Saturday, October 22


A while back, a huge Christian marketing novelty enabled evangelicals all over the world to be Jesus. It gave power to all who wore it. Plus, it automatically made you a 'cool' christian. Oh, and it was supposed to make you do something...besides just wear it. It was a bracelet, and it had "WWJD" on it...

What ever happend to actually acting on what the WWJD acronym meant? I don't recall that I ever knew anybody who asked WWJD? in a situation, and then actually did it. I know I didn't. Imagine you're living a great life. (I don't need to describe the things that make it great...its really not that hard to imagine.) What would Jesus do? Please don't tell me 'he would be a good steward and use wisely the things he's been blessed with.'

Lets be serious. Since when did Jesus even have a nice little home? When did he have a good paying job? When in Jesus' life was he comfortably well off? When did Jesus even show concern for his own skin? He didn't; he died...and lived three days later.

But seriously, What WOULD Jesus Do? Moreover, Who Would Jesus BE?

Monday, October 10


After a couple conversations concerning this and similar issues, I thought I would share this essay I wrote for an ethics class this past summer:

I see a very serious issue facing society and even moreso, mankind. It is the issue of the institution of the family. It is actually one of a conglomeration of issues that are yielded by the weakening of a fundamental human supposition. This is the belief that man and woman are two distinctive types of human beings with intrinsic values that make each unique. While I feel that the human in its wholeness as a divine creation with intrinsic value is being emasculated, the weakening of the distinction between man and woman is an issue that has created many other issues, especially issues with the family. What is worse is that in a cyclical fashion, the failure of a family continues the trend by raising children without identities or a knowledge of who they are as people in the human family. Boys and girls who do not recognize the need to become, respectively, men and women in society will only continue the destructive course. The repercussions of this in society are countless: homosexuality, same-sex marriage, divorce, parentless families, abortion, prostitution, polygamous relationships, and essentially crime in general. This is all because of children who have never grown up in a functional family. The institution of the family must be kept lest society fall into a freefall of immorality where ethics is only situational and subjective.

            It all starts with the basic human archetype. One doesn’t even have to believe in a deity to realize that man and woman are not alike in nature. There are qualities that each has that are unique and useful in conjunction with each other. Man is masculine and woman is feminine. Adding the spiritual component, we realize that man and woman are also intrinsically different from all other aspects of the earth. They have the capability to produce and experience abstract thoughts and ideas that no other creature can. This is where we get the institution of marriage, the uniting together of the two types of mankind. What society is doing is seeking to eliminate the distinction between man and woman, and thus the once obvious tradition of marriage. There are no longer roles that each sex is granted, and thus marriage is not needed to sustain life. I must say, that while most of my irritation in this issue would want to be aimed at homosexuality and same-sex marriage because it is such a controversial issue, it is actually less of a cause of the issues with family than it is an effect. The problem lies in the irresponsibility of men and women in society to pass the gender distinction on to the next generation. Instead, society has resulted to acceptance rather than guidance.

            It has become very common for a child to be raised in a home with only one parent, which is often the mother. While a daughter without a father produces very serious issues in the daughter herself, a son raised without a father can and most undoubtedly will result in problems within society. I have heard more than once that the biggest population in prison is black males, and well over the majority of them grew up without a father. Most fatherless males grow up with misconstrued notions of what it means to be a man and what true masculinity is. Some may grow up in anger, aggression, and violence; or others as spinelessness and passive, continuing to remain boys despite a change in physical traits. The results are everywhere but in line with true masculinity. Worse yet, some enter adulthood with these problems despite growing up with a father. Of course, this is just the continuance of the cycle.

Men and women are not doing their duties as human beings, and society has seen consequences of this come out from the dark. As society accepts the merging of the genders, more ethical dilemmas will arise, only giving way to more subjectivism and acceptance of all people. As Christ followers, maintaining a Christian ethic, we are called to love, but to also seek justice. Love is not love if it lets others continue in the dark, and justice is not justice if it accepts the broken state of God’s creation. The solution is not easy. We cannot easily re-shift the broken paradigm of the family, but we can begin to listen to the turmoil it is causing and act accordingly out of love. We must insist on the ethic of family by exemplifying it in our lives; and we must seek love and justice by reaching out to the results of broken families.

