Saturday, November 27, 2010

Multi Housing ministry... a grand thing indeed!

The first time I heard about Multi-Housing Ministry through Bear Valley Church, I thought, “What a good idea! I'd like to be involved with that someday."  I turned my information into the offering plate that day, checking the box "I'd like more information on getting involved with Multi-Housing Ministry."  The idea is that in poverty ridden areas, where people need the most hope, church need not wait for them to come, rather take the church to the people.  Problems with transportation, and the social stigmas of not having "church clothes" or even a Bible to bring with them, keep many people who would otherwise love to fellowship, at a distance.  I called Luanne Turner, the woman in charge of the ministry and introduced myself over the phone.  She said "Oh, Rebecca Miles, you are on my list of people to call. There just isn't enough of me to go around!" I met her at the church office just 10 minutes later to pick up pamphlets and information on the ministry to use in this paper, and before I left I'd stuffed 100 envelopes with invitations to receive free thanksgiving meals.  I didn't show up with the intention to start my project then, but Luanne had other plans.  I was an able bodied person, and my toddler son playing with her stacks of canned foods was no bother to her; she was grateful for the help. 
                      I showed up at 9:30 just as Luanne asked me to at the Green Gables Condominiums.  This, come to find out, was a euphemism.  I was looking for building 7, and it appeared to me that the buildings went numerically to 6, skipped 7 and 8 all together and picked right back up at 9 to what seemed to be infinity.  Building after building on this beautiful Sunday morning looked exactly the same.  I pulled up to a man standing on the sidewalk. "Excuse me, can you tell me where building 7 is?" He attempted to copy what I said, but his strong Spanish accent let me know I needed to change it up a bit.  Thankfully after years of restaurant service, my Spanish is adequate in most situations.  He told me I was on the wrong side of the complex.  I realized he was waiting for a ride, and I was made acutely aware of how embarrassing it is to pull up in a newer car, in nicer clothes, and stand out this severely.  I suddenly wanted to be at the safe place of the pews and the church clothes where I looked just like everyone else. 
                        I found building 7, a clearly out of place old white woman in fancy shoes pointed me in the right direction.  I walked in the apartment to find 4 teenagers and a man in his 30's vacuuming, sweeping, dusting, and arranging frantically.  I informed them I was there to help, and they took me back to a "bedroom" that had two long tables and shelves of art supplies.  No bed, no dressers, no clothes in the closet.  I was confused, but I just kept at my task: clean the paint off the tables from the last art project.  The apartment itself was clean, but hardly livable conditions. The drywall was coming off in chunks; the windows were easily from the 50's, I imagine when these condos were the cream of the crop.  No doubt about it, this place is covered in lead based paint.  It was decorated with adorable "God loves you" posters and faith based art work, whoever lived here was faithful. The kitchen had a long banquet sized table that took up the entire length of the kitchen.  Some pumpkin bread and pineapple was out, coffee and water to drink, and some of the most impressive 1970's decor a person could ever want or need!  I asked a woman who was doing kitchen work, "who lives here?"
            "No one." she says, "This is the church's apartment, and we just got another one in building 11.  We use that one for the teenagers, grades 6 to 12!"  The kids who were frantically cleaning the place came to tell me they were heading to the other apartment to finish up over there.  I came along, hoping to maybe learn someone's name along the way.  These kids were part of a small group that does activities together: bowling, toilet-papering, typical high school stuff.  But every fourth weekend, they pack up a bag with clothes and toothbrushes and head out, going on service weekends.  Building houses, helping small churches with repairs, and of course stopping in with Luanne and one of her many Multi-Housing Ministry locations.  I talked with these clearly better off kids, asking them why they gave up a whole weekend for this. Their response was quick- it's fun.  On this side, the master bedroom walls were lined with shelves.  The shelves were carefully organized by size, from newborn clothes to woman sized dresses, highchairs, car seats, even diapers and formula.  This was their storage area for the donations to meet the needs of the community here at Green Gables Condominiums.  I dusted the back rooms and headed to the kitchen where I feel the most comfortable.  Another woman pieced together a lunch for the teenagers: leftover turkey, lettuce, onions, jalapeƱos, a loaf of wheat bread and peanuts.  I chopped carrots and celery, and put out ranch and peanut butter secretly hoping the teens would eat every last bite of the vegetables, but consciously knowing there was no chance. 
