Got a call Friday night asking if Kyle and I would be willing to step in last minute and speak. Circumstances had left the bishopric at the cusp of the weekend and no speakers. I really, really, didn’t want to speak. I had a busy Saturday planned. But I felt like I would be slinking into church on Sunday filled with guilt if I declined the opportunity, so I accepted. Then I was given the topic: purity and morality, with a couple of talks from church authorities as reference. When I speak, I never get topics that I’m really thrilled about talking about, and this one is no exception. It can be a sensitive topic that is easy to say insensitive things about.
So what did I do? I grabbed the bull by the horns and talked about the hardest topic in there: chastity. It seemed to go over pretty well, and I felt pretty good about the talk despite having to pry my eyes open at 6:30 am (after getting home at midnight the night before) to research and write it.
I felt really blessed on Sunday that I have an arsenal of writing experience to lean on when I’m writing in non-ideal circumstances (also that the writing and research standards for this type of talk are less rigorous than academic papers). The writing certainly wasn’t as good as it might have been with more preparation, and the way I shaped some of the discussions in the talk could have used refining, but the meat of it all came out right. I got some positive feedback after I gave the talk, so it seems to have been well received despite the topic occasionally being a hard one to talk about. Who would have known that an Art History degree and many, many hours and words of experience shaping arguments and positions in long, academic papers would turn out so helpful on a bleary Sunday morning?