The wildly popular Marvel Universe launched the short series of shows called Wanda Vision earlier this year. If you don’t know these characters’ backstory from the Avenger films, you may not understand this blog entirely, but I think you will get the idea.
In the series Wanda Vision, Wanda, the main character, is still grieving over her love, Vision. Vision, an android creation, died in an earlier movie. Wanda Vision is essentially a fantasy land that Wanda creates where she brings her love Vision back to life. She has taken over an entire little town, surrounded it by an almost impenetrable force field, and controls everyone in that town to play along with her script.
So what do the church and Wanda Vision have in common?
They don’t live in reality.
As the church moves into a post-quarantine world, we must understand that the world is not the same as it once was. The world the church thinks we are in and the world we are actually in are two different spaces. But this was probably true pre-covid. The church of recent years has had a gap between where they think the culture is and where it is.
It’s like the one pastor said, “if the 1980’s ever come back, we will be ready.”
Let me state the obvious, it’s not 1980 anymore, nor is it 1950 or any other year. It is now 2021. Some churches think when we get back to normal in a post-quarantine world, we will be going back to 2019. But we are not in “Back to the Future” or any other time travel movie.
When we pretend that we are in another time, it hinders our ministry. How can we relate and connect with a community that we are trying to reach if we don’t even know who the people are and how they think?
They force a script on others.
In the series Wanda Vision, Wanda forces a script on all the people of Westview, New Jersey. She has taken them all hostage, enclosed in a forcefield of some kind. Somehow, Wanda controls their minds, telling them what to wear, how to act, and what to say. She wants them to all walk along to her cultural script. She recreates different decades of the 1900s and pretends as if it is reality.
Be honest for a moment. Is the church doing the same thing in many instances? Do we pretend as if it is 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, or even 2010? Thankfully by the end of the show, Wanda comes to her senses and realizes that she is not operating in the present. Church, will we recognize the era and time that God has placed us? It’s 2021 at this writing. I know this comparison may seem harsh, but 9 of 10 churches have plateaued or are shrinking. The present is the time God has placed us. Let’s recognize it, thank God for it, and impact our communities for Christ.