With the news out that The Chronicles of Narnia are, shockingly, about Jesus, many Christians see the need to move beyond Aslan to an even more popular cultural icon.
Superman is the new Jesus.
I understand the need or desire to use popular culture to reach people with the Gospel. I am all for that. Using The Da Vinci Code to inform people of the Truth was a great idea. Clearly, Paul used what people understood as a bridge to present Christ. Jesus, Himself, told parables that dealt with topics people could relate to in order to illustrate Kingdom values. I have no problem with that.
I just wonder if we continually latch on to each and every passing pop culture icon, we will eventually make Jesus seem like just another pop icon that passes in and out of cultural relevance and favor.
Joe Carter brings up some similar points at Evangelical Outpost about a comparison of Jack Bauer to Jesus. As much as I love 24, when I see Jack, I don’t see Jesus.
This archetype of a sacrificial savior is not isolated to Christianity or Jesus. C.S. Lewis often talked about one of the reasons he became a Christian was because it was like a real life mythology. The myths of old held truths about who God was, but they were just that, only myths. But Jesus came and became the full embodiment of those truths that were merely alluded to in older legends and stories.
Simply because a story has a character that resembles Christ in some manner, does not mean we should point to that figure as the Savior. Jesus had something to say about that.
I think Joe strikes the right note with this:
But the most honest reason is likely to be that we are simply ashamed of the Gospel. We’re embarrassed to talk about how we serve a master who turns the other cheek, let’s people spit on him, abuse him, and even kill him. We’d much prefer a tough-guy Savior like Jack Bauer [or Superman – Aaron] than the wimpy Jesus of the Gospels.
Or maybe we are not the ones who are ashamed since we think Christ is just peachy the way he is. But we know from experience that you can’t show that side of Christ to the lost because, well, Jesus just isn’t relevant.
Can anyone show me the passages in the Gospels that say we are to make Christ “relevant” to our culture?