The Chosen One: Our Collective Hero Complex

Heroes tv series

Everyone loves a good movie or book about a hero. Lost (just finished the series), Star Wars, Hunger Games, The Matrix, Ender’s Game, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Last Airbender (horrible movie, great potential), and a host of other movies and books have presented us with something extremely similar: the concept of the chosen one. We can almost hear the desperate words in our sleep: “Only you can save us.”

And who hasn’t imagined themselves as such a one? Who hasn’t so desperately desired to be the world’s last hope, the only one who can thwart the coming darkness? Alright. Maybe we won’t admit that we have these thoughts as we watch the movies and read the books. Perhaps we won’t admit that we dream of dawning the cape as our minds wander in the traffic jams of life. But we all want it. We desperately want to be chosen. We want to feel important, to have some sort of destiny.

There are a a few ideas that lie in the back of our collective hero complex, and they are hidden deep within each one of us. These are the ideas and beliefs that cause us to cheer when the heroes burst on to the scene.

1. We know we need to be saved. We all know that this world isn’t as it should be and is headed to even darker frontiers; we are all aware that we do not live in a non-threatening environment. From recessions to nuclear warfare, from the death of a loved one to the wars between nations, from a bad day to global warming, we are all the victims of a world steeped in chaos, confusion, uncertainty, death, and destruction. We need a savior.

2. We need a representative. Not only do we know that we are in trouble, but we know that we are the ones that must take care of the solution. We got ourselves into the craziness that plagues us, and we know we must, in some way, make it right. Thus, we need a representative from among us, one who would shoulder the burden of us all and champion the human cause.

3. He needs to be supra-human. But we also know that being “simply” human will not cut it. Why not? Because being “simply” human brought our present distress upon us. Our chosen one must be of a different caliber, a caliber that, though weak at times and subject to the things we are subject to, can rise above our weakest weakness and overcome our strongest foe.

And this is where, when the movies and books come to an end, we groan. Though we like to imagine our greatness and yearn for our “chosenness”, we know, deep down, that we cannot be the ones to shoulder this burden. We will always be “simply” human. We will always be weak, always be frail, and always fail (if left to ourselves) the tasks set before us. But God has not left our collective hero complex unfilled. No. He has provided a hero from among our ranks who is human but not “simply” human. He himself has championed our cause, incarnated Himself while remaining fully God, and defeated all our foes.

And oh the beauty of Christ! Because our hero has been chosen, we are freed up to make life about Him and not ourselves. We no longer have to feed our desires for value and worth with daydreams of our “chosenness.” Because our value has been given to us by our hero, we are freed up to praise our chosen one and to love others instead of needing their praise and adoration. We no longer have to feed our desires for true destiny and purpose with illusions of grandeur. Because our destiny and purpose have been given to us by our hero, we are free to make much of Him and love others in the process.

Let’s move past our good movies, books, and daydreaming and yearn no more. Humanity look no further! Our hero has come, and His name is Jesus.

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One thought on “The Chosen One: Our Collective Hero Complex

  1. Coop—I do not agree with your first point. “We know we need to be saved”. The largest majority do not know they need to be saved, that is the point that puts us in the mess we now find ourselves in. Of course not every one will be saved–only the “elect”. God bless you in your Harvest work.

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