Tuesday, July 24, 2012

God on the Streets of Gotham



Title:  God on the Streets of Gotham:  What the Big Screen Batman Can Teach Us about God and        Ourselves

Author:  Paul Asay
Year:  2012
Pages:  240
Publisher:  Tyndale
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/  .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988

In the wake of recent events in Colorado, this was one of the hardest reviews to write.  Not because the book has no value or was too hard to understand, but because of the burden for those who are suffering.  Therefore, I dedicate this review to those who are hurting in ways unimaginable in Colorado.  May God carry you, comfort you, and touch your hearts during this inexpressible season of suffering.
                Paul Asay is a reviewer for Plugged In Ministries.  This ministry helps “people understand popular cultural trends and how they intersect with spiritual issues” (back cover of the book).  In the “Introduction”, Paul shares his fascination with the comic world as a young boy.  He shares how his father felt at that time about what was being projected to those who read the comics.  Throughout the book, Paul as well shares the history of Batman from inception through the many various changes that he has undergone in various mediums whether print or movie.
                There is a lot of the history of the character of Batman included that was previously unknown to me.  I enjoyed learning the background that brings us to the current day.  Paul shares the author’s original introduction of this “super hero” and the books that have been written to enlighten those who find this genre entertaining.  What is it about a superhero that draws millions to watch movies that portray Batman?  Does the Batman phenomenon touch something within us that causes many to flock to stores to buy the books, comics and movies?  If there is something that speaks to us, exactly what can we learn from comic superheroes?  Is there anything to be learned?
                With historical understanding, Paul then begins to help us as believers see if Batman does indeed have something to teach us.  The other chapters in the book are titled: Masked, Marked, Nemeses, Submission, Code, Tool, Partners, Struggle, Sacrifice, ending with Hero.  In the book, we see how culture has changed the character of Batman and how we can learn about the ultimate Hero, Jesus Christ, when we examine the fictional character of Batman.  To me, page 207 summarizes the main difference between fictional superheroes and The Hero:  “We may live in a world, in which we lose sight of our Creator, but he never loses sight of us, and we can never extricate ourselves from his design and purpose.  We are his whether we acknowledge him or not.”
                Batman on the Streets of Gotham provides information that you may not have previously known.  You might learn something new about the history of this particular genre, and there is definitely food for thought in the nonfictional book.  Perhaps as you read this book, you will remember to pray for people in Colorado for days to come.  I hope so.
My rating of the book is 4-½ stars.
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