boon-dog-gle: (noun) work of little or no value done merely to keep or look busy.
free: (adjective) provided without, or not subject to, a charge or payment.

3/21/05

What's so special...

Earlier tonight, I watched the Oscar-winning movie "The Incredibles" with my wife and a bunch of friends. For my wife and I, it was our second time--we went to see it in the theater as well. It is a wonderfully fun movie because it is beautifully made, well "acted" (i.e. voiced), and has an interesting story. Why can't all movies meet this kind of standard?

One of the best lines in the movie is said by the kid, Dash (and sort of repeated later by the villian). He is complaining that his mom won't let him use his super-powers even though they are what make him special. His mom replies that, "everyone's special". To which Dash in turn replies, "...which is another way of saying nobody is." What are we to think of this statement?

In some ways, I agree with Dash. If we believe that we aren't allowed to view people as different who have a disability, extraordinary ability, particular ethnic or cultural background, or any personal peculiarity, then we have made the mistake of confusing equality with sameness. Of course people are different! If we force everyone into a particular box in order to view them as "the same", then we aren't living in the real world. While we shouldn't treat people as worth more or less based on what is special about them, we ought not deny that some people are special. And, while everybody is unique and an individual, I think we would be fooling ourselves if we didn't admit that some people are rather ordinary.

So, how do we deal with "special" people? How can we acknowledge their specialness and yet still value them no differently than "ordinary" people? Well, let me suggest that a Christian worldview is the place to start. For, people must not be valued according to their abilities or inabilities, their intellect, their beauty, or even their morality. All of these things are fleeting and unstable. Instead, the value of every person is rooted in the reality that he or she is a creature of God made by Him in His image. We are valuable because there is a reality beyond human existence. We are valuable because God values us and has told us we are valuable. Abilities may wane, intellect may dim, beauty may fade, and morality may waver, but God, His Word, and His love for us in Jesus Christ will never falter.

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G.K. Chesterton...

"The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people."