May 20, 2014 · 9:54 am
There is a general pattern to the hero journey – the quest of the hero into unknown realms, the powers that he meets there and overcomes, the stages of his crisis of victory, and his return then, with some boon he has gained, for the founding of a city, religion, dynasty, or whatnot; or, on the other hand, his failure and destruction.
Where have all the heroes gone? Somehow it seems that there is a tremendous shortage of real life heroes in our world – the type of people who take risks for others, face danger, fight evil and most importantly, win! We yearn for someone or something to look up to and feel secure. The greatest motivator in the 21 st century is fear.
The most common headline tells us of the failure of some leader or celebrity who had brought hope to their followers. Perhaps that is the reason that Hollywood has a fascination with the “super hero,” hero’s so powerful that they can’t fall. Sadly, such people don’t exist. I truly wish they did. Life would be so much more pleasurable if we knew who to call for the challenges we face. Today it might be Green Lantern, tomorrow Spiderman, but at least we would have someone to call. Joseph, the mythologist, gives us a very good pattern for the journey of a hero.
Heroes are not born, but rather, they evolve. The journey of every hero indeed begins with a quest – a drive or vision that sends them out of their comfort zone. They are driven to be bigger, better, and at the same time, selfless and humble. Perhaps the reason we have a hero shortage is that we don’t value the things that make a hero. Our children are not taught to take risks, or to put others before themselves, rather they are taught to be cautious and self protecting. Campbell’s words give us a great pattern for a hero, and if we dare model them or teach them, the world could be a better place.
March 27, 2014 · 6:56 am
In 1991 an Air Canada flight ran into big trouble. Passengers were enjoying an in-flight movie on the Boeing 767 when the jumbo jet’s massive engines abruptly stopped. At first only those without earphones on noticed anything. However, soon it was apparent the jet was in trouble. The pilot came on the speaker system and announced that Flight 143 would be making an emergency landing. The 69 people on board were trapped in an agonizingly slow but inescapable descent to earth.
For a minute that seemed like an eternity, a desperate silence filled the cabin. That silence morphed into fear and gave way to screams as the landing neared. All the latest technology could not keep the jumbo jet in the air. What had happened was this: the electronic digital fuel gauge was out of order. The flight crew had depended on the figures given them by the refueling crew before takeoff. But someone on the refueling crew had confused pounds with kilograms. Therefore, eight hundred miles short of its destination, the jet simply ran out of fuel and was forced to make an emergency landing. Fortunately no one was injured.
A multimillion dollar airplane, headed in the right direction, but running out of fuel. That’s what’s happening to a lot of people today. They have everything in life and one day they wake up out of fuel.
Don’t let that happen to you. Jesus tells us that the power for successful living comes from God. It is the promised gift that Jesus offers us. “Peace be with you,” he says. “My peace I give to you, not as the world gives you. Let not your hearts be troubled, believe in God, believe also in me.”
February 19, 2014 · 10:59 am
David, when he was fighting the Lion, seized it by the throat and killed it immediately. If we take ourselves by the throat and by the belly, with the help of God, we shall overcome the invisible lion.”
The wise man points to a very important fact. The enemy we see is easier to defeat, and the hidden one may well overcome us. We are not so anxious to overcome the subtle evil that dwells in every soul. With great joy we can applaud the victory of King David over the lion, but with far less fervor we seek similar victories in our lives. Poeman pointed to David’s quick and decisive action that allowed him to overcome his foe, and advises us to do the same. Unfortunately our lion is invisible. Perhaps it is the lion of a bad habit or evil thoughts.
The way to defeat this invisible lion is to take ourselves by the throat and the belly. Why the throat and the belly? The throat is where our words originate. Words are wonderful when used properly and with good will. Words are deadly, nasty and surly as well. The control of our words is a key factor in overcoming any sin that besets us. The belly represents our physical appetites, those that consume our lives. I would venture to say that Poeman is proposing that we defeat our sins both mental and physical and do what it takes to achieve that goal.
Filed under Abba Poeman, Desert Fathers, Evil, Monasticism, Sin
Tagged as Christian Journey, Desert Fathers, Desert Monks, Desert Sayings, King David, lion, Sin