Friday, December 2, 2011

Musings about electronics retailers

Funny thing happened on the way to work today. I heard a Staples commercial wherein the made fun of other electronics retailers for their awful selection and high prices. It made me think, "Does Staples really think they aren't the worst place to buy computer parts?" Or is it just an Huxley-esque (turns out Huxleyan means something else) attempt to convince a lie is true just by saying it's true. It made me wonder if people even realize how bad this store is?

So I thought to myself, "I wonder what it would be like if grocery stores sold food the same way that Staples sells computer parts?" So here's the amusing analogy that played through my head during my 30 minute commute.

"Gesum, they have price stickers for a few different types of cereal but nothing at all like the selection in their advertisements." 

"Hi there, can I help you?"

"Sure," I reply, sure that I'm about to be frustrated. "I'm looking for a box of Kellogg's Corn Flakes.You know, the one that's on sale today. White, 12 oz box . . You don't seem to have any on the shelf but every advertising flyer you have posted in the store, on the sign out front, and on your website lists them on sale for the rest of the month. I can't even find the label on the shelf here where they would be. Are you out of them?"

"What are you looking to do with it?"

"With the box of cereal? I'm hoping to eat it."

"I mean, what kind of bowl are you going to put it in? Are you having it fro breakfast or for lunch?"

"I, I . . . what? Why do you care? I just want to know if you have this exact model. Do you have it?"

"Well, the box you want really depends on what you want to do with it. How do you know you want Corn Flakes and not Raisin Bran?"

"Because I asked you for Corn Flakes. If it makes you feel better, I'm looking for a box of cereal to eat for breakfast. I might put it in a bown with milk or I might just eat it out of the box. I might even eat it for dinner sometimes when I get home from work late."

"Oh ok, Corn Flakes will probably work then. Do you want me to see if we have any in stock?"

"Yes, yes please. Please find out if you have any in stock." 

"Did you know which size you wanted?"

< . . . > "Yes, the 12 oz box. The one that's on sale."

< . . . waiting . . . >

< . . . waiting . . . >

"You look lost. Can I help you?"

< impatient, arms crossed > "No, I'm fine. Someone is helping me already."

"Let me get someone from cereal sales."

< sighing > "Sigh."

< manager arrives > "Hi there, I understand you need some help finding some cereal?"

< confused about where the original salesperson is> "Yes, Corn Flakes. Did you have it in stock?"

< manager gets condescending look on their face, as if to say, "ignorant cereal shoppers" > "You know, there's lots of different types of cereal. What were you looking to use it for? Breakfast? Dinner? Do you have any bowls?"

< realizing the manager wasn't sent by the original salesperson but was retrieved by the stocker > "Nevermind, I was . . . someone else is helping me."

< non-plussed > "Oh, do you know who it was? I can go find them."

< shocked, trying to remember what the first person looked like > "Uhhhh, I didn't catch their name. Tall, kind of heavyset."

< affirming > "Right, right. I'll go check on them. See if the need help. They may have had to ask the butcher for help."

< somehow even more shocked > "The butcher . . . why, huh? Nevermind. Ok."

< . . . waiting . . . >

< realizing that I could have ordered the cereal from Amazon and had it delivered already>

< . . . waiting . . . >

< salesperson returns, box of frosted flakes in hand > "Hey, is this the one you wanted?"

< perplexed > "No, not at all. I was looking for Corn Flakes."

< unfazed > "These are pretty much the same thing; they come pre-sweetened and don't really cost much more. It's a better deal."

< angry > "That's not what I wanted . . . Do you not have Corn Flakes?"

< sheepish > "Well, I couldn't find them in the back but I can check the computer. This is better though and it doesn't cost much more."

< angry-er > "Ughhh, alright what do they cost?"

< pleased > "$7.99"

< furious > "What? The sale price is $3.99 for a box of Corn Flakes? How could you possibly think I would want an $8 box of cereal?"

< salesperson-y > "Well, $7.99. But they are better. You have to buy your own sugar if you go with Corn Flakes."

< as upset as possible > "I don't want sugar. I don't even use sugar with my Corn Flakes. If you don't have the Kellogg's Corn Flakes that are for sale, do you at least have a 12 oz box of the store brand Corn Flakes?"

