Welcome to the personal blog of Greg S. West; Jesus follower, family man, Christian apologist, and all-around egg head. Founder and editor of
The Poached Egg Christian Worldview and Apologetics Network and staff member at Ratio Christi.

Monday, August 4, 2014

My day at an apologetics conference representing Ratio Christi

Greg Koukl and Greg West (I'm the Greg on the right. Photo by Derrick Sisney)
What a thrilling day it was last Saturday at a mini apologetics conference put on by Solace Church in Tulsa, OK! It was quite a privilege to be invited to represent Ratio Christ at this event and a real honor to be able to share the same stage (albeit briefly) with two of my favorite apologists, Frank Turek and Greg Koukl, who were the two presenters at this one day free event.

While manning the Ratio Christi info table with the help of my friend and future Ratio Christi chapter director, Gary Mundt (an MA student in BIOLA's apologetics program), I was able to reconnect with friends I'd previously met from the area (Luke Nix, Caleb Steele, & Jim Burkett among others), make some new friends, and put some faces on a few people I'd only previously known via social media. Quite a few folks made it a point to let me know that they were followers of The Poached Egg and what a valuable resource it is to them. Yep, that always makes my day- but most importantly, I had the opportunity to talk to people about Ratio Christi.

If you're in the dark about what exactly Ratio Christi is and does, please stay tuned as I'll get to that momentarily. First I'd like to tell you a little more about the conference itself.

In the a.m., Frank Turek of Cross Examined lectured on arguments from his book (co-authored with Norman Geisler), I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, with a special focus on the moral, cosmological, and teleological arguments for the existence of God. Frank is not only a great teacher who presents these arguments laymen's terms, but he's very funny and entertaining as well. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend going to see Frank Turek present if he's ever at an event in your area.

And the same could be said for Stand to Reason's Greg Koukl, author of one of the best books (if not the best) out there on how to effectively argue the truth claims of Christianity, Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions. After the lunch break Greg lectured on some of the highlights of this book, with the main focus being on what he calls the Columbo Tactic- and if you ever see Greg don a trench coat, pull out a (plastic) cigar and do his hilarious Detective Columbo impression, you won't soon forget it! The 'game plan' Greg spoke on takes away the fear of engaging in discussions on spiritual matters that can open doors to sharing the Gospel.

On of the things that struck me in particular was that many, if not the majority, of the 400 or so people in attendance seemed to be new to apologetics, and I noticed that  many of those were purchasing copies of both Koukl's and Turek's fore-mentioned books which got me pretty stoked! All in all it was a great day of fellowship, fun, and learning for everyone who came.

At the conclusion of the event, Gary and I took up our post back at the Ratio Christi information table and continued to talk to people and answer their questions. Some people asked if we had chapters or would be starting them in their area, and some shared stories of their children or other young people they knew who had walked away from the faith after having been raised in church and in a Christian home...

This is why the campus ministry of Ratio Christi is so vital today- forming student apologetics clubs on college campuses around the world, which in Western culture is one of the most hostile environments towards Christianity. RC places trained apologists as chapter directors of these student clubs to help them learn how to defend and commend the truth claims of Christianity- RC is even beginning to reach out to high school students, with our recently launched College Prep Program. And RC is not just about helping students keep their faith intact, it's also about equipping them to be better equipped evangelists. A Christian who is confident in their faith is more likely to be enthusiastic about sharing that faith. I know that from my own personal experience. 

In the last few years, RC has experienced nearly exponential growth, from having chapters on just ten campuses to over 130 today. The demand for new chapters on more campuses has outgrown our current infrastructure's ability to keep up. Although we are slowly growing our staff, and more and more regular donors are getting on board, we are still desperately short of where we need to be in manpower and funding. If you can help by partnering with us financially, you can do so through my donation page via The Poached Egg here. If you are unable to participate with us financially, there are many other ways in which you can help. Simply visit the Ratio Christi website for more information. 

Now in my late 40's, I myself was raised in the church and in a Christian home and yet walked away from the faith and became an agnostic in my early twenties. Sadly, my story is even more common today among young people than it was then, but with your help we can turn the tide!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Hardy Boys

Reading the "Hardy Boys" to my son. I guess we'll have to re-read this chapter tomorrow as I don't know when to quit.

So far, we have read, The Hobbit, CS Lewis' The Magician's Nephew, and a few others.

I remember my Dad reading the Hardy Boys to me when I was about the same age, and soon after, I started reading them myself. I have VERY fond memories of my Dad reading to me, and I hope Jeremiah will someday as well (possibly when he's reading to his son).

Here's to lifelong learning and a love of reading...

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A new home for my family (and a few books)

Although I've helped family and friends with moving more times than I can count, and have moved myself several times, I never realized what a pain moving was until I moved my own family for the first time. It's not the packing and the transferring of furniture and belongings from one residence to another that is such a pain- while although it's hard work, it's really not that big of a deal compared to unpacking and getting everything the way you want in your new house.

Case in point: While we were fortunate enough to have a family member graciously offer to pay for movers to come and move our heavy furniture, we moved everything else ourselves and it took me three days just to get all of my books transferred over to the new house- and once I got them all there I had nowhere to put them other than in the boxes I brought them over in.

