By Vince Antonucci
The X-Men started out as a comic book in 1963. It's since become one of the bestselling comic book series of all time and even led to a popular movie series.
In the series, there's a 'new evolution' happening in the world, and some humans are experiencing mutations. Not mutations like having twelve fingers, but rather, the kind that empowers you to do amazing things. The problem is, society looks at mutations as something that is different and scary. As a result, people shun and even persecute them.
Charles Xavier is one of the mistreated mutants, but he refuses to let bitterness overtake him. At one point, another abused mutant friend of his says, "You know, Charles, I used to think it's gonna be you and me against the world. But no matter how bad the world gets, you don't wanna be against it, do you?" He doesn't. In fact, he decides to become "Dr. X," a force for good in the world. He invites another mutant, Erik Lensherr, to join him, saying, "You have a chance to become a part of something much bigger than yourself." But Lensherr refuses and becomes a villain named 'Magento'.
Soon Dr. X starts what is, allegedly, a school for gifted kids but is actually a refuge for mutants. Many of them have been hurt or disowned by their parents because they're different, but at this safe haven they find love and healing. Dr. X also trains them to use their mutant abilities as weapons to try to save the world from the evil that Magento is seeking to unleash..
WE'RE ALL STRANGE IN OUR OWN WAY
I'll be honest with you. I'm not an X-Men movies kind of guy. I think the issue I have with superhero movies is that they seem so unrealistic. Yet, there's something oddly realistic about the X-Men.
I don't mean that there's actually a new evolution happening or that you're growing unusual body parts. What I do mean is that we're all strange in our own way. We all have quirks, bad habits, hangups, and painful experiences that have left scars. We're not quite right. We're mutants.
What makes you feel different or like you aren't what you're supposed to be? Maybe everyone around you is either getting married or is already married, but you're still single or even divorced. Or perhaps everyone around you seems happy and has everything going for them, but you are struggling with an addiction or depression. Or it could be that you were abused as a child, and it's left you feeling damaged. You just feel like you're not quite right. We're mutants.
What does the world do with mutants? Just like the film, the world tends to shun and sometimes persecute those who are different or not good enough in some way. So like the mutants in the movie, we tend to live in fear and keep what makes us different a secret.
What should we do? Where do we turn? We turn to the Church.
GOD CHOOSES PEOPLE WITH PROBLEMS
God has always had a thing for choosing people who aren't exactly perfect specimens with picture-perfect pasts. Let me give you a few examples:
- God chose Joseph to save God's people from famine, despite the fact that Joseph came from a family so dysfunctional that his brother sold him into slavery.
- God also chose Gideon, a fear-driven wimp, to lead his army.
- God chose Ruth to be one of Jesus' ancestors, even though Ruth was childless, a widow, and a foreigner.
- God chose Moses to represent him and be his spokesperson. Moses was an unexpected choice, since he had a serious stuttering problem.
- Did I mention that Moses was a murderer? God even chooses people whose "mutations" are a result of their own sins and bad choices.
- God chose Abraham to be the father of faith, even though Abraham had a serious problem with lying.
- God chose to save Noah from the Flood. You might think, "Well, Noah must have been perfect." Actually, after the Flood, Noah got drunk and passed out completely naked.
- God chose Rahab for a starring role in the Bible. She was a prostitute.
- God chose David, an adulterer, to be the leader of his people.
The bottom line is, God has a history of choosing messy people with problems. If you have felt unqualified to serve, guess again. God's strength is your power over any weakness.
YOUR WEAKNESS IS GOD'S POWER
God created the church to be a safe haven for these mutants and to be a place of love for those who might feel a bit out of place. But not only is the church a place of acceptance, it's also a training center for people who want to learn to use their abilities to become part of a team with the mission of saving the world.
It's not only your best skills and traits that can be used in that mission. God wants to redeem your weaknesses and use them to reclaim the world and draw people to him. We see God do this all through the Bible. You may be wondering how God might see strength and redemption in our weakness?
Maybe you've been through a divorce but will eventually find healing. God will then use you to minister to others experiencing the heartbreak from divorce.
Maybe you've struggled with an addiction. But God has or is going to lead you through recovery so he can hold you up to friends struggling with doubt as an example of how he can bring supernatural healing to a person's life.
Maybe you suffer or have suffered with depression. God may take it away from you, but maybe he won't. It could be that God won't completely take it away, but he will still make you a different person. You will have an underlying joy that people can see, even in the midst of depression. People will notice that difference and they'll turn their lives over to God because of it.
One of the cool things about X-Men that makes them unique from most superhero stories is that the X-Men are a team of superheroes. And that's what the church is.
The Bible says that each of us have special abilities. The Bible refers to these abilities as "spiritual gifts." Such as the ability to encourage people, teach, lead, or show mercy. These may seem like simple abilities, but when God empowers them, we become capable of doing things we could never do on our own. Since we can't do it alone, God puts us on a team. God joins us together, and empowers a team that truly can turn the world upside down.
This excerpt was taken from DEVO For The Rest Of Us: The Next 40 Days On Your Journey Of Faith written by Vince Antonucci.