The King's Speech

Have you seen The King's Speech?

A few weeks ago, Alex, a student in my PSYC 120 Introduction to Psychology class, asked me if I would let him give a talk in my class. I agreed. And today he gave his talk to an audience of 150 of his peers.

Alex suffers from a fairly severe case of stuttering. And in his talk Alex shared his story along with some of the science about the etiology and therapy options. Afterward he took some questions from the class. Who were, to a person, absolutely wonderful. (I love ACU students.)

I would describe Alex's talk as heroic. Not in the "Once more into the breach!" kind of way. But as an example of the kind of everyday heroism that is needed to expose yourself so vulnerably to friends, peers, and strangers. The heroism of just being yourself, flaws and all, in front of another. I found Alex's presentation both educational and profoundly moving.

In the middle of his talk Alex shared his favorite passage from the bible. He mentioned that some have wondered if Moses suffered from stuttering given what he tells God in Exodus 4:

Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
In light of Moses' complaint and, perhaps, disability, God responds:
The LORD said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
That phrase--"I will help you speak"--has stuck with me all day. God certainly helped Alex speak today, despite the pauses, repetitions, and blocks. And it made me think about my own brokenness when it comes to communication with others. A brokenness perhaps more spiritual than physical and neurological.

"I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."

I don't "claim" God's promises like a lot of Christians do. I don't think or talk that way about my faith. But something about those words haunted me today.

I found myself wanting the promise Moses had. I wanted to learn how to speak.

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7 thoughts on “The King's Speech”

  1. Richard, I find it significant that God, immediately following his proclamation of power over the mouth, promises only to help Moses speak. He does not remove human agency from his planned salvation act but partners with his chosen agent to enact his plan.

  2. I see Jesus working through Alex on a regular basis. He has become very skilled at paying attention to what God is doing so that he can join in the work. He is quite the remarkable 18 year old!

  3. Richard,

    This is what I like about your blog. It's always fresh and stimulating.
    You'e absolutely correct about your student. He is a hero. And I appreciate your sensitivity and graciousness in allowing him to speak. What a beautiful experience! An epiphany ....if I may be permitted to project my enthusiasm on the incident. When the shields come down, a lot of wonderful things can happen. Keep allowing them to happen!

  4. Beautiful. My husband and I watched this movie just last night. Thank you for sharing this poignant story and experience.

  5. I love it, Beck. I feel I've reached a wall in my life as I want to go out into active ministry and I find myself often impaired, wether by myself, others, or the culture as a whole. If God gives me the words, and helps me speak there would be a different experience. Thank you for the encouragement, and know that God will be breaking down barriers.
    -Carly Jo

  6. I was touched by the movie. Nothing about the movie claims to be "Christian", but I was struck by the theme of struggling through adversity in the place in the world that we find ourselves. The King happened to be in a royal family, but the movie portrayed that in a very appropriate way, as though circumstances in life had placed him in that place in history.

  7. Alex is an AMAZING, inspiring guy who I am so very proud to claim as one of our own Garden Ridge kids!! I am so proud of him-what a wonderful example for all of us.

    Thankful God uses us to speak even in the midst of our brokenness...

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