Happy Easter! Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel?

Posted: April 20, 2019 in Uncategorized
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Bat Boys 2My brothers and me, Easter 1968. Forget the jelly beans and chocolate eggs!
Nothing said “Easter” like a super cool Batman t-shirt.

A BATMAN T-SHIRT! I HIT THE JACKPOT! It was the best Easter present a five-year old kid could receive in 1968. Never mind the chocolate eggs and colorful jelly beans, either. Easter morning, 1968, my parents blessed my brothers and me with authentic Batman t-shirts.

Batman was one of the hottest television shows at the time. It was so popular that it aired twice weekly. Wednesday nights gave us a 30 minute cliff hanger. Then on Thursdays, at the “same bat time” and on the “same bat channel” we got the dramatic conclusion to the story. It was a campy show, once described as a sitcom without the laugh track, but as a kid, I loved it. Batman rocked!

Now, I know Easter is all about Jesus, the open tomb, resurrection, hope renewed, life eternal, and whole bunch of other cool stuff I keep discovering the older I get. I know it now, and I knew it then. I went to Sunday school and church every week, after all. My parents read me Bible stories at home around the dinner table, and before I went to bed at night. I got it then, and I get now: Easter is about Jesus, not Batman, the Caped Crusader. Easter is the living story of God’s triumph over the powers of death, over sin, and over evil.

Then again, if you think like a five-year old, wasn’t that what Batman was all about? Good overcoming evil? At least evil personified. Penguin, Riddler, and the Joker were Batman’s three arch nemeses, evil dudes whose very raison d’être was to create chaos and destroy goodness in the world.

Like Jesus, Batman set out to destroy evil, or at least to stop its activity in the world. Like Jesus, Batman rose up out of a tomb, too, Okay, it was a cave. But still, each week he and Robin, the Boy Wonder, would blast out of the cave in their awesome Batmobile and go   chasing down evildoers. And, like Jesus, Batman fought for good whether the people of Gotham felt they deserved it or not! Yet while they were still sinning, Batman risked his life for them. What a great way for a kid to connect with the hero of the Christian scriptures.

In fact, the very first episode of the Batman television show had a bit of a religious subtext. It was called Hi Diddle Riddle and it featured that giggling trickster, the Riddler. Ironically, the episode is built around a religious item that the Riddler, apparently, stole (maybe he stole it, maybe he didn’t). The item that Riddler stole? A cross! Batman tries to restore the cross to its rightful owner but (like Jesus) is falsely accused along the way.

Okay, so maybe comparing Batman to Jesus or Easter seems like big stretch to you. But it’s really not if you think like a kid. Batman and other iconic and kid friendly heroes are a great way to explore the Easter story anew. Building bridges between the Easter story with the narratives that inform kid’s lives can be a great way to help kids understand and connect with our Christian savior, Jesus. Theologians call this process, creating a “point of contact” with the gospel.

What does Easter mean for you? Where’s your point of contact? Throughout the 50 days of Easter, try naming some of those things in your life, or in our culture at large which remind you of the amazing thing that happened on the very first Easter, when God triumphed over the grave and all that the grave symbolizes for us.

May God bless you and your loved ones this Easter and always with the promise of God’s next, good and glorious chapter for your lives. Now, Quick!, To the Batmobile!

Pax Christi,


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