In this episode, we look at the golden boy of the Marvel Universe, Captain America. In the movie, we really see the culmination of all of the changes that have occurred through the Ironman and Avengers movies. The events of Age of Ultron have changed Ironman from an icon of liberty and independence that we see in Iron Man II. He becomes someone who is actively seeking to impose oversight on everyone, the polar opposite of what he stands for in the previous films. Steve Rogers on the other hand is the is the ultimate patriot. His status as perfect boy scout is something that is routinely poked fun at in the Avengers movies and even in Thor: The Dark World. This movie really follows his journey from unquestioning patriot and poster boy of America to being an individual and ultimate patriot of the American ideals.

Identity is the big theme of this story. From the beginning of the movie, it is apparent that Iron Man’s identity has changed. He is no longer the cavalier superhero, who won’t be controlled by outside forces, that he was in the earlier Iron Man movies. He is now controlled by the fear of repeating his earlier mistakes. The question now is: will Steve Roger’s identity change as well? The idea of identity goes beyond just those two characters. Who are the Avengers? Do they represent an ideal or are they just the enforcers of a collective governmental body? All of these questions are juxtaposed with Bucky Barnes, who really doesn’t have his own identity because he has always been a puppet of other groups. This is really the danger that Steve Rogers sees in the Sokovia Accords: the Avengers becoming just as much of a puppet for the “Free World” as Bucky was for Hydra. His sees his ultimate identity as a protector of what S.H.I.E.L.D and the Avengers originally set out to do, their ideals; not what the organizations have become or what others want them to be. His viewpoint is really reinforced by a quote from Margaret Carter: “Compromise where you can. Where you can’t, don’t. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say, ‘No, you move'”1.

So what about our journey of faith? What is our identity? We need to remember that our primary identity is a child of God. “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith…” 2. “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” 3. The real danger comes when that identity is overshadowed by our allegiance to a particular nation, church, doctrine, belief or anything else. The strength that Steve Rogers has over the other Avengers is that he is vigilant. He’s suspicious of things and way things are going even during Captain America: Winter Soldier. Likewise we need to be skeptical of things that have subtly crept into our identity and question them. Do they fit with our ultimate identity as a Christ follower. The more of our identity that is tied up in different things the less we are able to choose to do without violating some portion of that identity.

Tony Stark: I saw how dangerous my weapons were in the wrong hands, so I took control.

Steve Rogers: You chose to do that. If we sign these accords, it takes away our right to choose.

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We have a choice in what our identity is, but we have to choose. If we fail to make that choice and to be skeptical of the things that try and incorporate themselves in that identity; they will control who we are. Our identity needs to be set in who we are, not our title or position or job or what we do. Captain America illustrates this at the end of the movie when he gives up the shield. He’s saying that his identity is cemented in being Steve Rogers and what he stands for not what Captain America and the Avengers have come to represent. He makes a choice. Will you? God isn’t asking us to do good things; He’s asking us to do great things! Sometimes in order to accomplish those great things, we’ll have to sacrifice good things.

“…we must never forget that the only way we individually and collectively represent the kingdom of God is through loving, Christlike, sacrificial acts of service to others. Anything and everything else, however good and noble, lies outside the kingdom of God.

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  1. Russo, A., & Russo, J. (Directors). (2016). Captain America: Civil War [Motion picture on DVD]. USA: Marvel Studios. 
  2. Gal 3:26 
  3. Rom 8:14 
  4.  Russo, A., & Russo, J. (Directors). (2016). Captain America: Civil War [Motion picture on DVD]. USA: Marvel Studios. 
  5. Boyd, Gregory A. The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009. 
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