               Time diminished quickly and before I knew it, 11:00 was rolling around.  Luanne arrived, and I felt glad to have a familiar face.  She sent me and the man in charge of the service teens to help in building 7 with the children.  Last week, the woman who leads the kids grades 5 and under had 17 kids, and no helper.  This week 5 kids came.  She said this was pretty standard, "the more help you have the less you need it."  She had hoped that "the 5 R's" would come: Rudy, Raina, Ralphie, Ronnie, and aRrianna.  They had planned to move and gotten a house big enough for all 6 of them in Aurora. They rented a U-Haul and loaded up the truck, but at the last minute the house in Aurora fell through.  Green Gables Condominiums wouldn't let them have their apartment back, so they'd been staying in the U-Haul truck for 5 days. Any minute Luanne and her team expected the police to show up and tow them away.  We all prayed they'd just come inside.  They didn't.    
            Just a few minutes after 11, the teens were safely in building 11, the adults and kids were with us, the music began.  A lone guy and an acoustic guitar is secretly my second favorite sound in the world, second only to newborn cry.  He sang old familiar songs: amazing grace, our God is an awesome God.  I didn't even notice how different this was than last Sunday was for me.  No lights, no synthesizer, no drums, no harmonies, but real honest worship is awesome no matter how it is presented.  We took the kids after worship to the room with the tables I cleaned earlier.  The kids sat down, Jacob sat at the second table by himself.  He was white and the only one of the visitors other than one woman in the adult room I had noticed during worship.  She was clearly mentally handicapped but worshiped nonetheless.  I wondered if they were related somehow.  The other 4 kids were a pair of sisters, and a brother and sister team.  Alonzo, the little boy was 4 and hardly spoke English.  His older sister did most of his talking for him, and boy did she have a thing or two to say. 
                      The sister-sister team treated Alonzo as if he were their own little brother and they drank juice and ate pumpkin bread, and with full mouths attempted to answer the teacher's question: "What are you thankful for?"  
            Jacob said "sleep" without looking up from the toy he was playing with. I tried to get him to join us. He declined.  The sister's all looked at each other as if they wanted to say something, finally Alicia spoke up, "I am thankful for my mom coming home." I should have bit my tongue but without a real thought about it, I asked "Why? Where was she?" honestly expecting to hear "the hospital."  She said, "Jail," again without making eye-contact.  I felt bad for asking, but worse for these kids.  Come to find out their dad had come to take care of them while the mother was in jail.  I didn't find out why she was there, but I was relieved to find out that Dad didn't leave as soon as mom got home.  Alicia seemed a little excited at the prospect that her Dad and Mom could live in the same house again.
            The rest of the time flew by quickly.  The mentally handicapped woman came in and said "Jacob, let’s go."
            "Mooooooom! We just started our craft! Please just 5 more minutes," he said.
            "No Jacob, I told you we have a place to be at noon!" she demanded.
            He broke into silent tears, stood to his feet and marched out.  She followed behind him, begging him to cheer up, and the most wasted words she'd speak that day.  The child who couldn't even sit near us didn't want to leave, nor did he want us to see the tears that fell.  He didn't get his way either time this Sunday.
            The day finished with the children finishing their craft- candles rolled in glitter.  They prayed, I explained that "Horned thing" is called a cornucopia, and it represents having more than enough, what we celebrate at Thanksgiving.  They were the only people in the room unaware that they did not know what a cornucopia was because they had never had excess.  I was left in my sore-thumb-of-a-van to jot notes of this experience, words wouldn't come but tears did easily.  Sociology will put names, phases, approaches and theories to the experience that Sunday morning at Green Gables Condominiums, but they won't do it justice. Hard to imagine these children coming up out of these circumstances, the section 8 housing, the welfare and the "situation" they are in, to prevail to much better of a situation.  Forgive my bluntness, it would take a miracle!  My white privilege had scued my view of poverty. My perspective of poverty has changed and I am forever grateful. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

