Some loved the reimagining of the Superman story in Man of Steel. Others were not impressed by the wall-to-wall action that culminates in an uncharacteristic act by Kal-El. Millions of fanboys and fangirls are definitely discussing it online.
I contributed to the heat surrounding the marketing of Man of Steel to the Christian community by penning sermon notes available at ManofSteelResources.com. Eric Marrapodi at CNN’s “BeliefBlog” noted how pastors have both embraced and rejected the invitation to engage the film within their congregational settings. My notes offered background on the Jewish origins of Superman’s creators and connected some dots between the film and the life of Christ.
Josh Larsen of ThinkChristian.net has rightly pointed out how superficial such “Christ-spotting” comparisons can be. I’ve devoted much of my academic life to encouraging the deeper reflection that Larsen advocates. I see my sermon notes as a conversation starter, not a summation. Jonathan Merritt outlines the recent history of how Hollywood rediscovered the many Christians hungry for more inspiring movies. I concur with his call for people of faith to be wise as serpents when it comes to our relationship to the studios. Skye Jethani from OutofUr.com called for a letter writing campaign to protest the concept altogether. I can appreciate the desire for churches unsullied by the coin of the realm. I respect the active indifference offered by the Amish to all cultural shifts. But when it comes to most Christians in America, we have already made so many accommodations to the culture, opting to assimilate rather than resist capitalism as promoted by the republic of entertainment.
I’m grateful to the invitation from Drew Dyck to respond to this mini-hailstorm here. I acknowledge that Superman sermon notes are definitely not for every pastor or church setting. But for those Christians trying to figure out how to respond to our cultural exile, Man of Steel creates a fascinating opportunity.