The new Justice League movie is about to come out. Batman and friends united against the forces of evil. The world has been waiting for this movie for years. There have already been three movies to set it up. But I had a healthy reminder that this movie, like other Hollywood blockbusters, is a story, just a story.

A few months ago, the director of Justice League, Zack Snyder, announced that he was stepping down from directing the film. The movie was moving into post-production, and Avengers director Joss Whedon came in to take the helm.

Why did Zack Snyder step down? He experienced a tragic loss – his 20-year-old daughter committed suicide.

How does Hollywood deal with something like this? With the anticipation of this movie building for years. With multiple movies in the pipeline setting up the DC cinematic universe. (The world where Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the rest of their gang operate.) What happens when a father experiences tragic loss?

Zack chose to step down. And what grabbed me the most from this story was Zack’s closing statement:

“I know the fans are going to be worried about the movie, but there are seven other kids that need me. In the end, it’s just a movie. It’s a great movie. But it’s just a movie.”

“It’s just a movie.”

Think about that.

A movie is a story. It presents an alternate reality that you can aspire towards. It lets you dream with the world. And our world is telling us stories. It’s called “culture”. Movies, music, books, social media – all are filled with certain common themes that make up a culture, the story of our day. There’s an old German word that describes this well: “zeitgeist,” or “the spirit of the time.”

If I live in a culture that has it’s own spirit for this time, this begs a question – is there a spirit for all the times? Is there an eternal “zeitgeist”? What would it’s story be?

Would it be about superheroes fighting villains? Would the hero be some cool, distant, antihero? Would he (or she) make morally ambiguous choices, so we could feel better about our own choices? Would there be token characters in the story to show acceptance towards all ways of life? Would there be a setup for a sequel?

A few years ago, I was hospitalized with sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL). I was fatigued to where I needed to be in a wheelchair. I lay in bed most of the day, with ringing in my ears.

My father-in-law brought me a book. It was called “Face to Face With God” by Bill Johnson. This book introduced a concept to me, which Bill Johnson calls “100-Year Vision”. He talks about buying into a vision that lives on for longer than your own life. An eternal story.

As I spent time with this concept, I looked over the choices of my own life. I found three areas of my life that I found were connected with 100-Year Vision.

My Biological Identity

My biological identity tells me that I’m a human being, not any other creature or species. And as I pondered on that, I realize that I made choices in this direction. I chose to get married, to have a family, and to pursue physical, emotional, and spiritual health. To choose life.

Our zeitgeist refers to heroes who are aliens, not humans. Heroes who are half human and half machine. These heroes don’t have children. They’re not raising up the next generation. They’re too busy taking down enemy spacecraft to pick their kids up from school.

My National Identity

My national identity tells me that I come from one nation, one people. I’m aware that this is not the case for everyone, but my national identity is Israeli. I’m Jewish. Although I was raised as a purebred Xennial in suburban America, I’ve made choices to make my home and my family in Jerusalem, Israel.

Our zeitgeist says that there are no nations. We’re all one human race. Governments cannot be trusted, patriotism is frowned upon. The only person our heroes can trust is the man (or woman) next to them.

My Spiritual Identity

My spiritual identity tells me that I belong to some Higher Power. Something out there created me, and is worthy of my love, my service, my praise. It literally owns me. That something is God. And I gave my life to Him. My life goal is to pray, read His word, and worship Him daily. As I tell people, “I’m only going as far as my next quiet time.”

Our zeitgeist says that there is no God. Or maybe there is. Who knows? Doesn’t matter. Right now our heroes have to deal with this global crisis, OK? Maybe after nuclear holocaust is averted, we can start thinking about things like God and morality. But first our hero has got to lose himself or herself in a night of passion with a costar. If there’s a break between that and the next crisis, maybe there’ll be some time for church. (There never is.)

Back to Zack Snyder’s words:

“I know the fans are going to be worried about the movie, but there are seven other kids that need me. In the end, it’s just a movie. It’s a great movie. But it’s just a movie.”

“…there are seven other kids that need me.”

Zack Snyder gave his life to tell a story – until he chose to stop. Now he’s a part of an eternal story. He chose to embrace 100-Year Vision when he stepped away from directing Justice League. He chose the story of his family over the story of today’s popular myth.

He chose THE story over A story.

If your life does not support your health and family, your national identity, or your faith, it might be a good time to look at what story you’re buying into, and making a change.

Ask yourself this: How are you living out the eternal story today?