Saturday, October 1

Don't Die

In the current generation, there appears to be a disconnect between success and the traditional means by which one gets there. In fact, it is quite possible that success has been redefined in itself, which is another problem entirely. However so, I find it hard to image a valid view of success so scewed that it may create the problem I intend to describe. It seems that success has been generally defined consistently (if only in principle) over the years. What I want to get at and what perturbs me the most is the scewed understanding of how this universally assented view of success is achieved. How is it that college students think that the mere fact that they are in an institution of higher learning automatically tickets them for a road of success, allowing for fun and games in the form of irresponsibility and lack of discipline in all other spectrums of their life. Heck, even academics follow this trend of apathy in many students.

Sitting around a table with three other upperclassfolk, aspects and byproducts of this issue were discussed. On a side note, it seems to me that lack of intuitive and personal disciple causes lots of other problems outside of the undergraduate realm. Anyways, I think we discovered that a well rounded person who can both benefit himself and his community is someone who is disciplined and responsible for his life. This WILL achieve success. I dont care who you are.

In my opinion, this ideal greatly manifests itself in small convictions such as going to bed at an appropriate time and waking up early and ready to attend to other disciplines such as devotion or study or reading or exercise. Thus, the first basis of a well rounded and disciplined life is sufficient and quality sleep. Another point is developing an organized and thought-through list of priorities upon which you attend to each day or maybe each week. Studying comes to mind, and not just the night before a test, but diligently during the entire school year. What else sets one up for success any greater than preparing for it before it knocks on your door? Good grades are the fruit of hard-labor. Bad grades are the fruit of laziness and an undisciplined life. Why would one even want to go to college to get bad grades? It boggles my mind. It also brings up the discipline of decision through quality discernment. Choosing fruitful labor over unfruitful pleasure can be tough, especially for those who have low standards and have a perverted list of priorities. I'm kindof judgemental, aren't I? Its TRUE. This is turning into a rant, and I need to follow my own advice and hit the bed, but I hope to post more on this issue as it leads to deeper and crucial issues. I'll give you a foretaste: obesity/lack of overall good health.

Proverbs 21:25 - "The sluggard's craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work."

Don't die.

Thursday, September 15

Another quote out of "Sublime Thoughts" from a guy named R.S. Storrs, whom I've never heard of, albeit he contributes some good insight:

"It certainly cannot be affirmed that we in America, any more than persons or peoples elsewhere, have reached as yet the ideal state, of private liberty combined with a perfect public order, or of culture complete, and a supreme character. The political world, as well as the religious, since Christ was on earth, looks forward, not backward, for its millennium."

Monday, September 5

Wonderful Tension

I'm currently reading "The Irresistible Revolution" by Shane Claiborne and "Surprised by Hope" by N.T. Wright together. I wasn't quite sure why, but I thought they might supplement each other pretty well. It turns out after a couple chapters, I'm finding how much they really are beginning to not only supplement each other, but really change my life. Things are connecting a bit and I'm experiencing a pleasant internal discourse as some of my questions are being answered and others are surfacing. But at the same time, I'm caught in the middle of a tension. Its a cataclysmic sort of personal tension that I'm wrestling with, but its beautiful! I'm in a battle and it invigorates me; it makes me feel real...alive.

The topic or catorgory of thought is that of how we, or rather, I as a Christian am supposed to live; how I am supposed to use my finite life on this earth. I just can't accept the normal human paradigm of life. You grow up, go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, go to church, retire, and then die. I grew up in church, had the Word given to me in more ways and times that I can count, and was told what to do and what not to do. But really, how in the world can one read the Bible and continue to live the generic life that all humans live without being drastically impacted by the implications of Jesus' words, not to mention those of the other authors?

N.T. Wright starts his book off by asking a few pertinent questions about the ultimate Christian hope, and some of which question the age-old traditional thoughts and pressumptions of most people in church today. Was Jesus' body really resurrected? Is there a heaven outside of this realm in which our disembodied souls will go to spend eternity? What affect does the implications of the ultimate hope of eternity have on our lives right now? Questions like these have rolled across my mind for the past couple years, but never have surfaced because of all the muck of growing up in the 'normative' christian culture in which I was spoon-fed popular doctrine. A surplus of knowledge and a shortage of experience has commissioned me everywhere but towards the true reality of the Gospel.

