Posts Tagged ‘Spock’


Star Trek: The Next Generation Episodes Redemption (pt. 1&2, or the blu-ray full-length television movie treatment) from June 1991 (summer cliff hanger) and September 1991.

redemption

With the snowy days in Calgary, it has been movie days between shoveling (the never ending job, like the never ending story).  It is the culmination of the story of Worf’s family name return to honour, that started with it looking as his family were the traitors that allowed the massacre that orphaned him, only to be revealed it was the Duras family.

This is where Picard chooses the new Emperor, Gowron, and civil war breaks out, as the Duras sisters show up with an “heir”…partnered with the Romulan empire attempting to break the Klingon-Federation alliance. It also shows a time paradox where Tasha Yar’s half-Romulan/Half-human daughter is spear heading the charge. How? The Yesterday’s Enterprise episode where she went back in time to make her death mean something. An outsider who has wholly become one piece of the two worlds she is a child of.

With Worf being the new “Spock” character, a child of two worlds who internally struggle within. Raised by humans as a citizen of the Federation and a Starfleet officer, yet yearning for and struggling to connect with his Klingon roots.

The challenge of value of the person. I wrote about in my Chain of Command post. Where that show challenged us to look at where undervaluing the other creates, this one places the emphasis on conformity over authenticity. Worf can become fully Klingon, yet he struggles with choices made for they do not consider the collective good, only what is needed in the moment to prove one’s own superiority—as with the scene where Gowron battles a challenger within his own camp, and kills him amid a civil war. It is the front where Kern, Worf’s brother points out it is the Klingon way, to which Worf challenges the thought process.

This struck me in my ongoing reflections, for it is the struggle of being part of a species evolving in thought and inclusion, yet “tradition” attempting to hold one back, and bullying them into submission. The struggle Worf is in within the arc of Redemption. His family honour regained, does he just become the mindless traditionalist or something different?

The struggle I have written about in many spiritual settings, and spiritual based employers church or para-church I realized (probably again) is much the struggle Spock in the classic Trek, and Worf in TNG (Sisko in DS9) are within. The balance of tradition, with progress. It reminds me of something I read in Bishop John Shelby Spong’s memoir, Here I stand, to paraphrase traditionalist fearful of change said he despised scripture, and he shared the story of his love with the stories of God and the people, a gifting of a Bible as a teenager that was his most treasured gift. Yet, it was that love that caused him to go deep and led him into a journey of transformation.

This is the path that Worf was on in this story. How to balance his personality, honour his inherent Klingon and love of the tradition he yearned to be a part of, with who he was shaped to be through his life experience. Looking at the world, and how easily we become divided into ideological camps, and regress, I can see this struggle and how it can be easier to acquis to what is the known past no matter how harmful it can be to the path forward. Yet this is not what we are called to be in our evolution and being caretakers of creation. We are children of two worlds the cosmic, and the physical. The journey is the synergy of them both.

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This synergy creates the world of inclusion.

This synergy is what we are called to. It is the outgrowth of the love your neighbour as yourself teaching. For it is easy to care for the other if you place value of them. Yet, the challenge of placing value on yourself when others say you do not fit, and standing firm in being who you are. Standing firm in the journey to come to where you are in life to a place where you understand who you are, and why you do what you do.

That is the seedling of growing the love of self. It is the reconciling of desperate pieces, letting that which is harmful to self to fall away (interior and exterior, emotional and communal, etc)…and moving forward.

This is what was seen in Spong’s memoir, the love of the story of love of God, and letting the hate scriptures be revealed and stripped away to reveal the true thread of cosmic creation.

This is the story of Worf’s redemption being able to hold to what is the good of both worlds as one person, and moving forward.

When it comes to loving your neighbour, one has to ask:

Are you ready to love yourself?

