The Great Burning Bush. Moses Approaches. God Reveals His Plans. Moses Will Free the Israelites. Fear. Slow Tongue. God Will Help. Aaron Will Help. Now Go!
[The Lord said to Moses] “Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
Exodus 4:12 (NIV)
I have always been more inspired by weakness rather than strength. When I see someone in their most raw form, I often empathize more strongly with their plight and find their point of view much more understandable. The world needs strong people, no doubt, and to quote every children’s television show ever made, we all have our strengths to contribute to society. However, I am turned off by this need to believe in infallible heroes. I understand the desire to believe in mythological flawless individuals – it creates a standard for us to strive for. However, I believe that pushing any human being onto that pedestal somehow strips them of an element – commonality. I am not perfect, so why would I want to interact with someone who is? Show me a normal person doing a great thing, and you will have my attention.
As such, I was immediately attracted to Moses. After escaping to Midian, he comes across God in the form the famous burning bush. God instructs Moses to go back to Pharaoh and demand the release of the imprisoned Israelites. But Moses is nervous. He is not eloquent in speech and cannot lead other men with efficacy. But God does not relent. He will provide the words to say, the directions to follow. All Moses needs to do is believe. Cue the musical montage.
I think a weakened protagonist is absolutely essential to this tale. For those of the Judeo-Christian faiths, it is inspirational, as it shows that God relies on those of all abilities to do his bidding. More importantly, however, I believe that it reveals the vital importance of human limitations. And it gives me a little bit of hope in the Christian faith.
Recently, the Catholic Church, led by Pope Francis, made a landmark change in their church-wide approach towards homosexuality. They admitted that there were good and even healthy elements to same-sex partnerships, and that the queer community had talents to contribute to both society at large and within their own church communities. While this was a far cry from complete equality (and was a neutered version of a previous, more-accepting draft), it was certainly a step in the right direction. But before I begin clapping the rosaries together, however, I think that the mere existence of the statement reveals a far more devastating fact. Prior to this memo, the Catholic Church officially saw no utility in homosexuals. LGBT individuals inhabit all corners of the workforce, so I cannot generalize this to be true for society in general. However, it remains a startling detail. Homosexuality was viewed to be such a large weakness that queer folks were thought to have nothing of value to contribute to everyone else. Too busy with all the unabashed monkey sex to do anything useful, I suppose.
But when I think about it, perhaps homosexuality is a weakness of sorts. From an evolutionary stand point, homosexuals are less likely to reproduce and create a continuity for their genetic code, a big no-no to Mother Nature. We are more likely to contract certain sexually transmitted infections, though those that take precautions hedge that risk significantly. Also, LGBT individuals are much more likely to attempt or commit suicide, due partly to public scorn but also to the confusion that occurs when a person’s nature conflicts with how he or she was nurtured. Self-doubt is not a quality that Mother Nature expects in its species that end up thriving. While these are all biological limitations (once again, of sorts), they do not imply any deficiency in overall utility or ability. But there are still those out there that believe being LGBT somehow implies a deep impairment. Many think that it is a sickness to the human soul. Many think that pursuing romance with consenting adults is somehow sinister. That our love is dangerous. Some people still think that it is a choice. But I must say, I would worry for the neurological well being of the teen boy or girl who chooses homosexuality. He or she would likely be a masochist. Why take on a personality facet that immediately disgusts half the culture? I mean, the Red Cross won’t even let us give blood.
People typically do not like their weaknesses highlighted, and yet, it is what attracts me to a person the most. There is humility is acknowledging human weakness, and I would much rather approach an individual stumbling just like me than to talk to some flawless hero. I love Moses because he stammers and flounders. What humanity. That is a person I am willing to get behind, because I know that he views himself like one of the rest of us. I do not mean to equalize all individual achievement and ability; it goes without saying that certain individuals are much more equipped to handle some positions than others. And some weaknesses cannot be overcome, thus precluding the individual from performing certain tasks or achieving distinct accomplishments. We still need the “specially talented” – our economy relies on it. It is true… Our society does need some heroes.
But on a personal level? I’d much rather hang out with the stutterer. See you later Joseph. I am rooting for Moses.