The blockbuster Marvel superhero movie “Black Panther” is breaking all kinds of records. Rife with deeply thoughtful writing and powerfully inspiring quotes, my favorite record-breaker is that “Black Panther” is now the most Tweeted about movie of all-time.
There are many popular quotes covering a range of topics:
“In times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.”
“You are a good man, with a good heart. And it’s hard for a good man to be a king.”
“What does a nation of farmers have to offer the rest of the world?”
“Just because something works doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.”
“You’re going to struggle so surround yourself with people you trust.”
Or Are Just Plain Funny
“When you said you would take me to California for the first time, I thought you meant Coachella or Disneyland.”
Some caused ripples or murmurs in the audience and afterward continued to sting. These lines aren’t being quoted, Tweeted, or talked about as often as the feel-good or funny ones: “When you let in refugees, they bring their problems with them.”
Yet, they need to be. Clearly this one strikes a nerve — one that is currently raw and exposed and divisive in our country.
While I don’t build my theology around movie quotes or song lyrics, I do know that pop culture is a reflection of the current culture. This quote is disturbing because it reflects the default stance most people take when it comes to strangers and refugees — whether they’ve taken the time to consider the deep implications and ramifications of it or not. I wish this statement didn’t sting so much in its truth of how most people perceive refugees — as problems to be expelled rather than people to be embraced.
Christ has authorized us to love God and love our neighbor, commanding us to take care of those in need. If we fear the “problems” that come with relationships and care of any person in our purview—be it friend, family, stranger, or the refugee among us, we discount our faith in Christ as not being big enough to cover any problem or challenge attached to that relationship and command to love. In His own words, Jesus declared:
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26 ESV).
I hope we as believers and as the Church — the extension of Christ here on earth—are opening a new dialogue and putting action to our words and feet to our faith by welcoming all, loving all, and being agents of change, problem-solvers, and bridge-builders of this world, not “the foolish” building barriers.
Rob is the President of OneHope and blogs regularly at robhoskins.onehope.net.