Charles Chandler introduced me to Metropolis, Illinois—the hometown of Superman.
Charles founded the Ministering to Ministers Foundation in the early 90s to offer renewed hope to ministers under stress, including involuntary termination. The number of ministers who face job loss is astounding. I talked with a student pastor lately who was told the church was “moving in a different direction” and he was no longer needed. The pastor put this in a letter and handed it to him just after Christmas, which to me sounded very cowardly. Ministers are often in the same category with football coaches. Growing churches ensure job security, but notable losses bring murmurings.
MTM sponsors Wellness Retreats across the nation for broken ministers. I was able to assist in several of these over the years and was happy to do so.
Charles mentioned that he once portrayed Superman in Metropolis. The city fathers planned a big Superman celebration and privately enlisted him, the Baptist pastor, to be the man of steel.
I persuaded my wife I needed to attend the American Political Items Collectors biennial convention in Springfield, Ill. last summer. After crossing the Ohio River, I saw Metropolis signs, and determined to stop by en route home. Metropolis has a large Superman statue in the square and a museum with every Superman product ever produced.
Most interesting to me was the large barrel of Kryptonite fragments for sale in the museum store. For some reason I bought two or three pieces as mementos. As everyone knows, Kryptonite is the only substance that weakens Superman, so it’s unusual to find it for sale in his hometown!
I’m convinced Satan stocks Kryptonite in his storeroom. Some Christians are vulnerable to the pursuit of money. Some are vulnerable to illicit relationships with the opposite sex. Some have hair-trigger tempers or unguarded speech and leave relationships in disarray. And I’ve known some believers to fall victim to addictions, losing their self-respect and sometimes their careers and families.
God has given us at least two things to help us battle the temptations of life. One is his Holy Spirit. Jesus promised to give his followers the spirit of God after he departed, and the church celebrates this gift on Pentecost. The Apostle Paul declared the Christian’s body is the temple of the spirit who leads us to holy living (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20).
God also gives us his church. A major responsibility in our spiritual family is alerting one another when we fall into questionable practices. Confrontation isn’t usually pleasant, but it’s a godly task when used to restore the fallen. As the military says, “watch my six,” or help me see my blind spots. Christians need this, too.