Re-Defining Greatness – EpicPew

Re-Defining Greatness

When we think of “greatness” we tend to think of realms like the political or the arts.  Lincoln was a great President.  The Beatles were a great rock band.  Casablanca was a great film.

Greatness is not necessarily co-terminous or identical with goodness.  Alexander the Great was great, but not particularly good.  He had a colossal impact on the ancient world, but it was not always for good.  He hellenized the world from Greece to India and made it a sharer in a common language and culture that made the spread of the gospel (written and preached in a Greek everybody could understand) much easier three centuries later.  But he was also a rapacious conqueror who planted the seeds of ethnic hatreds still felt by Greeks and Turks today and bitterly resented by the Jews who wrote 1 and 2 Maccabees.

Now the funny thing about greatness is that it is possible in all sorts of realms and subcultures beyond the political and artistic.  There is, for instance, an entire movie called Wordplay about the greatest crossword puzzle champions on the planet.

Out on the Internet, the proliferation of subcultures proceeds apace.  One of my personal heroes is KenM, who is, very simply, the Greatest Troll on the Web.  If there were an Academy Award for the Web, this guy would win for comedy writing (and he is, in fact, a writer for Comedy Central who does this for fun in his spare time).  He has developed his own cult following from people like me who just want to see what he will say next.  Some samples:


That’s his thing.  Writing obstinately stupid/funny comments for readers who don’t get that he’s pulling everybody’s leg. And he does it better than anybody on earth.

The time he honored the warriors of Terra Cotta:


The guy is like the Johnny Appleseed of dumb-as-a-fox humor, going from one website to another, sowing hilarious chaos.  You read him just to see where his genius will take him in his sheer talent for wilfully missing the point.  And the Oliver Hardy levels of fist-through-the-hat fury from readers trying desperately to make him see reason just adds to the giggles.


There’s something heroic about his willingness to appear this impenetrably stupid to this many people:

The time we all celebrated a daring rescue attempt together:


It’s just hard not a love a guy who would write this:

Image result for KenM epic troll


or this:

Image result for KenM epic troll


In his own little domain, doing the weird little thing that he does, he is the greatest in the world.

And this gets replayed in little ways everywhere. In conference rooms and little enclaves all over the world, there are men and women who spend their lives as insurance adjusters and plumbers and dog walkers and burger flippers who, for maybe just one weekend, are suddenly transformed into Living Legends.  They walk into that room and heads swivel.  There is a gasp and a hush as they stride past.  Women feel faint.  Men hold their manhoods cheap as they look upon the noble face of the Greatest Stamp Collector on the Planet, the Woman Who Revolutionized the Model Train Collection, the Wunderkind of Microsoft Word Program Coding, the Acknowledged Master and God King of Horseshoes.

But greatness can go even smaller, more concentrated and intense than that.  In the domestic Church, for a while, we parents all hold that place of greatness for our children.  Briefly, as all fathers do, I stood in a place indistinguishable from God the Father Almighty for our four sons when they were little.  I was deemed to Know Everything.  I held terrible power in my hands to create and destroy.  My children literally could not tell the difference between me and God.  I wish I could say I always used that Greatness–the most terrible greatness ever entrusted into human hands–in the way that God expected me to: by becoming the least of all and serving my children as Christ served me in humility.  I didn’t.  I often failed badly.

But it taught me, at least, that the gospel is not being poetic, esoteric or ivory tower.  It’s just laying out cold hard fact.

“Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:1–4).