Saturday, August 27


My grandfather passed down a book to me after he died called "Sublime Thoughts". Its a book of wisdom organized by topics, and although its old as he was, it really has some good stuff in it. Heres a quote by H.W. Beecher that I really liked:

"We speak of the crucifixion of our passions. In one sense, so far as a sinful indulgence of them is concerned, they are to be crucified and slain; but in no other sense are they to be slain. We are to use them so that there will be no need of crucifying them. For there is not one primary desire or appetite in the human system that was put there to be taken out again. Everything that is in a man was put in him for no other reason than because it was necessary to the symmetry of the whole; and the attempt to crucify any or our normal, lawful desires, is an attempt to mutilate God's perfect work. We have a right to every one of our appetites and passions; and that, not for suppression, but for use, so that we use them in subordination to the higher moral sentiments and affections."

Let me make a disclamer that Henry Beecher didn't live a perfect life by any means, but he did speak some words worth hearing.

Sunday, August 21

Along Came a Spider

The other day, I took a walk down a trail in silence and meditation. As I started to quiet my thoughts and try to create a sense of calmness in my body, I found that the trail was full of large spider webs, with the spiders quietly waiting in the middle of each one. I unknowingly ran into a couple, which disturbed my peacefullness and unnerved me a bit. To solve this issue, I picked up a long stick, and waving it in front of me while I walked, I was able to take down the webs before running into them. I wonder if spiders know what they are doing when they build webs right in the middle of a trail. Its terribly annoying to walk into one and trying to get it off of you is even worse. Nature these days...

A little farther and I found bench swing to sit on, and I had my Bible with me so I figured I'd sit and listen to God a bit...until I noticed the top of the stick I had. There was a spider that had hitched a ride along with the webbing I had collected and was working with it. I looked closer and was amazed at what I was seeing: he was taking the old and disorganized web and eating it, while at the same time, spinning a new one. He did this at the the spots on the stick where web had caught, and after about an hour, had created neat and intricate webs in places where the stick branched out. As I sat and watched, I finally opened my Bible to Hebrews, and leafed over to chapter eleven where it talks about faith, working in faith, and the faith that those in the Old Testament had in comparison to those after Christ.

In verse 39 it says that those in the OT were commended for their faith, but none of them received what was promised; they actually died seeing it in the distance. They worked and were led by God in their actions out of faith, and were even persecuted for what they knew was to come. But they never got to see it during their life. A commonality among each one of these characters is that they all knew their roles well, and did everything they could in that role in excellence, and when they came across a situation in disorder or chaos, they always left behind some kind of Godly order, something good.

The spider builds webs because its innate for him. Its in his nature to build and repair webs. He doesn't know what will happen in the future, and he doesn't bother himself with the issues in the past; he simply remains in the present, assesing his context, and builds a web accordingly. He comes across chaos and leaves behind something useful, something good. His ultimate goal is to make a perfectly intricate and flawless web and he does it out of pure faith with all of him. He doesn't reason or logically try to weigh the risks and benefits; he simply does what he knows he is called to. He knows he is a creation of the creator because he knows what he was created to do.

This is worship. To know what is in one's nature to do and to do it in faith and do it well, leaving behind order and peace.

Sunday, August 14


After three years, I dont find the routine of packing up and leaving home for college very hard anymore. Its easy. Except this time something hit me as soon as I started the 13 hour trip from Florida to Kentucky at 6am. A foreign thought came to my mind that took me by surprise; which doesn't happen often. It was the realization that this was my last year of undergraduate college. I may not know what exactly comes next, but I do know that in less than one year, things will drastically change in my life. In a manner of speaking, I'm starting over again. Be it grad school, a job, or some other ambition, I will enter another unfamiliar environment and create new relationships, pursue new goals, and make new mistakes, while hoping to be steered in the direction of success.

Things change. People come and people go. This is the very nature of humanity as God intended. Its beautiful that the human race is such a family. Moving away and moving on doesn't mean forgetting. A human is a person because of the intrinsic value God has given them; but that person is defined by the extrinsic factors in their life. People affect people. You cannot simply isolate yourself from everyone and live in a dark corner. You MUST be in contact with other people, and they WILL affect you. It is inevitable that those who you are surrounded by will help create who you are.

