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Sunday, July 17, 2011


Saturday I saw Superman: The Movie (1978) and Superman II (1980) which star Christopher Reeve as Superman.  Superman is a hero that tells a lot about us.  Superman is who most would like to be—someone who takes seriously “truth, justice, and the American way.”  Someone who (like Obery Hendricks, Jr. describes Jesus in The Politics of Jesus) “treat[s] the people’s needs as holy;” someone who empathizes with people in trouble. He is also someone who “give[s] a voice to the voiceless; expose[s] the workings of oppression; calls[s] the demon by name; saves…anger for the mistreatment of others, [doesn’t] just explain the alternative, [but] show[s] it.” He wants to relieve pain and suffering—both that caused by man and that resulting from unfortunate predicament or natural disaster.  Most especially he hates evil exploiters and bullies.  I’m certain that his extraordinary ability to do good is the desire of many who often feel deeply their own ineffectiveness to help much.  The acclaim Superman receives is not hero worship so much as the simple feeling that “I wish I could be more like that.”  The one area that Superman strays off from Obery Hendricks' seven strategies of Jesus is strategy six: “take blows without returning them.”  In Superman II surely all rejoice when Superman in the concluding scenes of the film returns to the diner to settle scores with a town bully.  Superman doesn’t leave it to God to make amends, he does it personally.  He not only bleeds as a man, as Superman he sheds blood as well.  Because of this trait to get even, we do not worship Superman as divine.  Despite his super abilities, he is very much a secular hero.

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