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.