I have to start by admitting that I have seen the Dark Knight Rises three times. Understanding the importance of three from a biblical and theological standpoint then, it makes sense for me to share some thoughts I have theologically about the movie. SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you might not want to read this. If you haven’t seen it yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!? Lol!
Here are just a few thoughts in my head as I’ve been connecting the movie and the Gospel-
1.) RISING FROM THE PIT- As Bruce Wayne comes out of the prison pit, he throws a rope down so that others may be set free as well. Jesus through His death on the cross, goes into the pit on our behalf for the sins of all of humanity. Jesus goes into the grave and into hell for us. Through his death and resurrection we have the ability, through our faith in Him, to come out of the pit of our sinful lives. Jesus provides the way for our escape from a life of slow death to the abundant and eternal life.
2.) ALFRED THE BUTLER- Throughout the movie Alfred attempts to give words of wisdom and life to Bruce Wayne. To this degree, Alfred is a picture of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a counselor, teacher, and a comforter (John 14). Are we willing to listen to and be empowered by the voice of the Holy Spirit. The Dark Knight Rises ends with Bruce Wayne living into the words of Alfred.
3.) HOPE- Batman, Bane, and Robin all speak of hope in the movie. The movie causes us to wrestle with whether hope is a tool for good and rescue or a weapon of control and manipulation. Hope is indeed a tool for good and rescue when it is coupled with faith. Our faith in Christ is also about a hope of what is to come and what can be right now. Christ in us, is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). No matter how dark the day, our hope and faith in Christ is our new day.
4.) CAT WOMAN: “YOU GIVEN THESE PEOPLE EVERYTHING.” BATMAN: “NOT EVERYTHING- Batman, throughout the movie showed how far he would go for the people of Gotham. As Christians we must ask ourselves how far we willing to go so that the lost would be found and the hurting would be helped. Every day of our lives is an opportunity to reach beyond self-centeredness so that lives and communities might be transformed.
5.) BRUCE WAYNE: “BATMAN CAN BE ANYONE”- God is in the business of using ordinary, everyday people of faith in order to do extraordinary works in the world.
Just a few thoughts. What are yours?
I listened on Oprah radio (XM radio) to the last show. I have to admit that I wasn’t one who was glued to the television weekday afternoons over the last 25 years catching the over 4,000 episodes. I would watch every once and awhile, but I was very interested in this last show. I guess mostly for the historic moment of it all.
She stated that this show would be her love letter to those who have supported her all these years. From there she went into what I would call the Oprah Gospel; her good news to the world. I would sum this up into three areas-
1.) You have a calling. Find it and make a difference.
2.) You have the power to change a life.
3.) You are responsible for your own life. No one is responsible for you.
This is the foundation of the gospel according to Oprah. After that she spent time talking about energy, the golden rule to the 10th power, and other things that could be interpreted as new age. After listening to this, I wondered about Oprah’s connection to the black church, both good and bad. I wondered about her relationship to the church in general. To borrow number three in her gospel, she is ultimately responsible for her connection to God and the church. She is responsible for making the decision to follow God thru a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, or not. She is responsible for joining a church and participating in the local fellowship of believers, or not. But does the church itself carry some responsibility?
My take is, that to a degree, Oprah’s gospel is connected to her being bruised by the church and even abused by those who claimed to be carriers of the true gospel. During her 25 year run as a talk show host, Oprah has shared stories of abuse since her childhood by, “church-going, God fearing people.” This does not take her off the hook of responsibility, but it explains some things.
I began to wonder about all the people away from God and outside of the church because they’ve been hurt by the church and abused by Christians. I realize that the next line may get me in trouble. Are there times when the church and Christians have been abusers and maybe even oppressors? Is Oprah’s gospel connected to pain, abuse, or hurt by the church and Christians? It’s no excuse, but it might help to explain, in part, her gospel. It is interesting that her show ended with Aretha Franklin creating a church like atmosphere with her powerful gospel singing. No question Oprah seeks out a connection with God, but is it impacted by a disconnect from church based on some unfortunate childhood experiences? I pray that the love and grace of God found thru Jesus Christ continues to pursue the queen of the talk shows.
Last week there was an important meeting held between US President Barak Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. What the future holds for the Israeli and Palestinian conflict is unknown as well as what role the United States will play. Because of the prominence of Israel in the Scriptures, it makes sense for Christians to have much interest in this conflict as well as others in the Middle East. It is also important for our understanding to not be held captive and shaped simply by the political ideologies and divides of the United States. Many evangelicals are only able to see these issues thru the narrow lens of the political ideology of the Republican Party. I’m not suggesting at all that being held captive to the Democratic Party position would be any better.
If you want a different perspective on the Israeli and Palestinian conflict that will drive you to prayer and Scripture as well as provide some hope, I encourage you to see the documentary, Little Town of Bethlehem (WWW.LITTLETOWNOFBETHLEHEM.ORG). This film shows the powerful story of three men committed to non-violent strategies for solving this crisis which is impacting so many families. Speaking of families, that’s what makes this film so powerful to me. The story of the Israeli and Palestinian conflict is told from the vantage point of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim families who desire to see a peaceful solution to the conflict. Too many evangelical leaders are providing heated, uncivil, and biblically misinterpreted rhetoric on this subject. Little Town of Bethlehem will provide a much needed alternative for wrestling thru a very complex issue.
The main characters are Yonatan Shapira (Israeli Jew), Sami Awad (Palestinian Christian), and Ahmad Al’Azzeh (Palestinian Muslim). Based on media and politically driven depictions of the conflict you wouldn’t think that these three individuals would form this needed alliance for peace and reconciliation. The film begins by introducing these three leaders with a hip hop soundtrack in the background. They are taking great risks just to provide a peaceful solution to the crisis of their day. Their solutions should be heard by both Prime Minister Netanyahu and and President Obama.
When I was in college, I was moved greatly by the documentary, Eyes on the Prize. This film series told the story of the Civil Rights Movement and watching it changed my life on many levels. It played a role in my calling to Christ-centered, reconciling, multi-ethnic, and Kingdom-minded ministry. Little Town of Bethlehem has gripped me in the same way Eyes on the Prize did years ago. This film really is a must see for Christian leaders. I even highly recommend this film for small group ministry within local churches as well as forums focused on reconciliation and a global understanding of racial righteousness.