Marvel, Netflix, and the Church

maxresdefaultMarvel has another Netflix hit on its hands with the release of Luke Cage. It’s the fourth season of original programming between the two titans and so far, every show has been brilliant. 2 seasons of Daredevil, Jessica Jones and now Luke Cage.

They’re also in works to unite the three with Iron Fist (who has his own series coming soon) in a Netflix version of the Avengers when they release the Defenders in the upcoming year.

Not to mention that a Punisher series is also in the works. Be still my nerdy 15-year old heart.

I would be willing to argue that what Marvel and Netflix are doing together is better than what Marvel has been putting out in the theaters. That’s not to say that the the films aren’t good so I guess I’d better do some explaining.

The Marvel films are all largely “save the world” movies. A giant threat attacks the world and only the best superheroes can stop it. Again, it’s not a bad thing but narratively it can be difficult to squeeze plot, character attachment and development into a two hour movie.

The Netflix series all have a different approach. They’re smaller in scale. The heroes aren’t trying to save THE world but THEIR world. That’s what makes them all so endearing. Daredevil isn’t trying to protect the whole world, just Hell’s Kitchen by defending the innocent whether in the courtroom or on the streets. Luke Cage is trying to clear his name, run from his past, and protect Harlem. Jessica Jones battles her own demons that stem from relationship abuse.

Maybe that’s the reason why I love Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. It’s more Bruce Wayne’s story than Batman’s and he’s not trying to save the whole world, just his.

These personal stories resonate with viewers more than just watching Hulk smash – which also resonates but in less of a soul impact way and more of a “Hulk’s awesome!” way.

This got me thinking about the Church and the people who make it up.

For far too long people have looked at pastors as they would the Avengers – these untouchable world savers who accomplish amazing feats that can’t be repeated by the normal person. Church going Christians often look at themselves as the people being rescued on the street. The guy/gal who stands around yelling “go get ’em, Thor!” or “Thank you, Iron Man!”

In reality, I think Christians should view themselves more like the Netflix lineup of heroes. Heroes who can get out and impact their day-to-day world positively. They may not have the resources to influence everyone for Jesus but they can do it for their world. Everyday.

We live in a day and age where we assume that bigger is better. That translates into Christians thinking that only major things done by churches matter.

What a shame.

Jesus never speaks about accomplishments as saying “bigger is better!” instead, he shared stories where he talked about a woman who gave up what little she had in more beautiful and impactful than the person who gives generously out of their surplus.

Today marks the 8th anniversary of when our neighbor’s house burned to the ground. We didn’t do anything heroic. We just gave them blankets because they ran out of the house in their pajamas. We brought them socks because it was cold.  Does the world think we’re heroes for it? Does it even know? Nope. But our neighbors knew. To them, we might have seemed like superheroes at the time.

We simply believed that God was calling us to be Jesus to someone who needed him.

Imagine what the Church could do if we all stopped looking at the church and her pastors to be Jesus to the world and took that command that WE are supposed to be a light seriously and went out and acted like it.

We could all be heroes.



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