All Your Heroes Are Not

by Andrew Stephens-Rennie

All your heroes are not.

None are who they appear to be, and none will ever live up to your idolatry.

On this morning of mourning, we can no longer see what we’d hoped would be. Instead, we must admit that all our heroes are not.

Watch the cursed man climbing his lonely olive tree. The last nail goes in, there’s nothing but scream. All that was certain, all that was solid has melted into air as triumph and victory are overwrought with despair.

Arms stretched out naked before us, the object of rejection, mockery and scorn. And in the midst of it all, my heart, in two, is torn. Dis-illusioned, I am forgotten, abandoned, forlorn.

What do you do when all your heroes are not?

Not the product that promises fulfilment; Not the relationship that makes you whole; Not the saviour of your universe; nor the champion of your war.

It’s bad enough when it turns out the author, the cyclist, the speaker on the stage; when rocker, talk-show host and preacher turn out depraved.

Worse yet, a cruciform messiah who refuses to be saved, leaving comfortable illusions dismantled and razed.

**with nods to peter rollins and jon brooks
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Andrew Stephens-Rennie
Andrew is a writer, dreamer and organizer with a keen interest in developing leaders in faith, compassion and justice.

He currently serves as the Director of Missional Renewal for the Anglican Diocese of Kootenay on the unceded territories of the Sinixt, Syilx, and Ktunaxa nations. He previously served as the Director of Ministry Innovation at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, BC.

Andrew is cofounder and contributing editor at, and co-editor of "A Sort of Homecoming: Essays Honoring the Academic and Community Work of Brian Walsh" with Marcia Boniferro and Amanda Jagt.

4 Responses to “All Your Heroes Are Not”

  1. Jen

    Thanks Andrew. I’ve recently been severely disappointed by someone I greatly respected, this helps me feel less alone.

  2. andrew

    It’s hard to admit. I think we all want our heroes to be perfect, to be more than we are. I know it’s not easy when those illusions are broken. Reflecting on it all in light of Good Friday, I wonder how the disciples felt when it all went south.

  3. John Santic (@Towardhope)

    Andrew, thanks for this heartfelt reflection on a day of mourning. The poetic style amplifies the truth therein.

    • andrew

      Thanks John. It was something struggling to come out, and I’m glad it finally took this form.


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