions, particularly on social media. I am fortunate to have friends from a wide variety of faiths and religious backgrounds, and recently I've seen several of them publicly wrestling with tough, real-life questions. Through the sincerity of their questions, they have made themselves vulnerable, opening their hearts to the world. And I have been appalled at the way many well-meaning evangelicals have completely derailed the conversations with pat, predictable answers that harm more than they help. Most of the time, these answers don’t even address the question and aren't relevant to the discussion. Why do we do this? Math has always come really easily for me. From the time I first learned how to add and subtract, I've had this innate ability to see the answer long before others. I never had to memorize multiplication tables because I could do the calculations immediately in my head. I could shout out the answer to a problem before anyone else could even begin working it out, and I was rarely wrong. The first couple of  times I did this, everyone was impressed. Quickly, though, my immediate answers started to annoy my classmates. I thought I was being helpful (and truth be told, I was having fun), but my casual responses made them feel like I was showing off. To my friends, I was showboating - even arrogant - with my solutions. Even worse, by discouraging them from working out the answers for themselves, I was preventing them from learning. Fractions and long division came as naturally to me as the multiplication tables, but as the problems became more complex, I started getting my answers wrong more frequently. At first, I could convince myself that I’d simply misread the problem, but eventually I had to admit that my easy answers were flat out incorrect. Then I’d have to go back and actually work out the math to see what I’d done wrong. When I started learning more advanced mathematics like algebra and trigonometry, the answers that I got in my head were more often wrong than they were right. I was forced to admit that I needed to work out every problem if I wanted to get the correct answer, but since I’d spent my entire life skipping steps and figuring the problems in my head, I was woefully unprepared to do the work. I struggled with math for the first time in my life as I had to relearn all of the processes that my fellow classmates had been doing for years. I think that, as evangelicals participating in cultural discussions, we tend to make a lot of those exact same mistakes in our conversations about sensitive issues. When we respond to our friends with trite, quick answers, we’re devaluing the very real struggle that they are working through. We’re telling them that the answer is easy - it’s right there in front of them, how could they be confused? And…
  • An Agnostic Search for Truth

    Personal Note: This post was written by an old friend of mine. He shared it with me in private, and though he wishes to remain anonymous, he gave me permission to publish the account here. His willingness to open himself up in this way is, for me, a much-needed affirmation: this is exactly the kind of conversation I had hoped this site would inspire. I hope you enjoy this piece as much as I have. If his story inspires you to share your own, please let me know. I would be happy to publish anyone’s account as long as it is written with sincerity and respect. I grew up going to church in a family dedicated to God and his work. It was a strict Southern Baptist upbringing. No TV, no secular music in our house, etc. In fact, I knew about 9/11 before my parents did because there was no TV in the house for them to find out about it! I went to church every Sunday morning and evening, every Wednesday, and sometimes Fridays for youth nights, all up until the time when I got a job and was allowed to use that as an excuse to skip church. Hypocrisy. It is what drove me from the church, that and normal teen rebellion. I watched a church split up over foyer carpet and a bus. I am sure there were underlying issues but that is what I saw. People dividing into sects and clicks, old folks over young folks, pastors leaving, and none of the people in the church big enough to reason with one another and make decisions for the betterment of the church as a whole. Leaving the church and joining the army, being deployed to 3rd world countries multiple times has led me through interesting theological debates. There are times that I miss the oneness felt while singing praises to god during the worship service, but then I remember the people. The liars. All sinners who sinned on a regular basis with no sense of remorse except when they were in church, and even that is doubtful. I watched horrendous things in the name of religion, lost friends, and met people who I would befriend for a lifetime, and in all of this I wondered what was out there. Something is out there. Someone is out there. Is it the Christian God, Allah? Do the Buddhists have it right? The new age religions like Wicca? I have explored a lot, read the Quran, visited Buddhist temples, been to a coven meeting, and I found similarities in all of them. The thing that confuses me the most is the feeling of oneness you find in all of them. When chanting in a Buddhist ritual I felt the same oneness, connected with the universe, that I felt when singing during a Christian worship service. How do you know which one is right, and for that matter, which of the variety of Christian denominations is right? Is there one true religion?…
  • Love is Beautiful.

    I met my wife when I was 12 years old, and I started dating her when I was 17 years old. Yes, we were high school sweethearts. Shannon is the only girl that I've ever dated (unless you count that one awkward time when I went to a dance with a fan of my comedy... but that's another story for another time). Actually, Shannon is the only girl that I've ever even kissed. When I told her for the first time that I loved her - we'd been dating for a little over four months - I led with a grandiose speech about what the word "love" meant to me. I won't burden you with having to read the whole thing, but here's a quick synopsis: There are many degrees of love in the world. I love chocolate, but that's a very simple love. I love my friends, and that's a deeper love. I love my family, and that's a deeper love still. I love you, Shannon, and it puts all of those other loves to shame. "Aaawwww...," right? I thought I had love all figured out. I'd watched the movies and seen what real love was all about; I'd talked about the meaning of love with my friends and mentors; I'd even read the books about dating (or not dating). I knew what love was. This feeling that I had for Shannon went beyond a merely physical attraction - it was a real, emotional connection. And I knew that it wasn't just a temporary emotion, either (after all, I'd been feeling it for four months at this point!). As a senior in high school, I was seriously thinking that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this girl. I knew that I knew that I loved her. But I really didn't understand it yet. Even though I was (correctly, as history shows) confident that my feelings went beyond the physical desires awakening within my teenage body, my concept of love was still wrong because it was based on the feeling of love. As I've grown up, I've learned a lot more about what it means to love. Redefining Love I have yet to meet a single person in this world that I find inherently lovable. No one can be cute, nice, and affectionate all the time. Everyone, including myself (gasp!), has times when they are completely unlovable - even I get grouchy, obnoxious, and arrogant sometimes. I get obsessive, rude, even hateful. Love is choosing to care for someone in spite of their flaws. Love is a conscious, ongoing decision - it is not a feeling. Our culture latches onto stories of irrational, incurable attraction - two people that should never be together but fall hopelessly in love anyways. I tend to think, though, that those narratives are boring and un-romantic. If fate were responsible for pulling two people together, why would anyone consider that love? Where is the self-sacrifice, the nobility, the character? The Beauty of Love The stories that I find beautiful are the ones where two people choose to love each other and commit to doing…
  • 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…