In our old place I'd had a custom bookshelf built that held most of them, but I see now that it was a BIG mistake to have the bookshelves built as a permanent part of the house. Tired of the boxes of books being obstacles to getting my family settled in, I decided to take it upon myself to build my own bookshelves this time, only ones that could be dismantled and moved if necessary. Although I'm very much inclined to stay here until the day I die, I suspect there will be at least one or more moves before then as such is the nature of things.

The shelves in the photo below are the final result of three solid days of working on them (and no, I don't plan on staining and polishing them- I think they're fine the way the are as I happen to like the natural look). A skilled carpenter could have likely done the whole project in less than a day, but as I quickly discovered, I'm not a skilled carpenter, and one can see on close inspection (or even in the photo), that many of my measurements were a bit off. Regardless of that fact, I'm happy with the results.

It took me another solid day's work to get my books unpacked and on the shelf in the order I wanted them. The entire assembly is nearly 13 feet long and just under 7 tall. It holds my entire library plus some of my multimedia which I included space for in the middle top two shelves. My Bibles are all on the top of the shelves and my apologetics books take up seven rows.

And guess what else? As you can see at the bottom right hand side, I still have room for a few more books...

Monday, April 7, 2014

Some things you may not know about me (in pictures)

I may or may not be guilty of having taken scripture out of context. That's me gulping water just before getting completely lost. Late the next day we ran into a park ranger who pointed us back to civilization. He said it was just two miles up the trail. Little did I know those two miles were nearly vertical.
I used to skydive.

I was single until I was 42 when I married the love of my life. It's a good thing because I was getting tired of being invited to the divorce recovery group at church.
We have the world's largest lap dog. He literally sits on his mom's lap at least once a day.
Our son makes an awesome Indiana Jones!
I love napping with the dog in my man cave!
I 'd never had a poached egg in my life until just this year. I love 'em!
I have 3 tattoos.

                                      I think tranquilized bears falling out of trees is both funny and sad at the same time.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Will the real 'public figure' please stand up? And, no, it's not me...

Greg West (actual 'public figure')
Ok, so why start another blog when I already have a wildly popular blog (The Poached Egg)? Well, the answer to that is fairly simple. The Poached Egg is a blog, or aggregator, if you will, that is focused primarily on Christian Apologetics and worldview issues. Although a large portion of my life is dedicated to that discipline, there is actually more to me that I would occasionally like to express.

For instance, let's say I want to write rant about the jerk that cut me off in traffic the other day- well, a Christian apologetics website would not really be the appropriate place to do that. Although I guess it could be if I tied it in to the problem of human nature or the problem of evil and the existence of God or free will vs. determinism or something like that, but the truth is that sometimes I just want to express myself without getting all cerebral... sometimes I just want to express my feelings- yes, we Christian apologists actually have those. Sometimes it actually does hurt our feelings when those of the anti-Christian persuasion (or even fellow Christians) hurl insults at us saying things like there is no evidence for God, you're too stupid to live, or you're going to hell because you posted that quote from Bono who is also going to hell because he's a rock star.

Another reason I wanted to start this blog is because according to Facebook, once you reach 5,000 friends on your profile, you're a 'public figure'. Well, ok, I'm not quite there yet, but at the time of this writing I have over 4,600 friends, so I may be jumping the gun a bit. But- just to assure you (and myself) that I am actually a public figure, I've included in this post a picture of me publicly speaking to... what looks like a room full of empty chairs. Oh wait... you can see someone's arm there at the bottom of the picture which proves that there was at least one person there (I promise I did NOT photo shop that arm in there). In all actuality, there were nearly forty people there who came to hear me speak. Well, they may have been coming to hear the keynote speaker who was after me, but he was from out of town and I actually knew everyone there so I'm sure they were there to hear me as opposed to him, so rest assured, I am a public figure and all public figures should have their own website or blog that is all about them and not just apologetics.

And just in case there is any doubt that I am a public figure, I now have a Facebook fan page that says I'm a public figure, and at the time of this writing I have one fan who agrees with me and has announced to the world that agreement by 'liking' my page. That one fan happens to be me, but when I created the page, Facebook suggested that I 'like' my own page to congratulate myself for the ten minutes of hard work I spent in creating it. So I took their advice and now have one 'fan'- because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, I like me! By the way, if you'd like to head over there and give me a sympathy 'like', the link is here. I would sincerely appreciate it.

In all seriousness, the main reason I started this blog is because I'm doing what's called 'branding' myself- no, not the kind you do with a hot iron like they do to cattle, but the kind you do when you have the privilege of having a platform and you want to expand the reach of that platform- and the reason I wish to expand that platform is not because I want people to know all about me (although I do enjoy expressing myself), it's because I want people to be aware of what I do- and what I do is help equip Christians to know why they believe what they believe, not just for their own sake, but so that they might become better ambassadors for Christ so that others, including the anti-Christian who hurls insults at me (or you), the hardcore skeptic, or the honest seeker, or the fellow Christian who is struggling with doubt will come to know Jesus in an intimate way. God loves all of these as much as he loves you and me and in this day and age, Christian apologetics is essential in being able to that effectively.

That's why I do what I do and hope that you will help me spread the Word and point people to Christ, the most 'public' public figure of all; the one who has been written about and talked about more than all other public figures throughout history combined!