I was upset when I read this blog post by Laura Hudson, “Superman Renounces U.S. Citizenship in ‘Action Comics’ #900.” Seriously, it bugged me that Superman didn’t want to be my fellow citizen. And yes, I know Superman is a comic book character.
Why would he do that? What’s he thinking? Superman doesn’t want to be a United States citizen? The more I thought about it, the more threatened I felt. Weird, right?
Somehow, Superman doesn’t like us anymore. He isn’t going to take our side in fights and stand up for “Truth, justice, and the American Way.”
What “Way” would he stand up for now? What ‘Way’ could possibly be more right than the American Way? I was angry at the writers of the comic book for taking Superman away from me and the country I love.
To be sure, Superman wasn’t sent to the United States of America. In the movie, Superman Returns, Jor-El, Superman’s father says “Live as one of them, Kal-El, to discover where your strength and your power are needed. Always hold in your heart the pride of your special heritage. They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you… my only son.” He was sent to the world, not just the United States of America.
I started thinking about Jesus and all that I’ve attached to him. I realized that Jesus was just like Superman to me in the respect that Jesus is always on our side. But John 3:16 starts with “For God so loved the world…” I’ve changed it to “ For God so loved the USA…and our Allies.” I’ve made Jesus an American citizen. As the bumper sticker says, “God bless the USA.”
Look what Superman says in this panel from the comic book.
A friend of mine is a missionary. He was talking about how United States citizens are considered Christians even though they may not claim any faith at all. Christianity and America are linked in many of these countries, especially the Middle East.
I’m not saying deport Jesus. I’m talking about liberating Jesus in our minds to be the savior of the world and not just the savior of the American Way of life. What if treating Jesus as a symbol of the United States of America has caused us to forget that Jesus is King and Ruler of all the world? What if it has made it more difficult for people from other countries to see Jesus for themselves?
This has happened before. In Mark 14, Jesus, God in the flesh, stood right in the midst of people that were seeking him, praying to him, and waiting for him, and they did not recognize him. He didn’t match their expectations and they could not see him.
Besides, our baptism as followers of Christ gives us citizenship in a different kingdom altogether. We are called to be citizens of God’s Kingdom. We are called to pray for his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. We are called to pray for a kingdom that is for “every nation, tribe, people and language” Revelation 7.9.
What nationality is Jesus in your faith practice? What beliefs do you hold about Jesus that would blind you to his presence if he were to stand right in front of you today?
Check out Scott Daniel’s sermon, “I Do Not Know this Man,” to further explain this idea.