For all I've been through...

Studying David and his flee from Saul, I am found in awe of a man that would and could spare the life of this king, who just a page or 2 back had priests and the entire city (Nob) they live in killed.  Slaughtered. 

David chose mercy for Saul because he knew that God would repay Saul for the masacre at Nob.  I think about those people who take justice into their own hands,

... The father or mother who avenges her murdered child
... The fervent activist who kills abortion doctors
... The assasins who take out leaders, or attempt to, because of their political party
... The husband who sends his wife's rapist to his maker
... The woman who assalts the other woman in her marriage

The list could go on.  And all of these acts could be "justified" by someone else.  There are plenty of people who would say the victims of these crimes DESERVED what they got, and many people might even feel joy at these injustices- these victims were first victimizers. 

David saw through all that.  Inspired by the Holy Spirit, David gave mercy to Saul, when he could have killed him and been hailed victorious! Society would have backed him! They would say "Saul got what he deserved."  I was actually a little disappointed in David when he DIDN'T kill Saul! It would have been one of those "YES!" moments in literature, where the protagonist defeats the antagonist! God convicted David, saying- NO, or at least, Not yet. 

The victory for David over Saul is coming in scripture (I have stopped and taken a break in the story to write about it).  As is our victory over those who seek after us to cause us pain.  Stay firm soldier! Stand knowing that even though you could easily take them out- and trust me, those temptations are coming, Satan is a crafty fellow- Listen to what the Spirit tells you.  Know that God has your back, and is out for your victory! And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us? and if our God is with us, then what could stand against us? A Saul? Never!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A million cars out there turning into prayers...

Sitting in traffic, I see a thousand cars. 
I wonder about the people behind those wheels.

Are you hurting? Are you celebrating?
Are you passing through life, going through the motions?

Have you felt anything today?

Your car reminds me of someone I know, who drives a car that looks like yours.
Is that you in there? No.  Someone else; another nameless face come and gone.
The story of my life.

I will pray for you.  I will pray for God to reveal himself to you. 
To breathe this crazy love into your chest.
I will also pray for the people I know who's car looks a lot like yours. 

Traffic into spiritual warfare being waged against the forces unseen around you,
And someone else you probably don't even know.

Powerful God can can use traffic, loving God can use a wretch like me.
Faithful God will answer my prayers, whether you know I am praying for you or not.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A woman who is not a feminist. A social outcast.

Just say the word "femininity" and instantly I am torn. Plainly, I am a woman. More complexly, I am a Christian woman. And as complex as I would like to take it for today, I am a Christian Woman who embraces the things that make me distinctly woman, specifically motherhood.

I read two articles on the ideal of feminism. One by a male author Paul Theroux, contemporary-ish author who has fallen head over heals in love with the idea that what defines men or masculinity is just absolutely unbearable! being a "man" means being "Stupid, unfeeling, obedient, soldierly and unable to figure out the riddle and nuisance of woman."

Excuse me, but I don't define men that way at all! A manly man is Strong, feeling (even if expression of feeling is different than a woman's), honorable and sacrificial! He claims "manliness" comes from "feeling inadequate because it denies men the natural friendship of women." He is implying that it is Manly to shoot pool with the guys, to go shoot elk in the woods with the guys, drink beer with the guys, throw a football around with the guys, and if you do anything with the girls, (other than sex of course) you are simply not manly.
As opposed to women who are more womanly by needing and seducing a man. The more seductive the more womanly. I think this guy is far more sexist than first appearances may imply.

He claims that this idea of "manliness" is (and I must quote this, because it is so extremely offensive) "Right wing, puritanical, cowardly, neurotic and fueled largely by a fear of women." (Women and Men, Paul Theroux) This idea of a man needing male companionship goes back far beyond a political party mentality. I suppose Socrates and Plato were republicans then? I hardly think so! Manliness is not the end of the life of the mind, but rather the mind being processed through sentiment, that there are roles - like it or not- that are manly, and to believe that doesn't make you sexist. It makes you able to understand that men and women are indeed different. Not superior or inferior, not right or wrong, just different. (quote, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, Love and Respect).

He goes round and around about how horrible it is to be tied so mercilessly to the stereotypical male, even to the point that it is shameful for him to be a writer, a woman's work. I suppose that I lost respect for this piece when he said that manhood is not a privilege, rather "an unmerciful and punishing burden." To be honest about my feeling on this piece...Oh for goodness sake! Cry me a river!

