Is “Man of Steel” a Christian Film?

In recent weeks, several articles have suggested the new Superman reboot titled “Man of Steel” has Christian overtones (including some of the studio’s own marketing efforts). After seeing the film, I can see where it comes from, (although not exactly C. S. Lewis type allegory either). However, it does raise a great question, “Can there be eternal value in discussing movies, etc.?” I think there can be.

For example, last weekend our son was watching Star Wars-Episode 6 when a neighborhood friend of his came in and sat down. He’d seen the movie before, but this time when Anakin Skywalker (aka Darth Vader) is dying (while talking to his son Luke Skywalker), the friend asked, “Why does he want to take the helmet off and talk to Luke?” With that question, suddenly a golden teachable moment appeared. Knowing the story line, I explained that Anakin’s remorse for choosing “the dark side of the force” was a big deal and he needed to verbalize it to his son. Choices matter and it was a great moment to reinforce the concept (then they were quickly out the door to ride bikes of course!).

Since then, I’ve been thinking about the “Anakin conversation” and here are a few things I’m trying to remember as opportunities arise:

  • To speak the language – It’s always important to construct and temper phrases based on the audience. I’m learning that people often hear me different than I think they do because they’re receiving my words through their life-experience filter and readiness level.
  • To not be a Christian “Moron” – In Romans 1:22 Paul says people chose to become fools (or the Greek word “moros”, translated “moron” in English) by professing to be wise. The last thing the world needs is another philosopher trying to adjust the narrative of scripture to fit worldly concepts. I want to be committed to framing conversations within the truth of the Bible and what it reveals concerning the human heart.
  • To avoid “reaching” while tying secular to sacred – There’s novelty and usefulness in referencing pop-culture, but it should never be done in forced ways. Every time Jesus used cultural references, it was a natural fit into the conversation. I don’t want to be guilty of having a “polyester-suit mindset” while commenting on trendy things I have little knowledge of.

For the record, “Man of Steel” isn’t a Christian film, but it was entertaining and somewhere down the road there may be a teachable moment hidden too!

For an official review of the movie, click here.

Memo: When Spiritual Fatigue Sets In

Note to SelfDo you ever feel weary? Tired in your spirit? Hear these encouraging words from someone who knew spiritual fatigue… 

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” – Paul, writing to the believers in Galatia (Galatians 6:10) 

Can you sense the confidence that comes with the forward-looking promise to the ones who are faithful? 

Early this morning I gathered with some guys and we discussed this verse. It was so refreshing to consider the fruitful outcome of “hanging in there”. In previous verses (5:22-23), there’s a picture of the Holy Spirit producing fruit through us, (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control). That special fruit isn’t being held for a future picnic on the heavenly lawn, it’s for now. It’s for the mundane places of daily activity that seed-bearing fruit is intended to carry life.

So, if you feel like the only one trying to live faithfully in your office, shop, department, or family, remember: 

  • As fruit producers, Jesus said we’re the branches not the vine (John 15:5). Nutrition and refreshment come from Him alone, not from within us. We need regular replenishment through time with God and His word.
  • Getting together regularly with a few other believers helps us grow, while also being a source of encouragement. If you don’t have support in your life now, pray for God’s provision of some godly, growing friends.
  • “Don’t lose heart” – Since Jesus is “Lord of the Harvest” (Matt. 9:38), it’s His master gardening plan. Our part isn’t to make the seeds grow; it’s to faithfully cultivate and pray.
  • Lastly, “due season” may prove to come slower than hoped (with the results not readily seen), but it’s still a valid promise of fruit…in time.

That Feeling of Being Stuck in Your Walk

Recently, I came across a devotional (that also happens to be today’s reading) from Oswald Chamber’s “My Utmost for His Highest” and if you ever feel “stuck” in your walk with Christ, consider the following paragraph:

“A saint is not to take the initiative toward self-realization, but toward knowing Jesus Christ. A spiritually vigorous saint never believes that his circumstances simply happen at random, nor does he ever think of his life as being divided into the secular and the sacred. He sees every situation in which he finds himself as the means of obtaining a greater knowledge of Jesus Christ, and he has an attitude of unrestrained abandon and total surrender about him. The Holy Spirit is determined that we will have the realization of Jesus Christ in every area of our lives, and He will bring us back to the same point over and over again until we do. Self-realization only leads to the glorification of good works, whereas a saint of God glorifies Jesus Christ through his good works.” Oswald Chambers 7/11

I remember the first time I read those words and the impact they had on me. There was so much I needed to abandon in exchange for knowing Christ in the routine moments of daily life and it was such a breakthrough. Perhaps that’s you today. If you feel stuck, there’s great value in prayerfully pausing to reflect on “every-day-things”. A life spent “praying without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17) isn’t stumbling around with eyes closed, but a day-long conversation with God. It’s mentally listening, pondering, talking, and discussing. In that mindset; a trip to the grocery store feels different, a conversation with a waitress has meaning, work becomes a higher calling, and kingdom moments start appearing on the path…forward.

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