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Archive for the ‘Theology and Film’ Category

***WARNING: This blog may contain spoilers to The Dark Knight***

Ok, so that’s my official warning.

One of my favorite moments in The Dark Knight comes in the last 5 minutes.  Batman and Lieutenant Gordon conclude that Gotham needs not only a hero but also a fall guy – a dark knight.  The city needs someone to take the blame for the people so that a hero can emerge and give them hope.  Batman says to Gordon, “I am whatever Gotham needs me to be.”  By saying this Batman volunteers to be be the scapegoat.

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The word scapegoat has an interesting origin.  There was a tradition in the Old Testament where a priest would take a perfectly innocent goat and during a ritualistic ceremony place his hands on the goat’s head.  Symbolicaly he passed the sins and failures of the people onto the goat.  The goat was then sent out into the desert, into isolation, never to be seen again.  

From that point on, anyone who assumed the blame for something of which they were not guilty was called the scapegoat.

So, you’ve heard this story before?  Innocent guy meets sinful people.  People need to be saved but can only be saved if someone takes the blame for what they’ve done.  Innocent guy willingly takes the blame for the people’s failures.  

Jesus was the scapegoat.  Jesus is our Dark Knight.

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Ok, so this is a preview to a Theology and Film small group I plan to start in the Spring after we launch The Net.

I never could’ve made comparisons between Batman and Jesus using the old Batman movie series.  But starting with Batman Begins new director, Christopher Nolan, has created a whole new Batman.

One thing Nolan did was create a more realistic Batman.  A Batman that struggles.  A hero that gets beat up.  Yes, Batman ultimately ‘wins’, but not without a price.  There are dark moments when we’re not even sure whether Batman is going to make it.  He hurts.  He  suffers.

batman1 And the weird thing is… we like this Batman better than previous ones.  We like our heros to be both hero and human.

The post-Christian generation is desperate for a hero that doesn’t just ‘rule the universe’ but is also a friend of the outcast.  He suffers with the hurting.  He feels pain.  And yes, he wins, but not without a struggle.

So, what does this mean for the Church?  We need to present Jesus in a more realistic light.  We need to show our world that, yes, Jesus did win, but not without a price.  He suffered.  He felt pain, and still does.  That for two whole days everyone close to him thought he was dead and gave up on him.  Perhaps they need to see Jesus through Isaiah’s eyes:

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows 

and acquainted with the deepest grief.  We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.

He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.

He was beaten so we could be whole.

He was whipped so we could be healed.

– Isaiah 53:3&5

To be continued…

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