Mary Wollstonecraft wrote a not-so-opposing article called "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman." She agrees, though she wrote this in 1792, that women are not as weak as society says they are. Strength and usefulness as she calls it are put second fiddle to beauty, considered seductresses rather than respectable human beings. As a self fulfilling prophesy, women are taught to be ladylike being refined, and then become sub-human species. And women are satisfied with this objectification because they enjoy the attention. Being physically weaker (in most cases) than men is not enough to society; they seek to belittle women even further by attributing such goodness to the appealing woman.

She equivalates nobility to masculinity, and as a person gets closer to a noble character, they are actually getting closer and closer to what is defined as masculinity. The attributes to woman-soft spoken, a sentimental and vulnerable heart, good taste all are descriptions of weakness. Even worse, a woman gets farther in life by flashing a womanly charm, using her sweet words and wiles that are aimed straight to the heart, not the head.

Women therefore, if they intend to keep their womanhood, can only progress in life by getting married. We call it, Getting your M.R.S. Degree. and fall into the prophesy that they are only animals made to care for the babies they bare. She ends with a sharp jab at the male intellect, and with that she ends her argument- That society keeps women from filling their potential.

The Bible says feminism is simply foolishness. See women have the good deal here. A common misconception is that "Wives submit to your husbands" means "Do what he says mindlessly, never question him. If he asks you to jump- you say how high." That's the "Uninformed Idiot translation", UIT for short. So what does it mean?

This command is really more aimed toward the man. Understand that this is actually an order in which we die. In a battle, the officers go into it first. They go on their horses, galloping ahead to take out the enemy. The "lesser" or "submissive" troops, run fervently right behind them. God is saying to the woman- "You let your husband defend you, quite possibly to the death."

Now imagine for a second that someone you know actually and not figuratively took a bullet for you. Imagine they lived. Would you not spend the rest of your life wanting to do what ever they needed or wanted, after all, you do owe them your life? This is the idea behind God's submissive command to wives. It is that it is expected of the husband to lay down his life for his wife, just as Christ laid down His life for The Church. Husbands would do it, almost without thinking of it! It is natural for them, they sleep closest to the door, they guide you away from danger because if you are in danger, he is in danger.

Its not a hierarchy of importance or value. Its a command to the family- "Husbands you go first. Die for your wife and kids. And wives, because you know that he WILL do this for you, treat him accordingly."

According to UIT, we as women should abandon this and go into battle with the husbands, on our own horses. This seems silly doesn't it. No military on earth goes about battle this way, at least not for long- send everyone in at once! The battle will be over quickly. If being a feminist means that I put myself on this plain, I set myself up for failure, and there is no reason to say feminism is to believe that men and women are equal, because God already says they are. In fact you may even translate it as women are FAVORED because the men should die for us.

I will not be a feminist. I will believe God. He hasn't gotten anything wrong so far, why would I (who get most things terribly wrong on my own) try to change it!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Where do you stand?" vs "where do you walk?"

I hate standing still.  I wait tables for a living and walking is not just part of my job, its part of me.  I am always on the go! My mom says thats why my son Caleb is so wild.  When he was a baby he had no choice but to go with me wherever my wild wind of whims sent me!

God's word is clear though, at times it is appropriate to "Be Still."  If I slow down enough to "be still," I fall asleep!  4 classes, 3 kids, 2 jobs, 2 bible studies, 1 very neglected house and 1 very neglected husband to keep me busy.  How can a girl keep a sabbath when Sunday is Bronco day, and a waitress better not ask for that day off or you might end up with every day off!  Even if I did keep a sabbath, 18 month old Joshua doesn't quite understand the sentence, "Mommy needs a nap honey!" 

Does the "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10) refer to standing in the will of God, standing firm on the things God left no margin of error for?  Can I be walking in God's will, (Progressively getting closer and closer to Him by searching for knowledge through prayer, petition, and honest seeking of His Word) while standing completely still in Him.  God is a wave of these seemingly contradictory ideas...

I am walking through a vastly secular world.  Lets face it, I work in a bar, I go to a "secular" school, I live in an apartment complex where, lets just say discipline is absent, I could easily fall prey to the thief who is eagerly looking to steal, kill and destroy me and my entire family.  But the way I walk through it is to stand.  Stand firm.  And in my faith stand firm is a specific position of standing, one the world would not view as standing at all.


