I love the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres! Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, the Matrix, Lord of the Rings, and pretty much anything superhero related (especially Captain America). I can’t get enough of them. A while back while watching Charmed on Netflix (yeah, I know, just take my man card), I had to stop and ask myself, “Why do I like this? Why does anyone like any of this stuff?”
I think a lot of it comes back to submerging ourselves in what we wish was real.
We wish we could hop on a spaceship and fly to another planet. We wish we could magic something across the room to us. We wish horses could talk. We wish we could save the world. We wish we could heal the sick, raise the dead, and predict the future.
Actually, the last few are what I want to talk about here. I believe in healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead, and prophecy. I believe Jesus fed thousands with a few loaves and a couple of fish. I believe Jesus rose from the dead.
I know it sounds trite, but, to me, Jesus was a superhero. Sure, His powers and abilities were not the same as Superman, Spiderman or Aquaman – although He did walk on water. But His abilities (listed above) are the ones I seek – the ones best used to minister to (serve) those around me. The cool part is that the power that was in Him, according to the Bible, is in me!
I have not raised anyone from the dead or cast out a demon. I have never had the need to walk on water (although I have tried). I have, however, seen the sick healed by my touch, not every time, but it has happened (and will continue to happen – prayerfully, increasing exponentially).
Invoking the name of Jesus is not the same as casting a spell. Holy Spirit power living in me is not the same as getting bitten by a radioactive spider. Going into a peaceful place to pray and meditate is not the same as a Fortress of Solitude (well, kind of).
One of the major things that separate the supernatural and fantasy movies is violence. Jesus said we were to turn the other cheek. We are to love our enemies. Jesus’ Kingdom is a Kingdom of Peace. Don’t get me wrong, Jesus did tell His Disciples to carry a sword, but later that same evening He rebuked Peter for using it!
If we look at the movie Constantine or the series Charmed and how demons are dealt with in them versus what Jesus did, there’s no comparison for which is more entertaining. The difference is, simply, what has to be said or done, contrasted by Jesus just knowing who He was and the authority He carried to deal with the situation.
Kung fu movies, while not (entirely) science fiction, also contain a ton of spiritual lessons. Doctor Strange and Iron Fist (for example) kinda bridge the gap between sci-fi and kung fu, bringing eastern philosophy and disciplines to the superhero/sci-fi arena – so I’m totally hooked without even trying. These zen-powered warriors, honing abilities by focusing inwardly from a place of peace… Yes! I love it!
As I see these spirit warriors taking on the forces of evil, I notice they are only able to do so after reaching a place of enlightenment. This, as do many of the other teachings in these movies, has a direct correlation in Christianity – the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s the thing Jesus couldn’t talk enough about, but it was also one of the few things He seemed to be the most vague about at the same time (via parables).
As a disciple of Jesus, I have learned that as I come into the knowledge of who I am (through faith), what’s been done for me (especially why), and the power that dwells in me, I will eventually learn how to release it – always through love. One of the biggest and most important steps of this journey for me was realizing that when Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God,” He wasn’t telling us to try to figure out how to get to Heaven when you die. The Kingdom is in me, it’s not there as a death insurance policy, but as a well of eternal life, full of peace, joy, power, love, and righteousness… To be given away as freely as it was offered to me.
As I hope I’ve demonstrated, the blurred line between these unbelievable genres and the real supernatural realm is actually a series of parallels, usually tugging at the desires within us to do these things, to be these people… to save the day. You can. Of course, it won’t look as dramatic as Captain America pulling a helicopter back down to the helipad, but you are a Child of God and can do all that Jesus did – it’s there for the taking! But, as we’ve seen from every one of these books, movies or shows, it takes work: study, practice, faith, patience, and love of others. (You also have to be willing to look like an idiot if it doesn’t work.)