God on the Streets of Gotham
We may not have the abilities or resources to become a masked nighttime vigilante, but as the author points out in this Christian nonfiction work, the trials and experiences of Batman — most specifically in the Dark Knight movie series — often reflects things that we, as Christians can relate to. Author Paul Asay uses his knowledge of the comic book-turned-big screen character’s struggles to inspire Christians to keep fighting the good fight of faith, not against evil villains like Joker or Two-Face, but against our own personal temptations and obstacles to our faith.
My husband is really the movie buff in our family (and thus, I’ll be passing on this book to him now that I’ve read it), but I’ve seen the Batman movies enough to be able to relate to what the author was trying to get across. His comparison of the life of a Christian to the life of Batman (being “reborn” to be a new person, having a new purpose, etc) made a lot of sense to me, and when he goes about describing the Gotham villains as archetypes of our own struggles and temptations (Scarecrow = fear, Two-Face = despair, etc) that really stood out to me. It was neat to take a second look at the world of Gotham and realize that spiritually speaking, we’re fighting a lot of the same battles each day.
This was NOT — as I had initially thought — something that could be easily turned into a small group or teen Bible study. Perhaps someone at some point has put the information and analogies into that format, but the book itself wouldn’t really lend itself well to that, unless you were to break it up and assign a chapter to read as “homework” and then come back and discuss it, more like a “book club” format. Also, though the title says “What… Batman can teach us about GOD and ourselves,” it’s really more like what Batman can teach us about ourselves and our relationship with God. There aren’t a whole lot of “proof passages” — the spiritual part of the analogies assume a basic prior knowledge and acceptance of Christianity.
I enjoyed reading this book, and think it would be a great read for any Christian Batman fan. The author very cleverly relates Gotham to our own spiritual battleground, and does so in an engaging, relate-able way.
(Thank you to Tyndale Publishers for this review copy!)