< happy he's helping me > "Probably, let's go check on the computer. It will tell me if we have them in stock."

< pulls handheld computer out of back pocket. I begin to wonder why this salesperson couldn't look on the computer for the Kellogg's Corn Flakes but quickly dismiss the thought >

< furrowed brow > "Well, it says here we have the store brand Corn Flakes in 12 oz boxes. Do you want me to go check?"

< no longer angry, just confused > "Check? What do you mean?"

< condescending > "Well, just because it's in the computer doesn't mean it's in the store room. I mean, it's not on the shelf, right?"

< about to give up > "Sure, go check."

< . . . waiting . . . >

< manager walks up > "Did you find your Corn Flakes?"

< jaw set aggressively > "No, I have not found any Corn Flakes."

< manager gets uncomfortably close > "You know, you could just skip the whole cereal thing and get one of these breakfast-in-a-bar things we've got. It's cereal, yogurt, fruit, and nuts all rolled up in one. It doesn't cost much more than a box of cereal."

< amazed > "No, really, I just want a box of cereal. I already have milk, fruit, and nuts at home. I hate yogurt. I just want a box of cereal."

< manager had already walked away while I was talking >

< salesperson comes back with the biggest bag of cereal I have ever seen > "Here you go, this one is actually a really good deal."

< shaking my head > "What is that? Why would you bring that out? I said I wanted a 12 oz box of Corn Flakes? That's got to be . . ."

< proud > "72 ounces. The biggest bag of cereal you can get. Not much more than the Frosted Flakes actually."

< about to cry, getting sweaty > "I don't . . . I have no interest in a giant bag of cereal. I could never eat all of that cereal. That's gotta be like, $20 right?"

< beaming > "Nope, not even $20. $18.99. Told you it was a good deal."

< firmly resolute in my desire to hang on > "So you don't have any 12 oz boxes o Corn Flakes? No Kellogg's, no store brand. No other brands?"

< confused > "Ummm, doesn't look like it. Computer says one but I can't find it. Have you seen our breakfast bars?"

< leaving the store >

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Easy Crock Pot BBQ Ribs

I thought I would share one of the crock pot recipes I've been doing for years. It's so easy and delicious (and relatively cheap) that I thought others might like to give it a try.


  • 2.5 pounds of country style ribs (beef or pork, try to catch them when they're on sale, they freeze great!)
  • 1 bottle of the BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's is my absolute favorite and they recently went on sale at $0.88 for an 18 oz bottle, I bought 20)
  • 1 medium size onion (I love red onions, but any kind will do)
  • 2 cloves garlic (or 10, as you prefer ) 
  • 6 mushrooms (optional, I buy cremini but anything works)
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T vegetable oil (or bacon grease, if you're like me and always have some handy :) )
  • Salt and pepper to flavor (or your favorite BBQ spice rub)

This really is about as easy as cooking can get. Dice the onion, when I made it this morning I had red and white onions in the fridge so I used half a red and half a white onion but the key really is to get a nice dice going and get that onion-y goodness in your crock pot. 

Break down your garlic cloves, dice them finely or use a press, and toss em in the crock pot. 

Grab your bottle of BBQ sauce and pour the whole thing in. In order to get all of the yumminess out of the BBQ bottle, pour your beef broth into the bottle and shake, shake, shake it up. Pour the beef broth into the mix as well. 

Now, if you're lucky enough to have a bottle of Wickersham Family Authentic Down Home BBQ Spice Rub shake a decent helping into the pot, otherwise add a teaspoon each of salt and pepper and send me an email begging for a sample of my spice rub. 

Next quarter (or smaller, if you're a little mushroom queasy) the mushrooms and mix them into your crock pot. These mushroom are totally optional, you could leave them out completely if you wish but why would you! Their primary role is, of course, to add their earthy, nutty flavor to the recipe. The added benefit, even more of course, is that they give you something else to soak up the yummy base you just made over the next 8 hours and help stretch the recipe if you're feeding a large family. And an earthy, nutty flavor, of course. 

Now that you have your base taken care of (that was really easy, right) it's time to turn to your meat. You could just throw the ribs into the crock pot and be done; I've done this on many occasions when I've been in a hurry. It will be delicious. 

