Who’s Your Hero? – A Poll


I suspect we all have people we look up to and admire, ones we want to emulate. I’m curious especially about spiritual heroes, specifically ones in the Bible. So let’s do a little investigating via a poll.

You may vote for as many as three, and if you don’t see your hero listed, you may write that person into the mix.

Thanks for taking part. Feel free to add a note in the comments to explain why you voted as you did. Also let your Facebook friends or Twitter followers know about the poll so they can take part, too — any time between now and the end of June. I’m looking forward to the results. 😀

Published in: on May 25, 2011 at 6:31 pm  Comments (12)  
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Who Is A Hero Of The Faith?


I received a comment to my last post from Fred Warren that started me thinking. In part, he said,

I think Lewis would recoil at the suggestion that he is a “Hero of the Faith,” insisting instead that he is merely a “sinner saved by grace.”

I answered that I doubt most of the people we think of — and here I had the list of people in Hebrews 11 in mind — would have considered themselves as “heroes of the faith.”

But what qualifies one to be considered a hero of the faith?

I was thinking about “hero,” period. The other day a four-year-old called 9-1-1 when his dad cut himself severely (could have bled to death). He was called a hero.

And the staffer who helped the Arizona senator who’d been shot was called a hero, though he said he wasn’t.

Captain Sully Sullenberger who safely landed his plane in the river, saving everyone aboard, was called a hero. But so was the man some years earlier who climbed out of a plane that crashed into the water, only to dive back in and save two others before he himself perished.

Is saving life what qualifies as hero status? Or is it surviving horrific circumstances? Some called the Chilean miners trapped for months below the surface, heroes.

But this post is really about heroes of the faith — the Christian faith. Is Jim Elliot a hero of the faith because he died in his effort to tell the Waodani people about Christ? Or was Elizabeth Elliot the hero for going back into the jungles of Ecuador to carry on his work?

Is Joni Eareckson Tada a hero of the faith for enduring suffering all these years even as she praises God with everything she does?

Or how about a girl named Katie who at age 16 makes plans to do a year of mission work before going to college. Only that year turns into a ministry that continues six years later.

Here’s a snippet of the post the link above will take you to:

It is December and God has spoken very clearly about opening a ministry that sponsors 40 of the orphaned children in the village where I am working. This involves moving into a different house, ALONE. It is big and I cannot imagine how God will fill it up. I am lonely and I am anxious. But I am still trusting. He fills the house, and we now have 400 children sponsored.

The thing I notice is that faith isn’t something fearless people have. It actually is what God gives as an antidote for fear.

So that’s the faith part — fearful people trusting God regardless of their dangerous, deadly, crippling, lonely circumstances.

The hero part? I think it’s living in such a way that others want to be like you. I don’t think heroes set out to be examples for others — they just are.

Published in: on February 2, 2011 at 7:18 pm  Comments (4)  
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Tuck and Terrorism


What, you might be wondering, does Stephen R. Lawhead’s latest novel Tuck have to do with terrorism? For whatever reason, as I read this CSFF Blog Tour feature, I was struck by the similarities between this reconstituted Robin Hood legend and any number of other conflicts involving an undermanned group going against a more disciplined, seasoned fighting force, usually representing the reigning ruler.

One such instance would be the American Revolution. After the initial confrontations in Lexington and Concord, Minutemen—ill-equipped farmers—hassled and harried the disciplined English infantry from behind rocks and trees and whatever cover they could find.

It’s the same tactic used by the Viet Cong in the 1960s and 70s during the Vietnam war. It’s a mixture of fighting and hiding that has also played out in Nicaragua, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

I’ve heard the statement, One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. And at first blush, the line seems to be true. In the Robin Hood legend, as told in Tuck by Mr. Lawhead, the French viewed Rhi Bran y Hud as an outlaw and a rebel while Bran viewed the Ffreinc as unjust and cruel usurpers, oppressors to be dispatched by peaceful means if possible, but by resistance if that’s what it required.

So were the Grellon who followed Bran terrorists?

The very idea is discordant with the traditional concept of Robin Hood as a hero. He was noble and good, giving to the poor, bringing justice to the land, fighting for the downtrodden when they couldn’t fight for themselves. Robin and his merry men, terrorists?

Well then, were they instead, freedom fighters? Or is it only perspective that creates the label?

