What does it take to be a hero? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
You work for a gaming company and you have been given a task. Make a new human hero to fight evil. Okay. You think this could be a fun task. So how will you make your hero?
If you want to make a man, odds are you will make someone strong and muscular. You will make someone who has a no-nonsense attitude. This is someone who can tear through bad guys without a thought. You could also make him a James Bond type who is smooth and seductive and quite the Ladies’ Man. You could make a fighting type like Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris. You could make a Punisher type who would blow away enemies or a Batman type who seems to excel at all of the above.
If you want to make a woman, you could make someone muscular or someone who is more sleek and agile. You could make her a bombshell so that she will stun any man that sees her by her beauty and make all the women want to look like her. She will likely be a great fighter, someone like a Black Widow.
Now let’s look at who Shigeru Miyamoto made.
Odds are, without knowing who this is, he hardly strikes terror in your heart.
Somehow he has taken off. Is he muscular? Nope. Skilled at weapons or combat? Nope. He is actually a little pudgy and his career is a plumber. His sidekick and brother, Luigi, isn’t much better. He’s trimmer and taller, but he’s usually also a coward.
Yet today, March 10th is the day that he is celebrated. It’s known as Mario Day. I tried to see how many games he has had, and all I found was that he has over 200. This is in about 40 years or so. We could say that would be at least five games every year.
Mario has done everything. He has been a soldier, a doctor, a go-kart driver, an athlete in most every sport, an RPG hero, a party game player, and of course, the regular rescuer of Princess Peach. You could pretty much take any game and if you want it to do well, just slap Mario on it.
So what does Mario have to do with Christian apologetics?
In our day and age, it’s easy for us to think that there’s little that we can do to change our world. We can look at Marvel superheroes and think “Yeah, but I can’t do those kinds of things.” Mario is our different figure.
“But he does have power-ups!”
Yes, but if you look at the games and even the TV shows that were made, those power-ups would affect anyone who used them. Princess Peach and Toad could benefit from them. In some games and TV shows, Bowser himself benefits from power-ups. Thus, there seems to be nothing that says only Mario can use these power-ups. If anyone else had these power-ups, they could use them.
What makes Mario a hero for us all is that he is us. Anyone can do what Mario can do. Mario has enough reasons to think that he is not a hero and yet, he keeps going and defeating the enemy every time. He is going against a villain in Bowser who usually has greater resources and power and a personal army and yet, Mario wins every time. (And somehow Bowser gets to play sports, ride go-karts, and play party games with Mario and his friends.)
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Who is Mario then? He’s you. He’s me. He’s a guy that has a lot of heart. He just wants to go out and defeat Bowser, or whoever the enemy is, and rescue the Princess, or whatever the goal is.
We live in a fallen world and we often think we can’t do anything for the gospel because we are not as great as XYZ. That has never stopped Mario. Mario has always kept going and faced much greater dangers than many of us face.
Mario is a picture for us. We don’t have to work to be like him per se as he has no physique or anything of that sort. (Save his jumping ability) He’s just a guy with an ordinary job wanting to do something great.
I wonder what could happen with our Christianity if we looked at the world and said we just want to do something great and live our lives fighting against the armies of evil.
It’d be nice to find out.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)