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“I’ve always known I’d die alone”

-Captain James T. Kirk (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

Stay positive. Focus on what you can do. Easy mantras to say, hard to live when it is not good days you talk about during a week with the unknown rattling your brain and causing the reliving of mental and emotional pain, but good hours in the week. Yet it is the gratitude for what still is that must also be talked about within the journey. Each chapter of the book of our lives, begins with letters put together to form words, those words into sentences, those sentences into paragraphs, those paragraphs into pages, those pages into chapters, and those chapters into a book.

The thing about flashbacks is that when lived with sometimes, some good can be remembered. The quote that opens this reflection up may seem weird, yet in my time building children, youth & young adult ministries/groups and outreaches I have not only used spiritual texts but media to percolate constructive and critical thinking. The first I used in this purpose officially was Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, the movie where literally they discussed the purpose of pain in our lives, and where to discover the intrinsic spiritual piece, the shared belief in an afterlife paradise.

As Kirk pointed out to Spock and McCoy when Sybok came for his pain, we need our pain, it shapes who we are, it is how we have grown. This is partly true, pain plays that role, but through the actions of the movie and how family is shaped/found in the journey to beyond the Great Barrier, what is also shown is that bonds are created in gratitude, shared life and community. This is about that gratitude. Those moments of reading a few chapters of a book or writing a short piece and knowing the pain to come. But it is about still being able, however briefly, to participate in the simplicity of lifelong passions.

Much like was shared in the earlier post around my awesome employer, the PMO office, Service Canada and my MP aiding in ensuring my family’s continued financial viability.      The pause on the vocational journey for a family that has always been giving can be challenging, but there were still those moments over the past several months when we were able to feel included in creating that dream of a better world:

CP Kids and Families  is a great non-profit that aids families and individuals who are blessed to experience life differently due to Cerebral Palsy. It has many programs, but the adaptive bike clinic has blessed my son with freedom like none other. This year our funds may have been short, but gifts in kind we were able to provide art to support the silent auction at the annual Christmas Party, always a great time that the family enjoys as it becomes a community party based around fun and the joy of the season where labels slip away.

Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta another great non-profit, where it aided us during this time is the ability to donate goods through their drop bins (you can never know when you have the energy to make it a place to donate, and sometimes it is only kids clothes you have as they keep growing).

Calgary Drop In Centre: Donations Centre & Recyle Centre the ability to drop goods off that aid in new homes is a great blessing, the fact they have ability to take goods around the clock gave us a great place to donate items. We knew that we were giving so others could enjoy a home.

Robert McClure United Church falls under the giving back section because it accepted my family, but more…it took both my kids as kids. The ability to be apart of both sharing their belief in a better world through fully participating in the Christmas Pageant without barriers or labels, participating in liturgical painting, and lighting the candle of Love while sharing Indigenous Sacred teachings…well…. I encourage all of you to look for the little ways you can give to make a difference whether it be in word, deed, goods, action or monies. However, you can help your neighbour, please do, for that is what makes community.

Kirk: I thought I was going to die.

Spock: Not possible, you were never alone.

It is true. In the darkness of the battle to stay upright some days, one does feel alone and that the end is nigh. Yes, in moments of life like this, you can lose “friendships” but that is what one should not focus on.

Yet it is not only building community through the giving to help others. Sometimes as much as we do not want to stubbornly admit it, we need help. The true gratitude is when it happens without judgment, without hyperbole, or making one feel less than. It is simply happening because we are family—blood or otherwise, bonded together through being. Whether it was simply spending time, sharing cake (deserts are always good); cup of coffee, meals, aiding with minor/major repairs; money, laughs and an ear,  if need be…and all the things in between, the small to major ways that life happens and can need support.

Being our neighbour, thank you.

For all those that stepped in to help my family up until and past now on this journey, we thank you for in the smallest of actions to the grandest, we know that we are not alone.

Bones: Do you ever think we will find God out there?

Kirk: Perhaps God is not out there (taps chest) but in here, you and me Bones.

How today will you create or realize gratitude within your interconnected life?

