The Author

Man of Steel

For a Father’s Day present this summer, my kids took me to see the movie, Man of Steel. I had mentioned that it looked interesting and that my favorite comic book hero had always been Superman, so they took the hint and away we went.

I had read that Warner Brothers Studios had been promoting the film in Christian circles, even hiring a company to provide private screenings for groups of pastors so that they would encourage their congregations to attend the movie. After watching it, I could see why they would take this approach: the story of a father who sends his son to save a world; a son who is quietly and humbly obedient to his earthly parents; a powerful man who submits himself to the arrogance of those who don’t know his true identity. The parallels were obvious; but so also were the differences. This savior beats up people, indulges in dramatic deeds that capture everyone’s attention, and finally kills his enemies. It made for a satisfying ending to a movie because the bad guys get what’s coming to ‘em, but the gospel it is not. But another movie might be.

As much as I liked comic books growing up, I loved baseball even more. So, when we had the opportunity to rent 42 – the story of Jackie Robinson, the man who broke the color barrier in major league baseball – we took it. Named after his uniform number, the film only covers Robinson’s first year in baseball. If you are offended by the profanity of grown men who should know better, or by blatant racism that is embarrassing to watch and listen to, or the cruelty of people who are mean just because they can be, then 42 is probably not a movie for you.

But, if you are encouraged by those who literally turn the other cheek, who bear up graciously and gracefully under the force of hatred, who break down privately, then get up and go back to work, then you might be interested in this movie. If you are inspired by people who have the courage to confess their sins, stand up for someone who is knocked down, and quote a little scripture to boot, then you won’t find your time wasted.

I enjoyed Man of Steel; I really did. It made me laugh and stand in awe of the special effects. But I knew that it wasn’t the truth. I was humbled by 42. It brought tears to my eyes and made me ashamed of my own sinfulness. At the same time, it offered the possibility that people, as bad as we can be, can also be redeemed. It was the truth. Isn’t that the gospel?