Superhero Church 4 – The Broken Story

batman parentsEvery superhero that I can think of has a broken past. Batman’s parents were killed in front of him. Superman’s whole planet, parents included, exploded and he was the only survivor. Spiderman lost parents and then his Uncle Ben. While there may be a rare superhero that comes from a perfect, Norman Rockwell past, tragedy is a part of the past for most of our superheroes.

In many of these cases, the tragic past is a part of how they gained powers in the first place. Or the tragedy is an impetus to the mission (Bruce Wayne refusing to use guns but fighting crime in the streets, overcoming his fears by becoming something to be feared – as an example). Perhaps the tragedy is one of their own failing.

Either way, a major theme in the superhero journey is overcoming a tragedy in his or her past. In order to be a superhero, they must deal with the tragedy to move forward to saving people and the world.

Superhero Christians are the same. We all have a broken past. Whether loss and grief or abuse or our own failings (sin), we have reason not to believe we can be a superhero.

Within these tragedies, we feel or felt powerless. And that powerlessness begins to define us.

Our Western culture is increasingly offended and victimized. We feel we have power or excuse when we are victims, when we are offended. We can fix blame upon others, give reasons why we can’t move forward, and then feel justified in wallowing.

I’m not, in any way, saying that grief is stupid or that tragedies aren’t supposed to hurt. Or that our failings weren’t valid weaknesses on our part. The tragedy is compounded, however, when we allow these offenses or crises or tragedies to keep us from using our spiritual superpowers and being the Christian superheroes we were designed to be.

We were not designed to be offended, to be victims. We were designed to have purpose, to save the world. When we embrace our purpose, often in spite of our broken past, we find the most fulfillment and motivation.

In other words, when we step out in our gifts to serve, to give, to save, to heal, we are who we were born again to be. And there is great fulfillment in that.

Superheroes don’t deny the tragedy or the weakness or the broken past. They acknowledge it and deal with it, and they don’t let it keep them from moving forward and trying to use their super powers again.

Because there are people that needs saving. There is a world that needs us.


Superhero Church Part 3 – The Government Can’t Fix It

marvel superheroesThe Justice League, the Avengers, none of them would exist if the government could fix it. If the Army, the police, whoever, if they could fix it, they wouldn’t need the Justice League.

But there are some super-powered problems that only superheroes can stop or fix. Those problems are beyond the ability of a government. That doesn’t mean the government doesn’t have a role or is evil, necessarily. It only means that when it comes to super-powered problems, problems beyond their resources and abilities, the government is inept.

The world needs the Justice League to come and save the day.

Doesn’t make the Justice League perfect, either. Just uniquely empowered to deal with the Legion of Doom.

God’s solution to change the world is the Church. Not one single Christian, but the whole Church. There is no plan B.

Again, while the government has a role, it is inept at addressing the root problems of humanity. Doesn’t make it evil, but when we try to have the government do the job of superheroes, then we can’t be surprised when it fails. Badly.

Nope. It is the Church. Doesn’t make us perfect. It makes us necessary. “You are the light of the world. You are the salt of the earth.” Without the Church, the world is in darkness and will waste away.

This isn’t to say that the Church, like the Justice League, can work with governments. Of course they can. When the government is about saving people and saving the world. It it comes down to making a choice between saving the world and working with a government, well, that’s an easy choice.

Sometimes government’s don’t like the reality that it takes superheroes to save the world. They can react badly, just as they can react with violence against the citizens of the Kingdom. But we save the world anyway.

Superheroes exist. They don’t wear capes or underwear on the outside. Christians are the superheroes of the world. We are the Justice League, coming together to save the world. We feed the hungry, give hope to the hopeless, heal the sick, give sight to the blind. We preach the Good News.

The only hope the world possesses.


Superhero Church Part 2

justice leagueAlternate Title: The Church According to the Justice League

In the first part, I expressed how if you are a disciple of Christ, you have been empowered with the very Spirit, Power, and Nature of God. You have been given a spiritual gift, unique to you, that is supernatural in power and meant to bring love, joy, peace, and relief to others.

You are a Superhero.

While we each have the Spirit, and therefore have access to all the gifts, the scripture makes it clear the unique gifts we have each been given are meant to work in tandem with one another. One person is a hand, another is a foot, an eye, so on and so forth.

In the comics or movies, there are some problems that are too big for one person to handle. To “save the world,” it takes a superhero team-up. Even Superman, as strong and fast and powerful as he is, realizes that he can’t do it alone. He needs Batman and Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman (someone has to ride the big seahorse and talk to the fish, okay?). And as the comics write these stories, the villain or the problem has to be big enough that it takes a team. And the team, working together, can be victorious.

We were not designed or given superpowers to be alone, working alone. Sometimes we might, but ultimately, to tackle “saving the world” (aka, preaching the Kingdom, making disciples, living the Kingdom, etc.), we need each other. I can’t do it alone. Neither can you. The design is that we, together, can do far more good than one alone.

“One puts to flight a thousand, two ten thousand.”

It’s exponential. And if the Villain can divide and conquer the Justice League, then he’s pretty happy about that. Batman can say he’s a part of the Justice League “in his heart” and sit in the Batcave and never leave or participate all he wants, but he’s not really a part of the Justice League in that scenario, no matter what people say or feel.

We call the spiritual superhero Justice League the Church. And to be clear, that means we have to work together with other superheroes, value their gifts as necessary as we deal with their issues and they deal with ours. Why would we do that?

Because we’re saving the world. There is no “plan B” for saving the world. We are the superheroes with that mission. It’s not about me. It’s about us. It’s about others. That’s the purpose.

And the Church is a “go and do” team, not a “stay and discuss” country club. If we’re not out there, in the world, to save it, to love it, to serve it, then we’re not really a church. We can use other names, but those aren’t important.

What team are you on to save the world? How are you using your superpower in a team to help save the world?