Sunday, February 10, 2013 they exist?

To Much To DO.
I am having a blast teaching a class about South Africa, but I'm spending an awfully lot of time getting ready for it, along with a new class in Humanities: the Renaissance forward. I love both classes...the content is much fun and the groups of students I have are spectacular. But I'm not writing. I'm simply doing work.

I did dream a good story the other night. I got up and wrote it down before I forgot. I think it will be worth pursuing. I just need time. Time.

In the meantime, I'm thinking about heroes. How almost all heroes (probably all) have feet of clay.

How did this rumination start? Well, LanceArmstrong may have set it off. I'm not sure. I think I knew all along that he had to be doping. It's the lying that makes him less heroic in my opinion. That's another story, though. But his faults don't entirely negate the amazing feats he accomplished. They just make him a less-than-admirable human being becuase he lied. He still rode faster than anybody else, doping or not.

Here are people I've been teaching about: Martin Luther (We just did the Reformation aspect of the Renaissance last week). Did you know that he wrote scathingly about Jews and Muslims? Yeah, he stood up for people and for some sort of reasonable way to change religion, but he certainly wasn't perfect.

Gandhi: Who could be the more perfect hero, right? Gentle, passive resistance, civil disobedience to affect change. But did you know that Gandhi was an absolute adherent to the caste system in India? The caste system that treats the Untouchables as less worthy than dogs? He's not quite so perfect, either.

Hoppie Groenwald: he's fictional, but a powerful character in the book we're reading in my South Africa Class. Hoppie is the person who changes the protagonist (Peekay)'s life. Hoppie is kind and smart, and insightful. A good soul. But he's a product of his time and racist as all-get-out.

Think about it. John Edwards. Bill Clinton. John F. Kennedy. Michael Jordan. Every hero who outstretches human possibility and does great good or inspires greatness on this earth is still human. Somehow we lift people to hero status and then we expect them to be perfect. It's not possible. NOT Possible.
That was part of my problem back when I was a pastor's wife.

I believe that if you're passionate and capable of great good, you may also get in trouble for being too passionate. Passion and compassion are usually inextricably linked. That can lead to human problems.
It's the way of the world. But the rest of humanity who wants a hero doesn't easily tolerate fallibility in its heroes.
Think about that. Does ANYBODY qualify as a perfect human and a perfect hero?
Maybe we need to rethink what admiration means.

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