I went to see the Incredibles last night (well thursday night, whenever that was). Loved it, was especially enthused by the sixties kitsch. Came home, had a bath, went to bed and then (in a very cartoon styley) it hit me. God was speaking through this film: first to me, but also in a wider sense to the community of the church.
If you don't want a little glimpse of what the film is about, or you have heard me on the whole Dorothy leadership thing and think its bunk then STOP READING NOW!
To the remnant: the story in the film is essentially about Mr Incredible, a superhero who in his own words "works alone". We see him early in the film fixing things all over the place. When a young boy- his greatest fan- tries to help him he is turned away with the words "you are not a superhero, you have no powers and I work alone" (I paraphrase).
Flick on ten years. Mr Incredible was sued for saving someone who didn't want to be saved, it sparked a tidal wave and suddenly superheroes were outlawed. We see Mr Incredible trying to live a normal life with his family. They too have special powers which mean its hard to fit in..
The story rolls on and Mr Incredible is suddenly trapped by none other than the boy he rejected all those years before. His greatest fan is now trying to destroy him, whilst at the same time becoming a new kind of superhero. Mr Incredible cannot fight him alone, and the story ends with all his family around him using their powers to fight off this imposter.
The challenge for me: how many times have I passed up the opportunity to have others alongside because "I work alone"? How many times have they been hurt? So far none have tried to destroy me but it really is there but for the grace of God go I. I'm sorry where I have done that.
The broader challenge: to follow McClaren's line; how many of us in Christian leadership have been Mr Incredible, running around and fixing things but never allowing anyone else to get on board, fitting loads in and ignoring the people who rightly or wrongly look to us as heroes. One might argue that a whole generation of church leadership has been based on this premise of the lone ranger leader.
Perhaps a disaffected and anti- church generation is our own nemesis. Instead of a new breed of superhero we have lifestyle gurus, the occult and myriad other imposters.
And the challenge. Well to embrace the family that we have around us and let them use their gifts as we fight together. There is a beautiful scene at the end of the film where the Incredible's youngest family member, is taken captive by the enemy. It has always been assumed he has no powers but faced with mortal danger the baby comes into his own. He shape shifts (looking alarmingly like a demon but lets not think about that too much). evryone in teh family plays a part in the final battle scene. Isn''t that how church should be instead of "I work alone"?