October 26, 2015

The Walk

I recently watched The Walk. It's an entertaining film. Well done. I recommend it.

For those who don't know, the film is about a high-wire artist who dreams of walking across the (then recently completed) twin towers in New York. Making this dream a reality requires not only tremendous skill but careful planning and the help of several accomplices. It is also illegal, so the film is essentially a heist movie without the heist.

This got me to thinking: Is high-wire artist a permissible vocation for a Christian?

While It's hard not to admire the perseverance and skill required to pull off the high-wire act, it's also, arguably, an act of selfishness and irresponsibility. One might even argue that it is a waste of God-given talent. How much better might the world be if these talented performers put their effort and skill to use in more useful endeavors?

The upside is a bit more intangible, but it exists, nonetheless. Performers like high-wire artists inspire the rest of us. They don't just entertain us. They motivate us.

How does one perform the ethical calculus on such a trade-off? I don't know.

Do the artists, dreamers, and daredevils who inspire us actually deserve our contempt? Should we pity them rather than admire them? Does the high-wire act bring glory to God or merely the performer?

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