Monday, April 23, 2007

My Moses Moment

Do you know the story of how Moses got his start as leader of the people of Israel? It's pretty dramatic. God, THE God, speaks to him from none other than a burning bush. Whoa! Kinda freaky, huh?

Moses does get a little weirded out by it. But what really freaks him is actually hearing what God is asking. He doesn't feel up to the job due to his speech impediment (it's said that he stuttered). Well, this excuse does gain him a spokesman (his brother Aaron), but it doesn't get him out of a job. God's chosen people are being oppressed and He needs someone to speak out on their behalf. Moses is the one.

I've been reading Ed Gilbreath's book Reconciliation Blues recently. As I've read, I've searched for ways to identify with the struggles of people of other races. What does it feel like to receive an insensitive remark? How would I cope with being treated differently just because of what I look like? Then suddenly one day I found my point of identity and it left me changed. I recognized a group of people that is totally shut out of a popular dialog in our culture. It's a minority group (at least here in America) that, because of physical attributes over which they often have little control, are many times picked on, maligned and basically shut out of certain conversations. I'm a member of that minority group and I'm feeling a call to speak out. A little like Moses. And like Moses, I'm afraid. The group is such a small segment of society - is it worth speaking on their behalf? Will they care (sometimes the Israelites wished Moses had left them alone)? Should I allow them to continue to endure the thoughtless comments that come even from the lips of Jesus-loving, God-fearing people, without speaking up? In the end, does it really matter to any but a few?

Well, if nothing else, I am learning empathy for those who face racism. I know what it's like to not be able to shop in certain stores. I've had to deal with stares and whispers all because of being created different from the majority culture. And I'll tell you another time about being in a culture where I was in the majority and the huge sense of freedom I felt, like finally being able to let out that breath you've been holding when you didn't even know you were holding it.

But like the title says, this seems to me to be my Moses moment. Like Moses, I'm kinda freaked out by the whole idea of speaking up. But I'm not sure I have the choice to be silent. Oh, I didn't see any weird burning bush. In my case the burning is inside; not consuming me, but not going out either. Maybe God will send an Aaron, someone more eloquent who can speak for me. But probably not. So these are my first words. Forgive me if I've stuttered.

Oh...and please don't call me "skinny".

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