Posts Tagged Baylor

Why You Need to Listen to Others’ Perspectives –

Mitch Randall

Why You Need to Listen to Others' Perspectives | Mitch Randall, Judgment, Empathy, Listening

More than anything these days, we need more listening and understanding and less biased and unfiltered opinions, Randall writes. (Image courtesy of Ohmega1982/

Growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, my dad listened to talk radio on KRMG.

On occasion, when I was not staring out the window dreaming of hitting three home runs in a World Series game, I would tune into the talking voice blaring from the speakers of my dad’s 1966 Mustang.

There was one particular voice I enjoyed much more than others: Paul Harvey, who taught me every story had a backstory and a surprise, if only we were patient enough to listen for it.

He told of kings, presidents, authors, missionaries and many other famous people who had influenced the world.

As he closed each segment, he would end it with his signature catchphrase, “And now you know the rest of the story.”

One of my mentors, Roger Olson, professor of Christian theology and ethics at Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary, wrote an interesting article recently about selective memory in religious history books.

He pointed out that many history books exclude “the rest of the story” when it comes to historical figures.

We baptize history in many cases, retelling it to suit our desired arguments. History, like life, is a messy endeavor doomed to be misjudged if not assessed from many different vantage points.

Even when it comes to life, we often forget there is a “rest of the story.” We like to jump to conclusions, render skewed judgments and voice opinions before truly knowing the full measure of a person or his or her story.

We have turned into a culture that does not take time to listen, ingest or walk around in someone else’s shoes.

We often jump ahead of ourselves to render the credibility of someone’s situation based upon our own preconceived ideas and limited knowledge about the circumstances.

The disciples asked Jesus one time, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2).

Their question reveals the cultural and religious bias the disciples possessed.

They believed the man’s predicament was brought about by his own personal sin or the sins of his parents.

Jesus tells them they misjudged the situation and the man. In other words, they did not know the rest of the story.

In a world where people have unique and personal narratives that demonstrate the worst and best of humanity, we would be wise to listen before we jump to conclusions.

We would do well to research and discover all perspectives before drawing conclusions based upon selective knowledge.

Or, as Harvey used to say, “Now that we know the rest of the story,” maybe we can be understanding and empathetic to others’ circumstances.

We will not always agree, but maybe we can speak with a little less venom. More than anything these days, we need more listening and understanding and less biased and unfiltered opinions.

Before we speak, before we judge, let’s make sure to get “the rest of the story.”

Mitch Randall is pastor of NorthHaven Church in Norman, Oklahoma. A version of this article first appeared on NorthHaven’s blog and is used with permission. You can follow him on Twitter @rmitchrandall.

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Thankful Thursday – Dr. Monty Knight

            On this Thankful Thursday I am grateful for the gifts that Dr. Monty Knight brings to my life. Monty grew up in Ziegler, Illinois and was an outstanding baseball player and a lifelong sports enthusiasts. He went to Baylor but transferred to Southern Illinois University. He started singing solos in church in his preteens and was in great demand. He graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and received his Th.D. from Princeton University. He served as chaplain at the Baylor School in Tennessee. He was director of the Dorchester County Mental Health Center and later pastor of First Christian Church/Disciples of Christ. He is now in private practice as a counselor. Monty writes a hymn each year. He and I have known each other for many years. We both teach at Webster University and we bumped into each other a great deal when he visited the Charleston County Mental Health Center. We have conducted more workshops together as a team than either of us can count. I prize our friendship for so many reasons. Monty has been a tremendous influence in my spiritual development. We can and do discuss everything. Monty has read everything. He has challenged me, pushed me, encouraged me, supported me and reassured me. I am a better person because of our friendship. His wife, Jackie, is an absolute delight. She doesn’t hesitate to set us both straight. Monty was one of the ministers who officiated at our wedding – Monty, Tom Guerry and John Hamrick. You don’t get loose after that. Monty is a mainstay of the Monday Lunch Bunch. He is the author of an outstanding book, Balanced Living: Don’t Let Your Strengths Become Your Weaknesses. On this Thankful Thursday, I am deeply grateful for the presence of Monty Knight in my life.

            Thankful Thursday is a day set aside to recognize the importance of someone to our lives and to let her or him know of our gratitude. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Say Something Nice; Be a Lifter. You will be glad that you did.

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