If you have a few extra minutes, however (a really, really small number of minutes) you can crank the flavor up a few notches by browning the ribs before you put them in the crock pot. The flavor benefit to lightly browning these ribs before you braise them all day in the crock pot is unbelievable. The secret to all this extra flavor, obviously, is the Maillard reaction. It's also an opportunity to sneak some bacon into your ribs, which is never a bad idea. If you happen to have a tub (or a skillet left over from breakfast) of bacon grease you owe your family an apology if you skip this step. Seriously, it's bacon. Vegetable oil works well too if that's all you have (seriously, save your bacon grease). You want a mid-hot pan so you get a good sizzle, grab your tongs and lightly brown each side of your ribs. Then toss them into the crock pot. That's it. 5 minutes for flavor magic.

Now, if you browned your ribs you've got to keep all those brown bits in the pan. Deglaze with the apple cider vinegar (I said 1 tablespoon but I just use a couple splashes to cover the pan) and use your wooden spoon or silicon spatula to to get all that gooey goodness off the bottom of the pan. Let it reduce for just another minute (really, you've got the time!) and pour it into the crock pot. 

If you didn't brown your ribs, just pour a couple splashes of apple cider vinegar into the crock pot. Seriously though, brown the ribs. 

That's it! Stir it up a little to make sure the ribs are coated and set the timer so they're done by dinner. I like to go low for at least 8 hours but it's up to you. These ribs tend to be pretty tough and chewy so the lower and slower you can cook them the better they'll be. I like to serve them on a plate with some rice and my kids love them. Let me know if you try it!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

BBQ Smoker Modifications

People have shown a (surprising) interest in seeing the mods I did to my BBQ Smoker, which is the 
Char-Griller 5050 Duo Gas-and-Charcoal Grill with a side firebox added. We use the charcoal side almost exclusively for smoking big hunks of meat but I have noticed some shortcomings. Apparently a bunch of other people have too, and I found some great ideas for fixing things up. The biggest problem has been keeping temperature up, not surprising because of the relative lightweight nature of the smoker, and I wanted to address this so I could help keep the temperatures stable.

My idea was to both add thermal mass and to increase the time that the smoke/heat stayed in the cooking chamber. The first addition was to add a 3 inch water heater exhaust pipe to the chimney and bring it down to the grill surface.

Aluminum exhaust hose

The next step was relatively simple but I think will make the biggest difference in the overall performance of the smoker; eight firebricks in the bottom of the smoker. These bricks sit close to the firebox opening and add a tremendous amount of thermal mass to the smoker. 

I mounted a couple of stainless steel sheet metal squares on top of the bricks. The right side piece is pressure fit between the slightly offset bolts holding on the firebox and the left side is sitting loose so it can be adjusted to tune the temperature gradient across the pit. 

Bricks and stainless ductwork

The stainless steel plates serve two purposes: both serving as a bit of a duct to carry the smoke across the pit and as a vaporization plate for dripping fat and juices from the meet. I can also add a cookie sheet if I need to with some water (or beer :)  ) to make it into a water smoker,  but I have a vertical smoker, the Brinkmann 852-7080-E Charcoal Gourmet Grill and Smoker, that does water very well. 

The finished product

With the smoke coming through the bricks and under the stainless plates and drifting up and back across the surface of the grill to get to the exhaust pipe I'm hoping to get a more serious hit of smoke in the meat as it smokes and also a more consistent temperature over time. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Urban Farming Overabundance: Fresh Tomato Sauce

Our tomatoes have been producing like crazy lately. So many, in fact, that I can't get them picked fast enough before they start to over ripen on the vine.

Today we went and I stripped the heirlooms as aggressively as I could; lots of beautiful orange, yellow, black, and (boring!) red lovelies to fill up the refrigerator.

One thing I know some people struggle with is what to do with "mushy" tomatoes. I have even seen people in the garden throw them in the compost bin because they were soft. Ahhhhh! Today we had a fair amount of beautiful ripe "mushy" fruit and I decided that it looked like just the right amount to cook for dinner.  Here is a quick rundown of what I did with them; hopefully it will help you avoid the temptation to toss the mushers!

The first step was to separate out all of the mushy tomatoes. We had a nice big wire basket that we filled up -- you can see the wonderful variety of color in the tomatoes.

