Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What I'm Learning from Jack Bauer

For six years I never watched an episode of “24”, the FOX series that features counter terrorist unit (CTU) agent Jack Bauer. I try to limit how much television I watch so in the past few years it’s been CSI (Las Vegas of course), LOST, a little news and a few ball games. Even though I was hearing the buzz I was not going to add another show to my watch list.

With the boring summer offering of zero fresh television programming I began watching season one of “24” on DVD. Okay I’m hooked. After a few weeks I’m in the middle of season two. Please don’t tell me anything about upcoming plots or that it gets even more ridiculous, etc. I want to stay on this ride for a while longer.

Meanwhile, I’m learning from Jack who consistently embodies perseverance, loyalty, creativity and even love for family, or at least broken attempts to love family. Jack is consistently placed in situations where he knows things others don’t know and he has to bear burdens that others don’t understand. I get that.

However, my little fantasy bubble around Jack Bauer took a hit yesterday when real life Kiefer Sutherland, the actor that plays Bauer, was arrested for the second time in three years for DUI. A selfish wave of sadness came over me because I wanted to keep Jack on some kind of pedestal for study and admiration. I think I’m going to be able to continue to enjoy the ride with “24” but it got me to reflecting.

Whose world would be rocked (a lot or a little) if I took a hit on my character? Whose world would be rocked if you took a hit on your character? I’m not advocating that we place people on pedestals. That’s not fair to others and it is a setup for disappointment for us.

But each of us has some measure of influence with others. We have some capacity to inspire others. Our presence has become a kind of motivating fuel to some degree. And, for those of us that follow Christ, our character and influence are ways with which we not only bless others but honor God. We have a stewardship and responsibility to live well.

BTW, at this writing it looks like Sutherland will have a suspended license for a year, probation for 5 years and may serve about a week in jail. I don’t know where he stands with God but I pray that these “troubles” will serve to draw him closer to Christ.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is not quite related to your central topic, but I'm curious:

As a Christian, what are your thoughts about 24's role in legitimizing and justifying torture given the US's recent shift toward what most reasonable people would consider to be inhumane interrogation tactics?