We live in a culture that absolutely loves super heroes; and every summer there is a blockbuster. As a young child I grew up watching super hero movies. I loved heroes because whatever the need; they brought hope to meet that need. It didn’t hurt that they had super powers.
My interest in super heroes has diminished over the years but the passion lives on in my son, who had a Superman book bag and a Superman t-shirt. We had to tell him to wash his shirt because sometimes it had a “super smell”. My son continues even at 18 to be a devout follower of everything related to Superman. One thing that remains true is that super heroes always seem to be saving the world. If the world is in bad shape and seems to be coming to an end have no fear a super hero is near.
This summer Wonder Women is taking her turn at saving the world. One thing I love about Wonder Woman is that she posses the Lasso of Truth. I often think how cool it would be to use this with my teenagers. Teenagers are very creative with their version of facts: “Is that a dirty dish in the sink?” “No, it’s a dish waiting to be used again.”
Apparently politicians and pundits are not the only ones who posses this gift of presenting alternative facts. When you are a Pastor at a small struggling church people often present facts in alternative ways. Pastors who are struggling can fall prey to alternative facts. I take that back, any believer can fall prey to alternative facts. Alternative facts are not facts they are falsehoods. Alternative facts are like a criminal who says, “I did not steal the car, I was borrowing it from a stranger”.
I believe for a pastor to be successful in a small church he/she must fight falsehoods. Falsehoods take place when we say: we can’t make an impact, we are too small, we don’t have enough people, we don’t have any money.
One of the ways to fight falsehoods is to ask tough questions. Questions like: “Where are we as a church?”, “How can we make an impact?”, “What will it take to make that impact?”
Hope is never afraid of the truth. Hope allows us to work understanding that there are still opportunities to help people in need. Hope allows us to understand that no matter how small we are: we can still make a big impact. We as a church must believe that whatever the need hope can meet that need.
I believe that’s why we continue go to the movies, because deep down inside we are in need of hope, and our hero will save day. I believe that this is why Jesus is such a powerful figure in history. He offers salvation to those who know him and to those who don’t.
Frederick Buechner in his book The Faces of Jesus: A Life Story states: “Named or unnamed, known or unknown, there neither has been or ever will be real time without Him. If He is the Savior of the world as His followers believe, there neither has been nor ever will be a world without salvation”.
In this writer’s opinion there will never be a world without the church because there is always someone who is going to need hope. As a pastor of a small church my job is to continue to speak hope into a world of alternative facts. Our hope is still in a God who transforms our world.
Reverend Victor J. Gimenez