What does Superman feel when he grabs the archfiend Lex Luther and stops him from ravaging the city? How does Spiderman feel when he apprehends the Green Goblin? It is not that often that we mere mortals get to right the wrongs of the world. I have never uncovered an underground drug operation. Heck, I’ve never even had to fight to defend a girl’s honor. I have, however, shared my beliefs to defend someone important to me. Even though it was not a physical action, I would like to think that I defended the defenseless.
It all started on a Wednesday. My mom asked me to come upstairs.
As I went, all I could think about was, “What did I do now?” Did I forget to feed the dog or unload the dish washer? She saw my distress and quickly relieved my fears. I was not in trouble this time. She said, “I just want to know your opinion concerning our minister.” I enjoyed our minister’s sense of humor and his genuine concern for youth in my church. I told her this, and she explained why she had asked.
Apparently, our church was divided into two groups over their support of our minister. Sensing this division, our minister had turned in his resignation. We were to vote about the issue the next Sunday. The rest of the week I pondered what to say to the preacher or how to help if I could. Sunday came and I decided to say nothing. I was fifteen; my opinion would not matter to the adults in my church.
The service went well, and the pastor took the opportunity to thank us and say his goodbyes. After worship the church held a hearing to decide his fate. When the last person spoke, the moderator called for any final speakers. At that moment something came over me.
It might have been my epiphany or maybe the hand of a higher being, but I stood up. As I tell this, I can’t remember much of standing there except for being nervous and receiving glares. After watching the church video I relate the following: I walked to the front. There I turned, cleared my throat, and stated that I was only a boy sitting on a fence, watching two sides fight over a man whom they had only a few years prior chosen to be our preacher from several candidates. This was the man that had stood in our pulpit, taught us, and lived among us. I asked if they had ever sat and talked with him about God’s plan. I had. I had asked him if God’s plan applied to a cynical teenager who often questioned his beliefs. I challenged the people to look inside themselves and make sure they were making the right decision about the fate of this man. The ones who glared at me soon began to smile or even give an expression of pride. I finished and walked away from the microphone to a standing ovation, even from those who opposed my ideas.
They held a vote that day, and against my wished he left us. Before he left I had an opportunity to tell him that I admired him and that one day I want to be like him. I was a local hero and villain for a while in my church. The supporting group left and started a new church, but I still remain. We have a new minister now, and we are mending, but we will never be the same. However, I am proud to say that I now know how to stand up for the down trodden. I believe in defending the defenseless.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.