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JESUS CHRIST SUPERMAN (6/18/2013)

Jesus superman bob larson

 

Look. Up in the sky. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s Jesus Christ? At least one Christian media company, Grace Hill, and numberless preachers would like you to think in those terms. The new “Superman  – Man of Steel” movie opened last weekend to huge box office receipts. By way of disclosure I haven’t seen it yet; but that has no bearing on this blog. At least part of the movie’s success was due to promotion by pastors who, with the aid of Grace Hill, reminded their flocks that, “Superman’s mythical origins are rooted in the timeless reality of a spiritual superhero who also lived a modest life until extraordinary times required a supernatural response.” Before you gag, it gets worse. The movie steel-man is compared to Jesus, “the greatest hero who ever lived and died and rose again.”

Has the state of preaching in America gotten so pathetic that we look to pop culture for theological inspiration? An editorial in USA-TODAY by a pseudo-evangelical writer took off from there to suggest we can even gain insights from the likes of Bruce Springsteen and director Martin Scorsese, known for his gratuitous violence on film (e.g. “Pulp Fiction”) and his blasphemous production “The Last Temptation of Christ.” How far do we stretch credulity to bend spiritual insights to fit commercial cultural endeavors and seek some morsel of meaning in the abundant filth of entertainment?

Jesus is no Superman, no matter how the similarities may be stretched. He didn’t leap over tall buildings with a single bound. Jesus walked on water and cast out demons. Faster than a speeding bullet? The resurrection was no super-human feat. It was Divine and unduplicated, The USA-TODAY writer implores Christians to “stop seeing the wider culture as the road to hell” while mocking the idea that Harry Potter encourages the occult. Instead of mining truths from God’s Word, should we just wait for the next big thing from Hollywood and find a way to fit it into Sunday’s sermon, seeking deep meaning in the next “Fast and Furious” installment? It is true that not everything in secular culture can be condemned and there may be an occasional bit of truth in pop culture. But any preacher who strains to find spiritual meaning in today’s movies and reality shows will have to look long and hard to discover anything fit for consumption in the garbage heap of commercial entertainment.