There's been a lot of talk lately about the Jesus imagery in The Man of Steel. To some extent this goes with the territory: Superman The Movie and Smallville both played with Christian iconography too. But Warner Bros. is actually encouraging Christian churches to do sermons about Man of Steel this weekend.
Warner Bros. paid a theologian, Pepperdine University's Craig Detwiler, to prepare a nine-page set of "sermon notes" for ministers who want to preach about Man of Steel, titeld "Jesus: The Original Superhero." The sermon notes ask, "How might the story of Superman awaken our passion for the greatest hero who ever lived and died and rose again?" And then the sermon includes stuff about the themes and ideas of Man of Steel, after which the pastor is encouraged to say, "Let’s take a look at the trailer for Man of Steel."
Detwiler, who did a similar campaign for The Book of Eli, tells CNN that the new Superman movie gives churches a chance to engage with pop culture instead of just condemning it: "“All too often, religious communities have been defined by what they're against. With a movie like Man of Steel, this is a chance to celebrate a movie that affirms faith, sacrifice and service."
One Baltimore pastor, Quentin Scott, got sent tons of information along with an invite to an early screening of the film. He tells CNN he was skeptical at first, but "When I sat and listened to the movie I actually saw it was the story of Christ." But Ohio Sunday School teacher and deacon P.J. Wenzel disagrees, telling CNN it would be mistake for churches to turn their pulpits over to Zack Snyder: "As they entertain their congregants with material pumped out from Hollywood’s sewers, lives are kept in bondage, and people’s souls are neglected."