kindom musings

Thoughts and musings from a pastor in the peace tradition. Perspectives come from a progressive, justice-minded, feminist position. Responses are welcome.

Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States

I am a Church of the Brethren pastor in my thirties. While I love what I do, I started out with plans to be a veterinarian. God has a great sense of humor, and I wound up in ministry instead. However, my sojourn into veterinary science did make me a vegetarian with a love of animals. (We have two cats and a dog at home -- only a small petting zoo!) My husband is also ordained, and we have a son (LB) and a daughter (KB). My husband keeps me up to date on baseball trivia, and my children keep me giggling. All in all, it makes for a well-rounded life. I was born in Pennsylvania, moved several times for school and work, and have recently returned to my home state. On the Myers-Briggs scale, I'm an INFP.

Friday, September 08, 2006

"In Star Trek, humanity always wins"

I just heard this quotation on Star Trek in the midst of a commentary on ST's 40th anniversary. Yes, I am a closet fan. Despite the cheesy special affects in the original series, I got hooked on reruns when I was in high school. I remember reading that MLK, Jr. once urged Nichelle Nichols to remain with the show because it created a positive image of an African-American on television, a pretty rare thing in those days. Later, I became a fan of Next Generation, but I especially liked Voyager with such a strong role model in Captain Janeway. And of course, there are the movies. My favorite is still IV, when the Enterprise crew return to 20th-century Earth to pick up an humpback whale needed to save the future earth from an alien probe. (Wow, that sounds like a really convoluted story line when condensed to a sentence!) In theory, all the people of the world had resolved their differences. Women and men were seen as equals.

There are so many great theological and sociological issues dealt with in the series. By looking at other lifeforms, faraway planets, Gene Roddenberry and others were able to indirectly deal with pressing issues of our time. By providing some distance, we saw a lens into our interior.

It was a brave vision, even if it took conflicts into the "final frontier." Instead of fighting terrorists or other enemies on Earth, enemies became the Klingons, the Romulans, and others. Even so, there is still hope for a cessation of violence. Klingons later became allies (albeit uneasy ones at times). It teaches me that what we fear most is the "other." The more we find commonalities with those around us (religion, politics, country, planet?), the more we seem to be able to accept differences we find. Do we need to discover and fear life on other planets to be able to claim a common humanity among peoples of the Earth? I hope that's not the case; otherwise we may be in trouble. In these days leading up to the 5th anniversary of 9/11, I wonder what it would take to resolve hostilities in the "war on terror."

So, Mr. Roddenberry, in whatever space, dimension, or existence you now occupy, on this anniversary day I thank you for your vision, for the challenges you presented through a troup of characters as diverse as Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, Captain Picard, Data, Dr. Crusher, Captain Janeway, and oh so many others. You give me hope that there is a future worth exploring and struggling to understand. Live long and prosper.


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