My entire existence can be characterized by three things: I am Christian, a musician, and I love superheroes.
Why superheroes (besides their obvious awesomeness)? Because the superhero genre is all about fighting the forces of darkness in the world. They are in the business of saving lives, and we do the same things as Christians – if on a less cartoonish scale.
For people like me, it’s an exciting time to be alive: We are living in a second golden age of superheroes.
It’s not just solo stories that have been making it big all over Hollywood. In fact, we’re seeing myriad teams of superheroes lighting up the big and small screens all over the world. Of course, we’ve got the A-list blockbusters: Marvel’s Avengers and the X-Men, DC’s Suicide Squad and Justice League, and even the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
There are also a ton of teams getting featured on television. We’ve got the bold, albeit vacillating quality, of the CW’s take on the Justice League, which encompasses the Green Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and the ragtag and oddly hilarious Legends of Tomorrow. On Netflix, there’s Marvel’s Defenders, featuring Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist…and more are sure to come.
In fact, it’s because of these brilliant and many-varied secular groups I decided to create my own faith-based superhero team. (Shameless plug: Check out the Fearless Nine!)
When we as Christians are fighting a battle so similar to those we see taking place on our screens, it’s imperative we apply the lessons learned in our imaginations to our own lives. The following are just three concepts we can take away from our super friends.
- Diversity of Super-Gifts (I Corinthians 12:4-29). Each of us has been given one or more spiritual gifts by the Holy Ghost, specifically for use in the Good Fight. Some translations even describe these gifts as “miraculous powers” (Cue the music!). But no one has been given ALL of these gifts, or even necessarily the “best” ones! Therefore, we are called to work together “as one body” so our gifts can complement one another, and we can have a greater ministry in God’s kingdom. For example, if a giant squid was causing a ruckus in the harbor, you wouldn’t call The Flash to take care of it – at least, not if you had Aquaman on hand to politely ask it to leave.
- Iron (Fist) Sharpens Iron (Proverbs 27:17). Thankfully, we’re not all loner vigilantes trying to navigate the morality of heroism on our own. We have each other! God calls us to work together and disciple one another. We learn from those who came before us; we hold accountable those who travel the road with us; we raise up new recruits in the way they should go. By creating teams with our fellow Christians, we keep each other sharp and vigilant. And if we find ourselves straying from the straight and narrow, we can count on each other to keep us in check. Just like the iconic moment when Batman explains why he created backup plans for if each member of the Justice League went rogue, but didn’t write one for himself: The Justice League itself is Batman’s backup plan. (Although true Batman fans would say even the entire League wouldn’t be able to stop Batman if they tried… But that’s neither here nor there.)
- A Rope of Three Cords Is Not Easily Defeated (Ecclesiastes 4:12, Hebrews 10:24-25). God has not called us to be alone, but rather to come together and become one with Him. We are truly unstoppable when we work with others in the church and keep God at the center of our lives. God uses us to hold each other up, to encourage one another, and to do truly great works. When we work together to ease the burden, we enable ourselves to reach even greater heights. When the Good Fight becomes a little too much, we rely on our teammates to help us rest and recover – and to keep the ministry going. By doing all of this, we live out the second Great Commandment and fully love one another. And we can protect the world from the greatest of threats – just like the Justice League seems to do every other week.
Ours is a broken world that often falls victim to the many and ever-present forces of darkness. That much will always be true, until Christ returns or we are reunited with God in heaven.
But when the world needs us most, we will hold firm. We will stand together. We will defend the kingdom of God as stalwart heroes in the night – and we will do so together, with our brothers and sisters in Christ by our sides.