There’s something very spiritual about superheroes, as we began to explore in part 1 of this two-part post. I wrote these about five years ago now but never published them; it was just after The Dark Knight Rises was released and the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colorado occurred, tragedy which sadly reminds us of our need to be healed. In part two, my geekiness really comes out, but in such a way that I hope speaks to this longing that I think we’ve all felt in one way or another.
Recently I saw the official trailer for the new Avengers movie opening in May. Now, I’m a DC fan at heart, which means my heroes have always been Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the Justice League. (Yes, I was geeked at the release of the Justice League movie last year, if not somewhat disappointed.) Nevertheless, it was pretty awesome. If you missed it somehow, take a look-see below.
“When I was eight, the imposter, or false self, was born as a defense against pain. The imposter within whispered, ‘Brennan, don’t ever be your real self anymore because nobody likes you as you are. Invent a new self that everybody will admire and nobody will know.’ So I became a good boy—polite, well-mannered, unobtrusive, and deferential. I studied hard, scored excellent grades, won a scholarship in high school, and was stalked every waking moment by the terror of abandonment and the sense that nobody was there for me.”
– Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child
Let me tell you a story about a man named Joe.
(Joe isn’t a real person. I made him up so I could tell you this entirely fictional story about him. But in a way, Joe is real enough, as you’ll see in a moment.)
Joe seems like a normal guy. He’s well-liked by his coworkers. He loves his wife and children. He hosts backyard barbecues in the summer on weekends for friends and family. His faith is important to him and he’s a respected leader in his church.
By all appearances, he’s an outstanding guy.
But Joe has a secret.
ADDICTION AS A “SPIRITUAL MALADY” If you take a look at AA’s Big Book or go to a 12-step meeting of any kind, it won’t be long before you hear about spirituality, and for good reason. One of the first requirements of any 12-step program is for...Read More
Curiosity about the goings-on in my hometown of Holland, Michigan prompted me this morning to visit the website of the city’s newspaper, The Holland Sentinel. As a former paperboy for the Sentinel, I recalled slinging newspapers in the crisp cold of Holland’s winter streets bathed in the hushed light before dawn. As I scrolled through the headlines, I stumbled across Holland’s police log. My first perusal of its records for February 21-22, the most recent posting, showed little of interest. Animal complaint. General public assistance. Traffic. Motorist assist. A closer look was more troubling, however: destruction of property; larceny; miscellaneous crime; more larceny; fraud.
Just as spirituality is an expression of our desire to experience an authentic, meaningful relationship with God, sexuality is the expression of our innate desire to connect with others and to know and be known intimately and completely. Certainly, in our closest, most satisfying non-sexual relationships, in knowing the other we discover more fully who we are.
For instance, a woman supports a recently divorced friend by meeting her at a coffeeshop for lunch, and her friend tearfully tells her that she has always been a calm, steady presence in her life. A groom exchanges a silent look with his best man that communicates the depth of his appreciation and love after many long years of faithful friendship. In such relationships, we encounter ourselves while encountering the other in unexpected and sometimes challenging ways that solitary self-reflection does not afford. However, even in these relationships, we, to quote the apostle Paul, “know only in part” (1 Cor 13:12), and we long to know and be known fully.
Since their debut album Parachutes appeared twelve years ago, Coldplay has arguably become one of the most popular recording artists in the world. The band is well known for their lyrically rich ballads that drip with emotional content, as evidenced by the following excerpt from “A Message”: