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Friday, February 14, 2014

Spiderman, Drugs, Truth and Love

Today I contemplated something that happened in the comic book industry many years ago in the 1970s.  The government approached Stan Lee about writing a Spiderman comic that educated youth about the dangers of drugs and joined in the battle against such evils.  At that time the Comics Code forbade any mention of drugs.  The Code refused to give its approval for the comic because it mentioned drugs, despite the message that taking them was wrong and dangerous. So what did Stan Lee and Marvel do?  They published Spiderman #96 without the approval of the Code simply by not putting the Code's Seal of Approval on the cover.  This was so effective in the fight against drugs, that it led to a change in the Comics Code.  I honestly believe that they got so focused on their strategies, that they forgot their overall mission, which was to oversee the Comics Industry so that the entertainment found in it was healthy and family friendly.  Isn't a warning about drugs important for health?  Doesn't a comic provide a great chance for parents and kids to talk about these issues?

This makes me wonder about how we do things in the Church.  How often do we get so focused on strategies or truth that we actually fail in expressing the grace and love of Christ?  Do we need to call sin by its real name of sin?  Absolutely!  But we also need to do so in a way which is loving and grace filled.  Yet sometimes we go the opposite direction.  We are scared of pointing sin out but keep trying to express a sentimental love around that doesn't challenge people to grow in Christ.

Jesus was never afraid to call people out about sin.  He told the woman caught in adultery to "go and sin no more" and he kicked out the merchants who were taking advantage of travelers to the temple with high prices.  Yet despite this he was called a "friend of sinners".  He never backed down from calling sin what it is but had amazing relationships with everyone around Him.  This sometimes can be a little confusing, but Jesus is always there to help us.  He has thousands of years of experience in doing this so learning from Him is certainly a great idea.

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