This Sunday, the film “Wonder Woman” will be the modern lesson at Virginia-Highland Church as we start our sermon series Faith & Film. On Friday nights during this series, we will show the movie the sermon is based on. The trouble this week, though, is that WW is still in theaters and a big hit, so it isn’t out on DVD or available for streaming quite yet. No worries, though; we have episodes of the old TV show.
As I was preparing the sermon, I watched a bit of that mid-1970s series starring Lynda Carter. I recalled it being a little campy, but oh my! I found I was embarrassed by the entire thing. I’ve been trying to figure out why, especially considering I still love the original Adam West “Batman” TV series.
Eventually, I realized that what I loved most about the new movie was what embarrasses me now about the old series. What won my heart in the movie was that Diana, aka Wonder Woman, is an Amazonian princess who is sheltered on an island where she grew up with only women. When she leaves to stop the war god Ares you discover that she is naive and innocent about much of the 20th-century world.
At several points in the movie, the men around her act like, well, men. What they don’t understand is that she grew up sheltered from the patriarchy, so it never crosses her mind that their opinion of her, or what she should do, or how she should act has any determining value. She is who she is, and she lives by her own core values. As far as she is concerned, the men never get to vote on those things.
That is something we prayed for and worked toward for our two daughters. While they can never be free of a world in which men simply take it for granted that men are in charge, the one thing I tried to make clear was that men were never going to be in charge of them, of who they are and what they do with that. It is probably too early to judge if we were successful, but, so far, so good.
If we want to save our world we must fill it with Wonder Women. To do that, men must shut up. We must recognize every time and every way that we assume our place of power. We must make space, keep silent, and help silence our brothers. Of course, that only creates a dysfunctional social vacuum unless women are willing to embrace the WONDER God planted in them!
Rev. Michael Piazza