One of our favorite comic books is called "Batman: Holy Terror." That's it up top, courtesy of Mother Gillian and her mad librarian skillz. Set in an alternate reality, one on which some odd form of Christianity -- a highly liturgical Calvinism, we believe -- runs the government, the comic features a masked vigilante whose secret identity is a priest. It is quite possible that the page reproduced here, drawn by Norm Breyfogle, is our all-time favorite page of any comic book ever published: the ordination of Bruce Wayne.*
We mention all this because the United Methodist Church is struggling to discern its organizational future, and some voices seem to argue that what it really needs is a Dark Knight, a la Christopher Nolan -- an individual who, when the system fails, is willing to do whatever needs to be done, even if that means looking like the villain.
At least that's the interpretation of Jeremy Smith, in this article describing the four proposed models for restructuring the UMC's national leadership. Smith himself doesn't seem to think that the Dark Knight model -- meaning, somewhat anticlimactically, no more than a powerful executive -- reflects "the Methodist way." He believes that, just as Roman Catholics in trouble turn to their monastic orders, so Methodists ought to turn to representative democracy.
We don't know enough about Methodism to comment. But we do hereby offer our service to the first church body that actually elects Batman as its bishop.
*Where credit is due: "Holy Terror" was written by Alan Bennett and drawn by Norm Breyfogle; the scan here is lifted from Scans Daily.