Tag Archives: Heroes

Punch them in the Face: My Journey Through Psalms Day 3

The imagery in Psalm 3 is very ‘superhero’, which is perfect for God. Yesterday, I explained to my students the difference between a tragic hero and a Romantic hero, which wasn’t easy given that the two examples (Macbeth and Arthur) did, in fact, end in death–kind of tragically. But what i came down to in the end, I explained, is not only a pattern that hero follows (archetype), but the legacy they leave behind. Romantic heroes always offer hope in the end.

Tragic heroes leave nothing but despair.

In the Psalm the speaker is surrounded by his enemies, probably literally, and he calls upon God to be his hero. God shows up. I’m sure, in war, what we don’t see is the tragedy that surrounds the speaker, but what we do see is the hope. God surrounding him, shielding him and giving him rest–something to believe in which does lead him to victory.

With this renewed strength, the psalmist rises out of his despair and asks God to PUNCH HIS ENEMIES IN THE FACE (verse 7). Savage.

But war is savage.

And when we fight our own battles, we need to look our fears and insecurities and doubts in the face and then ask God to KNOCK THEIR TEETH OUT (verse 7). It’s funny how less threatening any enemy is without teeth. But God is the only one who can break through those lies and breathe hope and truth and peace into our future.

Because sometimes we are surrounded, but God is our hero and he will punch our enemies in the face if we call upon Him. He cares that much.

Questions to ponder:

1) God is a Romantic Hero, so what hope does he offer me today?

2) What do I need to look in the face and ask God to punch and knock the teeth out of?

3) Why does God require me to call out to Him? Why doesn’t he just ride in on a white horse?


Heroes amidst Hedonism

For years our self-indulgent society has been poisoning our sense of social decency and responsibility.

Instant gratification.

Instant pleasure.

Instant results.

If we wait for anything, we are impatient and cranky feeling an exaggerated sense of entitlement–we deserve to be served first, fast and well. The rest of the world can go straight to…well, you get my point.

Which begs the question…where are all the heroes? The selfless individuals who put others first and think of the reward…

And then I stop with that line of thinking too, because let’s face it–the heroes of the past, the heroes of today, everyone who has ever done anything at all that could be considered truly great…they’re all just humans. Humans with major flaws, but humans with big hearts too.

This week I had my students complete a character sketch for King Arthur, who (as it happens) is an legendary, Romantic hero who may or may not have actually existed, but the values he stood for are certainly very real–as are his very human flaws. Then, because Arthur is the ‘Once and FUTURE’ King, I had then do a sketch for a modern Arthur. It got real quick.

They said things like…

  • 20160218_113108He wants to see a world without war.
  • He sees a world that needs to be fixed.
  • He reacts to the opinions of others.

What struck me the most was the visual representations. In one, Arthur was naked save for a pair of boxer shorts. I don’t know if my students meant this to be as deeply revealing (no pun intended) of a hero’s character–but being stripped down to the skin keeps a person from hiding behind masks.

Masks made up of labels. Fabric. Materialistic nonsense.

It takes us back to a place where people are real. VZM.IMG_20160216_195330

Reminiscent of the garden, when Adam and Eve first introduced sin into the world and realized not only were the
y naked, but they were wearing their shame. Which is, really, what we need in this world. People, leaders, heroes who are stripped down to their core self to recognize their shame and own their true selves rather than continually trying to be what others have constructed for them.

Unfortunately, the world hasn’t changed that much. We say that we’re living in troubled times–but the world has always been troubled. It’s what sin does to the world. What makes the difference is the leaders and heroes we raise up during those troubled times. They don’t have to be perfect. They just need to be real. 20160216_184718 (1)