Clark Kent to the rescue

So I started this Catch listing all the things about the pandemic that have kept us isolated and turned us inward so I could contrast that with our current call to go out. But when I shared my opening paragraphs with Marti, she just laughed. I hate it when she does that; it means I missed it by a wide margin.

“What?” I asked incredulously.

 “You have no idea what you’re talking about. The pandemic didn’t change your life hardly at all. You’re already isolated. You’ve been sheltering in place for years. You’ve been in your little office for so long, you couldn’t catch a cold if you tried. The only change for you was wearing a mask to the supermarket, and even then, you got to wear the Angels logo mask Patti made for you, so no big sacrifice.”

She had me. So if I’m going to write about breaking out of isolation, it’s not going to have anything to do with the pandemic; it’s going to have to do with me breaking out of me. Well that’s nothing new. That’s no pandemic; that’s normal life; that’s what I face every day. My own self-made isolation booth.

Am I the only one with this struggle? The millennials are already out. They’ve all gone global. Maybe that’s why they have so much anxiety.

In truth, we are all called out — out from hiding, out from isolation, out from loneliness into a life in the Spirit. But we have to step into it by faith. We are all so selfish and left to our own devices we would all just as soon stay that way, but God calls us out. He gave us His Spirit, but we must activate the Spirit by stepping out in faith.

It’s a lot like mild-mannered Clark Kent stepping into a phone booth and when he pulls open the door, a few seconds later, out steps Superman. “Ta-da!” This has been a metaphor many times in my life — so much so that we’ve considered putting up a phone booth somewhere in backyard that I could symbolically step into in a second and step out with the Spirit. It’s very much what Paul says in Ephesians 4:22-24 when he’d tells us to put off the old man and put on the new. It doesn’t just happen automatically; we have to activate the process by intentionally taking off our suit and tie so that the (super) Spirit can be activated in us. Superman is there (that’s the new life in the Spirit), we only have to lose the Clark Kent cover-up. Why not think of it as something super, because that’s what it is — something not of you or me, but something mightier than that — something of God. It’s all about stepping out of me, into me — the new me, that is, in Christ. And that’s pretty super.

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7 Responses to Clark Kent to the rescue

  1. Linda L Gordon says:

    Very, very creative catch…good job!

    • Pressing On says:

      This Catch essay was creative and fun to see and read. Your picture was on point! I have been expecting God to transform me as I step into the “phone booth” every day. Unlike the instant transformation that Superman does, I know that my renewing is one over time and not instant. Your words today were appropriate for me. Thanks.

  2. tomcoene says:

    Love it John. I totally understand the frustration with the charade that is going on in the world today. Had lunch with me son yesterday at this quaint restaurant in Ojai, on a motorcycle ride through the beach and canyons. It cracked me up that the people were getting out of or off of their vehicles, walking up to the rock wall separating the parking lot from the patio. They would put on their masks at the wall, walk 10 feet to the “Covid OUTSIDE hostess station (because there is no longer inside seating or reception), they would then be seated and take off their masks. What was accomplished? NOTHING! Do they not see the hypocrisy? It is time to stand up and stand out, expose the Fallacy so many accept, and shower the world with the Spirit within us.

    Say hi to Marty for me.

    Blessings to you all,

    Tom Coene


  3. Toni Petrella says:

    Great Message and so true. I feel grateful that at least my work is at the facility and I am interacting with other folks. Numbers are dropping here and hopefully soon a restaurant dine in again. We cannot let the isolation get to us and so important to feel the Holy Spirit and share with so many.

  4. Sandie says:

    Stepping out in faith. So easy to say – so hard to do. Peter stepped out in faith during a storm once. He gets a lot of flak because he took his eyes off Jesus to focus on the storm. Reaching out for Jesus to save him was an act of faith too. He let Jesus lead him back to safety in the boat. Another step of faith. Was Jesus really who He said He was? I submit that Peter had more faith than the rest of his friends combined…He’s the only one who got out of the boat. Lord, help me to be more like Peter.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Agreeing with all the comments above — how true how true. One disagreement I have is your lumping all millennials together… “they’ve all gone global” …. Just as much variation from one to another millennial as from one to another boomer, or from you to Marti. Maybe you have only heard from the anxious out-there millennials, but the ones who are just as inward looking as you are, you haven’t heard from them.
    Nevertheless, the basic message is true: I really do need to go “down and out”

  6. Tom F. says:

    WOW !!! this is right on time for me. As a 12 stepping Christ follower I have some experience with this, Left to my own devices I am selfish self centered and loaded with self centered fear. I am an egomaniac with a inferiority complex. I am the insignificant peace of crap at the center of the universe. I got to see it in black and white when I put pen to paper doing step 4. Step 5 has me getting together with God myself and another person and sharing that. Getting it all out. This now become a tool which gets repeated in step 10. But in step 10 it’s not about the past but about the present. Once I decide to change in step 6 I pray to be relieved from the bondage of self in step 7. That is not so I can become a great guy but so I can be of maximum service to others. Often I end up sharing what I myself need to hear. Thanks John and Marti and all my brothers and sisters at The Catch.

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