It seems to me that in order for a human to develop into a person that lives wholly and fully filled, they must diversify their experiences and they must change their environment. This means that they will come and also sometimes go. What it DOES NOT mean is that they are shallow and unattached. There are, of course, extremes to this and situations where this kind of theory would be wrong. Marriage, for example, is a committment made for all of life. There is no moving on. That said, physical detachment is not spiritual detachment. Every human being lives in the very nature of God. That is a connection that nothing can take away.

I was at a church tonight and the pastor talked about compassion. Jesus had compassion on alot of people, but he never got comfortable and settled in to a specific environment. He realized the power in continually discovering and listening to humanity. Maybe I just have restless soul, but I cannot stand being in the same place all my life. That would be selfish. To not desire change because of the discomfort and energy it would take in moving on. One of Jesus' commandments was to love one another, right? I think the question to ask then is am I loving others or am I just loving them out of the comfort of routine and normality because its the easy thing to do? Its not necessarily wrong, but is it right?

Tuesday, August 2

God, Man, and The Art of Competition

God can be defined as loving, but just. Studying ethics has taught me this. I think we can agree that God’s will is that no human should perish. But humanity has separated itself from God. However, God provided a way out from sin. So, if I choose to believe, then I may reunite myself with God one day and reestablish the broken bond. If someone chooses not to believe, he chooses NOT God, and thus chooses to remain in his sin, accepting judgment. Therefore, God’s justice is worked out. We are all given a way out; Jesus the Rabbi chooses every one of us and we make the choice to take up his yoke or not, just as his disciples.
This ushers the point in. Sports are great; they encourage healthy competition and exercise and good sportsmanship and discipline…but something’s wrong…every time, something doesn’t work out right in the end. Someone wins and someone loses. Someone gets defeated. Someone does NOT get to take home the prize or take pride in knowing they were better than someone else. And the teams don’t get to decide against this; there will always be a winner and a loser. It’s just the cold hard fact. The question was lightheartedly brought up that if one person prays for the win of one team and his opponent prays for the win of the other, how does God choose? Geez, how do you solve that one? You don’t. Try measuring the ocean with a yardstick; it might be easier. The dilemma isn’t how can we reduce God to conform to our ways, but how can we reduce ourselves to conform to God’s ways? In God’s way, or ‘mystery’ as Paul describes it several times, everyone has the ability to win. Jesus calls everyone to deny their selves and take up their crosses, but not everyone wants to deny their selves. They want to bask in the limelight of earthly competition. They want to roll around in their sin and shame, in the illusion that they are winning. Paul writes to Galatia that if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself, but let each one test himself so he may take pride in HIS own actions. Worldly competition feeds pride…pride because of another person’s loss. I play against someone so that I may take pride in the fact I beat them. I test my own actions against SOMEONE ELSE, which from where I derive my pride. There is nothing morally bad with it and I’m not demonizing sports as we know them, but think back to when civilization first started discovering the mass attraction to the art of competition. In ancient civilizations, people died if they lost because of the great dishonor it created in them. The gladiator attractions were driven by intense competition to the death. Each one tested his actions against another and if he lost, all dignity was stripped of him, much of the time including his life. Now we have done what we have tried to do with everything else; we’ve controlled it. We have tamed the beast so to say. Now we have sports where competition thrives, but losers don’t die. They simply recycle their loss of pride back into competition again. The beast has been tamed, organized, and systemized so that its advantages can be maximized and the disadvantages can be minimized. Oops, there’s ethics again…its called utilitarianism.
            This is just another remnant of the broken world that was shattered by sin. In the perfect and sinless world, there would be no losers. We don’t have to understand this with our human and finite minds, we just need to just know and recognize that it’s TRUE. Competition is a byproduct of a fallen world from God’s original and perfect creation. There are no losers in the Kingdom of God. So here’s some doctrine for you. If there are no losers in God’s Kingdom, then we know that either God picks the winners and therefore the losers are left in the confines of sinful humanity; or the losers simply choose to lose and roll in their filth they call “winning”. This brings up the question of how does God choose? What if he doesn’t? What if God simply says follow me and those who do find rest and peace and eternal unity with their maker, and those who don’t find themselves alone and eternally separated? What if the losers actually choose to lose? What if they limit their minds and wisdom and pursuits and LIFE to the ways of this world? They test themselves against the world and lose every time. God doesn’t want it, but it’s what happens when sin gets in between the creator and the created.

