Batman, Inc and Spiritual Multiplication
I first came across Batman Incorporated in my Christmas 2010 reading.
Batman Incorporated (also known as Batman, Inc.) is an American comic book ongoing series, written by Grant Morrison and featuring Batman, that began in 2010. The debut of the series follows the events of Final Crisis, Batman and Robin and The Return of Bruce Wayne where, after being stranded in the distant past and believed dead, Bruce Wayne has returned to the present day DC Universe and is prepared to take his war on crime to the next level, by essentially “franchising” it and drafting, training and commanding a global team of heroes who will answer to Batman himself.
According to an article in the New York Post and DC Comics themselves, Dick Grayson will retain the role of Batman in Gotham City as Bruce Wayne travels across the world, seeking to use the symbolic power Batman has on a global scale. Wayne will also be featured wearing a new costume designed by David Finch, to further distinguish him from Grayson. Batwoman, who had previously guest-starred in Morrison’s Batman and Robin series, will appear in issue #4 as part of a lead-in to her new ongoing series.
I still cannot get over the idea of Batman starting a franchise. For a man who is not super or meta powered, not invulnerable but dependent on his wit and gadgetry to survive, he has been doing well. However part of his ethos is that he is a loner, a creature of the night so that he strikes fear into the hearts of criminals. Coming into the light and organising a franchise of ‘batmans’ is just not in his character. Also many of his wards or apprentices that he has take on especially the Jason Todd Robin and Stephanie did not fare well. Dick Grayson was literally forced to become the Batman of Gotham when he was doing so well as Nightwing. Batman/Bruce Wayne is not able to produce another crimefighter like him. He was not doing too well in the mentoring department.
Often, what started as a one person enterprise may not translate well into a multi-persons organisations. While the present fad in management is succession planning, not every leader is good in training or equiping his or her successor. When I was a young in faith Christian I was ‘trained’ by a campus ministry with a strong emphasis on disciplemaking. I was taught a ‘principle’ that allegedly is from the apostle Paul. Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timthy 2:2 “The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others”. In this verse, Paul allegedly gives Timothy a vision of success that depends on succession. Specifically, this vision spans four spiritual generations. The faith is passed from Christ to Paul; Paul to Timothy; Timothy to reliable men; reliable men to others. This vision is one of natural spiritual reproduction: make disciples who can make disciples.
I was taught how to be a disciple (note that I did not automatically become a disciple when I was born-again but have to be fulfil certain criterions to become one!), some Bible study and ministry skills and told to make more disciples like me. I actually bought into the disciplemaking multiplication table and believed that I could help to make the whole world Christian in 34 years!
Unfortunately I was never able to make disciples beyond the second generation (guess it must be my fault the world is not Christian yet). After 20 years I begin to question the disciplemaking paradigm. I now believe that the apostle Paul never meant 2 Tim. 2:2 to become a principle but as descriptive of Timothy’s ministry. I also learnt that disciplemaking and discipleship is not about learning skills but about following Jesus. Discipleship is not following other disciples but following Christ himself. It is in the following of Jesus that I become like him.
Why do I follow Jesus? To become like him.
Meditation: We become like Jesus by following him