Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Super Heroes and Super Pets Are Not Real

   Molly, our 4 year-old Maltese-Bichon guard dog, watched me as I pulled backwards down the driveway of our home the other day. With my daily list of have-to's and want-to's accumulating in my mind, I couldn't help but compare my day with hers: Molly will nap on the couch, exit her dog-door, circle the yard, bark at some kindly passing neighbor, return inside and nap some more, only to repeat this beautiful cycle throughout the day until we return. Oh, the life of a domesticated pet!
   But it has not always been that way; some years ago, Molly had a secret vocation. She was playful pet around our home, but when bedtime stories were being told, she became SuperMolly. The tales of her adventures were legendary among two little boys I am quite fond of and her daring escapades were...daring! In those stories she'd make her way outside, round the corner of the house, and then take to the air to find the bad guys and win the day.
   I am struck by a couple of points as I take a trip down memory lane, thinking back to when Sam and Jack and their dad were all younger. The first is, super pets would make for a great movie idea or even television series (which is probably why Disney released Bolt on the big screen in 2008 and they have had Perry the Platypus saving the day on their hit show, Phineas and Ferb, for over three years now). But second and more importantly, none of it is real. Despite their popularity, those super heroes are fictional and the stories are made up.
   Super Heroes are made up but the battle between good and evil is very real. I understand the story goes like this: God's love for each of us throughout history is the continual strike against the force that would seek to do us eternal harm. Our choice to accept this undeserved love of God is our best possible response to grace, and nevertheless we remain in the midst of a struggle between good and evil. Paul, a first century expert on how this struggle plays out in the life of every woman and man, went so far as to admit that he was unable to choose the right in the face of wrong in many cases in his own life (Romans 7). But all is not lost, said Paul, thanks to Jesus' work on the cross. We are far from super in our ability to resist temptation, but with the Holy Spirit we act powerfully to bring the Kingdom of peace and righteousness closer to reality. 
   I still love telling and hearing stories of super acts of heroism that defeat the bad guys. They provide comfort and even inspiration. We are attracted to Super Heroes because it is easy, but the truth is much more difficult to believe: we are the ones called to fight the good fight against injustice and harm. 

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