I’m a big fan of the Green Lantern. If I was going to be a superhero, that’s who I’d want to be. Also, the Lanterns remind me of the Catholic Church—they choose people from among the community and assign them to care for the people in that place, they have councils and a hierarchy, they make fabulously horrible mistakes with galactic repercussions and, ultimately, their objective is to bring justice and peace.
Tag archive: Faith
Some time ago a friend of mine shared an article written by a mom, who is an atheist, about her young son’s journey to atheism. Like many parents, she meant to leave him a blank slate so that, without her interference, he could come to his own conclusions about the existence of God and the necessity of religion in his own time. She spoke of how she wasn’t intentionally raising him atheist, and her realization that by raising him with no spiritual foundation, she actually was raising him to be an atheist.
The way we relate to God, faith and religion in our homes; whether intentionally or not, does, in fact, raise our children to be something. If we speak of God’s presence in our individual lives and in the life of our families, pray together, do charitable works together, make Mass part of our routine and celebrate holidays with their intended meaning, we are creating a culture of faith, belief and probably a lasting relationship with God and the Church that will be passed on to the generation beyond our own children. If we don’t, we are sending a different message, and imbuing our children with a different set of values.
This is going to sound really messed up at first, but that scene in Star Wars: A New Hope, when the Imperial Officers are all talking about their plans for the Death Star and Vader says, “I find your lack of faith disturbing,” and then uses the Force to choke Admiral Motti expresses so perfectly what being religious feels like sometimes.
In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s this part:
It’s not the part when Vader chokes him, because that’s just not right (even if there are times when I sooooooooo wish I could do that), but the conversation about how powerful the Empire thinks they are. In their hubris, they entirely overlook the power of something quiet, but much greater than themselves—something that can, and ultimately will take them down. Admiral Motti actually calls the Death Star the “ultimate power in the universe.” He taunts Vader mocking his, “sad devotion to that ancient religion.” I feel like I’ve heard that exact thing said to me before…or I might have drifted off into a Star Wars daydream…
More and more, religion is looked on with suspicion and, even worse, isn’t thought of at all. Now that I work with kids (I’m the Coordinator of Religious Education for a parish), I’m given an insight into their parents’ mindset. And before that, when I worked with young adults it was the same. Not only do most of them not have even a basic theological vocabulary, but the most basic Christian concepts are perfectly foreign to these young people. They are completely shocked when I tell them that, as people of faith, God should come first in their lives and that they should try to put others before themselves. No one ever told them that.
Our society seems to be moving in a direction that views religion as either the superstition of old people, or some vague authority that exists just to squish our fun. Like Darth Vader, I want people to recognize the power of the Force. Of course, he used it for evil for a long time, but he knew that those who used it for good and to promote justice and freedom for the oppressed—even without using fear tactics, or weapons of mass destruction—could overthrow what appeared to be an insurmountable enemy. It’s true in real life, too. With God, all things are possible. With faith lived in community, impossible things become a reality.
I’m a big fan of the Green Lantern. If I was going to be a superhero, that’s what I’d want to be. Also, the Lanterns remind me of the Catholic Church—they choose people from among the community and assign them to care for the people in that place, they have councils and a hierarchy, they make fabulously horrible mistakes with galactic repercussions and, ultimately, their objective is to bring justice and peace.
I like the Green Lanterns in particular because their thing is Will. The Will is one of the most amazing attributes of humanity. We are each given our own, we’re free to use it as we like, and when we use it the right way, it makes us more divine. Will is the strongest aspect of my faith. I’m not a real “feely” person, so for me, faith isn’t about warm fuzzies. I don’t spend a lot of time with God feeling. I do a lot of being bossy in my prayer time; telling God what I need, what my friends need, and asking Him to help me make good choices. Feelings can be misleading and sometimes misplaced. I prefer what I can see, comprehend and manipulate (not in a bad way). I try to be attentive to other people’s feelings by listening carefully, but my approach has a tendency to be a little clinical. So, my faith is mostly an act of the will.