Aug 22, 2006


Have you ever had a hero who let you down?

Maybe it was a fictional hero, like the time that "Santa Claus" didn't get you what you wanted. Perhaps the "tooth fairy" forgot to come by that night you lost a tooth (and forgot to tell your parents about it). Quite possibly you may have become disenchanted by a choice one of your favorite movie or book characters made, making you ditch a whole series of stories you had been following for quite some time.

Maybe a spiritual leader in your life did something unspiritual.

I was talking with some friends recently about a controversial element in the Superman Returns movie. If you haven't seen it, I won't give it away. Nonetheless, here's a thought I offered:

We should expect the world to act like the world. Even its greatest secular icon will have secular faults. For all the comparisons you can easily make to Jesus, at best Superman is a shadowy 2-dimensional embodiment of a broken world's best hope. Personally, I'll go with a perfect Messiah any day of the week.

That said, I like the fun of Superman or any story that points to the greater Story of God. Even a broken and fallen world recognizes its need for a Savior on some level... recognizing any fictional attempt we conjure up will be flawed to begin with. Perhaps it will at least get them partially awake to the greater Tale being told.

For all of us who know the pain of following flawed people instead of an amazing Messiah, here's a news blurb from a town not too far away from me that might resonate.

"Am I really a 'Super Hero'? By definition, yes. Do I enjoy this title? No."

So said "Captain Jackson", who fought crime in Jackson, Michigan, dressed in tights, a mask, gloves and a cape, all with police approval.

But after five years, the local newspaper outed the caped crusader: he's Thomas Frankini, 49.

Why unmask him? Standard procedure: Frankini had been arrested and charged with drunk driving.

Frankini says he will no longer patrol -- at least in Jackson -- now that his identity is known.

"It's not an everyday occurrence to see a man with a mask and tights on," said deputy police chief Matthew Heins. (Detroit Free Press)

It's funny... but in some ways I chuckle and tear up in the same breath about this.

We all like to have something or someone to look up to (including our idealized version of ourselves). As much as I dig Superman and movie heroes in general, I'd much rather follow The One whose complete Story I can't figure out by studying the Happy Meal toys at McDonald's. Rather than looking for someone with a towel on his back to follow, I suggest we look for the one with the towel around his waist... as he sits and washes our feet.

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around
him. (John 13:1-5)


Anonymous said...

Yes, my high school teacher was my hero until he molested me one day.

Tony Myles said...

Ouch... I'm so sorry to hear that. I don't mean to pry, but how do you process through something like that these days?