The Poached Egg turns TWO!
by Brooke West
Some people think celebrating a two year anniversary is kind of pointless. Two years? Big deal. They want you to celebrate the big ones; nice even numbers that are divisible by five. Two years is a big deal to Greg and I. It seems like both an eternity ago—and just yesterday at the same time—that we embarked down this path. So much has happened, so much growth has occurred that, two years is worth celebrating and we’d like you to celebrate with us. If I could have each of our readers, contributors, special guests, and supporters over for a barbeque I would but our backyard is tiny and I don’t think you’d all fit!
Two years ago, Greg said “I think I want to start an apologetics website.” And I said, “Ok.” I might have even shrugged a little and gone back to reading whatever I was reading. This was a watershed moment and I didn’t recognize it. We were both working full time jobs and barely scraping by. There really wasn’t extra money to be launching a website. The meager domain and hosting fees alone were outside the realm of possibility on our two salaries. However, with some creative financial juggling, and because I could see it was important to him that he launch this website, over the next several days we figured it out. And lo and behold, The Poached Egg was born.
At the time, I wasn’t even entirely sure what apologetics fully meant. I knew it had something to do with being equipped to defend your faith when asked a hard question by an unbeliever or skeptic, but that was about as far as it went for me.
So Greg twiddled around and played with some stuff online, and turned it into a nice little page. He would work eight to ten hours a day at a job that was very abusive to his body, then exhausted, he would come home and spend the evening scouring the internet for content; reposting from more established pages, occasionally writing himself or having a friend or two to write something amazing, and really occasionally talking me into writing something mediocre. I had no idea then what kind of an impact TPE would make in the world of apologetics in a very short time.
The Poached Egg exists to encourage Christians to become ‘critical thinkers’. So many of us have sat in church and listened to the pulpit go on and on (and sometimes on and on and on) about this, that, and the other thing, and never question whether or not what is being taught is biblically sound. We ‘take it on faith’ that someone has done their homework and has no personal or political agenda. Christians in today’s broken and ruined world can no longer afford to take anything on sincerity and belief alone, (and a collective gasp was heard around the world). You heard me. I said it. I’ll say it again, Christians can no longer afford to take anything on mere belief ALONE. We have to be armed and ready in everyday situations to give a thoughtful and biblical answer when the hard questions come. If you don’t care to know the reasons why you believe what you believe, why should anyone else? If they bothered to ask you the question in the first place, you’ve been given an opportunity to do something amazing with God instead of just warming a pew on Sunday morning.
Another reason TPE exists is because Christians have to make a public response to objections and criticisms of Christianity in the public square. And to DO that we have to have sound reasons and arguments to support our truth claims. We can’t just stand up there and say ‘Well brother, I have faith.” Faith in what? “You just have to believe” Believe WHAT? If we stood in the public square and said those things, as people have and do, with no solid reasons and answers to give a person who is honestly seeking, we become a stereotype—a cliché. And stereotypical clichés don’t usually win people to Christ; in fact it frequently has quite the opposite effect entirely. Here at TPE, we hope to provide you with articles and resources to help you in your walk, affirm your faith, and give you solid biblical information to build a solid foundation for that faith.
Then and now
As I said, when we started this ever expanding journey, we were a two income household with a nutty kid and an even nuttier dog. As time went on and the number of hits just kept going up, we started to see this as a ministry platform. Which, given my checkered past, really kind of freaked me out a little bit (I’m not qualified to talk to these people! I can’t even keep myself straight, let alone counsel people about how they should be acting! Oh. Wait. I don’t have to do anything. God does that part…ok good, whew, that’s a load off my mind—carry on then).
After a while, God started leaning on me pretty heavily to tell Greg that he should probably be doing TPE full time. Due to an unusually long spell of bad weather he had not been sent on any jobs in several weeks, and we were starting to flounder a little. Yet my prayer time went a little like this: “OK. We can’t pay all of our bills each month on both of our salaries, and You want Greg to quit his job and do this full time. Ok, whatever,” (and then I rolled my eyes at God). And God did say “Do it.” And I said, “Dude,” (sometimes I call God dude, He doesn’t seem time mind) “Dude, I once told You that I trust You, and I don’t say it often enough now, so I’m trusting You here.” And He said, “Good.” That was that. The next night I stewed about it all evening and finally right before bed I kind just blurted out “I think you should quit your job and do TPE full time,” and Greg said something along the lines of “Oh I’m so glad you said that because I’ve been feeling God leading me there too, but couldn’t figure out a way to bring it up without you thinking I was nuts.” And thus we became a one income household and full time TPE curators. Curious things happen when you place your faith and finances in God’s capable hands: you suddenly find that you have just enough.
Curiously enough, it was right after Greg had put in his two weeks notice at his ‘real’ job that he reposted something called, Grace Over Karma, an excerpt from a book titled Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas, in which Bono discusses his thoughts on Jesus. Being a big U2 fan, Greg liked the fact that Bono alludes to the famous ‘lunatic, liar, or Lord’ quote by C.S. Lewis from Mere Christianity . The post went viral and peaked out at over 34,000 visits in one day. Dude, that’s like, a lot. Hey- you may or may not, but I took it as a sign that we were on the right track. To Greg and I it was like God had ‘winked’
When we started, I think we thought this would be a nice way to collect and direct people to the sources they need to help answer their questions. In our wildest dreams I don’t believe we ever thought we’d have the friends and sources we now share. I certainly never dreamed we’d find such a huge support system and so many people so willing and excited to be a part of it. This ministry was built on the shoulders of so many other people, without whom we wouldn’t have much of a website. Were it not for their research, writing, and hard work we wouldn’t have the abundant pool of resources to draw from and direct our visitors to. Due to time and space constrains I cannot list them all individually. If you have time, please check out our apologetics link directory here – those are the people I would like to thank from the very depths of my heart.
So, what’s next?
Since you are here and reading this let me share with you what our hopes for this continued ministry are.
- In the coming months and years we would like to be able to expand the reach of the website and continue to raise awareness of the need for apologetics and continuing to partner with other apologetics ministries. To do this, we plan to become a not for profit organization with a real live budget that could, in addition to having a staff of full and part time employees and volunteers, sustain an advertising campaign or two a year. (As soon as I figure out how exactly to run an NPO we’ll be on our way!)
- Greg currently teaches apologetics in small groups at our church and would like to help other churches incorporate apologetics ministry into their various teaching programs like small groups, Sunday school classes, and college and youth groups.
- We would like to campaign for and help Ratio Christi establish student apologetics clubs on our many area college campuses. If you are in the Springfield area, or perhaps you aren’t but feel called to this kind of ministry I urge you to contact us.
- And finally we want to encourage young people (or anyone else for that matter) to get involved in apologetics. According to various surveys, 60-80% our children will leave the Christian faith once they reach college age. We bring them up in a Godly home, yes, but we don’t equip them to deal with a crisis of faith once they are out on their own and exposed to new ideas and ideals. They are told by the world, ‘whatever you do and are is good enough’ and that seems a whole lot easier than sticking to the Christian principles laid out for them by their parents and/or church. Proverbs 22:6 says “Direct your children onto the right path and when they are older they will not leave it.” (NLT). That includes teaching them not only the ways of the Lord. but the WHYS as well, so that when someone says to them “but all path’s lead to god” (little g) they can say, “Um… no, and here’s WHY”.
So that is our story…in an eggshell. We cannot begin to thank you for your words of encouragement, your support, and your faithfulness to God. Without each and every one of you, believers and skeptics alike; TPE would be going nowhere.
So, are we going to celebrate two years? You’d better believe it!