Here’s a question you have probably never asked, is Batman a Christian? Just because his side-kick, Robin, was fond of saying seemingly spiritual phrases like, “Holy Hole in a Doughnut!” doesn’t mean Gotham’s vigilante was anywhere near holy. There’s a reason why he’s called the Dark Knight. His favorite pass-time is preying on villains not praying for them. But can Batman teach us a few things about being a Christian? Absolutely.
1. You don’t need Super Powers to be a hero
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13
Recently, one of my sons jumped off of my garage roof. When I asked him why he did this, he responded that he wanted to be like his hero. I assumed he meant me, his super cool dad. He quickly informed me that Batman is his hero. Puzzled, I said, “You do realize that Batman is fictional and a billionaire so he can afford the medical bills. Dad’s a pastor and a hundred-aire so you shouldn’t practice parkour until you can afford a shock resistant super-suit.”
One of the reasons why my son loves Batman is because the cape crusader doesn’t have any superpowers. He can’t fly like Superman. He can’t breathe under water like Aquaman. He can’t lasso the truth out of people like Wonder Woman. All he has is an endless supply of money and a heart to save the city. I think most of us would take an overflowing bank account as a super power, but that detracts from the point. Batman doesn’t allow his lack of supernatural ability to keep him from using what he does have. He uses his money to invest in tricked out toys, tools and training.
Historically and Biblically, God has locked arms with some of the most unlikely people:
All of them pointed out their own weaknesses. They explained to God why they were not qualified to save the day. But His answer was always the same: You don’t need super powers when you have God for the lead role in a dynamic duo. We need to stop giving all the excuses for why we can’t make our corner of the world a better place and focus on the one reason why we are most qualified. We have God on our side. Whatever resources we have, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, when placed in God’s hands can make an eternal difference, and it doesn’t require jumping off the garage with a Teflon Bat-suit.
2. God can use our tragic back story
One of my sons pointed out the fact that most superheroes don’t grow up with their biological parents.
Superman lost his family when his planet Krypton explodes.
Spiderman’s parents were killed by the creepy villain, “The Red Skull” (he sounds like an advertisement for what happens when you don’t use sunscreen).
And as a kid, Batman watches as both parents are gunned down in an alleyway.
I jokingly asked my son if having both of his parents active in his life was keeping him from becoming a superhero. He thought about it for a moment and then replied in earnest, “No, I’ll be the first one with a healthy home life.” How’s that for a story arc?
It’s not just in the world of comics where people use tragedy as a catalyst to make a difference in the world. One of my favorite hero statements from the life of Joseph is as follows:
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50: 20 (NIV)
Joseph knew that God is one of the best recyclers in the universe. He loves to use wounded healers to bring health and hope to others. Your tragic backstory doesn’t disqualify you from being a hero on God’s behalf, rather it gives you a story that God can use to inspire others. Listen to young Bruce Wayne’s prayer, just after his parents death, “And I swear by the spirits of my parents to avenge their deaths, by spending the rest of my life warring on all criminals! Please, dear God..help me keep my promise.” Now the goal here isn’t for us to put on some tights, a mask and hit the streets. The goal is to place our pain into God’s hands and let Him use it as He sees fit.
Stay tuned for Part 2...