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Lectionaries are designed within liturgical/mainline churches to have the entire Hebrew Bible and Christian Testament heard within the community in a 2 or 3-year cycle depending on the lectionary used, Other liturgical prayer book resources will take a daily reflective practice for the person through the whole of these two scripture compilations usually within a year.  It is unique that in this part of the lectionary cycle this is the reading that came up in the Roman Catholic lectionary, in the midst of the rise of fascism, Nazism, extremism (at the point of extremism the qualifier of right-left or religiosity is removed for it is simply about hate, power and control, nothing more).

But, this reading also struck on my own renaissance of the past months with my Trekkie ways (that many previous posts have touched upon) and it reflects the Healing Journey of James Tiberius Kirk as seen in the Star Trek II to VI.

As you hear the words of the gospel whether you read within your heart or with your lips, may they embed upon yourself. And the old Franciscan idiom of living it as nature before moving on touch upon your soul:

21 Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Gentile[e] woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.”

23 But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.”

24 Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.”

25 But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!”

26 Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”

27 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.”

28 “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.

-Gospel of Matthew 15:21-28 (New Living Translation)

Brother Jesus is a prick in this telling, let’s be honest. The man that has been teaching to rest in the love does the dance of ignorance based on race superiority. His non-chalant I am not here for you people, does come across as a supremacy statement at first blush.  Especially with a child’s life hanging in the balance. It would definitely be jarring for his disciples to hear.

Jarring because it was Brother Jesus espousing what they held to be true of their beliefs as the children of Israel. The Messiah was there for them not those who were actively supportive of the Empire.  I mean one of the many rumours (or truths depending on the narrative of Jesus’ early life you follow) is that Roman soldiers raped Mary and Jesus was the result, but was blessed, others would hold he was born directly from God, and many other stories as the Gospel of John tell us that would be too many to keep up with. Yet the gentiles, or Empire were non-Jews, mostly in this age they were ones that had sold out Israel, battled with Israel, or were Romans in general who only saw Israelite’s outside of the wealthy and religious leaders (that could be used to keep control of the people) as property to be used and/or abused as they wanted.

This is not even touching upon the general view of women across all nations at this time. A view that Jesus’ circle had shattered with their egalitarian equality, equity and justice.  Yet when this woman came upon them and they reverted to old ways. The ways that Jesus mimicked.

“Only Nixon can go to China”

-Spock, Star Trek VI: Undiscovered Country

 

Within the cold war height of hysteria, Star Trek’s original crew was in their movie arc. It was this future used to reflect the destructive ways that seeing American or Soviet as the other or capitalist-communist as the other and building fear would lead to.

Within Star Trek it was the Federation-Klingon Empire.  Star Trek II saw Spock give his life to save the Enterprise, quoting the famous line, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. And the genesis bomb went off on the planet Spock’s body was left to rest on.  Kirk had found he had a son, David, yet his best friend, his moral compass was left behind dead.

Now, as we go through quick touchstones of the others. I do encourage you to watch the movies and see other gems available, as this is just quick points and not as in-depth as could happen with these storylines.  As another aspect these movies could touch on would be the grief cycle of 5 stages, or the U theory of change, but again, those are for another time.

This is the journey of healing and transformation as the inciting incident of this arc was Spock’s death. In the third film, it is revealed that Spock’s essence is within McCoy. The Klingons want genesis, David and Saavik find a reborn Spock due to the Genesis bomb (life from lifelessness).

This is the rising action that sees Kirk and crew determine the needs of the few or the one can outweigh the many. They break Federation protocol, steal the Enterprise and head back to Genesis to get Spock. Before ultimate win though, the Klingons kill Kirk’s son, David.

Blind rage and grief move from a Cold War battle with the Klingon Empire, to a personalization of hatred for the other within Kirk.

Star Trek IV has Kirk and crew using a stolen Klingon cruiser to go back in time to save humanity from our own shortsightedness as the Klingon Empire sabre rattles for the “war criminal Kirk” to be turned over to the Klingon justice system.  But saving the universe must come before politics as the Crew on their newly christened HMS Bounty go back in time to well, bring back a lost species to communicate with a probe—the Humpback whale.

