Batman’s Choice

Posted: May 5, 2010 in leadership
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Batman gets it right.  

Alan Grant, Scottish comic book writer, and author of Batman comics in the 1990’s says, “He (Batman) is perhaps the only genuine hero … People say Batman is this dark, vengeance-driven, obsessed character but that’s not Batman to my eyes. That’s just the fuel which drives Batman. The trauma of his parents’ death is what motivates him and forces him to go on, but what makes him Batman is a decision. He took a decision to be a good guy, which is a decision in life not too many people make. He is a self-made character. He didn’t get superpowers, he’s not a cyborg, he made a choice to be what he is. He is motivated by the terrible thing that happened to him when he was a kid, but that’s not the thing that defines his character. What defines his character is the decision to do something.”

And what Batman decides to do is important. He decides to become responsible to protect the people of Gotham City. It’s no easy task.

Gotham is a dark and foreboding metropolis rife with crime, corruption, and urban blight. It is particularly subject to political corruption. The very authorities appointed to guard it, exploit it. The commissioner and the police are often in collusion with the mob or with supervillians to gain more power.

It’s the comics, it’s a fiction; it’s real life; it’s our life.

Most of us live in cities or small towns.  Most of us have been through personal trauma. We eventually see and experience loss, anger, desires for revenge, horror over the evil in what should be our safe places. And most of us live close enough to corruption to note it. We see people caught in the grip of corruption. And then what do we do, with our hurt, with our city’s hurt? What decisions do we make about our cities?

I have sometimes made isolating and selfish decisions. I have chosen to be powerless. It’s not uncommon. It is practically de rigueur in many circles, the expected, acceptable, polite, normal response to do nothing about harm, to do practically nothing to protect anyone. 

How do we do that? We do that when we flee the dark side of our city, barricading ourselves in a  square pile of stuff that we call home. We do that when we reject the parts of the city or the world that we don’t want to see. We do that when we map our routes, our destinations and our vacations so that we don’t drive  or stop or make a place of renewal in the seamy side of Gotham.

Many of us do that; we decide that it isn’t our business, in a million different ways. But there is a better option. We can make the Batman choice. I think for Christians, for people of faith, for people with a conscience, this is the choice we should make. It is the choice to be good. It is the choice to train ourselves to fight evil. It is the choice to protect the people where we live. It is the choice to bring justice to Gotham.

More of us need to be Batman. We need to look at our city and say, “These are my people. I am responsible for the safety of each of them. I see their trouble. I take it into my own hands to fix it. I will protect my people.  That is what I do.”

We aren’t born to this. It is a choice. It is a choice to take responsiblity for our people. To do this we will have to rise up out of indifference and fear and say with anger and love and strength, ” I will now define myself by my decision to do something.”

Think about it.


 people who have played the role

  1. Brian Eberly says:

    Makes me think of Micah 6:8…
    “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

    Good thoughts Randy!

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