The Heroics of Weakness – page 4


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From the Spring 2018 issue of Knowing & Doing:

The Heroics of Weakness

by Aaron Welty
Co-host of the Two Geek Soup Podcast

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  In the film, Xavier’s mobility and mutant ability are tied together. He takes a drug that suppresses his powers but allows mobility. It’s not until the younger Xavier encounters the older professor, via time travel of the mind, and the older entreats the younger to hope again, speaking to a deep ability to bear the pain of others, that the younger Charles is willing to relinquish his drug-induced mobility (thus sacrificing something most take for granted) to embrace a unique capacity to engage with a suffering world. With Charles there’s a sequence of character development that affirms what the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5: suffering develops perseverance; perseverance develops character; character develops into hope (a confident expectation of the future that is rooted in Christ’s finished work on the cross). It’s worth noting that character and hope come to older Charles after the suffering and perseverance of his younger self. In our lives, we want the character and hope — that confident expectation — without the suffering and persevering; we want the epic stories but without the scars as evidence that they happened. But this on-screen presence supports Paul’s particular progression.
  Xavier speaks to power in weakness in a way that deeply resonates with me, because his telepathic abilities are linked to his mobility. As his mental powers function, his legs do not. Conversely, if Xavier were to possess full mobility, his telepathy and professorially imparted understanding of the world — influenced by his disability — would diminish.
  Long before George Lucas imagined Yoda or Stan Lee created Professor X, the apostle Paul wrote about weakness and foolishness, the ideas that both these characters embody, in his letter to the church at Corinth: “but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1 Cor. 1:27-29, ESV). Throughout life I have strongly identified with these characters as examples in popular culture of a biblical truth I too have embraced.

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