The wildly popular Marvel Universe launched a short series of shows called Wanda Vision earlier this year. You may not understand this blog entirely if you don’t know these characters’ backstories from the Avengers films, 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’s 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 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, in 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 that when we return to normal in a post-quarantine world, we will return to 2019. But we are not in “Back to the Future” or any other time travel movie.
It hinders our ministry when we pretend we are at another time. How can we connect with a community 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 Wanda Vision series, Wanda forces a script on all Westview, New Jersey people. 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 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 she is not operating in the present. Church, will we recognize the era and time God has placed us in? It’s 2021 at this writing. 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.