Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Flawed heroes

My good friend Jason has taken up the pen again for all our benefit -- as opposed to his former professors, that is.

One of his most recent pieces is a "review" of the new Pixar movie "Wall-E" which I found most stimulating. Perhaps it wasn't his main point, but I cherry-picked it anyway for inspiration.

His observation here follows:
"...as a storyteller, it seems wrong that every story needs to correct every problem. Moreover, it doesn’t seem fair to evaluate every story as declaring its own idealistic version of the world. I do believe that every storyteller is giving you a worldview, but does that require him to “fix” everyone? Some of my stories, for example, contain characters who are never fixed, characters who may be foul-mouthed or drunkards or just downright jerks. And maybe they’re even my heroes. Is that wrong?

...It seems both profitable and wise to train our children to read realistic stories -- stories with heroes whose flaws don’t magically disappear, whose flaws are not always completely vanquished."

These are bold words in our culture. But anyone who has read Flannery O'Connor knows that worthwhile literature often isn't idealistic. This strikes a nerve with me, since I know how prone we are to equating our sanctification with learning to live in a Christian culture. Put another way, I think our need for a "storybook ending" is influenced by more than our idealism, but also by our preference toward works-righteousness in a sense.

We want to see a man conquer evil! We want to see a spiritual Chuck Norris if you will -- a Samson without his Delila, Achilles without the achilles heel. Who really wants to follow "happily ever after" up with a sequel where the hero becomes a villain.

I mean really, if the Christian life were put to a script, it would look exactly like the twelve wandering tribes of Israel -- something quite mundane.

But I digress as usual, since my point is this:

Some Christians set themselves up for stumbling when they find some sin in their life or another’s life that is not easily eradicated. The myth among these people is that we are to live a “victorious life” which basically means they should “experience victory.” Basically they confuse sanctification on earth with a storybook life. They need to remember that just because we have been justified, doesn’t mean we are done with Christ.

Life ain’t always beautiful…but Christ is.

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Blogger iMurphy said...

Any student of history will know that this dichotomous way of view our Christian walk comes from the Holiness Movement of Christian Perfectionism. Though a lot of those denominations have moved on to Pentecostalism, the roadtest is still Romans 7: did Paul still struggle with sin as an Apostle of 20 years? So will we.

PS Are you trying your hand at labeling in Greek?!

9:17 PM, July 03, 2008  
Anonymous Mark said...

Re: labels...
Yeah, you'd think I'd know better.

9:55 AM, July 04, 2008  
Blogger iMurphy said...

Actually, I was gonna commend you!

10:29 AM, July 04, 2008  

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