Featured Interview With C. Greg Long
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was born in Atlanta, Georgia during the economic prosperity and optimism of the baby boomer generation when the virtues of apple-pie American life were extolled. It was also the generation when divorce became more prevalent, leaving the first generation of latch-key kids home alone. I was one of the first latch-key kids and spent most of my childhood raised by my grandparents in South Georgia, where fishing, hunting, taking care of livestock, and farming were a part of everyday life.
I returned to my childhood love of outdoors after moving to central Texas where I now live with my wife on a small ranch of cattle, horses, four dogs, Boomer, Bella, Rags and Chloe; three cats, Missy Mocha and Leo; and the routine wildlife that wander through our twenty-four acres on a daily basis. Our ranch is a rescue site for all the dogs and cats dropped off in the country by owners who no longer want their animals for whatever reason.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I was a very reluctant and poor student bouncing from house to house in my early childhood. My first real love for books and reading did not surface until my sophomore year of high school when Mrs. Martin, my Literature teacher, introduced me to some of the great works of Literature. Books like Red Badge of Courage, Moby Dick, and Robinson Crusoe took me on adventures and to places, I could hardly imagine. Mrs. Martin instilled in me a love for reading that has remained with me throughout my life. My love of reading motivated me to aspire to write and become a published author. I fulfilled that aspiration in 1984 while completing my doctoral studies in theology, writing a number of academic journal articles, book reviews, and theological curriculum for graduate students. I published my first non-fiction book in 2001, and have since that time authored or co-authored three other books. My most recent publication is Strength at the Broken Places, published in August 2020.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
My reading interest revolves around spirituality, personal spiritual development, philosophy and psychology. Among my favorite authors are N. T. Wright, Dallas Willard, Richard Hays, Alisdair MacIntyre, Michael Polanyi, John Walton, and David Berlinski. Two more contemporary authors I enjoy reading are David Brooks and France Collins.
Two of the most profound and inspirational writers that are not widely known that motivate me to be a better writer are N. T. Wright and Dallas Willard.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
My book took several years to incubate. But once I determined my purpose, it only took four months to write. So why did I write this memoir?
First, my grandfather taught me almost everything I learned in my early childhood. He was the most influential person in my life. When I was a sophomore in high school, he died suddenly from a massive stroke. His death impacted me at a challenging time as a teenager, and I lost the anchor that I had depended on from childhood.
As I have gotten older, I realize the importance of his influence in my life. I have memories of him, but I have no written records of his life.
I have grandchildren now, and I wanted to write this memoir in part for them to leave a story that they can read and remember long after I am gone.
Second, I experienced career failure which led to family failure. All of us fail in some way. The question is what do we do with the failure. I wanted to write my story to help those who feel like failure eliminates them from having a relationship with God, and ever experiencing success and joy in life. I wanted readers to understand:
I found the answer to failure in the most unexpected places. I embraced and overcome the past, confronted my mistakes, and found a transcendent path to new life and restoration. My story will help people discover why failure is never fatal, how we can make peace with others whom we have disappointed and hurt, how we can embrace and overcome anger and loss, and out of our wounds how we can become wounded healers for others.
Life is not about us; it’s about how we care for those around us. From a failed journey of outward personal success to the purposeful and heart-felt ministry of serving others, I found the secret to a fulfilled life—an awareness that it is easier to succeed than to fail.
Strength at the Broken Places will lead readers on a journey to discover:
• How true and lasting change occurs
• How failure does not define us
• How authentic identity is not determined by what you do or to whom you are related
• How success comes from intention rather than effort
• How to answer the four critical questions that every person must answer
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