Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 24, 2014
First Christian Church
I’ve always had an interest in superheroes. Which is kind of odd, because I tend not to buy comic books or as they are now called, graphic novels. I know friends that have boxes of comics from years past, but that’s not me. No, the way that I found out about superheroes was through TV, specifically, the SuperFriends- a light-hearted take on the Justice League which ran on ABC at various times in the 1970s starting in 1973. Then it was watching the live-action series “Wonder Woman” and the “Incredible Hulk.”
In the years following college, I would catch an animated version of the X-Men and during the seminary I was loved watching Batman Beyond, a futuristic take on on the Dark Knight. And yes, I still watch superheroes in the movies and on television. I watch shows like “Arrow” which is a take on the comic book hero, the Green Arrow; Young Justice which focuses on the sidekicks of famous heroes, and well, there are more, but I think that’s enough for you all to know for now.
I think that I am fascinated by superheroes because the stories can sometimes take on things that are taking place in the wider culture. I like the X-Men because the story makes these superheroes are not treated like superheroes by the wider culture. In fact, they are seen as threats hence why they are referred to as mutants. Since I was coming out during that time period, I could see X-men as an allegory to how LGBT persons are accepted in society- or not. Comics can also allude to the changing demographics of a society. Earlier this month, Marvel Comics announced that the next Captain America was going to be African American. The character is currently one of the current Captain America’s superhero associates, Falcon. Falcon was considered one of Marvel’s first black heroes when he was introduced in the late 1960s and assume the identity of superhero that embodies the American ideal represents the changes take place in the United States.
Superheroes tend to have aliases. Sometimes they want to keep their other identity a secret. Batman was actually billionaire Bruce Wayne. When Superman wasn’t saving the world, he was Clark Kent, a journalist. Very few people around them actually know of their secret identities. I think comic books and television use a ton of suspended disbelief in thinking that a mask around people eyes will prevent them from knowing who they are, but for some reason people buy it.
Because these heroes didn’t tell people who they were, people became curious. Who are these people? Is it someone they know? What was it that people said after meeting the Lone Ranger: who was that masked man? Regular folk just want to meet their hero and find out about them. There are some that see them as a threat to society and they want to expose them before they cause more trouble.
Superheroes can remind people of how we relate to God: a mysterious powerful creature that seems to want the best for us. Some just want to meet God and learn more about God, while others see God as a threat to their way of living. Continue reading “Sermon: Let Jesus Be Jesus”