admirer never makes any true sacrifices. He always plays
it safe. Though in word he is inexhaustible about how
highly he prizes Christ, he renounces nothing, will not
reconstruct his life, and will not let his life express
what it is he supposedly admires. Not so for the
follower. No, no. The follower aspires with all his
strength to be what he admires."
- Soren Kierkegaard, Provocations: Spiritual
Writings of Kierkegaard.
The Dark Knight opened here in
the United States on July 18 -- less than two weeks ago
-- and has been setting box-office records; largest
opening weekend, fastest movie to gross $300 million,
etc. Over 21 million people sat in theatres to watch it
in the first three days after its release. I know a
number of folk who have already seen it multiple
Admiration describes the usual response.
The Batman figure (played by Christian Bale) is a worthy
hero. Some viewers speculate that the Joker performance
by now-deceased Heath Ledger will be admired all the way
to the Oscars. The script and the special effects
I watched The Dark Knight with
my older sons. On the drive home we discussed some of
the ethical issues and the "Christ-theme" at the end of
the movie (no more hints!). Then we got back to
it comes to the Batman movies, I turn out to be an admirer
but not a follower.
Do we see
Jesus the same way?
Might Jesus be for some of us an ancient heroic
figure whom we merely admire? Might we admire Him
sufficiently to return to the "theatre" each week for
the next installment of the script, without really
becoming followers? Might we speak highly of Him without
renouncing anything? Do we marvel at Him in a brief
discussion in the car on the way home and then get back
In the first century, Jesus had plenty
of admirers -- people intrigued by Him, who called Him
"Rabbi, Teacher" -- but few followers. In the
twenty-first century, has that changed much?
Admirers talk the talk; followers
walk the walk.
Admirers marvel at His teaching;
followers apply it.
Admirers get back to
"reality"; followers make Him their reality.
Soren Kierkegaard, writing in the
19th century, challenges us to no longer play
it safe while speaking inexhaustibly about Christ, but
to pursue Christ with all our strength and in every way.
May we discover the glorious transforming power of such
In HOPE --