Oceanside, CA

5570 Old Ranch Road
Oceanside, CA 92057

In Person

Sunday, 9:30am

Streaming

Sunday, 9:30am

San Luis Rey Valley UMC

Superhero Jesus

I’m a pretty solid superhero movie fan.  I had a great time with the rise of this as a movie genre.  The first Iron Man film, the Captain America movies, Black Panther; all great films and stories!   They seemed to balance modern film technology with relevant themes that allowed us to have conversations about stuff that matters, without having to talk about stuff that matters.  We didn’t have to talk about racism directly.  We could just talk about the relevance and power of a secretly advanced African culture.  Many times, it’s that framing that gives us the space to talk.

You can imagine, I’ve been pretty disappointed with my movie genre lately.  Not sure if the films are worse, the bar got too high, or if the zeitgeist just moved; but they haven’t been as good of late.  I can have that conversation with you if you want… or don’t want. 🙂  What’s interesting is to put Jesus into this framework of superhero, or just hero.  We can ask the question, does he fit?  But we can also ask the question, do we want him to fit?  Or does that feel too common for the Son of God?

Joseph Campbell is perhaps our best known mythologist.  He talks about the archetypal hero’s journey that is present in many different cultures.  It’s a journey that mirrors the story of Christ in many ways.  You have the components of being nudged or driven away from home, called the “departure”.  In a sense, the hero leaves order for disorder or even chaos.  Next in the journey comes the “encounter”.  It’s an engagement with something bigger and better than they.  This encounter leads to a transformation of sorts.  The third stage is the “return”.  This last part is interesting to reflect on with Jesus.  

What we know is that ultimately the story leads to transformation, for the hero and others.  Jesus’ transformation can be read in many different ways throughout his time on earth.  But read maybe most significantly with his resurrection.  As we do this projection onto Christ while taking this Lenten journey to transform ourselves; the question rises, how will that transformation be made real for us?  Might it be in a new understanding of Christ that deepens our intimacy with the divine?  Or might that new understanding be more about our sense of ourselves?  Therein lies the joy of Lent!