Spoilerish Reviews of Man of Steel 3

One of my favorite characters in Man of Steel is General Zod. Michael Shannon plays him with the right amount of creepy villainy that he’s believable. Goyer and Nolan give him the right kind of justification that he’s not evil, especially in light of the fall of Krypton. That’s because of how Krypton society procreates. But Zod’s motivations and schemes in MoS get me, as a Christian, thinking about things.

In MoS, both Zod and Jor-El know that Krypton is about to be destroyed the planet’s own people. Jor-El is pleading with the ruling council to let him take the Codex to space to start a new Kyrpton. This Codex is a genetic blueprint for every Kryptonian. Children aren’t born naturally but rather grown in Genesis chambers. They are given a genetic imprint that determines how they will function in society, soldier or scientist or politician. Zod was grown to be a soldier/warrior and that’s why he’s the top general over the Kryptonian military.

When Zod returns from his imprisonment in the phantom zone for his failed coup on Krypton, he decides to create a new Krypton as well. But his plan involves a world engine to terraform a planet. When he arrives on Earth to retrieve the Codex from Superman, Zod decides to terraform this planet into his new Krypton. The Kryptonian scout ship that functions as Superman’s Fortress of Solitude contains a genesis chamber. With the Codex Zod can reintroduce Kryptonian children and refashion society as he saw fit.

Jor-El sent Superman to Earth as a leader, as an embodiment of an ideal. He is to learn what it means to be the best of both worlds and to show humanity how to learn those same lessons. Rather than forcing Krypton upon Earth, Superman is to persuade and teach them, embody the ideals in his actions.

As a Christian I see this transfer of Kryptonian ideals to humans and I think about the propagation of the gospel of Jesus the Messiah. I’m reminded there’s a right way to do this and a wrong way. And when I listen to my circles of the Evangelical world I’m hearing too much of Zod and not enough of Superman.

By the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah I mean that by his death and resurrection and ascension, Jesus is the true lord of the world. The Jewish Messiah is God’s man to rule the world, fulfilling the failure of Adam and Eve to rule and embodying the people that Israel failed to be. This kingdom that Jesus established is a kingdom rooted and based in love. That’s the central ideal of Jesus’ kingdom.

And yet I don’t see the kingdom people making its presence felt through love. Rather, they are using a fear-based narrative to scare people into the kingdom. “They are destroying marriage!” “They are ruining society!” Conservative Christianity is very much reaction based when it comes to addressing issues, and then it so emphasizes the “holiness” of God that they miss out on the love of God. I think of the recent Southern Baptist Convention resolution that put the Convention against the Boy Scouts for their acceptance of homosexuality.

I think of a conversation I had on the twitters with a professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He had noted the names of the Top-10 Most Wanted list and then opened up to the idea of profiling against Muslims and Arabs. When I said that this violates our nation’s founding principle of religious freedom–once it’s legal to profile one religion all religions are fair game. He said that he–a White, Male, Christian–was already persecuted by the government so why not.

As I listen to conservative Christians they sound like Zod. They sound militaristic. They sound bitter. They sound like they are circling up the wagons and daring the “Indians” to raid them. But that’s not Superman. That’s not love. That’s not Christ. Christians are to sacrifice their own rights and privileges (I don’t know, like in Philippians 2:5-11) for others. They are to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them. Not force Christianity upon a nation that doesn’t want it.

I think the Church needs to wake up, at least those in whose circles I run, and see that we are seeking holiness (the Krypton that is embodied by Zod) at the expense of love (the Krypton embodied by Kal-El). Otherwise we can level Metropolis and finish off what is left of the very race we swore to protect.

~ by hankimler on June 17, 2013.

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