I’ve never been in a box. It’s really the irony of it, but publicly I didn’t realize how much of a box I was in. Personally, I was able to navigate in a million different spaces, but I remember [author/theologian] Christena Cleveland challenged me by saying I was an evangelical mascot. I said, “Wow, is that really how I’m perceived?” When I saw that, it really made me do some internal soul searching and say, “Wow, I didn’t realize that was the perception.” I had to ask friends. I was in the dark. By placating people so often in certain circles, you’re viewed as an advocate. If you hang out at the biker club so many times, people will say, “He’s a biker.” I’m way more complex and nuanced than that. It’s not to say that I hate that world or anything like that; I have great friends over there and everywhere. Now I’m just content with saying I’m just a follower of Jesus. That’s it. I don’t belong in any camp. I guess to drive it home for me, it’s not being worried if I disappoint the box people thought I was in in the first place. Because it’s like, “Oh, you’re hanging out with this person? You must be liberal. No, wait. Why are you hanging out with this person? Are you conservative?” It’s like, “No, because I’m nuanced and complex and I like both of them.” I’m not going to worry about the way people perceive me because if you meet me you’ll say, “Oh, OK, I didn’t realize that there was this lane in the middle here that people could run in.” But that’s what you’re going to have to deal with.
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