post ncym reflections 2

Been a bit swamped with some graduate school reading:

John J. Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination; The Pratice of Preaching, Paul Scott Wilson; The Theology of the Book of Revelation, Richard Bauckham; The Philosophy of Existentialism, Gabriel Marcel; The Revot of the Masses, Ortega, and 1984 by George Orwell have been consuming my energies.

One day of the conference, I was attending a class entilted “minister to special needs children.” As I was sitting waiting for the class to begin, I was asked to pray for the class. Here is the funny thing. I am a stutterer, have been for years, and as I began to pray my tongue got tied and here I was before my collegues in ministry stuttering like Moses! It was embarrasing to say the least.

As the class went on, our speaker identifed some of the special needs, and for the first time in my life I learned that stuttering is considered or labeled as a special need.  I just thought it ironic that God would lead me to a special needs class as one having or growing up with special needs.

I am one who stutters. Every conversation I have I am aware of my propensity to stutter. I went to speech therapy as a kid, but none of my teachers or my parents every told me I was different or inhibited if you will by my stuttering. I am now in ministry, and make my living with words. It is another one of those ironies of life, or ironies of God’s guidance that he uses people with all kinds of issues in his kingdom.

I do have one moment that sticks out as a life changing moment though as it relates to my stuttering. I was in the 5th grade. I was built then like porky pig, and realized that I talked like him. It was my day to do the morning announcements and well, it was horrible. Even the office staff lauged at me as I stumbled and sweated nervously through my morning annoucements. When I got back to the classroom all of the other 5th graders were laughing at me. I was crushed.

The kids then on teased me about my speaking, and it bothered me then. But, I did get help from then on from a speech therapist. I guess my diagnosis is a mild form, but nonetheless, it is a major pain when I am trying to engage in conversation and I can’t speak just right. The words are there in my head, but somewhere between my brain and my tongue there is a misfiring. It is fun sometimes, like when I am preaching and I begin to make all kinds of terrible faces as I struggle to get the words out. At home or among friends sometimes I break out into melodious singing as a way of humoring myself.

I am one who is less than perfect, called by God and loved immensely by the Father. I am honored to be in such good company with the likes of Moses, he also had issues with his tongue!


About Jason Retherford

The random musings of a youth minister.
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2 Responses to post ncym reflections 2

  1. Chris says:

    My wife is a speech therapist so we have a special place in our hearts for stutterers. One of the things we have talked about lately is how do we, knowing the huge need many (and the number is growing daily) families have regarding special needs children, become a blessing as a church plant to these families when it limits many families from being able to attend a church at all as most churches are not equipped at all to serve these
    Families. Maybe God is calling you to move to south metro Atlanta to help us do this. Love you my brother.

  2. thedougout24 says:

    Jason, my brother…I hope you know that you are a letter…written not on a tablet of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. Your life speaks a fluid, seamless prose that could not be outmatched by the finest of orators. In you…to borrow the cliche…the world sees the sermon that so many can only preach. I love you, brother. Thanks for sharing your “weakness.”

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