We Need Heroes

My sons are both young still – the oldest is not yet school age and the youngest is not yet two.  Both are enamored with superheroes – Spiderman, Ironman, Captain America, Superman, Thor, and others.  I’m not surprised though – these fictional characters do astounding things and neither boy is old enough to yet distinguish reality from fiction, which means that they sit in awe through Marvel’s Super Hero Squad show or a DVD from the library with their favorite heroes in it.  My wife has said before that she feels surrounded by it at times as they play as their favorite heroes together.

Now some part of me says that they are too young to really grasp the heroes and to watch the cartoons and in many cases they are and we try to limit which ones they get to watch for age appropriateness, but as I thought more about this fascination, I saw something in each of these characters, something that few mediums in today’s society are capable of teaching.

Just think about the messages that these characters can convey to young impressionable minds with their words and deeds.  You can even see instances of scriptural truth in the words of these creations of the mind.

I believe there’s a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady, and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams.

Spiderman

Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

Romans 13:14

If anyone knows what it’s like to be on the outside, I do. Sometimes I feel like I’m out there fighting all alone. Sometimes I feel like giving up. But, then I remember that what I stand for is more important than anything else.

Superman

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

“I will live with them
    and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.”

Therefore,

“Come out from them
    and be separate,
says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing,
    and I will receive you.”

And,

“I will be a Father to you,
    and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Doesn’t matter what the press says. Doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — “No, you move.”

Captain America

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:13-17

So when my boys run around with their play Captain America shields or acting like they’re Superman and flying about, or Spiderman leaping and running and fighting “bad guys,” I smile a bit knowing that these seeds of truth are finding their way in piece by piece.

Ultimately, I know that they will learn that these characters are fictional.   Hopefully the truths that they learned will remain.

Strength and might must be tempered by compassion and justice.

Liberty deserves and requires sacrifice.

Truth must never be abandoned or denied.

Courage is acting in spite of fear rather than a complete lack of it.

In the end, I hope that they one day learn the most important lesson of all though – that each of us has the opportunity to be heroic because it is the character behind our actions that make us heroic, not the actions themselves.

A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.

Christopher Reeve

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The Death of the Republic:What next?

Yesterday, I named apathy and lack of passion as the cancer and disease eroding the foundations of this great country.  These two problems are downright evil as they have colored gray all of the fundamentals that we once cherished as a country.

Instead of a dedication to God and our neighbors, we are now growing self-centered.  The deeply rooted apathy we as a nation have exhibited toward current events and the scandals now being exposed to public scrutiny is rooted in this self-centeredness.  Just focusing on the NSA data-mining revelation from last week I have heard personally people justify this destruction of the Fourth Amendment’s warrantless search and seizure protections by indicating that it doesn’t effect them personally, that they have nothing to hide, and if it helps to keep us safer, then it is well worth it.

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?

Patrick Henry

This is indifference on full display.  Even after a full explanation of what the snooping entailed and how wide-sweeping it was as an affront to liberty, the people I asked all stood by their initial perceptions of it being no big deal because it didn’t impact their day-to-day life.

That is hedonism.  They are living for the moment.  That hedonism is in and of itself a chain of slavery I liken to modern-day bread and circuses as they appease that person’s need for pleasure at any expense.  As long as the pleasure outweighs the pain, then they will accept it without second thought.

Apathy. Ambivalence. Passionlessness. Hedonism.

Americans are druggies.  As long as our cortexes are teased and pleased on a fairly consistent basis with entertainment via movies, television, books, sex, music, pop culture, and other distractions, we will submit to ever-increasing chains from our would-be masters as they don’t personally effect “me,” or we rationalize away it as an inconvenience or a necessary evil.

This hedonism explains so much about our culture when you think about it.

  • incumbency equals job security despite our displeasure with the government in total
  • the destruction of the nuclear family as husband, wife, father, and mother roles are societally redefined to be more inclusive and fair to debauched behavior and living situations
  • the run-away national debt as we spend the next generations economic output today in order to fund our lavish, irresponsible, hedonistic, pleasure and comfort-based lifestyles
  • absolutely no forethought about the consequences of our actions either in part (individually) or in total (as a country)

All actions become devoted to the self.  The problem that crops up with this devotion to pleasure though is that we rarely band together with others because of their problems, but only ours.  We begin to not see the needs and threats to our neighbors or delegitimize them because helping does nothing for us personally – there is no pleasure or gain to be found in standing next to Eric Snowden, the man who revealed the NSA’s domestic spying operations, there can only be negative repercussions from a vengeful government out of control.  Instead of standing as one in defense of the ideals of our founding and those that hold us together as a society – equality, justice, and liberty for all – we fall apart.

Imagine a society where neighbors only look out for themselves.

They hear a scream in the night from next door and double check their door locks rather than even risk glancing outside to see if their neighbor is in need of help.

They decide that married life is too hard and decide that they’d rather be single and free to pursue the lusts of the flesh – bouncing from bed to bed in search of momentary thrill.

They decide that the problems of the country are too big and they are not smart enough to know how to solve them so they stop paying attention and just elect whoever is running with the D or the R next to their name, or just choose to stop voting altogether.

At 30, they tolerate the new bureaucratic rules that establish that no life saving measures would be taken for anyone older than 60 years old because they are too expensive under a strapped medical care system hamstrung by Obamacare and the single-payer option passed years later to replace it.

Fear is people’s primary motivator after pleasure. They fear to criticize what they see as wrong in their hearts because the government has grown too strong and too big.  It has eyes and ears everywhere and can cobble together truthful-enough evidence to silence opposition because the IRS, ATF, DHS, and NSA.  They fear to point out corruption at work or in public because of the personal destruction of their careers or reputations that they fear from annoying the wrong person.

The people in power recognize these fears and play on them in order to further tighten the screws by enacting more onerous laws, rules, and modicums of behavior in order to further control the citizens and make them into slaves.

Because people are so focused on their own pleasure and are fearful of anything that might upset that, the birth rate will decline.  “Why take on the challenge of raising children?” many will ask.  “Why destroy my body?” “Why tie myself down?”

Listen to me — all of you out there! You were told by this man — your hero — that America is the greatest country in the world!
He told you that Americans were the greatest people — that America could be refined like silver, could have the impurities hammered out of it, and shine more brightly!
He went on about how precious America was — how you needed to make sure it remained great!
And he told you anything was justified to preserve that great treasure, that pearl of great price that is America!
Well, I say America is nothing!! Without its ideals — its commitment to the freedom of all men, America is a piece of trash!
A nation is nothing!
A flag is a piece of cloth!I fought Adolf Hitler not because America was great, but because it was fragile! I knew that liberty could be snuffed out here as in Nazi Germany! As a people, we were no different than them!
Captain America
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