By Alexandra Donnel | Reporter
Speaker, author, activist and blogger Kathy Khang flew from Chicago to Waco to speak at Baylor Chapel on Monday. Khang, the author of “Raise Your Voice: Why We Stay Silent and How to Speak Up,” a book about the struggle some groups have speaking out due to their gender, ethnicity or race, visited chapel to tell Jairus’ story in the Bible, and a story from her life that helped her relate to Jairus.
The focus on Khang’s speech was the story of Mark 5:21-43, beginning with how touching Jesus’ clothes healed a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years as he makes Jairus, a synagogue leader, wait. To emphasize the meaning of Jesus’ actions, Khang explained Jairus’ position by comparing him to business class on an airplane. He would get on first and everyone around him would step aside due to his position. Yet, Jesus’ attention is on an outcast woman.
“Jesus is making Jairus, a person with power and privilege desperate for his daughter’s healing, wait,” Khang said. Not only did Jesus make him wait by talking to an outcast woman who was there illegally, but he did this while Jairus’ 12-year-old daughter was dying.
Khang said Jesus’ actions helped turn the tables on how love is perceived.
“He creates space, even for those who are invisible, want to be invisible, or forced to be invisible,” Khang said.
Jesus then refers to the healed woman as “daughter,” which helps show others around them that she is part of the community, even though moments before she was considered unclean. While Jesus is talking to the woman, messengers approach Jairus to tell him his daughter had died.
Khang had the audience contemplate what it would have felt like to be Jairus at that moment. He had used his power and privilege to reach Jesus to plead for his daughter’s life, but instead Jesus talked to a woman who was there illegally, had been considered unclean, and a threat to those around her. It led to his daughter’s death.
Khang then tells a story of her youngest son, how 13 years ago he was on the brink of death. Khang was at camp, teaching intervarsity student’s evangelism and manuscript studies when her son, who was four at the time, suffered multiple grand mal seizures and lost consciousness.
“You do not know desperation until you are at the brink of losing everything, and I would have done anything to make sure he would stay alive,” Khang said.
She then said that if she were Jairus, she would have been very angry with Jesus.
Jesus heard the report on the daughter’s death and said not to be afraid and to keep trusting. When Jesus arrives at the house he tells those inside the child is not dead but only sleeping. Jesus told the child to get up and she rose up. Jesus told those who witnessed this to let no one know what had happened and to get the child something you eat.
“Jesus knows that even in the powerful and privileged, we are afraid and desperate. And while you may be comfortable today, and feeling fine right now, the reality is, on any given day you or one of your classmates is feeling that fear and desperation, and Jesus sees that,” Khang said.
Khang said that she is privileged, but as she and her husband were sitting in the hospital room, waiting for doctors to run multiple tests on her son, she realized there were certain places where power and privilege mean nothing. She felt fear and desperation.
Broomfield, Colo. freshman, Savanah Bustamante said the most powerful part of Monday’s chapel was the relation between Khang’s story and the story of Jairus.
“The most powerful part was probably when she included her own personal story and related it back to the Bible story, how they connected,” Bustamante said.