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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

God on the Streets of Gotham [Book Review]

I love comics and the heroes (or villains, at times) that grace those pages. I love fantasy and seeing a whole new world brought into creation symbolically representing our everyday life. It allows you to look at yourself and the world around you in a slightly different way that helps you to understand the interactions that take place between yourself and everything else. Batman is no different as his story of fear, pain, failure, love, redemption, and so many more human characteristics takes us on a journey to discover our own paths in life. With the new Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, coming out I felt this was the perfect opportunity to review God on the Streets of Gotham: What the Big Screen Batman Can Teach Us about God and Ourselves by Paul Asay.

Paul Asay takes a look at Batman, the villains, Gotham City, and the situations our Caped Crusader faces to show how these are reflections of the Christian lifestyle and what Christians today face. Although Batman was not necessarily created as an analogy for the Christian lifestyle, we are able to extract these elements from the different aspects of Batman found in books, comics, television, and movies. The main views are taken from the two newest movies but Asay does show he is a fan by adding in themes from all the different media forms. The book also touches on many different elements that we find all around us - such as Masked, Nemesis, and Sacrifice - and they are explored here and brought together in an easy to understand dialog that helps the reader put Batman's life in perspective to our walk with Christ.

This is a great book and I have even rewatched the two most recent Batman movies with a new perspective on the situations, how Batman/Bruce Wayne is viewed, and how he views his life. One thing I found lacking in this book was Biblical references to help the reader understand some of the elements and how they can be tied to Christianity. I also felt that since Batman was never intended to be used as an example of Christianity - such as The Chronicles of Narnia - some of the elements were a bit stretched to fit into the dialog. This is not to say anything is inaccurate or wrong but that the reader should take it upon themselves to evaluate and apply the ideals shown in their own way. Asay did an excellent job in making the reader think about the situations in both their lives as well as Batman's. I guarantee you that you will look at the series differently and it will open you up to see new ideas and situations that you would not normally have seen without this insight.

I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers for this review. My thoughts and opinions during this review are my own.

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