Thursday, June 28, 2007

Live Free or Die Hard

that guy...

We all want to be "that guy." Each summer at the movies, we encounter a number of "that guy's" and in Live Free or Die Hard, we re-encounter the guy that started it all: Bruce Willis as John McClane.

McClane is the cop that goes above and beyond to save the day. Whereas the normal guys in blue just rush to the scene of a crime, John McClane is "that guy" who runs headlong into the action, saving the day from within. His is an inspirational story for heroes everywhere. To go into the heart of darkness without waiting for backup is admirable, risky, and courageous.

With three movies of that behind us, we enter Live Free or Die Hard. It seems like the characters in the movie have actually seen the previous Die Hard films, because it is Matt Farrell (Justin Long) who comments to McClane, "I'm not 'that guy' like you..." Matt is just a wide-eyed, out-for-the-common-man, computer hacker - he saves the day like a techno-Robin Hood of stealing from the rich and powerful for the sake of the rest of us. But he's far from admirable or courageous - he does his work behind a computer screen and doesn't exactly give back to the poor or anything.

We might see ourselves like Matt, too. Perhaps in our world, if we met John McClane, we might say that we're just a normal, cautious (even scared) person. We're not the kind of guys or girls who would save the day from within the heat of battle; we pray that trained professionals will get that job done.

But Matt and McClane move this fun movie ahead because both teach each other (and us) a valuable lesson.

Matt teaches McClane that others can help, too; he teaches him that brawn and muscle also need a bit of brain and smarts (especially in our 21st century world with computers and technology). On the other hand, McClane teaches Matt to step it up a notch - that being careful and cautious and not taking risks can lead to nothingness, too. He teaches him that sometimes we have to emerge from anonymity and become a leader.

And through this combination, both guys become "that guy".

We, too, can be "that guy" - perhaps not with nuclear weapons or giant computer viruses at stake - but we can step up behind the wall of anonymity and risklessness. If if we're more like Bruce Willis, we can take a step back and learn to work with others, especially those who have the gifts we don't have.

God calls us all to become extraordinary - or "that guy." Jesus was "that guy" who took risks and saved the day, but the disciples eventually became "that guy" too after the Resurrection. As Scripture says, they hid behind closed doors and tried to save the world that way; but it was when they came from behind the wall on Pentecost that they truly became "that guy."

We, too, are called to be extraordinary... like Jesus, like the disciples, like John McClane, and like Matt the computer hacker too.

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