BatMan, The Dark Knight Rises, and Leadership in the Home

Walking to the movies after dinner

esterday evening, Rebekah and I went out on the perfect date. Gourmet burgers at Square One, followed by The Dark Knight Rises at the theater.

One again (we did the same thing with Harry Potter before watching the final episode in that series), we prepared by screening Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008) this weekend. Consequently, we got the entire story, seamlessly, over three days.

In a word, The Dark Knight Rises was awesome!

from the 60’s

1960’s: Back in the 1960’s, sitting in front of a grainy black-&-white 13-inch television that (kind of) pulled in BBC, ITV, and nothing else, my brother and I would watch the classic “BatMan and Robin” episodes. I’m sure some of you remember; they featured cartoon words like “BAM!” and “KAPOW!” when the characters were fighting, and each episode would always end with a cliffhanger such as BatMan or Robin hanging by a thread over a vat of acid.

Let’s just say that the genre has evolved somewhat over the past 50-years!

What I like about today’s version is how viscerally good and evil are illustrated, how small the distance is between them, how close to the surface both forces reside, how incredibly important leadership is in a broken world that can – so easily – lean either way, and how gravely responsible natural and elected leaders are to exercise their gift.

Flowers for Rebekah

MORE ON LEADERSHIP: Most of you know I do a lot of my out-of-town speaking-teaching-training work with men. Retreats, conferences, keynotes, books – everything possible in the way of encouragement and accountability.

One question that often comes up is this, “Aren’t men supposed to be the head of the family?” Well, the way I read the Bible it’s God who gets to be the head of household (Read – below – what Joshua said to those who wanted to place God well behind the cultural norms of their day).

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

LOVE-LEADERSHIP: Like I said, I’m in the business of offering encouragement, and so one of my favorite things to say to those who try so hard to make the Bible support their tendency to male chauvinism is this: If you really want to be the leader in your home, then be a leader:

  • A leader in terms of demonstrating Christlike love,
  • a leader in practicing kindness,
  • a leader in building up,
  • a leader in generosity,
  • and a leader in what it means to serve.

If you insist on being the leader of your home, then be a servant leader first and you’ll find that your wife will pretty much follow you anywhere.

Buying Rebekah flowers is one way to remind myself that kindness, generosity, patience, encouragement, gentleness, faithfulness and peace are the elements of Christ-like love I am called to model as a man.

And – interestingly, because I hadn’t anticipated a tie-in with the BatMan end of this post – those are the elements that turn out to hold the most potent power in our constant battle against evil. Because (and BatMan would agree), it’s the evil in ourselves we have to be the most vigilant against.


So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin…

…Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 7:21-8:4)


  1. Derek I couldn’t agree with you more when it comes to the head of the family or leadership. Philippians 2:3-8 is a great example for men, women and children to act in a family, church family included. It doesn’t matter who the head, neck, arm, hand, etc. is when we follow Jesus’ example of living.


  2. A sad “amen.” I spent so much of my life in a tradition that quoted only half of the Biblical advice on husband-wife relationships. We women were told again and again that it was our job to back off and let the men lead, especially when it came to the religious training of our children and the spiritual atmosphere of our households. But there was no attempt to equip the men to lead, no preaching to inspire the men lead in a godly way, no training in effective family leadership. The insistence that women leave spiritual training and leadership to the men was billed as “biblical headship,” but all too often women (who are often more tuned in to the kids and household) backed off, men did nothing new, and and the result was a void that did not help our families live the faith into the next generation …


    • Karen, that is a sad but hugely accurate comment. I believe the level of damage – done by fundamentalism – to the cause of Christ is phenomenal. At some point, on some level, there has to be some accounting….


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