“With great power comes great responsibility.”
When I wrote my last post, Uh, Pastor… Being Right Is Not an Excuse to Be Mean, I ended it with those words from the Spider-Man comics.
It is perhaps the most famous quote from superhero comics and movies (thanks to Stan Lee and Peter Parker’s uncle Ben).
Because I used that quote, I was tempted to make it the title of my post and use a photo of Spider-Man to accompany it.
Here’s why I didn’t.
The Sign On the Front Door Matters
There’s an old, true saying in leadership circles:
What you win them with is what you win them to.
I didn’t choose to attract readers to my last post with a Spider-Man quote and photo because I wasn’t interested in attracting them to Spider-Man or superheroes.
When people were done reading that post, I wanted my readers to be thinking about how pastors need to be careful with our words, so that’s what I put in the title and accompanying photo.
In today’s post, I want you to walk away thinking about how we need to be careful about how we use words and images from popular culture, so I put that in the title. And I used a photo of a little dog in an ill-fitting Spider-Man suit because I think it illustrates the point of this post well – there are some ideas that might seem cute at the time, but they don’t fit like they should.
Provide an Alternative, Not More of the Same
I have no problem using references from pop culture to illustrate truth – I used a Spider-Man quote in my last post, after all. And I’ve made multiple references to pop culture in previous posts (including quoting Keith Richards, Reality TV shows and The Big Bang Theory sitcom, among others). But I’m beginning to tire of the tendency among pastors and Christian bloggers to link so much of our speaking and writing directly from the popular culture.