“Compromise, Reassurance, that’s how the world works,” says Secretary of State Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross to The Avengers as he hands them the Sokovia Accords; a set of government oversights created to keep The Avengers in check and accountable for their actions.
As General Ross shows the gathered Avengers footage of the destruction which occurred in the events of the previous films, he tells the clearly uncomfortable group of heroes: ‘Captain, people are afraid.’
‘That’s why I’m here,’ Tony Stark (Iron Man) chimes in. ‘We need to be put in check. Whatever form that takes, I’m game.’
The rest of team Iron Man agree. Checks and balances signed by 112 Nations must obviously be the best course of action for everyone.
“Compromise, Reassurance, that’s how the world works”.
But Steve Rogers (Captain America) doesn’t agree.
‘I’m sorry Tony – If I see a situation pointed south I can’t ignore it. Sometimes I wish I could,’ Steve replies.
“No you don’t” Tony shoots back
Steve smiles sadly “No I don’t”.
And there it is, the fundamental break in ideology that sets us up for the rest of the movie’s conflict.
Team Iron Man believes that compromise and reassurance is the best and only path forward for the Avengers. While Team Captain America holds that right is right and wrong is wrong and politics should not have the power to dictate when and where the Avengers go and who they help.
It is a complex and wonderfully grey conflict between the two camps and it really caught my attention. Not only because it’s an excellent piece of storytelling by the team from Marvel, but also because I see elements of the same conflict being played out in Churches today.
Take this quote from ‘Thunderbolt Ross’: “Captain, while a great many people see you as a hero, there are some who prefer the word vigilante. You’ve operated with unlimited power and no supervision. That’s something the world can no longer tolerate.”
Now change a couple of words around:
“Christian, while a great many people see you as a good person, there are some who prefer the word bigot. You’ve preached without censorship and with no consideration of the feelings of others. That’s something the world can no longer tolerate.”
Christianity (especially in the West) is under a social pressure unlike anything my generation or my parent’s generation have ever seen. And so we now find ourselves like the Avengers, faced with a choice.
Do we as Christians compromise with society to reassure them that there is nothing wrong with their life choices, and it’s all okay as long as they’re good people who follow the law of the land?
Or do we stand by the word of God, which holds people to a higher, righteous standard and refuse to compromise on issues like abortion, euthanasia and marriage?
In 2 Corinthians 6:14-17, Paul speaks about our struggle as Christians to be spiritually separate from the world, to not only defend the faith but also to safeguard the truth. Paul is warning us that a compromised truth that makes Non-Christians feel comfortable and reassured, cannot defeat Satan, or rescue those who have fallen into his snare.
The Bible is very clear on what is right and what is wrong and gives us plenty of examples of how Jesus and the apostles responded to dangerous and false teachers. Hint: it wasn’t with compromise or reassurance! 2 John 10-11.
Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross, was not wrong that compromise and reassurance play a big role in how the world the works. We see this in government, in our workplaces and in our relationships with our friends and families. But what his statement fails to cover is that there will always be things that must never be compromised on, and that there are some truths, no matter how upsetting or confronting, that people should not be spared from.
Captain America knew this and as Christians we are told to actively live this.
And, just as The Avengers strength is what led them into this conflict-
Vision: “Our very strength incites challenge. Challenge incites conflict. And conflict… breeds catastrophe.”
-then our strength of conviction will also incite challenge and conflict, and for some of us even catastrophe. Luke 21: 12-16
But we must not be afraid. The Lord has called us to safeguard the gospel message and not temper living faithful lives just to reassure the feelings of others.
So it’s Team Captain America for me.