so, it would have slipped by with only a few of the boys noticing, but i was stupid enough to call it out…
i’m speaking to 140 high schoolers at mount hermon, for a “leadership retreat”. they are, theoretically, student leaders from about a dozen churches. and i’m talking about moses. this morning is did the excuses talk — i’m sure every youth pastor and pastor in the world has given this talk, but it seemed to apply well to this context (you know, moses’ five excuses in chapters three and four of exodus, as to why he was not the best choice as a leader). and i get to excuse #3, where moses says “what if they don’t believe me”, and god gives him these two really cool parlor tricks — the staff that changes into a snake and back, and the hand that goes leprous and back. neat stuff! and then i talked about how god gives us transformed lives instead of parlor tricks. but i was winging a bit of dialogue between a couple imaginary teenagers, and i said (idiot that i am): when one of our friends says, ‘i don’t believe you’, it’s not like we can just say, ‘then look at my snake!’
yes, i actually said that.
and if i’d moved right on, like a reasonable speaker, a few of the high school boys would have given each other knowing smiles and maybe laughed about it later. but no. i paused. for a long time (contemplating my gaffe), and then said, um, that didn’t come out right. which brought riotous laughter, and looks of concern on all the faces of the adult leaders in the room.