Into the food processor they go! I threw in a medium sized onion and a couple of cloves of garlic and ran it pretty aggressively to get everything nice and liquid-y. Not pureed exactly, I still like my sauce a little chunky, but pretty smooth. 

Next I poured the mixture into a stock pot with a little salt, pepper, and "italian seasoning' from Sprouts. Sidebar - I love Sprouts for buying spices. So easy to buy fresh spices and so cheap; their blends are amazing!

The secret to a great sauce from fresh tomatoes (mushy or otherwise) is cooking it long and low (in my opinion).  I can't remember why at the moment ( I believe it was something I heard on America's Test Kitchen), but it is very important that you don't let tomatoes get to a boil when you're cooking them as it will really ruin their fresh flavor. I left them on medium-low uncovered for about three hours until they were nice and thick and had lost most of their water (the kitchen smelled wonderful!) and set the mixure aside until we were ready to make dinner.

Once it was time for dinner, I poured a few cups of red wine in the pot and let it cook off for about 10 minutes. A little grated parmesan, some good EVOO, and half a lemon with it's zest and we were ready to eat! We served it over some farfalla with a few grilled chicken breasts and a spinach, mozzarella, and fresh tomatoes salad on the side. It was a wonderful "mushy tomato" dinner!

UPDATE: I forgot to take a picture of the finished product yesterday, but I got this pic today from leftover lunchtime

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Authority in the Community and New Media

I read an interesting post on Facebook today. It was posted by The United Methodist Church  account and it dealt with an innovative church in Missouri that encourages the congregation to send text messages to the pastor with questions during the service and specifically during the sermon. Read the original article at What surprised me (and I guess it shouldn't have) was the overwhelmingly negative responses by people to the Facebook post; I though this was a brilliant way to engage people during worship and I was honestly surprised by how angry some got at the suggestion that we invite the congregation to do anything other than sit passively and absorb the preacher's sermon. You can read some of the responses to the post, and I encourage you to 'Like' the UMC Facebook page - it's a great source of interesting news and the articles are generally well written.

The reason I'm blogging about this is because I believe it is a powerful reflection on a subject that has been very important to me in the past few years. I have spent a lot of time in academia; from my undergraduate work in physics, math, and the classics, to my graduate work in both physics and theology I have spent more than nine years in the university setting. One of the things I have learned is what it takes in that environment to earn the authority to speak. Degrees, papers, citations; none of this is new to most of us. If you don't have the paper no one is really going to listen to you. 

During that same time, I made myself a student of new media (though it wasn't always called that) and I have spent more time than may be appropriate for a person my age and with my responsibilities attempting to stay on the leading edge; I'm not a Digital Native but I feel like I've worked hard enough for long enough that I'm as close as a Digital Immigrant can be (read more about Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants). 

In my native state of Florida we have a divide almost as sharp as the one in the Digital realm; you're either a native or you're not and there aren't any shades of gray. We do have a way, however, of talking about people who have put in enough time to speak with authority about life in the Sunshine State - they might not be natives but "they have a lot of sand in their shoes."  What I'm getting at (in a very roundabout way) is that I know I'm not a Digital Native but I think I've got a lot of sand in my shoes (or bits on my disk?). In fact, I think it is my existence in the nether world between native and immigrant that puts me in a fantastic position to really think about what it means to speak with authority in this new world. 

I felt so compelled to spend serious time thinking about authority and new media that I crafted an independent study class while I was at the Claremont School of Theology and spent a semester doing research and experimenting with new media and community. In a sad meta-commentary on the subject, I did quite poorly from an academic perspective in this independent study class because I didn't submit an appropriately academic paper summarizing my findings to my professor. Somehow the website, Facebook page, and twitter following I built along with the essay I wrote summarizing my findings (even though this was the agreed syllabus - grumble grumble) didn't pass muster. I'm fairly certain that my professor's reaction to my work has nothing to do with my findings and the thesis of my essay which  was that, essentially, the future doesn't look too bright for professors whose authority is derived from publications and degrees, pastors whose authority is derived from an ordaining body, or educators whose authority is derived from school boards and certifying bodies.

