Lorri Dudley

Be moved. Be changed. Love because you are loved.

Tag: heroes

lego man at desk

Alpha and Beta Males Need Not Apply

lego man sitting at desk

There’s a new trend toward having beta males in the hero role of romance novels. If you’re unfamiliar with the term beta male, the Oxford Dictionary describes it as, “A subordinate male, or a man tending to assume a passive or subservient role in social or professional situations.” The opposite of the beta male is the alpha male, a man who assumes the dominant role in similar scenarios. The logic presumes that readers are looking for a sensitive and understanding hero who values the heroine’s views and that alpha males are overbearing, insensitive, and treat the heroine as a trophy.

Personally, I don’t want to write about either a beta or an alpha male. The heroes I want to convey in my books are what I call honor males. This may be a made-up term (I tried a Google search but came up null), but let me explain my honor male by first defining honor. Dictionary.com states honor as a noun is “honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions,” and as a verb “to hold in honor or high respect; revere.” There is nothing in this definition about dominance or submission. It’s the focus on doing the right thing.

Man sitting, back facing

What’s great about novels is that no hero (or heroine) is perfect. The story evolves as the hero overcomes his false perception(s) and learns to do the right thing. In essence, the story is about his journey to becoming an honor male. From the definition of honor, we see two types, what Brett McKay from The Art of Manliness calls horizontal and vertical honor. Horizontal honor is a mutual respect among individuals that is earned and maintained. These are the men who’ve developed trust among their peers by showing strength, courage, and mastery. They know, when trouble arises, they can count on each other. The hero must demonstrate the bravery and tenacity to defend their virtue of honor when needed. Whether that consists of raising a sword and standing back-to-back or hopping on a keyboard and hacking into an evil fascist’s cyber system, depends on your genre of preference.

Firefighter in battle

On the other hand, vertical honor is derived from the verb form: to revere or hold in high respect. It’s not about mutual respect but about showing praise, esteem, and adoration to a position of power because they’ve distinguished themselves usually from the horizontal honor group. These heroes are the captains, bosses, officers, and political leaders.

My all-time favorite honor hero is Jesus. Even though He already held the vertical honor of being the Son of God, He came into the world to rub shoulders with us in the trenches. Because He loves us, He not only took on our limited human form with its vulnerability to illness, pain, and weakness, but he placed all of our sins upon himself. He suffered and died so that our wrongdoings would be washed away by His blood, so death no longer would hold its sting, and we won’t ever have to be separated from our awesome God. Jesus, who holds the honor of sitting at God’s right hand, in essence, transferred value to us, not because of what we’ve done, but because of what He gave (His life) for us.

Now that’s a hero worth writing about.

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Crown of Bavaria

Kings Aren’t for Everyone

Crown of Bavaria

My family rented Aquaman over the weekend. One line in the movie stuck with me and instilled a new perspective on kings. Here’s the dialogue:

Mera: Atlantis has always had a king, now it needs something more.
Aquaman: What could be greater than a king?
Atlanna: A hero. A king fights only for its nation, but you fight for everyone.

Okay, so maybe a king isn’t for everyone?

Atlanna was right. Throughout history, kings have fought mostly to defend or expand their nations. European Kings rose to power due to their ability to conquer and maintain their holdings. After William the Conquer seized power in 1066 A.D., he established a feudal system in England where land was granted to Barons, who in return, offered their fidelity and service to protect the king and his country. After that, it became rare for a king to ride into battle himself. Kings sent their best warriors to fight on their behalf.

Should we hold out for a hero, instead? 

Boy dressed as superhero

We are fascinated with superheroes. Marvel Studios, the maker of the Avengers films and others, has proven our obsession regarding people with superpowers by grossing nearly 11 billion dollars in sales. Little boys dress up in capes and pretend to save the day. They dream about catching the bad guys and fighting for truth, justice, and the American way. 

What if saving the day isn’t enough?

In college, I took a world religions class. I was fascinated by all the similarities and differences between the religions. As the professor taught from a non-biased perspective, part of me wanted to stand up and yell, Don’t you see? In all these other religions, humans desperately work to sacrifice to their god or gods. They seek to earn favor, but Christianity is different. Jesus not only freely offers his love to anyone who’ll believe, but He sacrificed Himself for us, not the other way around.

A hero may save the day, but a Savior saves us for all eternity.

God didn’t send his best warriors out to fight the battle. He came himself. He assumed our fallible human form and laid down his life as a sacrifice. Out of His unfathomable love for us, he allowed himself to be beaten, mocked, and crucified during a time when the most brutal means of torture possible was used to extend the torment. He did this for us knowing our past sins, the filth of our present sins, and willful acts of sin we’d commit in the future. He bore them all and chose to die because He loves us.

Jesus stepped down from his throne, took off his superhero cape, and allowed nails to be driven into his hands.

All hail our Savior! 

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