Friday, May 17, 2024

F ³: The Graduation Speech

The following is a graduation speech that was not given, that will not be given, that would probably not be acceptable at most Christian institutions. As you probably know, it is a response to a commencement address given by a football player in Kansas. (I have framed it within an assumption of religious beliefs in order to more closely align with the original.)

This is the speech I’d love to see someone brave enough to give. Although, addressing just the men does seem sexist. - - jam


For the young men present today, congratulations on an amazing accomplishment. You should be proud of all that you have achieved to this point in your young lives. I want to speak directly to you briefly because I think it is you, the men, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you. How many of you are sitting here now about to cross this stage and are thinking about all the promotions and titles you are going to get in your career? Some of you may be excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world, but I would venture to guess that your heads are filled with dreams of leading successful careers in the world.

All of this is a diabolical lie. All of these dreams are false dreams. God asks of you but one thing, for which you will receive no extra comfort, compensation, nor praise.

We must make the world safer for women who are walking in the woods

If women fear us and do not trust us we must look within ourselves to find the reason. Not only must we prove ourselves trustworthy but we must also dedicate ourselves to bringing along the other men in our lives to live that higher calling. We cannot look the other way. We must reach out and be the way that others can see and hear clearly.

Above all we must listen. For, no matter what path we wish our lives to take, it will be but dust and ashes if we do not choose to listen to women whose presence on Earth is every bit as precious and powerful as our own. 

We must listen and we must allow ourselves to be changed and be willing to experience that transformation because God calls us to the task. It is simple and yet so few choose it. But our broken world cries out for workers to respond to the call.

I see a light dawning in your eyes that you know this may not be enough. You are right.

We must make the world safer for our LGBTQ friends and neighbors as they walk in places that ought to feel familiar and yet feel strange and they do not know who to trust.

We must make the world safer for Black men, women, children and elders who seek justice in a nation that claims to be founded on justice but provides it so rarely to them.

Brothers, it is humbling to realize that the most basic thing we can do to make the world safer is to not do. To not be the cause of harm. Or fear. Or injustice. We must, in the end, lay down our glittering dreams of being at the center of great things.

The diabolical lie is that we are meant to be heroes. The truth is that we, like everyone sitting around you today, and everyone you will ever meet in your life, were made for love.

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous,

it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.*

Love listens, love liberates, love lifts up. Love does not put us in first place but rather beckons us to find our true place, sharing our gifts, and learning from others. I hope that your college years have given you a glimpse of that. If they have, you have learned the greatest lesson of all.

My fellow men, the time has come to put away childish dreams. Take up the mantle of adulthood. Accept with joy the mission that God has given us.


Heard any good graduation speeches lately?

Village Green/Town² Comments

*I Corinthians, 13:4-8

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