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God on the Streets of Gotham: What the Big Screen Batman Can Teach Us about God and Ourselves

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  • Posted May 18, 2012

    If you like Batman, you HAVE to read this book!

    I've been a Batman fan since I was a boy, and liked to think I knew the caped crusader pretty well. After reading this book I have a much deeper understanding of the man behind the mask. Asay delves deep to reveal his better angels and shines a light on the demons that haunt the man and his alter-ego, and he makes it pretty clear that more is going on in Gotham than meets the eye! This book will make a great gift for a lot of people I know. I highly recommend this book to any Batman fan, and to anyone who enjoys finding God in unexpected places.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 1, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    God and Batman - 2 great topics

    As you can tell by my previous posts, non-fiction books are not my normal cup of tea. I've joined a couple of "blogging" websites, though, that are helping me to expand my horizon of books that I read. So as I looked over a list of books available to be reviewed, I thought it would be a no-brainer for me to pick this one for my review.

    The books starts out with a nice history of Batman over the years and his rise through print, to TV and ultimately on the bigscreen. The author begins by describing Batman in some generic terms; Being called from birth, the love of the Father, called by choice and then called by searching. He then brings in characters that battled against Batman to show struggles that he dealt with: Nemesis - Scarecrow - Fear, Two-Face - Despair; Joker - Annihilation. With each chapter, he builds off of the characteristics that we've seen in Batman and weaves them back to a comparison of the life of Jesus.

    I'd say that I was skeptical of this book at first. It really didn't grab me the way that fiction does, simply because alot of the comparisons that the author makes are subject to interpretation. I guess that's what has always caused me to shy away from reading too much fiction. I didn't see anything scriptually wrong with the book. Again, I'm sure that another author could take the same information and make it say something totally different, but Mr. Asay did a great job with his book. I enjoyed that he didn't make this solely about Batman, but also the surroundings and influences that make up the character of Batman.

    Is it a "man's book"? Sure, why not. It is a good read, has some good theories and talks about Batman. How many other times in life will you be able to read a book that combines two of a man's most talked about topics, God and superheroes.

    I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 31, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    In light of all the recent summer blockbusters coming to the big

    In light of all the recent summer blockbusters coming to the big screen, I thought I would share with you an incredible book, I had the privileged to get to read and review. It's Paul Asay's debut book, God on the Streets of Gotham, What the Big Screen Can Teach Us About God and Ourselves. I have to say if you're a Christian and love super heroes, then you will LOVE this one.

    Here's just a sample of the synopis from the rear cover:

    "For more than seventy years, Batman has captured the imagination of millions of people worldwide. First created in the 1930's, Batman has become a cultural icon in comics, television, and films. Why does the story of Batman continue to fascinate? Why does this dark hero inspire millions of us?"

    I think Paul does a fabulous job at walking through all the different media aspects in search of these answers and holds them up to the light of God's word. Here are just some of the incredible passages I highlighted in my reading:

    "Batman is no lunatic. He is no villain. He is a hero, pressed into service by a source he may be only dimly aware of. He believes in goodness even if he doesn't call it God. Perhaps he's like the disciple Thomas, who heard the call to follow, but didn't quite understand who he was really following.

    But because Batman perhaps doesn't perfectly understand his calling or the implications thereof, he can sometimes get a little lost. He can grow confused in his role and sometimes his values can get a little scrambled. He is prone, like most of us can be at times, to place his trust in the wrong things and his faith in the wrong people. We all lose sight of God and sometimes chase after the nearest approximation. And sometimes he literally follows the wrong guy." (pg 18).

    "He is not much like Superman, but he is something like Moses, David and Peter. The Bible doesn't sugarcoat our heroes for us or tell us they're anything but pretty sorry, flawed folks. And yet God takes them and makes them special, even great, just as he does with us. God takes badness and makes it good. He takes shadow and shines a light - if not on it, at least in it. He transforms us not from the outside but from within.

    Is it surprising, then, that Batman would see some light and hope in Gotham as well? The place may be bad, filled with all manner of corruption, but there's goodness to be found underneath the grime. It isn't Sodom, without even ten righteous people. It can still be saved. It can still be redeemed - if only someone would care enough to help the cause along. Someone with a little faith. " (pg. 15).

    This is just a small sampling of the fine work that Paul Asay does in dissecting all the parts that make up both the man, Bruce Wayne, but Batman as well. He analysis the villains, his partners, his tools of the trade and what it all means through comic books, movies and the television series and why we all need to believe in a hero. Not just in Jesus, but that a hero lies within us all to seek out to be a better person and to care for those in need.

    I received God on the Streets of Gotham by Paul Asar compliments of Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review and highly recommend this to any one who loves super heroes, both young and old alike. Paul Asay is the associate editor at Plugged In, a ministry that reaches more than six million people with movie reviews that help people understand popular cultural trends and how they intersect with spiritual issues. I easily award this book a 5 out of 5 stars in my personal opinion and for me as a parent, this book makes a great resource for balancing things out in the world and what God would want us to see. I think this does nothing more than point us to Jesus Christ in all the things we do today. There is a light within the darkness if we but only are willing to search for it. For now, I'm off to enjoy watching Batman Begins again with a greater sense of purpose.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    From the time I first watched "Batman Begins," I saw s

    From the time I first watched "Batman Begins," I saw so many
    analogies and parallels to both Christ and the Christian, so I was very
    excited when I saw this book. Paul Asay covered all that I had picked up
    on, as well as so many other "hidden gems" in the movies and
    books. Speaking of which, since I've only seen the movies, I found it
    extremely helpful and insightful for Mr. Asay to have included many
    anecdotes from the books, especially since this book came out before
    this most recent installment of the "Dark Knight" trilogy. :)
    Without going too much into what the book covers, one of my favorite
    chapters was when Mr. Asay covered the different Nemesis of Batman and
    correlated them to the "demons" and temptations we Christians
    face, and how the movies are a great tangible picture of our spiritual
    world. Generally I would recommend "God on the Streets of
    Gotham" to fans of the Batman franchise, but Mr. Asay does a great
    enough job of giving background info, that even a non-fan could get a
    quite a bit out of it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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