Saturday, May 16, 2009

Boldly Going Where Bill Shatner Went Before

One out of every three children ages 6 to 11 is afraid the Earth won’t exist when he or she grows up. If I was to guess a single reason why “Star Trek”, the movie recreation of the forty year old TV show, is so popular, I’d guess it was because of the film’s optimism.
Chris Pine stars as the young, yet to be Captain, James Tiberius Kirk growing up hundreds of years from now in the state of Iowa where there the skies are still blue and the fields are still green. San Francisco has not been flooded by the rising oceans of global warming. Nations haven’t destroyed each other with nuclear weapons, but instead, in the world of Star Trek, not only are nations and ethnic groups no longer at war, but there is also peace with a variety of planets, races and civilizations.
There are many things to appreciate in the world of the new Star Trek. Exciting action sequences, some very funny lines and the warm relationship that develop between the characters (that are like family to many viewers): Dr. “Bones” McCoy, Scotty, Uhura, Chekhov, Sulu and especially the half human/half alien, Spock.
Many people relate to the personal struggles of Spock. His Vulcan race insist that all decisions and actions should be made using reason and logic alone. In the film, we see the beginnings of his friendship with Jim Kirk, someone who bases his decisions often on feelings and instinct. Learning to balance the mind as portrayed through Spock and the heart as portrayed through Kirk is a constant struggle in all of our lives.
That balance reason and emotion is called wisdom. The book of Proverbs is all about the pursuit of wisdom in life. Proverbs 2: 1 & 2 says, “Store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding.” We need the balance between the teaching of Scripture for our minds and the prompting of God’s spirit in our hearts.
But back to that optimism in the world of Star Trek. So many science fiction films show a world without hope. In the world of the Terminator films and TV show atomic war destroys millions of lives and war is ongoing. In the world of “The Day After Tomorrow” and this summer’s “2012” ecological disaster looms to destroy us all. Let alone that coming zombie invasion.
In the world of Star Trek there is hope. There will be peace (well, except for those pesky Romulans). There will be prosperity; everyone’s needs will be met and everyone will have a job to do. And people get to fly in cool space ships. People love the thought of such a world.
But that’s just science fiction. The problems this world faces are real. Jesus said those troubles would come. Mark 13: 7 & 8 says “When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes and famines.” And He said that was just the beginning.
Scripture tells us this world will eventually come to an end. Hebrews 12:26 we have God promises as much, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also heavens.”
There will be a world of peace, hope and incredible riches. Revelation chapters 21 and 22 describe God’s new heaven and new earth. It will be greater than the optimistic world Gene Rodenberry imagined with the old Star Trek and even J. J. Abrams’ new Star Trek.

(The film is rated PG-13 and does include scenes of sensuality, violence and language.)

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