Weird!   The way I walk with God, and Be still in the knowledge that God is telling the truth, He is who He said He is, is actually to stand firm on the Word, and to Kneel.

Ready for some funky math:

Walk + Be Still +Stand= Kneel = what God wants from me today.

I love that I could spend the rest of my life exploring the Word of God, Loving the messages He speaks to me, applying them to my life, and I could always see what God wants for and from me today.

Today, I will pray.  I will Pray for me, I will pray for you.  And I will hit my knees knowing this is where God wants my walk to go. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

An Excersize in life examination...

One of the sweetest people I know, my dear Connie suggested some time ago to go through your house, pretending to be someone else.  The pretense- your death.  What would your things say about you?

The bibles littered throughout my house so I am never physically too far from the Word to use it. Does that really show that I am a christian, or just a pretty crazy book collector who just collects one kind of book. 

The mess of toys, the shrines I've made of the walls of pictures of my kids, the stains on the carpet.  Does that really show I want the most amazing life for my kids, does it communicate that I hope to never hear the words..."I never really had a childhood" from them.

The art work on the walls- not Van Gough, or even Kincade, but star charts my kids and I have made to reward positive behavior and Sunday School crafts.  Will it say I chose to invest in lives rather than stuff?
Or just that I was too cheap to buy anything to pass on the these kids whose lives will (Lord willing) go on after mine stops?

My journals and journals of prayers, will they show faith in a God who has yet to let me down? Or will they seem like a beggars soul died before her body did?

Will the notes I've taken, the cards I've received, the letters written on lined pieces of notebook paper all saved and stored in my top drawer bring joy to their readers like they did me?

Will the pile of reciepts, napkins, box lids, and other make-shift stationary guests in the restaurants over the years have left me... "you're the best server we've ever had." "Thanks for the prayer," "We just found out were pregnant." "I can tell you are a caring mom," "best service ever," etc, and yes I have kept them ALL- will those make someone smile in grief.  I suppose I am being presumptuous that someone would grieve for my death.

After all if anyone knows me at all, I would hope they would just use this as an excuse to have a potluck, mimosas and tell stories. 

I guess this all comes about because someone wrote a piece that told of our relationship, and she actually saw me as I hope people will.  When I tearfully read it to my husband, he said "Whoa, thats the kinda stuff you hope people say about you at your funeral!" I said "No, I hope people say this stuff behind my back!"

I hope that on my tombstone my husband or children I leave behind remember what I told them I want engraved:

"I had a great time, thanks for having me." but moreso, I hope it makes sense to them. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

In a world without God

I am reading (and studying) this book by C.S. Lewis called The Abolition of Man.  Lewis, a devout Christian man appeals to the non believer basically by exchanging the word "God" for this concept of the "Tao" (pronounced "Dow").  The Tao according to Lewis is the place we draw basic morals from. 

We would all agree that it is wrong to kill your own children for fun.  We would all agree that an unexpected act of kindness toward a stranger is "good." But what makes it right and wrong? Some argue that right and wrong come from society (IE, society says that its okay to smoke marijuana in some cases, but some societies disagree).  Some say right and wrong comes from what we physically need or want really really bad.  So it's right for me to have a child because it is my carnal urge to reproduce, even if I can't care for my child?

See the paradox???... the judgement of right and wrong has to come from somewhere!!! But where?

Lewis calls this place we draw basic moral "right and wrong" the Tao, PPinocchio says its his Jimminy Cricket, or it could be argued this "conscience" we have inside us says "don't punch your mom in the face its wrong" and "give that hungry baby a meal- its right."

Have you ever looked at the word Conscience?
break it down ---con-science.  It goes AGAINST what science would tell you.  Science says keep your money, you might need it, never give it to the poor.  Science says the elderly are dying, invest in the future.  Science says it is unnatural to love your enemy, and offer unwarranted kindness to strangers.  Science says we could have evolved from an ape sometime billions of years ago, and that a fetus is just a collection of cells and hardly a real person.  Science says genetically men and women are so hardly distinguishable that gender doesn't actually matter.

But our Conscience says otherwise.  The Tao, as Lewis calls it, or as I will call it, God. 

