Perhaps you’ve seen the recent viral images on Facebook and the like of Batman being pulled over on Route 29 in Silver Spring, Maryland for having no tags. The images made me laugh, but I didn’t think much of it until my wife sent me an article published earlier this week in The Washington Post titled, “Who is the Route 29 Batman?” Believe it or not, the curious case of Lenny B. Robinson sheds some light on the topic of imputed righteousness.
The article is worth reading in full, but the skinny is that Robinson is an independently wealthy divorced man who spends his free time and spare money on dressing up like the Caped Crusader, driving his black Lamborghini made to look like a Batmobile, visiting sick children Washington and Baltimore area hospitals:
Batman began visiting Baltimore area hospitals in 2001, sometimes with his now teenage son Brandon playing Robin. Once other hospitals and charities heard about his car and his cape, Batman was put on superhero speed dial for children’s causes around the region. He visits sick kids at least couple times a month, sometimes more often. He visits schools, too, to talk about bullying. He does not do birthday parties.
His superhero work is limited to doing good deeds, part of a maturation process in his own life. In his earlier years, he acknowledges that he sometimes displayed an unsuperhero-like temper and got into occasional trouble with the law for fights and other confrontations. Putting on the Batman uniform changes and steadies him.
“Eventually, it sinks in and you become him,” Batman told me. “It feels like I have a responsibility that’s beyond a normal person. And that responsibility is to be there for the kids, to be strong for them, and to make them smile as much as I can.” He understands that might sound corny, but he doesn’t care.Of course, the metaphor ultimately is only partial; obviously I am not talking about God declaring us righteous on account of Christ. But there are parallels: putting on Batman (compare to “putting on Christ”) allows Robinson—who is then recognized as the real Batman by everyday people, children most especially—to become righteous in the ways the character Batman is regarded as righteous despite being an ordinary and undeserving guy underneath all that fancy black leather and neoprene.
This happened in Montgomery County, MD, where I used to live. Holy Parable of Righteousness, Batman! And no Joker anywhere in sight.