PHOTO BY RAPHAEL KLUZNIOK/THE CHRONICLE
If you live in San Francisco you know about five year old Miles Scott who transferred all of San Francisco into Gotham City for a day. After I watched the day unfold I was absolutely struck with the level of community involvement and pure meaning behind it all.
To give some quick context, Miles Scott is a five year old boy who has been battling leukemia for the past three years. During his treatments Miles and his parents started watching the old Batman TV Show and quickly Batman became his favorite superhero. Miles got connected with the Make a Wish Foundation and after finishing his latest treatment, he made the request to become BatKid for a day. Batkid as Batmans sidekick got to literally arrest the Riddler, save a kidnapped Giants Mascot Lou the Seal, and even get the Mayor of San Francisco Ed Lee to give him the key to the city. Through it all, thousands of San Franciscans came to watch Batkid fight crime and save Gotham.
After taking a moment to reflect on a suffering child’s only wish to become BatKid, I began to think Batman, San Francisco, and Jesus have more in common than you would expect. Superheroes have always captured the attention of movie goers and comic book readers, but San Francisco took the idea to a whole other level.
When I mesh Batman, San Francisco and Jesus together it seems ridiculous. But I think a couple real meaningful truths can connect them if you look deep enough.
Every City Needs Hope:
SF is known as a city of activism, and compels people who believe in values like justice and truth to get involved. One of the things that lies beneath activism is the idea of needed change. There is a sense that something is desperately wrong, and it must be put right again.
If you look at the storyline of the comic character Batman, the belief of change flows throughout. In the more recent Batman movies, I remember a line the character Bruce Wayne says early on before his becomes a superhero.
“I’m going to show the people of Gotham that the city doesn’t belong to the criminals and the corrupt…People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy. And I cannot do this as Bruce Wayne. A man is just flesh and blood, and can be ignored or destroyed. But a symbol….as a symbol I can be incorruptible, everlasting..” -Bruce Wayne
Batman is that symbol of hope that Gotham needs. Batman seeks to save the people from all the wrongs of the city, and because Bruce Wayne hides his identity, Batman can always live on.
San Francisco like every real world city needs that same type of hope. The city is a great place to live and enjoy. But beneath it all we cannot escape the corruptness of the city. San Francisco is a place of violence, rape, murder, and ultimately brokenness. No one in this city is immune to the injustices of the city, and that’s why we need hope.
For a moment, while Miles Scott traveled all over the city we as San Franciscans got to cheer him on in his effort. We were rooting for Batkid because he was a perfect example of a living hope. Batkid represented the hope we have to change the evil of the city, but also more importantly Batkid gave hope to Miles Scott who got to take a moment from fighting against cancer.
Real Courage and Strength Is Within:
By all accounts, Miles Scott was not really Batkid. He wasn’t actually fighting criminals, but he was just as courageous and strong as anyone.
Miles has not spent most of his life enjoying the goodness of health and childhood. But instead, phyiscal pain, isolation, and I’m guessing a lack of understanding of what is really going on.
It makes sense that all Miles wants to be is BatKid and it makes sense why San Franciscans want to get behind him. The only thing Miles has is the courage and strength to go on. He has displayed it longer then anyone of us for the most part.
If you look at the character of Batman you see his different from a lot of superheroes. Batman was not born from another planet, he was not given special physical powers. Batman is a regular guy who goes through adversity to become something greater then he is. Batman transcends the world to become a symbol that will always live on no matter what happens to him.
I’m guessing that Miles in a way knows that. I’m guessing Miles admires Batman for what he has become, and deep down he knows no matter what happens to him physically, he can transcend this world by staying strong and courageous.
San Francisco admires Miles for his perseverance. Most of us have not lived through anything as serious as cancer and deep down I think we wonder what would be revealed in ourselves if we had to live through the same thing.
We want to believe we can find strength and courage in ourselves like Batkid.
Jesus Is The Better Batman:
Hope for change with strength and courage is everything that San Francisco admires. But are we going to have an actual Batman in this city? Do we have any hope of a real life superhero to come and save us? The answer is yes and no.
The next connection that I’ve never been more serious to write Jesus Is The Better Batman. Jesus is not a superhero but He is far greater than Batman. We don’t have to wait for Batman because Jesus has already come.
I don’t know what Miles Scott and his family believe, but here’s what I’d tell them if I had the opportunity:
Batman is a symbol of hope for Gotham: Jesus is a living hope for your life now and the life to come. (1 Peter 1:3)
Batman defeats the enemies of Gotham: Jesus defeated the greatest enemy of all; evil, sin, and death. (Col. 1:13)
Batman has overcome obstacles: Jesus has overcome death (1 Cor. 15:55-57)
Batman will risk his life to save you: Jesus gave his life for you to be saved (John 3:16)
I pray that San Francisco would see the true hope that Jesus offers, and the strength and courage He gives in the midst of this broken city.