Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"Heroes" = Doing "Great Things"

Robert Louis Stevenson is a brilliant author, let there be no doubt about that. Books like Treasure Island and Kidnapped could not have been written by anyone other than a brilliant writer. Nonetheless, while reading “The Black Arrow” yesterday, one of his books that is not so well-known, I noticed something lacking in the story. After reflecting on this for some time, I turned back to his other works and began perusing them. The fact stands – his books are timeless and brilliant BUT they have one serious deficiency – there are no heroes! Stevenson never really creates a single heroic character. Those of us who have read some of the old classics are used to books where at least one admirable character is present to steal the show and win our hearts. Stevenson invents a host of characters but I find great difficulty in reconciling myself with any of them. It was only long after I finished “Kidnapped” for instance, that I was able to forgive Alan for his cowardice and even David Balfour struck me as being extremely self-centered, as did Jim Hawkins. Stevenson’s characters are disappointing. They are constantly doing the very thing you hope they will not do and though, they never really do anything absolutely base, they never do anything really heroic either.

And yet, maybe Robert Louis Stevenson knew mankind better than the authors of books with “perfect heroes.” Maybe he knew that people who haven’t learned to make the right choices every day won’t be able to make the right choice when something drastic happens. Maybe he knew something about human nature…Maybe he knew the simple truth that man is weak…and it is true, we ARE weak.

Here's another idea: maybe he DIDN’T know that we don’t have be weak forever...that there is One who strengthens us to do great things…if we KNOW Him.

I plan to expand on this thought so stay tuned...

Seize The Day!

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