I am aware of comic books in the same way that I am aware of Crepes Suzette. I know the main ingredients, I probably tried some back in the day, and I like them both enough to occasionally wonder why I don’t consume them more often, but unless one is staring me in the face a la “The Avengers,” it is not something that crosses my mind on a regular basis.
|Marvel Comics Northstar|
Fanboys have taken to the internet en masse recently to discuss D.C. Comics' co-publisher Dan Didio’s announcement at the recent Kapow Convention in the UK that one of D.C.’s well known superheroes would soon be coming out of the closet. This has led to much speculation, would it be Batman, and subsequently, Robin (too easy), would Superman soon be pursuing Louis Lane, or would the Green Lanterns moniker be expanded to include a full light spectrum of colors? On top of this, Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men #50 features the actual nuptials (in New York, of course) of the character Northstar (an X-Man I had never heard of) to his longtime beau and manager Kyle. Apparently it was quite the story in the comic book realm when Northstar came out years ago, but being a lesser known Marvel character, it had no real impact outside of the Cheeto and Mountain Dew stained realm of the fanboy, and, in short, nobody of consequence cared.
This all changed in 2002 when Toby Maguire donned the red and blue onesie and began webslinging his way into our hearts, wallets, and box office glory. Since Spiderman, almost every summer we have been treated to another superhuman blockbuster. Marvel’s The Avengers, which has been shattering box office records almost as fast as it has shattered any semblance of plot, logic, or physics, has spurred the superhero movie, and superheroes, into a new realm. In short, superheroes and their exploits have bridged the gap. They are no longer the property of overweight Dungeons and Dragons enthusiasts and the country of Japan, they are truly a part of our pop-culture, and they are here to stay in the forefront of our cineplexes for the foreseeable future.
|Marvel Comics "The Avenge|
Now that people are actually listening to what Joss Whedon has to say, there is some real significance to the world of comic books, and subsequently, their social and political agenda. The social acceptance and normalization of homosexuality has already begun, and once it permeates our entertainment, we can rest assured that, just like the summer superhero blockbuster, it to is here to stay. So how do we respond?
The culture war is over, gay marriage is a reality or a soon to be reality across all of Western culture, and that simply is the way it is going to be. As a Christian, especially one with gay relatives, this is a perplexing dilemma. Despite many so-called theologians and Biblical experts claiming the Bible makes no claim on the morality of homosexuality, it is fairly evident to anyone with a first grade reading level that the Bible condemns homosexuality as a sin, so I see no reason in belaboring that point. Some Christians would rather just ignore and dismiss the issue, others have a more “hands-on” approach.
I’ll be blunt. Neither of these approaches is intelligent. Neither is right. And neither is Biblical. Author Shane Claiborne points out that, according to recent surveys, anti-gay is the number one thing the general public associates with Christians. Not caring for widows or orphans, not loving our neighbors, not even just being those crazy people who eat bread and wine and dunk each other in pools and believe in angels. Anti-gay.
This is a sad indication of where the church has come, and one that is very hard to fix. On one hand, many Christians are not to blame, as it is no-longer culturally acceptable to call homosexuality a sin, or to speak the truth in love. We all have to deal with the stigma Fred Phelps has graciously chosen to create for all who claim the blood of Christ. On the other hand, we have long been guilty of condemning both sin and “gay sin,” and have made no secret as to which one is more worthy of the fires of hell. What are we to do?
Jesus called on he who is without sin to cast the first stone. We must be loving, caring, respectful of others. We can no longer have sin and “gay sin." Just as pornography is wrong regardless of the genders involved, so is extramarital sex and divorce. We must remove the plank from our own eyes if we are ever to have any semblance of an authoritative moral voice. But we cannot back down.
We must speak the truth in love, not because we condemn, but because we bleed for those trapped in a downward spiral of sin and want them to experience a relationship with our Savior. If the Church abandons Biblical truth, and waters down its doctrine in favor of being more politically correct, then we have truly lost.
With superheroes coming out, getting married, and generally promoting homosexuality as normal, this issue will be in the forefront of the cultural consciousness like never before. It has transcended politics, religion, and now, entertainment. As Christians, the burden is on us to speak the truth in love, to rise above petty bickering and hateful homophobia, to be like Christ as we strive to carry out the Great Commission. To quote Captain America in The Avengers “There’s only one God Ma’am . . .” We must remember that we serve the one and only God, and we are to be a light unto the world. Kind of like the Green Lantern, but hopefully without the tights.