Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

A new hero is needed in this new world…

Written by: on November 11, 2021

In his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell presents stories and imageries of different myths from all over the world. Joseph Campbell’s lifelong passion for comparative mythology is extensively demonstrated in this book. The book is divided into three parts, prologue – the monomyth, part I – the adventure of the hero, part II – the cosmogonic cycle, to validate and discuss his theme of a Hero’s journey that exists “throughout the inhabited world, in all times and under every circumstance, myths of man have flourished; and they have been the living inspiration of whatever else may have appeared out of the activities of the human body and mind.”[1] Campbell extensively breaks down and covers many mythological narratives further to explore the hero’s path from a monomyth structure.


Personally, it was a fascinating experience to read and learn about so many different myths and stories that I had never seen and heard before. (The visual images were very helpful in understanding the psychology of other cultures) Campbell wonderfully and extensively covers through so many stories and myths from all over the world that existed over centuries after centuries that have shaped and influenced the minds and values of different cultures in every era. At the end of his book, the author further discusses the transformation of the hero’s journey by giving examples of stories and myths that presents the hero as a warrior, a lover, an emperor or a tyrant, a world redeemer, a saint, and departure of the hero. And Campbell mentions the concerns of his lifelong research findings in his epilogue. He wrote, “all of which is far indeed from the contemporary view; for the democratic ideal of the self-determining individual, the invention of the power-driven machine, and the development of the scientific method of research have so transformed human life that the long-inherited, timeless universe of symbols has collapsed.”[2] He also shared his concern that our current global social units are “not a carrier of religious content, but an economic-political organization…today no meaning is in the group – none in the world: all is in the individual”[3] Campbell is exceptionally accurate in describing the collapse of the timeless universe of symbols and meaning is found all in the individual now.


The final chapters and the epilogue of this book reminded me of one keyword on my mind these days. The word is meta-verse. As we move into the transitional period of the world of meta-modernism after post-modernism, I see and hear about meta-verse opening up these days. It’s not just the ads that Facebook is pushing for under the keyword meta-verse. I observe a massive wave of transition of people’s preferences, hang-out time, and inspirations moving more and more into the digital world of meta-verse. One key thing we need to be aware of for our emerging NextGen is that they are growing up naturally switching back and forth in between two worlds – a physical and inhabited world from the past and a virtual and digitized world of the present. This is all challenging and confusing for all of us because not only is the meta-verse expanding at an exponential speed. It is also bringing a new tsunami of innovative disruption into our societies. We hear about it as cryptocurrencies, RPG, oculus, NFTs (non-fungible tokens), Roblox, and whatever creative name they will use in the future. The new modern-day hero will appear with a not thousand, but with a billion faces in our self-idolizing world. I have to ask myself this question: What is the hero’s story or narrative being told on these platforms of meta-verse?




[1] Joseph Campbell. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Third edition. (Novato, Calif: New World Library, 2008), 1.

[2] Campbell. The Hero with a Thousand Faces, 333.

[3] Campbell. The Hero with a Thousand Faces, 334.

About the Author


Jonathan Lee

President of Streamside Ministry Lead Pastor of EM @ San Jose Korean Presbyterian Church in Sunnyvale, CA

12 responses to “A new hero is needed in this new world…”

  1. mm Andy Hale says:


    I think what is so fascinating about your post on this book is the fact that Campbell wrote this over seven decades ago, and yet it still rings true.

    As sophisticated as we believe we have become, we are not all that different in the tropes of our ancient ancestors. This is a positive note that humanity’s ailments are not too complex for change and inspiration.

  2. mm Troy Rappold says:

    Jonathan: Your essay took an interesting turn at the end; I hadn’t thought about the implications you bring up with meta-verse. We live in a new, emerging world and who will emerge as the new hero? As all the technologies that you discuss grow and become mainstream, there will still be a need for courage, leadership, faith, integrity. Will this new world that is on the cusp of being birthed contain such characteristics?

    • mm Jonathan Lee says:

      Troy, I pondered on that question as well. It seems like people love superhero’s action movies, but I doubt anyone is holding onto the traditional values in those hero’s stories. I think less and less is emphasized onto the NextGen when it comes to values and noble characterisitics. There is a huge rise in students learning STEM related subjects, but less and less is emphasized in subjects of humanities.

  3. mm Roy Gruber says:

    Jonathan, you use the word “self-idolizing,” and it made me wonder, “can you be your own hero?” I hope not because we were made to live for something beyond ourselves. What implications of the meta-verse do you think will affect the church the most going forward? (Random question: Will there be a day soon when people give crypto-currency in the offering?)

  4. mm Jonathan Lee says:

    Roy, the second word I wanted to write about was actually on self-idolizing using the word selfie, but I ran out of time and word limit. I think subconsciously, we are being pushed more and more to buy into the idea of self-idolizing through the photos and videos of selfies. I think going forward, people will prefer less physical gatherings of worship and yes, crytocurrency will be used in offering if it becomes popular form of monetary exchange like venmo. I know lots of offerings are happening through venmo and zelle these days.

  5. Deep thoughts with Johnathan! Good writing. What possibilities do you see for the mythic renewal of Christian theology?

  6. mm Henry Gwani says:

    Jonathan, what an in-depth connection between heroism in a physical world to one that is digital in ways most of us do not understand. Your passion for NextGen is profound, and I cannot help but cheer you on in the hopes that your work will help foster many godly heroes who make an impact for the kingdom using the most innovative technology known to man

  7. Kayli Hillebrand says:

    Jonathan: As one that works daily with GenZ, I too see this constant emphasis of the individual and how consuming and influential the advancing technology can be. I’m not sure if you’re also seeing it, but we are noticing a general decline in biblical literacy by the time they enter college which only reinforces the need and desire to function within their own skills and power. I’ll be interested to see if this book influences your NPO moving forward.

  8. Elmarie Parker says:

    Jonathan, thank you for this very thought-provoking post. I really appreciate you engaging Campbell’s book with the present and emerging metaverse world. So much to think about with this. Our ethical development is so far behind our technological advances. As you say, STEM is the focus for many these days, and the humanities are being pushed aside. I’m curious what ‘meaning-giving’ stories you are hearing from Gen Z? How are they making sense of the world(s) they inhabit?

  9. mm Eric Basye says:

    Jonathan, great insight with this quote: “He issues a call for today’s heroes to step into the risk of the ‘dying to self’ hero’s journey in hopes that as the heroes return to their communities as wiser people, there may be ears to hear leading to a rebirth of society (his call to step into risk parallels what we have heard from.'” I certainly agree that we are needing the Church to rise to the occasion to do just that – die to the self as they live for another – Jesus – and so seek they lay down their lives that others may know Him too.

    I will be interested to see how this new digital world will impact our worldview and understanding. It is in uncertain times such as these that I find HOPE and CONFIDENCE in the Word of God that God will accomplish His purposes. We need not fret, but only be faithful (and obedient) in the ways He has called us as we seek first His kingdom that will in fact come. Thank the Lord!

  10. mm Nicole Richardson says:

    Jonathan, your statement, “The new modern-day hero will appear with a not thousand, but with a billion faces in our self-idolizing world” really struck me! I hear the truth in that statement. I think Friedman would urge us to consider what is under this. What might Friedman say? How would Friedman call us to lead in this context we have in front of us?
    Thank you for lifting up the dual world living of the here not yet world.

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