As a twenty-something college student, I recoiled at the mere thought of public speaking. This phobia was exacerbated even further when I learned that a speech course was required for my major, and several types of speeches were to be delivered over the course of the semester. My first attempt, a demonstration on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation was sharply criticized, in part, because I couldn’t pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time. Don’t believe me? Just try it.
To prepare for our final speech, I decided to speak on an issue that I felt passionate about, which seemed to be a hot topic at the time – religion. A group of students who I thought resembled religious zealots had been active on campus, and frankly they’d gotten on my nerves. They were always preaching this Jesus stuff and something about being saved that didn’t make much sense. Just who did they think they were to judge any of us? I thought. Nonetheless, I decided to interview a few of them as background work for preparing my “persuasive” speech. This final oratory would count as 40 percent of our grade and it had to be a good one.
When the time came, I stepped up to the front of the class and delivered my observations on the subject, comparing all people to either forks, spoons or knives. I reasoned that the forks were atheists who didn’t believe in a God and jabbed at any opinion or evidence on there being one. Then I carved out a description of the knives too; people like those religious students on campus who cut it right down the middle. Either you were with them, or against God and doomed to hell, no middle ground at all.
But what I proposed instead, was that most people in fact were spoons – folks just like me. I stated that we were perhaps the majority who believed in a God, but just weren’t sure about how it all adds it or how it works. Yet we were ready to scoop up whatever we could learn.
In the years since receiving an “A” in that class, I’ve had enough disappointments and disillusionment to gorge on for a lifetime. We all have. But along the way, I ventured out to discover more about who Jesus was and what the Bible says for myself. With that newfound vision, I’ve also admired some beautifully adorned table settings too. Some were the finest pieces of silverware laid out in front of me – everything I’ve needed for a grand feast. I’ve learned that no meal is quite as enjoyable without them and no food is more nourishing to eat than the well-seasoned, salty-sweet, divinely prepared, Word of God.