Warner Bros. Had a 'Man of Steel' Sermon Written

There's been a lot of talk about all the Christological parallels in Man of Steel and, if you've seen it, you know the filmmakers embraced the metaphor whole-heartedly. But the Man of Steel marketing team was even more enthusiastic about it, going so far as to pay Craig Detweiler at Pepperdine University to write a sermon called "Jesus: the Original Superhero" that pastors could use. On the one hand, sure. The parallels are certainly there (we at RELEVANT certainly didn't ignore them) and they should be discussed from the pulpit. On the other hand, having a sermon written at the request of a film's marketing campaign is raising some eyebrows. What do you think? ...


Kyle Eberth


Kyle Eberth commented…

Here's Craig's response/reasoning for writing the Sermon Notes: http://www.outofur.com/archives/2013/06/superman_sermon.html

Loved this paragraph: "When I find a filmmaker asking all the right questions, I make an effort to come alongside that spiritual search. As Philip came alongside the Ethiopian Eunuch, we can ask people, “Do you understand what you're reading (or creating)?”Our attention (and ticket buying) encourages studios to create even more spiritually informed sagas."

Craig has long been apart of Faith and Media discussion in Hollywood. He does well in finding the sacred in the secular. Critique him or not, read his stuff. Craig on Patheos: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dochollywood/2013/06/making-hay-in-the-man-...

Elad Shapira


Elad Shapira commented…

Check out the Video! Man of Steel: The Gospel Of Clark

Jim Porterfield


Jim Porterfield commented…

I highly appreciate the respectful way in which Warner Bros. dealt with the Christological imagery in "Man of Steel". The sermon provided was very weak and did not even come close to taking advantage of the opportunity this move presents. Many in today's culture view Jesus as a weakling, a pacifist. But a thorough reading of scripture debunks that. When Christ was on earth in his "Clark Kent" mode, he still had more than enough strength and presence to drive possibly hundreds of money changers and merchants from the temple twice. But when Christ returns, we will see him fully, and Kal-el will pale by comparison. Just read Revelations to see what a face-to-face match between the King of Kings (a.k.a. Captain of Angel Armies) and his enemies looks like!

John S. Mann


John S. Mann commented…

I've known Craig Detweiler for twelve years and to describe his actions as some kind of Hollywood sellout is grossly inaccurate, even though I understand how tempting that description is when viewing this event as a thumbnail.

Craig taught me more about what it means to be a Christian in the film industry, through both the craft and the artistic aspects, than any other. Since I've known him he has become an apologist for Christians and film; trying to recreate a bridge to connect two deeply divided groups: Hollywood and the church.

This isn't the first time the whole Superman/Jesus metaphor has come up. I recall many similar discussions when 'Superman Returns' arrived in theaters. For Warner Bros., I see this as nothing more than a clever marketing strategy. Given the desperate nature of the film industry to grab any and every buck out there and the massive under-tapped market of evangelical Christians, why is anyone surprised they would make a move like this?

For Craig Detweiler's part, I understand why he would say 'yes' to such an offer. For him, this is another chance to get the two sides talking. He has long championed the idea getting Christians engaged in Hollywood; to see the redeeming value of cinema as a messenger and to become involved instead of shunning, ignoring, or criticizing it. To Hollywood, which is in the business of making money by creating products that appeal to consumers, I see what Craig did as a simple wave and reminder that there are other customers out there who may appreciate a product geared for them.

As sly as Warner Bros. marketing gimmick is, I give them credit that they went to Craig in the first place to at least get it done right. And no one is shoving these sermon notes down the throats of church-goers... last time I checked the pastor was still choosing his own material.

Esther Aspling


Esther Aspling commented…

We've been shouting at Hollywood to give us more religion on the big screen, I think we are just getting the Hollywood version of what that looks like.


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