Heroes of All Sizes Jul25

Heroes of All Sizes

“Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is.” —Yoda, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back I was teenager attending Friday night youth group and the speaker was talking about the Biblical hero, Samson. He claimed that the hirsute judge of Israel didn’t resemble our muscle-bound superheroes of today, but rather: “He looked like… he looked like…” His eyes cast about and fell on me: “Tim!” He got his laugh, and yes, I was a fairly small, scrawny adolescent (and I still don’t take up a lot of real estate). But it was pivotal moment for me, because I understood his point: Samson derived his strength from the Spirit of God, not the size of his muscles, just as Yoda gained his power from the Force. Quite a few modern superheroes reflect this dichotomy of unassuming alter-ego versus superhero persona. DC’s Captain Marvel? Eight-year-old Billy Batson transforms into the mighty hero by speaking a magic word (talk about wish fulfillment!). Marvel’s Hulk? Scientist Bruce Banner becomes the green goliath when he can no longer control his rage. The list goes on, but the pattern remains the same; the hero exists in a weak mortal form until a transformation occurs, whence he or she is suddenly revealed as the peak of physical perfection. (Admittedly, there are lots of superheroes who don’t follow this pattern: such as Superman or Thor, who possess their powers at all times, or Iron Man and Batman, who have no powers whatsoever, but that’s fodder for a different article.) These people have no special powers, no extraordinary skills, no fancy costumes, but make no mistake, they are heroes. There’s a movement today called...