Tuesday, May 26, 2009
This past week, our family watched three episodes of the newest Star Trek series with Captain Jonathan Archer played by Scott Bakula. I've been slow to accept this new series, but I think I have finally embraced it as I've done all the other updated versions along the way. I’ve been a quiet Trekkie since I was 10 years old. I loved everything about the show. The characters were unforgettable: Captain Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, Sulu, Chekov, Uhura and the rest. And the themes were inspiring for me as well.
When Star Trek first appeared in 1966, I doubt even Gene Roddenberry ever imagined what the show would become. It touched on so many of the prejudices that have existed in our culture and nation and pushed us further into the wonder of its mission, “to boldly go where no one has gone before.”
"For the profit of travel: in the first place, you get rid of a few prejudices .... The prejudiced against color finds several hundred millions of people of all shades of color, and all degrees of intellect, rank, and social worth, generals, judges, priests, and kings, and learns to give up his foolish prejudice." ~ Herman Melville (1819–1891), Traveling.
Star Trek pointed toward a united planet that worked for the good of all and took that intention outward. As a result, I have loved the developing series through all these years, and I think I am better for it! So many prejudices and small-minded ideas were challenged by the continuing journey "to boldly go where no one has gone before"--not just into outer space, but into the space that exists between all of us!
My homily on May 17th utilized the Star Trek theme and the new movie to make the point that God's love thrusts us ever outward! It's a Star Trek sized vision--cosmic!
Acts 10:44-48 (The Message)
"No sooner were these words out of Peter's mouth than the Holy Spirit came on the listeners. The believing Jews who had come with Peter couldn't believe it, couldn't believe that the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on "outsider" non-Jews, but there it was ... Then Peter said, "Do I hear any objections to baptizing these friends with water? They've received the Holy Spirit exactly as we did."
The Spirit of God "poured out on the outsider" ... God "going where no one has gone before." Inclusive, global, cosmic ...
Bad religion too often seems to promote a God who is small--angry, jealous, needy, exclusive, concerned about trivial things, loving only those who "believe the right thing" or "belong to the right group." We wind up with the infeasible idea of a God who is smaller than us [not global, much less cosmic] and less loving than many of us. Bad religion often presents a divine love that is stingy and conditional; and yet, demands from us a generous and unconditional love. No wonder, many Christians settle for a system where they only love those who love them back (Jesus said, even the pagans know how to do this).
We have been told by this earth-bound, parochial religion that God doesn't love homosexuals, God doesn't exist in mosques and synagogues, and God isn't concerned by the carnage of our justifiable wars and ravaging of our planet. It's a religion that excuses itself from compassion and grace because "they" are "evil." And it easily justifies capital punishment, torture, pre-emptive wars, opulent living, and arrogant judgmentalism. We have become the small god we worshiped. A god who is not cosmic, not going boldly anywhere.
May the vision of the true gospel and Star Trek inspire us to something more--to boldly go into the space that separates us all from one another!