I think it is more than perspective. As I see it, Bran was a type of freedom fighter. At least as Mr. Lawhead painted the scene in the King Raven Trilogy, the Normans, in authority because they conquered the land, did not have the interests of the Welsh people at heart. Their leadership was corrupt and self-serving, pompous and oppressive.

Interestingly, in the latter part of Tuck, Bran’s men raid the Ffreinc’s supplies. In answer, the Ffreinc raid the barns of local farmers. In other words, Bran targeted soldiers, and the Ffreinc targeted non-combatants.

And isn’t that kind of ignoble act one of the things that marks a terrorist? Instead of helping the helpless, terrorists target them or use them. A terrorist is still self-serving and may even be pompous and oppressive, but from a position of weakness rather than from one of strength. Sure, the goals may seem similar to the heroic goals of Robin Hood, at least on the outside, but the terrorist is willing to climb over the untold number of bodies of those who have no part in the war in order to get what he wants.

There’s a reason a Robin Hood is admired, and it has less to do with distributing wealth than with self-sacrifice. In Mr. Lawhead’s version told in the King Raven Trilogy, and culminating in Tuck, Bran wanted justice. He was a good king and ruled his people with equity. He was honest, a man of his word, fair-minded, willing to make peace, but he was also committed and firm and unwavering. As a consequence, and because of the odds against him, he lived in poverty, put his life at risk over and over, and lost some of the people closest to him.

As I see it, that’s a hero, not a terrorist.

I’d recommend a couple other stops along the Lawhead Tuck Tour. Rachel Starr Thomson has a beautiful review; in her post, Ryan Heart included a book trailer I didn’t even know about; Steve Rice brings up the issue of syncretism in his “Weak Points” post (brought to my mind the criticism C. S. Lewis received for including Greek gods in his Narnia tales); in his review, John Ottinger found the characters weak (and especially Bran who he “disliked intensely”); John Otte takes a comparative look at various renditions of the Robin Hood legend. There’s more—lots more—but that’s enough to get you on your way. Enjoy! 😀

Published in: on May 20, 2009 at 10:54 am  Comments (4)  
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Fantasy Friday — Blaggards and Heros


Please take a moment to help determine the April CSFF Top Blogger Award winner. Round one ends next Wednesday.

And speaking of the April tour, one more participant has posted about Blaggard’s Moon. Stop by Reviews Plus and see what Caleb has to say.

I’ve been thinking about something since I read Chawna’s post, Heroic Heroes in which she expresses a desire for heroic heroes in fiction, ones that will be models for us, that will challenge us to live better, truer, more generously, more nobly.

While I agree that in each of us is the desire for a heroic hero to show up and save us (even as some, like the drowning man with a would-be rescuer, fight Him off when He comes), I wonder about putting heroic heroes into our fiction.

As I see it, the world is propagating the belief that Mankind is good. A common theme in fiction, from TV to children’s books, is that all we have to do is reach down inside us and become who we are capable of becoming.

So I wonder, if a Christian writes a story with a heroic hero, won’t it look so much like that message of the world that readers may miss the point?

Personally, I thought Blaggard’s Moon author, George Bryan Polivka, did a wonderful job creating a type of Christ (“a person or thing symbolizing or exemplifying the ideal or defining characteristics of something”).

    ***SPOILER ALERT***

Damrick Fellows rescued Jenta. He loved her and was willing to give his life to her even though he thought she deserved death.

Then she raised the pistol, and aimed it at him.

Damrick shook his head. His mind turned. She was a pirate, then. She had a gun. So did he. The oaths he’d made others take, his calling, his mission, justice, the law, even his instincts…all led him to one single conclusion. She should die.

Jenta clicked back the pistol’s hammer. Her eyes were empty and dark.

…He made his choice. Without taking his eyes off her, he set his pistol on the bar.

“I’m not leaving you to him,” he told her.

To me, that’s a type of Christ. Loving us, making the church His bride.

Of course, in the story, Damrick later tells Jenta that she saved him. So the character found personal redemption that was not associated with his representative act of salvation.

Personally, I find this to be heroic and true, without giving the world’s message that heroism is within each one of us, if we just follow an example or dig down deep and become like the one we emulate.

Maybe the story isn’t quite as satisfying, but that’s as it should be too, I think. Because we won’t find true satisfaction in this life or apart from Christ. We will continue to long. And hope.

A story that shows that part of life seems to me to be the truest kind.

Published in: on April 24, 2009 at 10:33 am  Comments (6)  
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