Superheroes and the Gospel of Violence

Superheroes have been showing up in sermons lately. As I pray about what God is calling me to teach each week, I keep circling around the internal conflicts of superheroes. But superheroes always present one major problem for followers of Jesus.

The Gospel of Violence is the proclamation that we can overcome evil if we are just stronger and more violent. This Gospel is written into a thousand movies, games, and stories that I love, and I bet you do too. I love the action, but I am becoming deeply concerned about the catechism.

As we sit before the altars of entertainment and in the lecture halls of cinemas, we are being formed deeply by what we worship and study even as we eat popcorn and feel our way to familiar states of ecstasy.

It is worth asking what god we are bowing to and what way of being we are studying.

Christopher Nolan wrote the last complete series of Batman movies, and they were brilliant. Ultimately they were about three forms that evil takes and three ways to respond. They are brilliant and dark and fun, but they are also carrying deep and significant messages about how to overcome the evils of this world.

As we turn to follow Jesus into Jerusalem, we face a real and profound choice about the God we will follow and how we will follow. Will we ride a bigger war machine into Jerusalem? Or will we throw our cloaks on the back of a donkey for a God who takes the cross as the ultimate symbol of power?