Monday, July 25

Stuff from the box

I don't have alot of time to root around in my thoughts, but these are a few things that have been in my box lately:

- Nothing sets you up for success more than good preparation.

- People are part of you; and if there's no people, there's no you. You can't escape it.

- The love of God gives everything and doesn't ask for anything in return.

- I wrestle with three different opponents everyday: God, myself, and others.

- Steve Cotter may be one of the most physically diverse person I know of. He specializes and was taught in certain MMA disciplines, but he has some serious flexibility, mobility and strength that allows him to do just about anything. Some of you may be interested:

Tuesday, July 19

Take Heart

Come this saturday at approximately 7 in the morning, I will be diving into the water to begin a triathlon my brother and I have been training for. I don't know what to expect. Something keeps telling me that I'm prepared but my nerves tell me I'm not. Regardless, its going to happen and how I enter the race will greatly decide how I will finish it.
We had a short biking session today and while I was riding, the wind was relentlessly pounding me back trying to slow me down. I wanted to turn around, find a detour around the open road, and try to avoid the resistance. It wasn't happening. I had to go that direction if I wanted to get home. Taking a detour would only prolong my journey. I had to face the wind, drop down a gear and push through the burn.

OK, so it wasn't really that bad, but this is similar to what I go through and what I think everybody goes through nearly on a daily basis. We face resistance. So what, just find a detour and go around it. But how do you go around wind? Its there, penetrating every piece of atmosphere in that direction.
Jesus told his disciples that they would have trouble in this world, they would face opposition and resistance to who they are and what they do; they would even face death that wouldn't really be pleasant to say the least. But "take heart", he told them, "for I have overcome the world". Pretty encouraging, eh? The man who befriended you, taught you, says he will DIE for you tells you to take heart in the midst of trouble. It would have sounded like nonsense except for one other detail...He's also God.

So I put my head down, drop a gear, and ride on into the wind, not like it isn't there, but like it has no power over me. It would be an act of passivety to try to escape and avoid it; it would just prolong my journey and I would eventually find it pushing against me in opposition once again. But there is hope and we grow stronger because we persevere. So when facing opposition, tuck your head for some extra aero, drop down a gear, and ride hard, because He has overcome the world.

Monday, July 18

The Man Who Came Before

There's a piece in every human's soul only able to be filled by a father.

My father means alot to me. There's so many memories and thoughts that are able to flood my mind when I think about him. Sometimes I arrogantly dam them up to only focus on the present issues. Its pretty much just pessimism on my part. I've just become so used to the normative and casual presence of a father that an act out of love doesn't occur to me as such; and most of the time it passes my senses without a notice. Honestly, I feel pretty bad about this, and want to change it.

Thinking a bit on this earlier today, I realized that as a child, my dad meant the world to me. He was the epitome of fatherhood and nothing could trump him. Then sometime around adolescence I discovered that he wasn't perfect and life went downhill. I started to rebel against both of my parents. I gained weight. I got angry too much. Things happened because I discovered that my father was human. You could probally call this time the middle ages of my life. It was a transition from recognizing the plight of humanity into recognizing the grace of the Divine. God began to make himself present in my life as The Father. It didn't eliminate my need for my own father or the deep desire within my heart to love him in return, but I think it strengthened it; it gave room for me to learn a greater love.

My father is a great man. He has gone through 60 some years of life full of people, experiences, history...I keep forgetting this. I forget that he has gone before me. He has taken my life into his from the day I was born and nurtured me into who I am now. Things didn't always go as planned, but no matter how much I may not like it, I reflect my father. I have a choice to either accept that I am the son of my father and utilize it in developing my life, or to reject it and try to be someone else completely.

God the Father is in every human being. We are made in his likeness. Our souls are reflections of his very own nature. Theres only two choices; and you do choose, even if passively. Either choose to live boldly reflecting the Father's heart, or reject it and try to be your own deity.

