This Is My Father’s World: The Bumbling Hero

“I am the terror that flaps in the night. I am the raspberry seed you can’t floss out. I am the bumbling hero!”  I have a heart for this poor class of farcical saviors. They’ve appeared throughout the centuries in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and antics. Daffy Duck played the role well, as did Inspector Clouseau. Whomever the hero the results were usually the same. A messy rescue operation is semi-successful. The issue at hand is not whether or not the hero has the heart to complete the task, nor does he possess the necessary skill. Usually the hero is both passionate and talented, but there is always something else that gets in the way.

Sometimes it’s his ego that trips him up. The bumbling heroes are often ego-centric maniacs. They love being heroes, they love the spotlight, they love the victory. On not a few occasions Darkwing Duck, the main star of an early 90s cartoon, floundered in his efforts to “save the day” because he was thinking about his own self-promotion.

At other times it’s the hero’s ignorance that frustrates his plans. Clouseau, for all his good-intentions, consistently overlooks what is right in front of him. He is dedicated to the job, a devoted detective, but he concocts the most random of theories following them on a trail of faulty logical conclusions until he accidentally resolves the whole case. He is obviously an example of idiocy to the extreme at times.

In some cases we could say it’s just plain clumsiness that turns a success into an almost-not. Samwise Gamgee and Ron Weasely strike me as too clumsy heroes. Their antics and stumblings as faithful sidekicks can create near-disaster for their respective counterparts. This is true even more so for Ron Weasely than Samwise.

Whichever scenario, the bumbling hero is a part of pop-culture that resonates with so many of us. Their good intentions connect with many of us, and yet the reality, at least for me, is that I know my efforts at being the “good guy” are often far more complicated and comical than pure. We all like to think that we are faultless, that we are the perfect hero, the “good guy.” But I suspect that on more than one occasion my efforts to do the right thing have fallen apart, been only accidentally successful. That’s ultimately why I depend on the grace of God and the power of the Spirit. Left to myself I might accomplish a few tasks, I might be a well-intentioned mess. But by God’s grace and power I can achieve great things for His Kingdom and glory. I am the bumbling hero who needs the true pure hero: Jesus.

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