SHIELDing a Broken World

“The world is full of lies, evil, pain, and death; you can’t hide from it, you can only face it.  The question is, when you face it, how do you respond; who do you become? – Phil Coulson, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

A recent episode of Marvel’s Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. did something that I think is very brave for a television show to do.  The main character on this show, the everyman that viewers all secretly wish they could be, the one who has worked with the heroes adored the world over, admitted the world is broken.  The guy who went toe to toe with the Asgardian Mussolini and forever bears the scars admitted that evil exists in the world.  He asserts such because he’s seen it, not only up close and personal, but he has seen it affect those around him, the team he cares for, the team he’s responsible for.

The pilot episode found Agent Grant Ward admitting that S.H.I.E.L.D. is the line between the world as we know it and the world we’d  rather never know (a weird and dangerous world full of darkness).  It’s their job to face it; even for those members of the team – Skye, Fitz, and Simmons – that aren’t as prepared, but they do.  More than any other “unprepared” character so far, Skye has dealt with this the most in trying to uncover her parenteral origin and the results of the search have been devastating so far, and it’s because of her that Coulson admits that the characters exist in a broken world (all the more interesting since Marvel has always tried to be realistic location-wise in world building).

If Agents of SHIELD is willing to admit that their world, a super-powered mirror of our own, is broken and full of evil that stems from pride and selfishness – not superpowers that enable – what about ours?  Where are the lines drawn that shouldn’t be crossed?  The points where someone might say “the line must be drawn here, this far, no further?”  In a world without S.H.I.E.L.D. or the Avengers, void of Phil Coulson or Steve Rogers, what role do we play?  What do you see that others are blind to (or just don’t care to see)?

I’ve faced my share of what Coulson talked about – especially the pain and death – some of it in recent months.  What has it done to me?  I’d like to think it has made me stronger, yes, but also more aware of the world others live in and enabled me to be present – and a greater presence – in the lives of friends as they walk their path in a broken world; through valleys of wilderness and to heights of understanding.  How have I responded?  Doing the best I can to walk with family and friends through the dark places in the world we all traverse from time to time and rejoicing with them on mountaintops.

For those who follow Jesus, it is often said “you may be the only Bible some people read” “or “the only Jesus that someone sees”.  I can’t help but think back to a room full of student leaders I spoke to last year about the story of The Dark Knight, about being the hero someone else needs, not the one they deserve.  Sometimes being that hero for another is just walking with them and being fully present in an age of smart phones and myriad other digital distractions.  Jesus did that for a group of twelve men, none of whom deserved it.  Nevertheless he walked with them for three years; knowing they’d all desert him in the end, still he walked.

Who are you walking with?

 

 

Posted on by Aaron in Uncategorized
Aaron

About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

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