If you haven’t watched Marvel’s Runaways on Hulu yet, please do yourself a favor and either add it to your Watchlist or subscribe to the week-long free trial now.
Because it is wonderful.
There is only ONE straight, white male character in the teen group. There are more women than men in the main cast. The moms are solid as characters and villainesses in their own right. Among the teens are a Latina and two LGBTQ characters, a black teen boy acts as group leader, and a purple haired Social Justice Warrior crushes hard on the jock with a brain.
Not to mention the parents, evil as they may be, are damn attractive.
But the diverse casting and hot parents aren’t the only reason to watch this show.
It is a great show for those who have run away from American Christendom, and it offers a challenge to those who would uphold it over Christ’s Church.
The runaways’ parents, also known as PRIDE, support the Church of the Gibborim, a growing, Scientology-esque faith headed by PRIDE member Leslie Dean, who is also Karolina’s mother. The Church espouses a propserity-ish Gospel and claims members who have enough potential can go “Ultra,” although we are not really sure this is an achievement worth pursuing once we learn what it could mean.
Not to mention, once every year, PRIDE performs a literal yearly sacrifice of the most lonely, marginalized, and abandoned person they can find to revive a being who, at the beginning, is seemingly decrepit. In return, PRIDE receives power and wealth.
The teens discover their parents in the middle of a sacrifice, and they turn to each other to figure out what to do next. They know their parents cannot find out what they know, because they could be just as disposable as any of their previous victims, despite being their own children. As a result, the Runaways grow closer to each other, and as the adults suspect their children might be onto something, they get outright manipulative with how they try to get their kids to confess/keep quiet.
Before you accuse me of making links that are way too broad, please consider this:
American Christendom has a history of sacrificing the LGBTQ+ community’s full inclusion into the Church at the altar of so-called “orthodoxy.”
Its abusive leaders go to great lengths to silence and slander their victims when they go public.
It tells us God is a God of freedom and prosperity, but only when we become “holier” or “better” than we are now.
It proclaims harmful theology and covers it up by describing it as “taking a hard stance against sin,” and doing so for the benefit of those who have sinned or are backsliding.
And y’all wonder why people leave in droves.
A majority of Americans, most of whom profess Christianity, enjoy Marvel entertainment. We love seeing the good guys beat evil. A majority of these same Americans would probably have sympathy for the teens in Marvel’s Runaways. The kids do not see this “greater good” for which their parents say they strive. They see only evil and corruption, and they both resist and flee their families with the audience’s support.
So why do these same American Christians devote so much time and energy attacking Christendom’s runaways? Why do they accuse them of doubting too much or being too progressive instead of dealing with the very real evil which has consumed this branch of Christianity?
Have the planks in their eyes permanently blinded them? Has the throne become too comfortable to leave? Do they not realize that they bear poisoned fruit and we are sick from it?
American Christendom, y’all need to be listening to the cries of those who are leaving, especially when what you claim is for their own good is actually killing them.
The Church of Christ does not bear the poisonous fruits of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, classism, ignorance, fear-mongering, or shame. She bears the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When people run away from Christianity, they do so because they do not see good fruit, and because they are starving, they move on to find it elsewhere.
When you’ve become the Church of the Gibborim, or the Church of America, it’s time to tear down the walls and start gardening again. Maybe when we see real fruit growing, us runaways will return.