Idols And Heroes

Last night, my dad and I ended up laughing at a musician we heard on a Spotify playlist who was trying to be a poignant country singer, but really just came across as whiney and corny. His lyrics were really quite terrible. Then, of course, because I’m a musician, we ended up talking about songwriters who are actually good at what they do. A songwriter I admire very much is Eddie Vedder, lead singer of Pearl Jam. My dad agreed that Pearl Jam was a really good, original band, but, he said, Eddie can try to hard to “be his idols” when it comes to his own side projects. I know, for example, that he “idolizes” Neil Young. I don’t know that I totally agree with my dad because I love Eddie’s music, especially the weird stuff, but I also love Neil Young, so there’s that.

Our conversation then moved to an idea my dad had for our house in Maine. He said we should have a bookshelf with work from all of our “Idols.” He started listing off people he admired, and I noticed, he stopped using the word “Idol,” and switched to “Hero.” It’s an interesting distinction. Our God commanded that we are not supposed to have idols because there is only one God, and only He is worthy of worship. Another interesting question is: when does one cross the line from admiration to worship? I have a very long list of people I admire, but I don’t worship any of them. I don’t worship them because I know my God, and I know what worship is, and how to worship. I had to be taught, though.

I think worship invariably has to be taught, whether it is worship of God, or worship of some other human or thing. Catholics, for example, have specific religious practices that are forms of worship. Perhaps worship of a certain musician, for example, would involve getting a guitar and learning to play all of their songs, playing them at open mic nights, and listening to their songs all the time, and seeing them live whenever they’re in the area.

This is not to say one cannot do all these things and be an avid fan without worshiping them. A better example than Pearl Jam for me might be Tenth Avenue North. I know and love almost every one of their songs. I’m more of a singer than a guitarist, and I can harmonize on plenty of them. I recently went to see Mercy Me just because Tenth Avenue North was opening for them. I’ve seen them several times by now. Still, they’re just dudes, and I don’t worship them.

In the end, whether it comes to awesome humans or awesome things, I think everyone at one time or another needs a reality check. Everything and everyone in the world, whether it’s a black hole, or a baby has an ultimate Source, and if the effort is taken to find that Source, there’s not much that can be done but to worship Him. The uncreated God created this universe and everything in it out of love because He wanted it–wanted us–to exist.

Truthfully, I think that’s why I love mythology and I admire good fantasy writers so much. If there is any writer I aspire to be like, it’s J.R.R. Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and the universe it takes place in is genius. Right now I’m rereading the four books of the Inheritance Cycle, by Christopher Paolini. I admire this writer, too, not because his universe is genius, but because his style is eloquent, but easy to follow, and his story is enjoyable.

I loved my dad’s bookshelf idea because I do have heroes. I have a long list of heroes. Some of those heroes are Catholic, some are non-Catholic Christians, and many are not Christian at all. In fact, I have no idea what they believe, or believed, but they are or were admirable. There are still more whose names I don’t even know, but whom I consider heroes. With all this in mind, I submit to you all my list of heroes. These are in no particular order, and are not separated into categories. It’s also probably not exhaustive, but these are the people who come to mind as heroic.

-J.R.R. Tolkien
-Seamus Heaney
-William Wallace
-The Astronauts of the first Apollo mission
-J.K. Rowling
-C.S. Lewis
-Fyodor Dostoyevsky
-Christopher Paolini
-Eddie Vedder
-The members of U2
-The members of Tenth Avenue North
-Neil Young
-The Indigo Girls
-Any martyr of any faith
-Anyone who stands up to injustice in any way
-Saint Faustina
-Saint Dismas
-James Gallagher, the first person to fly nonstop around the world
-The crew of the HMS Challenger

NOTE: Jesus and His Mother are not on this list simply because they’re too obvious and I didn’t think I needed to put them on here.


I posted yesterday about my family’s Christmas party, and when I checked my email I saw that some people had come across my blog. Usually the people who read my blog are also bloggers, and I like to see what my readers write about. I’ve had all kinds of people read and like or comment on my blog and I just love to see the variety. It’s interesting because as a writer I’d like to cater to my readers, but that’s a difficult thing to do when you really don’t have a specific audience yet. Imterestingly I’ve got everyone from parents to artsy college students to pastors to philosophers to atheists. I’d love to find subject matter and a specific audience to work with. The problem is that I find the world and the people in it so interesting!

Considering the fact that the subject matter of my posts is all over the map, you may not even realize that I am primarily an aspiring writer. I thought I’d just talk about a couple other writing projects of mine in case anyone is interested. I have two book ideas that I will hopefully work on over Christmas break. The first idea is for a fantasy novel. I’ve started working on the first chapter already, but I need to work out some details such as names of specific places in the story. It’s basically about a civil war between the northern and southern regions of a fictitious country. The south uses magic, and the north uses advanced technology to fight. It’s told from the point of view of Kevin, a soldier who runs away from the northern army because he believes that they are cruel and immoral, Peter, an innocent prisoner of war who is resqued by Kevin and Kithryd, a girl who lives in the south near the border and raises dogs. She hides the boys and runs away with them when the north invades. I have a few chapters planned out in my head. I just haven’t had time to write stuff down.

My other book idea is one that my mom gave me. She’s actually going to be a coauthor. From her perspective It’s going to be about raising a kid with muscular dystrophy (me), and from my perspective It’s going to be about growing up with it. It should be a pretty fun project. We’ve always said life is an adventure and I think it will be pretty fun to write it all down. In some cases my mom’s perspective has been a lot different than mine, so that should be interesting to deal with.

Well, I think It’s time for massive quantities of coffee and homework. In that order. 🙂