Last night I saw the new Wonder Woman movie for the second time. I have loved Wonder Woman ever since I was a little girl. My childhood was filled with episodes of Lynda Carter, on our small color television, magically spinning into her red, white, blue, and gold. I spent countless hours outside tying up my brother in my (jump-rope) lasso-of-truth. I wore aluminum foil gauntlets and protected myself from all manner of flying rocks & yard debris. My infatuation with all things WW has not waned as I’ve grown; in fact, as a forty-something woman, I love her even more.
As I sat in the theater tonight between two precious friends, with our children lined up in front of us, I was again struck by the magnitude of this epic tale of strength, compassion, and love.
There are many Christians who do not approve of Wonder Woman as a hero. They cite her real-world origin as a feminist icon and her comic origin as a Greek demi-god as blasphemous and dangerous. I cannot help but find them both inspiring and this newest version of my childhood muse, as portrayed by the beautiful Gal Gadot, was no disappointment.
I will not spoil the movie for those who haven’t seen it but there was one scene, early on, as Diana is leaving her home with Steve Trevor to save mankind, where they have a conversation in which Trevor tells Diana that they cannot stop the war, but they must get a critical piece of intel to the “men who can.” Diana emphatically & genuinely replies, “I’m the men who can!”
Those five words struck both my heart & my gut with a ferocity that is quite difficult to fully articulate. Desperately not wanting to forget that statement, I dug into my purse, pulled out a pen and proceeded to write it on my hand, in the dark of the theater.
How often are we looking for help from others when we are the ones called to the task? We leave the preaching to our pastors, the teaching to our church leaders, the street ministry to the missionaries and forget that WE are the men who can. There is no special insight or instruction that is given to any one of them that is not available to each one of us. We have shifted so much of the authoritative weight & responsibility to those we define as “called”, we forget that we too have the authority & responsibility to build the kingdom.
There have been many times in my life when I have found myself waiting for a platform to be influential…waiting for a place to share the words God has written on my heart and planted in my thoughts. What I love about this statement and the woman who made it is that while some may see them as naive, I see them as proof of a woman who is passionately committed to her purpose. She does not require those around her to see what she sees or believe what she believes in order to act. She is not waiting for someone else to fight the battle, while she sits at home and waits her turn. She sees those in desperate need of rescue and mercy and rushes head-on into the mud and devastation to deliver them. She is not weakened by her deep love for humanity or her compassion for those suffering unjustly in this world. She is strengthened by her “more feminine” sensibilities. She is not waiting for a large, political platform to share the truth of her message. She preaches it from the trenches.
There is a strange dichotomy in the modern church today. Women of the church are finding themselves charged by the Holy Spirit to do the works that all saved men have been called to do and in some, more progressive congregations are even able to walk that out with the support and respect of their male counterparts. Yet, we still, as a global church, find ourselves struggling with what feminism looks like for the Christian woman. The world around us often screams at us to storm the picket lines and cast off traditional female archetypes and prove that we are as good as a man. Still, the church struggles to find ways to honor women as teachers, preachers, pastors, and leaders without undermining our brothers as we do so.
I go back to the conversation between Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman and I do not see or hear a battle between a man and a woman over which sex can get the job done. I see one individual who struggles with a lack of belief that he can make a difference and another individual who believes, with everything they are, that they can and will.
As my ten-year-old son sat in front of me that is what I prayed he saw. I realized in that moment that the reason this incredible persona was so magnetic for me was not that she was a female superhero, but because she was everything I hoped I would be for my children and those I’m honored to have in my life. I prayed that my sons and daughter would see a person with such strong convictions about the value of another man’s soul that she would willingly give of herself for their benefit. I prayed that they would see a person who believed in love, compassion, redemption, and second chances. I prayed that they would see a person who fought for those who were oppressed, suffering, and broken. I prayed that they would see a person who was so committed to their faith that even when they had moments of grief, sadness, and disappointment in their own life, they stood on their belief instead of on their emotions and always chose love over everything else.
At the end of the story these two, uniquely-minded and physically made, human beings needed each other to complete the task they originally set out to do. They fought beside one another, they loved one another, they challenged and inspired one another. In doing so, they each strengthened & empowered the other to do profound and world-changing things. They both became the “men who can” and saved the world.
So, what if we did the same? What if, I became the man who can in my circle of influence and you did the same within yours? What if our children saw us and followed our lead within their own generational influence?
Can you imagine a world of Wonder-filled human beings, inspired by the truth that we were all created to love and to be loved?
Truly…it gives me chills just to think about it.