“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, “We will not walk in it.” (Jeremiah 6:16, NIV)
I believe that most of us want to be the hero of our own story. We want to be admired, appreciated, and remembered after we are gone. And the American heroic identity has been shaped by an image of rugged individualism and moral character, from Natty Bumppo to the Lone Ranger to the Batman. Each of those figures reflects a “normal” American man who, as a result of (oft tragic) circumstance, adopts the mantle of heroism. More mundanely, we desire the ability to live comfortably, work meaningfully, and provide for those we love.
And when we feel like we can not be the hero of our story, we look desperately to be the hero of someone else’s. That drive has inspired countless political movements, social activist groups, and the occasional lynch mob.
I think this might be the part where I say something like, “I don’t pretend to know the solution of all of society’s ills,” but if I am being honest, my faith makes that claim. The discipleship of Christ appeals to our desire to embrace an identity that transcends tribalism and embraces what is good. We are called to be children of God—that is an identity through which we can find meaning, purpose, contentment, and that sense of self worth that we hunger for in the guise of masked crusaders.
In DC comics the superheroes would often gather in a place called “The Hall of Justice.” I propose that we envision all our churches as Halls of Justice we people gather not to be crypto-fascists or manic extremists but people of good character, hope, compassion, and faith.
Ironically enough, you could even wear a mask when you do.
Yours in Christ,