To Take Part in His Divine Reality

What is justice? This is a question I have most recently been meditating on and thinking through. It is a crucial question that has been affecting many parts of my life as I continue to think through it, and its implications are so serious that at times they had caused me to drop what I had been doing and momentarily wonder in deep, quiet thought. I feel that this cognitive discourse has been very healthy for me, but what has been frustrating is that I can’t seem to conclude my thoughts; I cannot seem to quite deliver an explicit and concise answer. What is more is that it seems that the only way that I can truly find the answer is outside of anything cognitive or rational as I know it. I sense that in the wholeness of being human lies the mystery of something more than ourselves that we cannot fully grasp, especially when considering justice.
There is a fundamental separation between the justice system of the world and the justice system of God. This is obvious to those who have discovered the glory of the divine Creator. But maybe we still don’t quite have an understanding of the fact that we don’t understand. By that I mean that there is man’s justice and then there is God’s justice, and because God’s justice transcends man’s view of justice, we might need to admit that we will never quite fully grasp it. But that does not merit apathy on our part in attempting to accomplish justice. We need justice because there is a universal Sin in all humans, and this universal Sin gives birth to injustice towards other humans. But the problem is that all humans believe in the justice as a result of sins, but not all believe in justice because of the inherent Sin within man. Really, if we did accept that all men are inherently sinful, then we would inflict punishment on each other constantly. But isn’t that what we are condemned to anyways through our actions in separating ourselves from God? When Adam and Eve first sinned, they immediately realized that they were naked. They became self-conscious. This is the epitome of what Sin is, isn’t it? Being self conscious drives us to sin against each other and God, and sinning against each other and God makes us self-conscious. To put another spin on the whole concept, since we are so caught up in the worship of ourselves, we cannot quite grasp the justice that is consequential to our Sin. If we really did, I imagine that we would immediately make our way to the Judge to hand ourselves over to be condemned and sentenced.
Justice is a divine response to the rebellion of the creation from its Creator, but moreover, it is the NATURE of the Creator. God is love and God is just. I guess that it would be fitting to say that God knows a justice that is far beyond our perception, but by pardoning the sinner, he enables him to take part in this divine reality.

Sunday, July 17

Numero Uno

Ya, I actually did it. I made a blog. Does this mean I've up and gone soft, sharing my feelings and other sensitive stuff like why I sleep with a teddy bear at night? (Wait, what?). Actually, Ive been meaning to do this for a while, but haven't gotten around to it and really, I'm not that fond of technology so its bit annoying to try to wade through this muck of setting things up and coming up with a name and junk, but I have alot of stuff I think folks would enjoy reading. Plus its an opportunity for me to write about questionable things that might otherwise get me flogged if I were to utter them in public. Not really, but there has been alot on my mind over the past couple years, and since I have 'been around' per se, meeting so many people through college and such, its a good way for you all to keep up with the mess that is Doug's thoughts if you so choose (not always a good choice)...

So what am I gonna blog about? Im glad you asked because its not really that simple. The name of the blog really sums it up. So here's my profound metaphor. Everyone has a box. Its what creates who we are as people. We put things in our boxes, we take things out, and at a certain point in time, whatever is taking up the space of your box is what defines you as a person. Our experiences, the people we've met, our passions, what we love, what we hate, our cars, our colleges, our jobs, our families, our friends, our beliefs. Its all stuff that we put and take out of our boxes as we trek through life. What matters is that you begin to realize what is worth keeping in the box, what is worth throwing out, and how to discern the difference. I'll admit, this idea doesn't come directly from my little brain. It's actually a concept that I got out of a class last semester from one of my professors (who may or may not have gotten it from someone else...).
So I guess you could say that this little corner on the good ol' World Wide Web is place that I hope to be honest, authentic, and creative in describing what is in my lifebox. Because I have found that when I share with others in honesty what is in my mind, I can be more true with who I am as a person and thus begin to put things in my box that are rich and good and worthy of my life.
Paul wrote to the church in Colosse, telling them to set their hearts and minds on things above; things that will last. I believe that this is ultimately the posture we should have when considering what we should place in our boxes. The exciting thing is that God has given us so much even while we think we have so little, and this is encouraging because not only does it change the size of things that are in your box, but it enlargens your box itself to hold more than what you can imagine.
So this is where it gets complex. This whole blog thing is going to be my attempt at integrating my faith and my passions. This involves just about everything in my life. I still haven't figured out how exactly I will be posting an essay on God's justice right after posting a link to the USAT nationals, but like I said, these are things that are in my box. Take them as you may, and my hope is that I am authentic through it all.