What I have found, and I would love your feedback on this, is that for Digital Natives authority is derived from within a community. Furthermore, regardless of the pedigree you enter a community with you start from square one. PhD? Title? Publications? Bupkus. Your first foray into a community are like a baby's first steps. You gain authority based on the thoughtfulness and sincerity (or wit, or sarcastic sharpness) of your contributions and little else. Being vouched for by others is an effective way to gain ground quickly but ultimately your place in the community is based on what you have contributed to the community. 

I believe that, at it's core, this isn't a revolutionary idea. I think what is revolutionary, however, is the idea that we can't carry our authority from one community to another. Chap Clark said a lot about independence within youth communities in his book Hurt: Inside the World of Today's Teenagers (Highly Recommended!) and based on my own experiences I think it can be expanded more generally to speak about all communities that Digital Natives participate in. 

The take away from this (and what it was about the article about texting on that prompted me to write this) is that this tears down the very idea of an authority figure standing up in the front of the room (both figuratively and literally) and educating or otherwise exerting influence on those listening. It's why, in my opinion, so many Digital Immigrants find themselves torn down and disrespected when they act in authoritative ways that seem completely reasonable to most of us.  You listen to your teacher because they are the teacher (because someone told you they were in charge). You learn from your pastor because they are the pastor (because someone told you they were in charge). You go to graduate school and get a piece of paper that tells everyone that what you have to say is important. And it is important - I derive great meaning from the doctoral process - but what I'm trying to suggest is that authority within the academic community that recognizes the doctorate no longer carries over into other communities (if it ever really did). 

Of more concern to me is the realization that this same applies to the church community. This is why I am so intrigued by the article referenced above. The sermon becomes a conversation. The pastor of the church is no longer a single point of authority but becomes instead a curator of the conversation. If Digital Natives are to become engaged in the Church then it is my suggestion that the local church must become a community whose authority is grown organically from within. The experiences and understanding of God that a 12 year old youth brings to the conversation is just as important as the seminary education that the pastor of the church brings to the conversation. The anger and hurt that a 30-something single father brings to the community becomes an integral part of the theology of the community; the community must be grown from within. This poses serious problems to institutions - particularly those who send clergy into a church and expect them to represent the church's authority from day one. 

What does a church that allows authority to be cultivated within the community look like? I don't know.  Is it important that we figure it out? I think it is of the utmost importance.  I think Morning Star Church in Missouri is doing some of the hard work that we all need to engage in to keep the Church alive. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

UMC And Social Media

It has come to my attention that the Kentucky Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church may be requiring clergy and (possibly) those in the ordination process to sign a document promising to add a fake profile on Facebook and Myspace as a "friend" for the purpose of allowing their conduct on these sites to be monitored. They are also being required, as I understand it, to disclose any blogs or other websites that they own so that these can be monitored as well. The whole of the offending document can be found at and what follows is an excerpt:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Letters to my children

Dearest Daughters,

I am sending you this note to let you know how much I love you. More than that, I want to let you know that I believe in your limitless potential. I know that you are growing up in a world that will, at times, try to push you down and prevent you from being who you are called to be. I promise I will do everything I possibly can to uplift and empower you with the understanding that this alone won't be enough to open all of the doors the world wants to close. I promise I will praise your intellect as often as I praise your beauty; your strength as often as your grace. I will encourage your independence when all I want to do is hold you close and protect you from the evil in our world. Most of all, I will never let a day go by without showing you how much I love you and letting you know how thankful I am that God blessed my life with your presence.

To My Son,

Your road will be so much different than the one your sisters will travel on. I want you to know that I love you with all my heart and soul. You were the unexpected light that sparked in a darkened room and gave new life to my soul. I know that you too are growing up in a world that will test the very limits of your abilities and try to make you into someone much less than the person God created you to be. I believe in you; forever and always. I promise I will do everything I possibly can to uplift and empower you with the understanding that this alone won't be enough to open all of the doors the world wants to close. I promise I will never shy away from telling you how beautiful you are; I will praise your grace, artistry, and empathy as often as your strength, speed, and intellect. I will shelter and protect you even when the world calls for you to strike out on your own and be fiercely independent. Most of all, I will never let a day go by without showing you how much I love you and letting you know how thankful I am that God blessed my life with your presence.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sub-Irrigated Garden

