I confess that every time I do it, I feel like Batman. I know I have an active imagination. My niece once said I reminded her of Walter Mitty. There is something about the dirt driveway that flows from behind the church into the Masonic temple's lot, and then out onto Chestnut Street.
The cover of the trees and the hidden path makes it seem like a secret escape hatch. What can I say? Comic books were my life when I was young. I loved all the superheroes. They always showed up to save the day. They provided comfort and hope for a kid from a broken home.
In 2006 I learned that they did that for a whole generation of people before me. I received a copy of a book written by Rabbi Simcha Weinstein. It was titled, “Up, Up and Oy Vey!” In the book, he chronicles the historic events that led to the rise of the artists who created the superheroes we love and enjoy.
Jerry Siegel, Bob Kane, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee all began their craft under the shadow of extreme persecution that was descending upon the European Jews. These young Jewish Americans saw the world needed heroes and they set out to create them.
Each superhero personified a theme found in Scriptures. From the integrity of Superman, to the search for justice we see in Batman, to the sense of personal responsibility shared by Spiderman, each offered a sense of hope to a people in need. I loved the Rabbi's book.
The truth is that we still need to champion these things, maybe now, more than ever. Rabbi Weinstein says, "For most of my life, I lived a Clark Kent existence …." He hid his Jewish roots in order to blend into the secular world. He concluded by saying, "No more!"
His point was that the world needs superheroes. The good news is that you don't need a cape to be one. You simply need to let your faith show and stand up for what you believe. You need to share your values with the world. You need to speak up for victims and hold out for justice and righteousness.
The world is waiting for you and me to step out of the phone booth and become the heroes God called to us be. So be bold. Be brave. Let's God's light lead the way!
The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church of Westerly.