Douglas is a given name. Douglas is a surname. Douglas is a place. Douglas is a business. Douglas is a work of fiction. Douglas is a wildflower. Douglas is a tree.

As a given name, Douglas derives from the surname. And if Wikipedia is to be believed, it was at one time given as a girl’s name. I’m comfortable with all that.

It is Scottish in origin. Quoting Wikipedia, “The Scottish Gaelic form of the given name is Dùbhghlas;[3] the Irish language form it is Dúghlas,[5] and Dubhghlas, which are pronounced “DUBH-GLAHS”.[6] The Hawaiian language form of the given name is Koukakala, which is pronounced “ko-oo-kah-KAH-lah”.[7]” I didn’t know that last part, but I did know that my name means black stream.

Who is the specific Douglas writing this post? Douglas is a first born son in a family of three children. Douglas is a political geek. Douglas is socially awkward. Douglas is a photographer. Douglas is an heir of the kingdom of God.

We all have names which denote identity, sometimes self-identity and sometimes perceived identity by others. And the most important name for a person is one they may not know or be aware of its existence. Your secret name : discovering who God created you to be by Kary Oberbrunner is new book, published by Zondervan. I choose to read it as part of the secret name read-a-long hosted by Marla Taviano.

            A fractured relationship with God meant a fractured understanding

      of God as well as a fractured understanding of themselves — also

            an inescapable by-product. (20)

Kary equates human naming as a by-product of the fall of humanity. The first man named his wife, Eve, thus attempting to assert his identity as protector and provider. He was trying to fill the void in his own heart, created by his disobedience. God is protector and provider. And “No other human can answer for us our deepest question of identity” (21).

I enjoyed how Kary described how important names have been in the Biblical tradition. Douglas means black stream. And in many respects, I have lived up to the name. I tend to be quiet and reserved. I tend to keep to myself. I tend to be pessimistic (dark/black).

I have recognized these as somewhat negative in my live. So I have been working on changing these. It is only with God’s help that I’ve made any progress. I consciously look for the optimism of a situation. I’m doing more things to be social and build community. The quiet and reserved is more difficult. So if you are at a party and see me in the corner by myself, please engage with me. I may be fighting the quiet and reserved.

This blog, the Justice Journey, is one way I am trying to push out and live up to my name and calling. I have a photo project at, which I hope and desire will help me fight the quiet and reserved, forcing me to be more social with people.

I also have experienced the changing of a name. I lived in Korea in 1995, teaching English. Halfway through my year there, I encountered a woman in one of my monthly classes who asked if I had taken a Korean name. I naively said you can give me a name, expecting to get a Korean name on the spot.

She explained that a name was very important and that it had to reflect the person receiving it. She wanted time to get to know me. Well, long story short, we continued as friends after the class was done. And six months after the question was asked, I received my Korean name. It is Han Kyoul (한결, in Korean script and pronounced “han gy-oul”). It means unchanged and was given that I might remain unchanged in my love for God. It is also my Twitter name: @han_kyoul.

So I’ve said all this to say, I am ready to discover my secret name and see what God has in store for me through Kary’s book.

Are you ready?

For the sake of disclosure, I am a Kobo affiliate. Any proceeds made from being an affiliate help me to continue The Justice Journey.