They are the children of the atom. They are the people with what is called the x-gene. Some call them Homo Superior. Others call them mutants. Some fear them. Some want to destroy them. Others try to protect them. Still more struggle with their very existence and what it says about the future of the human race. Some saw them as a subspecies, some saw them as the future of humanity. These with the x-gene have special powers–from super strength and speed to telepathy, teleportation, and control over metal or even reality itself.
These are the mutants of the Marvel Universe (MU) created Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1963 during the height of the Civil Rights movement and called them the X-Men. They were made up of superheroes to fight for justice but were despised by so many they wanted to help. There was a reflection of the times of racism, hatred, bigotry, and attempts at Civil Rights and reconciliation.
In the MU you have the battle between two philosophies of what the role of mutants should be in the world. Professor X, the worlds greatest telepath, dreamed of a time where mutants and humans lived together peacefully, empowered to help others by using their mutant abilities. Magneto, the master of magnetism, saw mutants as the superior race whose goal was to control and lead the human race. But which one will win out.
With both the human and mutant populace split on what should be done, subsequent battles ensued between humans and mutants and mutants and mutants. Sometimes the mutants banded together with each other to protect against human attacks while other times mutants and humans banded together to fight against mutant attacks.
Yet still the question of how this power of the mutants should be used–to control or to empower others. Professor X wanted to empower people while Magneto wanted to control.
This is true for today as well outside the MU. What do we do with power? Do we use it to control others or use it to empower others. With great power, comes great responsibility, right? But is that responsibility to force your will on others so that things get done or is to empower others to grow and work together?
Too many times, we use power for control. And why not? Those with the power have the ability to control those who do not. This can be seen in parenting. Parents have the power, the privilege over their children. The children do not have power. The thought then is that parents can have control over their children. This control through power leads to the results desired. That’s good right?
But what about empowerment instead? Using the parental model, what if parents instead of controlling their children to do what they want them to do, use their power to empower the children to do more, to grow more, to expand and recognize their own power? In the power of the parent, the child becomes empowered and learns to empower others.
This is the positive power of power.
Too many times power can and is abused. Too many times people see those in power as horrid and privileged and need to be taken down a peg and their power stripped away.
This is the very thought in the MU concerning mutants. Many people groups wanted and pressed the US government for the Mutant Registration Act. If they have powers, the people needed to know. Just like a gun needed to be registered and the person given a license, so should mutants. Some groups went to so far as to say that mutants should’t even bet allowed to breed (something even the US did up until the mid-70’s). The people wanted the power stripped away because it was felt that the power was abused.
We all have been given power somewhere, somehow. We have the power to help, the power to hurt. We have the power to give and we have the power to take.
As followers of Jesus, we have been given power. We’ve been given the power of the Holy Spirit, it isn’t a power of timidity but of love and power and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). The same Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead empowers us to live for Jesus. This power given to followers of Jesus through the Holy Spirit is to love, to help, to comfort.
Most importantly, followers of Jesus have been given the power of the Holy Spirit to empower others. We have been given the power to help others grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). We have power, a wonder working power. A power to empower others to grow, to live, and to empower others to do the same.
In the MU, the X-Men struggle with power. In fact, all the superheroes in the MU struggle with power as does how it should be used and for whom. Should their power be used to control and subject others or to be used to empower others?
In Jesus by the Holy Spirit, there is power. And in this power followers of Jesus are to empower others. How can you empower others with the power given to you?