Superheroes and Volf

I saw this book the other night called Microtrends at my local Chapters. Located on the back cover, the author made a statement about culture that peaked my interest. He hypothesized that the so-called “comic nerd” label is disappearing as these “nerds” are taking over culture and becoming the social butterflies of this generation.

I started to think about some areas in my own life, both in the past and in the present, to see if this was, in fact, a social trend that is present within society.

In the last week or so, Disney has purchased Marvel Comics to combat with Warner Bros. and DC Comics, but also to booster their presence within the pre-teen to young adult male that made Iron Man, Spider-Man and the X-Men movie franchises so huge. So, yes, these “nerds” that have been mocked so openly in the past are quite, in fact, very prominent players in this multi-million dollar deal.

Another example: Amy and I, like many our age, got hooked on the show called The OC. My question is this…

Do characters such as Seth Cohen (avid comic collector and knowledgeable in all things comic related) help or hinder the images of the people that they are supposed to represent?

Personally, I feel Seth and the mainstream acceptance of comic material has made comics the new “indie cool,” and by that I mean it’s cool to like comics and know about them, but I am still not going to run through the streets proclaiming my love for it because that would be uncool.

Let’s look at an annual event held in Toronto called Fan Expo (see previous post). I have seen this event grow immensely in the past five years to the point where culturally and demographically speaking, this event has as much diversity as Toronto itself.

The lesson for us as Christians here is integral in my view for growth for those inside and outside the Church. The lessons are simple and I will pose some of them as questions:

How can we be a part of culture and society and still have a leg outside of it?

How can we become more accepting to the point were we are not labelled Christian by the clothes we wear, music we listen to, or words that we speak?

What can we learn from events like Fan Expo?

I think the answer can be found within both the Fan Expo and Miroslav Volf’s book, Exclusion and Embrace. Volf interprets Christian identity as,

…at its core…(Christian identity) lies an all-encompasing change of loyalty, from a given culture with its gods to the God of all cultures.

To those that read and collect comics, this concept is simple. Their heroes are apart of the culture and society that they protect during the day. They don’t force change, they watch and observe those around them during the day, but at night their presence, their influence and their actions show you what they are really all about.

Can we as Christians accomplish or even attempt this?

The answer is yes. We do not have to retreat from the culture we are apart of, we just have to learn how to join them. We need to be examples of the cross…loving, sharing, and living a life like Christ with those who make up the society around us.

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