Thursday, June 14, 2012

I wanna be a hero, Part One

I love Steve Taylor. No, not the Aerosmith guy (or the American Idol guy for anyone under thirty). Steve Taylor is a singer/song writer/producer. Great music, in my humble opinion. Biting, incisive lyrics. He skewers everyone, inside the church and out, not just to skewer but to exhort and if necessary, convict. Consider him a prophet, of sorts. I recommended him to some friends and let them listen to his CD, Squint. When they returned it, they looked at me as if I'd tried to feed them sauteed puppies. To each their own.

Anyway, Taylor penned a little ditty titled "Hero" that speaks to the seed within the soul of every man that long's to be just that, a hero. Here's the first verse:
    When the house fell asleep
    There was always a light
    And it fell from the page to the eyes
    Of an American boy.

    In a storybook land
    I could dream what I read
    When it went to my head I'd see
    I wanna be a hero.

    But the practical side
    Said the question was still
    When you grow up what will you be?
    I wanna be a hero
    It's a nice-boy notion that the real world's gonna destroy.
    You know
    It's a Marvel comic book Saturday matinee fairytale, boy.
Little boys grow up wanting to be heroes. It's as inherent in their nature as dumptrucks and digging dirt. Many women don't understand this about their man, that inside there is a man who aches to do great things, to score the final goal in overtime to win the Stanley Cup or to go all the way and lay down your life for something greater than yourself, for God or for country. Theologian of yesteryear, Phillips Brooks (yes, both ess-es belong), captured this itch when he wrote,
"Bad will be the day, for every man when he becomes absolutely contented with the life that he is living, with the thoughts that he is thinking, with the deeds that he is doing, when there is not forever beating at the doors of his soul some great desire to do something larger, which he knows that he was meant and made to do because he is still, in spite of all, the child of God."
Almost as if he were sticking his finger into the chest of the 21st century American church, Brooks "called for a manliness in the ministry and deplored "the absence of the heroic element" in the churches."*

Why do you think comic books sell? Why do we drop dollar after dollar to watch Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and Spiderman? Why do grown men count the days until The Dark Knight Rises? Why is Gladiator a great movie? How about Glory? Why do tears fill my eyes even now when I think of the Iron Giant streaking toward the sky to obliterate the nuke at the cost of his own life to save his friends. "I'm Superman." Why can you find minor league ball parks in tiniest corners of America? Why do we stand in awe as the elderly men of the VFW shuffle down the street during the parade? Why do men enlist year after year after year despite the ebb and flow of American military favor? What gives?

"I wanna be a hero."

I have heard it said that God gives us a good appetite for the good things he has created. Food, relationship, and yes, sex come quickly to mind. I believe that God created his men to long to do great things on his behalf. The man who longs to save souls from the pit of hell has the heart of a hero. So, too, the man who toils to provide an income for his wife and children. So, too, the man who longs to paint the masterpiece or pen a soul-stirring ballad. To save, to create, to provide, to be relied upon and depended upon. To do a good thing. Jesus declared heroism's epitome when he said, "No greater love has any man than this, that he would lay down his life for his friends."

It is truly a God-thing. It's knit into the heart of man.

Heroism is often thankless and mostly unseen. Its costs are high and its rewards often thin. It demands the totality of self, laying ourselves into the hands of our Creator that he might do with us what he will even at the cost of our lives. Considering this is a blog to husbands, you know full well where you are to pour out your life. She might recognize it. She might not. But you are to be your woman's hero on this earth. You are her defender and friend. You are her comforter and provider. All of these things are God-things that he has assigned to you in this life. You are the vehicle through which he pours his heroism into your wife.

Be that man. But be careful. Worse than Syndrome's cape, pitfalls await the man who wants to be a hero. And that will take us to the song's second verse.  In a day or two.

*Warren Wiersbe, "50 Christians Every Christian Should Know," (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2009), p. 154

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