I never met Gary Robinson; we began corresponding several years ago as contributing writers to BreakPoint, with a shared interest in superhero comics. Gary was a Superman fan of the highest order. Apparently he'd preached at least one sermon in his Superman costume at the church he pastored. He wrote a book, "Superman on Earth: Reflections of a Fan," that traced his love of the first superhero, and googling his name with "Superman" will show you more of his sharp writing on the Man of Steel.
Perhaps his last article for BreakPoint, "Look! Up in the Sky," an enthusiastic review of last summer's blockbuster "The Man of Steel," is a great summation of Gary's perspective, not just as a superfan, but a man of God: "But the Superman myth is a poor substitute for the deep truths of the Gospel. Superman wants us to live and go on our way. Jesus bids us come to Him and die. Superman offers himself for our physical rescue; Jesus offered Himself for our spiritual transformation. We can never enter Superman’s story. The Son of God entered ours—and we, through faith, may enter His."
I knew that Gary had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier this year and had been receiving treatments for it, but that particular type of cancer is aggressive. I followed his progress on Facebook, where he displayed uncommon grace and humor during this ultimate trial. But I was still startled to discover a week ago that people were sharing their love for Gary on Facebook because he had passed away on October 24.
Gary is an example of how we can enjoy our love for things of this earth that display the best qualities of humanity, like truth and justice -- even being childlike enough to preach in a blue, red, and yellow supersuit -- yet with a faith in the Son of God that towered over all other loves and whose face he now beholds in Eternity.
[Ed. note: You can read more of Gary Robinson's BreakPoint feature articles here and here.]
Alex Wainer teaches communication, media, and film classes at Palm Beach Atlantic University.