God says "Give to the poor, protect children and widows." God says "when an enemy is against you, pray for their well being, and allow them to potentially hurt you again, to show them our kind of unnatural love."  God says "reach out to strangers, helpless and hopeless and love them like a brother." God said "I made YOU, and your ancestors.  I created you to be the person you are because I love who you are! You are not an accident!"  God says "I knitted you together while you were in your mom's womb, at NO point were you just a collection of cells."  God says, "I made women and men different, not right and wrong, just different and I made you to fit together so perfectly, to compliment each other, and I made you this way ON PURPOSE!"

I have known many people who denied Christ, but were amazing people, lived honorably and with a just mind.  I have seen these people do things that some Christians might not.  I have seen them sacrifice, and do the right thing when they thought no one was watching.  I have known many of these people to be what the Christians might even call heathens, Gay people, Aborters, divorcees, drug addicts and the like.  But I would argue that they appeal to the "Tao" as Lewis would say, and God as I would.

I believe they actually acknowledge a God they deny, simply by living this kind of life! Funny how a philosophy class I have taken in my epic "strive to the top" has allowed me to see that every tongue DOES indeed confess! Intentionally or not!

Lewis says in that book, that some people are better than their principles.  I would argue with him that some of those people just don't quite get it yet, but they are on their way.  It's easier for a person who understands the loving generous good nature of God, to accept HIM as He is. 

Sorry for the rant... I just can't stop thinking of all of my friends who live in the Tao, and how after all this time, turns out it is by the Tao standards that I have decided who to be friends with! NO WONDER ALL my friends are AMAZING!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Here's a grand idea

Just don't be mean.  You could actually even try to be kind once in a while.  But eliminating "mean" would do the world a favor.

The things you wouldn't know just by looking at me

My father in law one night during the prayer before a meal included this sentence in his prayer:

"I spiritually adopt all the babies that will be murdered today through abortion, God we pray for those babies."

He knows I've had an abortion. 

I was consumably angry and left the house to smoke (at the time, I smoked 2 packs a day.)  His wife, Nate's mom came out to talk me down, and her words were almost if not equally as alarming.

"He feels so passionately about it, Becca, and he didn't mean to hurt you. He just forgets that you did that because you just aren't the type."

the type?

hmmm... I didn't know there was a type.

What I think she was getting at was, just by looking at me, you wouldn't say "that girl has had an abortion." but what does that girl look like.  I close my eyes, and ask my imagination to draw a picture of what "the girl who had an abortion" looks like.  I see me.   But, I can understand how most people wouldn't see me, or anyone for that matter. 

Do you see some sketched out drug addict, do you see some young 13 year old girl with her whole life ahead of her, do you see a homeless woman without the means to support herself let alone a child, do you see a business woman in a power suit who won't let this unexpected pregnancy ruin her epic rise to the top?

WE CANT SEE ANYONE! because there isn't a face. We can more easily exclude someone from the type than we can include.  But even that is unreliable at best.  I might be excluded based on my religion, my children, my marital status, my home life, bank account, etc.  But you would be wrong.

So what else might you not think about me?
1. I have been married before, and Divorced.
2. I obviously had an abortion, but I was already a mom, a christian, and I was married.
3. I Smoked cigarettes and pot and drank, and tried other drugs multiple times in my past.
4. I wasn't a virgin when I got married (any of the times I got married)
5. I stole more merchandise from stores than I could even begin to count!
6. I have tattoos, lots of them

I don't tell you this, so your opinion will change of me, I don't care honestly what any judgmental person might think of me.  I tell you this to help eliminate stereotypes.  This CAN NOT GO ON!

I want other people to not feel "different" because they are imperfect!

God's gift is completion.  Whatever you lack he Completes.  I tell you this so you know that God had a lot of completing to do with me.  I wasn't easy to forgive.  I had a lot, most likely "more" than you did or do.  But he paid the price... and he didn't even look at the bill... Just said "here, put it on this" and handed me his death and resurrection to pay for it. My debts- cancelled, even my abortion. 

Who have you kept secrets from, in order to keep an image that isn't even you? Who have you judged based on what they look like, or talk like?

I want to move up and on... not stay where I am at! Who's with me? Who will be an open book, a fearless exception to stereotype!