Well, when we moved to Avondale I had to leave behind my beloved garden beds. I had worked for years to develop rich soil in the gardens on the north and south sides of the house and had some really well developed fruit trees going in back yard. So many plans turned to dust. We're in a rental house now, so I have to be a bit more careful about my approach to permaculture but I can't stand the thought of not growing some of our own food. The kids love it, and there is nothing like going out into the backyard to pick a salad or gather some broccoli for dinner. So I decided to get ambitious and build a large sub-irrigated bed in the back yard to take care of our gardening needs. If you're not familiar with the concept, check out one of my favorite urban gardening sites at for a dizzying array of examples and pictures. The basic idea is that you provide a way to water your garden from the bottom up which prevents evaporation and promotes deep root penetration. I think it's an ideal solution for desert gardening. We have a large open area covered in rocks on the west side of the house which I have decided will become the "farm" side of the house. The long term plan is to have two raised sub-irrigated beds as well as our composter and the chicken coops on this side of the house with a little picket-fence to keep out the dogs and toddlers (I'm not sure yet which is more destructive to the garden). Here are a few snapshots, hopefully there will be more as the growing season hits full stride.

This first picture is just after we finished construction. Notice the black fill-pipe in the back corner. This is where we water the garden. Sorry I had to cut my model out of the picture...

This next picture is about a month later after things had really started taking off. The tall plants in the middle are the tomatoes, squash on the left side of the picture and cauliflower on the right side. The foreground is different varieties of peppers and sown in the bare spots are carrots, beets, and spinach.

And a view from the other side (cracked bonsai pots courtesy of the twins). Two large basil plans next to the tomatoes, some cabbage on the left side, eggplant and zucchini on the right side. Next to the basil you see leeks and swiss chard, with various onions, garlic, and scallions filling in the rest. There is quite a bit of loose-leaf lettuce sown in the bare spots and the bonsai-pot-corner now contains a flowering strawberry plant (not-pictured).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Privilege and children

So I am reaching the end of the quarter and can't get one nagging n out of my mind. I can consciously make every effort to reject my privilege when it comes to decisions about my own life (with somewhat varying degrees of success); how do I reject the privilege that allows my children opportunities to excel to their maximum potential? Is it fair to them to make decisions that don't take full advantage of our privilege? I want to say it's NOT fair to them to systematically oppress others so that they may have opportunities unavailable to many other children but the daddy instinct fights back hard. Thoughts?

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, February 26, 2011


One of the most common things I hear about Christians is that they are judgemental. I struggled for years to be as non-judgmental and accepting as I could in order to be able to says with pride that I am a Christian who loves and accepts everyone for who they are. The longer I spend in seminary (I suppose this is one of the dangers of spending half a decade in graduate school) the more I feel compelled to admit that I am becoming more judgmental and less accepting of others. Before you throw stones my way, let me qualify that by saying that my finger doesn't wag towards gay men or women, transgender individuals, people who have made the decision to end a pregnancy, people with tattoos, people with drug habits, or any of the other "traditional" finger-wagging judgments that Christians are famous for making. Instead, I find myself less and less able to accept people who believe that some people are more worthy of God's love than others. I find myself unwilling to take a "live and let live" attitude towards those who claim homosexuality is a disease or that the Church is closed to those who don't live their lives in quite the "right" way. I find myself recoiling in disgust when I hear a joke that is made at the expense of someone who has been marginalized and is oppressed in our society. I decided some time ago that I couldn't allow myself to reprsent a Christian Church that didn't participate in a fully open communion and didn't truly throw open the doors to the least and the lost. "Open Doors, Open Minds, Open Doors" is a pretty slogan but until everyone is welcomed for exactly who they are I believe it is vacuous at best.

I spent the last two days in the company of Sister Helen Prejean and met a man today who is a death-row survivor. Shit. The death penalty becomes another thread of intolerance in my psyche; I can't accept that any viewpoint that justifies the murder of a defenseless human being. Let me be clear, I recognize this prejudice as sin. I am a broken man and I pray constantly that I can find a way to love everyone I meet with the open acceptance that God demands of me. But I'm not there and I feel like I'm going to get farther and farther away from who I want to be before I begin to turn around. Part of me wonders if this is the kind of intolerance that the world needs; what kind of change can we create in the world if we don't sacrifice ourselves for what we believe is right even at the expense of personal sin. I can only ask for grace when I let you down.

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