The Original Series Crew
I grew up with Star Trek. I remember as a kid when the original series was still on NBC and when it went into syndication I tried to watch it whenever it was on, or whenever I could get control of the television. There was something that captured my imagination, a glimpse of a positive future, possibility and adventure. Since I have always been seeking new frontiers, note my career in the military, Star Trek, the Original Series was an inspiration. Kirk, Spock, Scottie, McCoy, Uhura, Sulu, Chekov and Nurse Chapel became part of my life. When not watching it I was reading Star Trek novels, something that I countinued with the Next Generation. I was fascinated by the Klingons and Romulans, the though of other planets with other intelligent beings was something that did not frighten me, or casue me to question my Christian faith. Since I have always believed in a very big God, the fact that God did not have to be limited to just dealing with humans seemed, as Spock would put it “logical.”
No I know that some people could be offended by this, or could give me some flak for what I just said. But I see no reason why God couldn’t be working in all of the gazillion galaxies, solar systems, planets and maybe even parallel or alternate universes. Why not? What if there was a planet where there was no fall and the inhabitants didn’t screw it up? I think it would be cool. My God is big, in fact the Bible and the Christian tradition is pretty clear that God is like really super duper powerful and capable of handling a whole lot of stuff all at once. In fact we like to call God omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and a bunch of other om’s. Likewise, we believe that God is a creative God. So why would we look out and see this vast universe and say: “Nope Clem, just us out here.” So since I am backed up by the testimony of Scripture and Tradition about some of the attributes of God I think it is safe to say that God indeed could well be working elsewhere in the universe. If I believe that God is who Scripture state him to be, then I have to at least give some thought to this possibility. Can I positively say this is the case? No, but I can infer it from what the faith teaches me about God and by what science has revealed to us over the past couple of hundred years. None of this takes anything away from God working his plan of redemption through Christ with humanity.
USS Enterprise NCC 1701
Anyway that rabbit chased back into the woods, I continue. I followed the Star Trek movies, with The Wrath of Khan and the Voyage Home being my favorites. Not long after I learned to drive in high school a friend and I went to a Halloween party. I had made me a Mr. Scott uniform and my friend was dressed as an alien. After the party we headed home. We had just gotten on I-5 and I looked at him and said “set course 010 Warp 8” and being young and dumb took my 1966 Buick LeSabre 400 with a twin barrel carburetor up to about 90 MPH. I noticed a pair of headlights coming up behind me. I slowed down for the Benjamin Holt Drive exit and exited the freeway where a stoplight was red. Beside me pulled a CHP cruiser. The trooper looked at us, me with my Star Trek uniform and my friend in his alien suit, laughed and waved. I watched my speedometer like a hawk the rest of the way home and prayed that the trooper would not turn around to get me. Later in Germany I was driving my first German “beater” a 1976 faded powder blue Ford Escort, to my base on a Saturday with Judy. Ahead of us a Mercedes crept along. Since we were on a two lane state highway going through the hills of the Saarland along the bank of the Nahe River there was no way to get around this guy. I have never been patient when people clog the road by driving well below the posted speed limit, which in this case was 100 KM or 62 MPH. My little car known as the “Blue Max” had its emergency flasher located on the center of the dashboard. It was a red button about an in round. I looked at Judy and said “fire phasers.” I reached down pushed the button of and on and in front of us the strangest thing happened. There was a boom, a flash and the guy’s muffler and tail pipe dropped off. I avoided the debris and he coasted to a halt alongside the road. Judy and I both looked at each other with looks of shock and disbelief. Yet it had happened. I have tried this again on every other car that I have owned with no effect. I guess phasers are not standard on this side of the Atlantic.
The Bext Generation Crew
When Star Trek, the Next Generation, or TNG came out in 1987 I was a young Army Captain getting ready to go to seminary the following year. I fell in love with TNG and its cast. In fact during my clinical pastoral education residency my supervisor was able to use analogies from the TNG characters, Lieutenant Worf and Lieutenant Commander Data to help me gain insights into what was going on in me. I had a lot of affinity for both of these characters as someone who wrestled with where I fit and where was home. Something I shared with these characters. Likewise there were a couple of episodes dealing with Captain Picard entitled “Family” and “Tapestry” which actually woke me up to a couple of things in my life. I think I can say that the Deity Herself used them to help me through that time when I was still sorting through my life, vocation and issues of home and heart. I thought that the character development in TNG was great and I still will watch TNG whenever I come across it or want to pull out one of my DVDs. I liked the darkness of Deep Space Nine and the fact that baseball was a part of it. I did not take as well to Voyager or Enterprise as my life was getting really busy with military deployments and operations. As was the case I ended up collecting the entire TNG series on DVD. I also have a jacket similar to the TNG jacket in Science/Medical Blue with the communicator badge and Lieutenant Commander colar insignia. I also have a very rare Starfleet Chaplain pin with a white Greek Cross on it. This came out of one of the old TOS Technical Manuals dealing with rank and branches of Starfleet.
Deep Space Nine “Niners” Pennant
When I first saw the hints of the new movie a couple of years ago I wondered about it. I wondered how they could pull of the feel of the original series. I heard friends rave about it and every review I read was sweet. So since there were no ball games in the local area, though the Tides continued their winning was with a 13-2 victory in Columbus against the Clippers, we decided to go to dinner and a movie. We headed over to Gordon Biersch and had a nice dinner with great beer and went to the theater a couple of blocks away. The movie was great. The cast, most of whom I had seen very little of in other roles, had the feel of the old cast. Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Qunito (Spock), Karl Urban (McCoy) and Simon Pegg (Scotty) had great chemistry. The supporting cast worked well too. I was simply blown away as they pulled this off and managed to do a “prequel” which worked. As a side note, my undergraduate campus, California State University at Northridge served as Starfleet Academy. All in all it was a very satisfying experience and the crowd applauded loudly as the final credits came up, preceded by Leonard Nimoy doing a voice over as the Enterprise went by saying; “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life-forms and new civilizations; to boldly go where no one has gone before.” This was followed by the theme music of the original series as the credits rolled out. That was special.
So I guess I am a Trekkie, or Trekker, depending on which Star Trek sect I belong, but nonetheless, Star Trek has been, and will reamin part of my life. Thanks Gene Roddenberry, and all who over the years have brought the Star Trek universe to us.
Live long, and prosper my friends.