Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Heroes and Gifts

I was in this evening so able to catch another episode of Heroes. I didn't start with this series but wanted to and I managed to get into it a few episodes in. I think I may be buying it to watch it all as it really is good. The thing that fascinates me about it though is the whole issue of gifting and what makes heroes. I don't think it's unusual that the heroic attributes in the series are decidedly unlike the gifts we hear of in the New Testament. In Heroes we have people who can control time, fly, heal themselves, cause fire, cause nuclear explosions, steal the powers of others, read minds or stop others using their powers. These are all about power; the gaining of it, using of it and often the abusing of it. There are those who use their hero powers for the good and there are those often torn about using them for good or evil but for the most part the powers are not for "the building up of the people." The gifts of the New Testament, however are all about service; teaching, pastoring, healing, speaking and interpreting tongues, administration, encouragement, showing mercy, wisdom, knowledge, faith, prophecy and discernment of spirits. (Romans 12.6-8 & 1 Corinthians 12.4-10).

If you were asking for hero powers which would it be - I have to admit I hve always fancied flying! Now I know in all the stories Superman does a good job in using that gift to serve others but it is one that can also be used against them. Likewise, though the spiritual gifts are intended to be used in servicce, they too can be used to build up not the community but the individual. It is a tricky balance, I think, but God gives to each of us something which helps us make that balance, whatever our gifts.

As well as gifts, we have the guidance of what our fruits should be: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
In Heroes, one solution to make sure people don't abuse their gifts is to make sure that there is no-one who has them. With the spiritual gifts there is somehting else. There is that all important humility of service which Paul was so keen to instil in the Christians in Corinth. A gift was to serve the community. If it did not it were better not to be there:
"in the Church I would rather speak five words with my understanding--so as to instruct others also--than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue."
1 Corinthians 14.19
In Heroes they seek to control powers by laws and restrictions but in God's giftings it is different:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5.22-23

1 comment:

MarkB said...

a couple of parralels... no one in Heroes chooses their gifts, and many of them do not actually want them... neither can we choose our gifting and in human terms they not be that pleasant to have or put into action! Also in heroes, no one gift is sufficient to prevent the coming catastrophe, it requires a group of people who all feel inadequate, not one on whom feels they have THE power, working together to "save the world"... so ultimately not one gift is sufficient for "building up the people" it is only when they interweave that the tapestry can be made.

PS... having watched all 23 episodes of series one I have tried desperately not to give too much away ;)