5.08.2011

Steady

I really, really love Spiderman 2. I feel the overall theme is quite powerful, although fundamentally flawed. I love it to death.

In the film, Peter Parker eventually finds that he is loosing the love of his life because he is unable to invest significant time in her. Rather, he finds that his call of duty to serve is taking up more and more of his life. The responsibility that came with his power is requiring much more than he thought.


Aunt May tells this to Peter at the height of his confusion. The obvious inference is that Peter must give up Mary Jane to do what is right and good. Peter later delivers it to the film's villain, Dr. Octavius, and I actually think Tobey Maguire does a much better job of delivery than his aunt when he says it at the film's climax.

Of course, this incredible conflict between what is right and what is desired is redeemed at the end of the movie when Mary Jane sees the true identity of our hero Spiderman and is still shamelessly in love with him, even though it seems as though Peter has acted selfishly.

Spiderman got lucky. He did the right thing and got the girl. In fact, he probably got the girl because he did the right thing.

It is, of course, overly romantic in the idealist sense. Giving up your dreams to do what is right is not only counter-cultural but also the epitome of human sacrifice. The truth is, the girl will probably love you more if you go to her play. Honest.

I wonder so often where I come into this, because I have many hopes and dreams and desires that are all swirling about with thundering passion, but they commonly interfere with what is undoubtedly right and true. From the most mundane conflict of watching TV instead of serving my neighbor to the titanic struggle of being distracted by a girl and conducting all of my relationships with utter selflessness.

I think that God asks for the right thing with no guarantees. He wants it all. The girl is still a maybe, and you aren't given a movie script ending when you are righteous. Sure, some girls like good guys, but you can't be a good guy just for the girl. You will get mixed up real fast. He wants you to be a good guy to show love to the world. How gutsy is that?

When Jesus said that the rich man needed to sell all he had, I don't think he requires it of me. But I do think he means I should be willing, should he ask of it, to give up the time, the money, the girl, the vacation, the friends, the social status, my whole life. It reminds me of when Jesus talks about that guy who wanted to build a tower, but he really underestimates the costs. He set his tower's foundation, but then he found out that his undertaking was just too costly; it was too expensive. And all of the people ridiculed him for not being able to finish what he started.

I sort of wish I had read this passage before becoming baptized. I decided that it couldn't have been someone showing me, because then I would have decided this Christianity thing was too elitist and that person was a real jerk for bringing up this little parable right as I decided to follow God. But, truth: this whole thing is really expensive. There's no way getting around that.

And all of this is so hard because I want to be good and I want to be good soil. But I also would like a simple home, and little car, a steady job, and Mary Jane. I earnestly yearn to reach the point where I can gladly offer these things up, and still say it is well. I am not here yet. God help me; may grace increase.

That Peter Parker guy got so lucky.

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