Following Our Names Around

Sometimes it feels like we're hiding our true selves behind a name -- or a title, an office, a position, a reputation -- that masks what we're really like.

"I am the false character that follows my name around," wryly remarks the protagonist of Don DeLillo's White Noise. A line like that makes us laugh and cringe at the same time. We smile because it's witty, but deep down, we can understand the sentiment. Sometimes it feels like we're hiding our true selves behind a name – or a title, an office, a position, a reputation – that masks what we're really like.

Leaders, perhaps especially, can feel this tension, the gap between the public perception and "the real me." "There is deep irony involved when anyone claims to be a Christian leader," Jason Byassee admits. Truthfulness isn't the easiest character trait to acquire.

This fall, I'll be starting what I hope will be the final year of my Ph.D. I'm a doctoral candidate in New Testament studies, and my area of research has been the connections between what the apostle Paul says about God, Jesus and the Spirit in his epistles and the later doctrine of the Trinity, formulated at the Councils of Nicaea ...

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