As Scotty would chime before the jump forward, “We got whales here!”.

It is truly a connecting of the Cold War of the `80’s into the Star Trek universe. It is also a trip where Kirk gets to experience Spock’s new entry back into his life, and learning what it means to be a person of two worlds…both Vulcan and Human.

In fact, the outcome of his Federation court martial is to be stripped of his admiralty and given to be Captain of the new Enterprise A. That is even the Federation realizes the best place for Kirk is as a captain of a star-ship out there exploring and discovering, much to the anger of the Klingon Empire.

Star Trek V has Kirk entering into a search for God thanks to Spock’s half brother Sybok. But the challenge of the search for God is a loss of pain. It is within this journey that Kirk begins to understand that pain is not what is the problem, but when Sybok takes the pain he takes the learning, the growth, the understanding. The intangibles that created who each of the crew were.

Also it raises the question when they are face to face with the entity pretending to be the Creator. It is petty, mean, and separatist. It is the being that extremism creates to give credence to their hatred. Kirk sums it up greatly on his transformational journey at this point, “Why is God angry?” Truly, if you are seeking wisdom, answers and truth. If you are seeking to love and include…then yes, why is God angry?

Which brings us to the end of the rising action and to the climax in Star Trek VI where this exchange happens between Kirk and Spock about the Klingons:

Spock: They are dying.

Kirk: Then let them die.

Sound familiar? Almost like the disciples with Brother Jesus. All this personal discovery, learning and transformation. Yet when the climax came to make a choice, Kirk almost took the path of the comfortable instead of healthy change. Yet it is within the Undiscovered Country that Kirk reaches the point with the Klingons that Jesus brought his disciples to with the woman in 15:28:

28 “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.

Kirk was at peace and heading to retirement, as was many of his friends on the crew. The denouement. Then the final resolution of his life was seen in Star Trek VII: Generations as he saves the Enterprise-B and falls into the Nexus, and then with Picard and crew will save the universe again. He imparts this wisdom to Picard: You are where you need to be. The best place, the Captain of the Enterprise, do not let them take it away, do not let them promote you. Stay there for it is the best place. Completely understanding the need to find your passion, and then live it and not let your ego or others building the ego to create a false you that removes you from that path.

Even with detours as seen in Kirk’s life can get back on track, things will thrive and grow. Healing will happen. Transformation and release of the pain associated with your own story. The shadow blocks can be removed for a better world, that begins with a better you.

Much like Kirk.

As Brother Jesus played a mirror for his disciples in how they were still not getting it.

And as trite as it maybe you will live a life, that will make your own part of the world a better place for you being a more complete and you- you.

Do you choose this you?

“It was fun.”

-Captain James T. Kirk, Star Trek Generations, last words.


“I am going back because I am a coward. Sometimes it is easier to go back, than to walk away.”

-Wild Bill (Hickock, 2017 movie)

Westerns and Star Trek, it has been a childhood mythology renaissance in my house lately. Star Trek shares so many values that I hold dear around equality, exploration, peace, greater good (and the list goes on) as well as friendship, and the power of the intrinsic unnameable piece of the human experience that heals us and moves us forward.

Just look to Star Trek Deep Space Nine. The thrust of the whole series is essentially Truth and Reconciliation for a colonized, oppressed and almost genocide people—the Bajorans (at the hands of the Cardassians). It is the story of the Emissary, Benjamin Sisko who goes on his own healing journey with his dual role in Starfleet and now Bajoran Religious leadership. Releasing his own anger and pain at the loss of his wife at wolf 359 (for non-Trekkies, that is the major Borg battle where Captain Picard was assimilated and led the charge).

It is also more, as many have panned the finale of this series for pulling out the old trope of writing where it appears you have so written yourself in a corner that the only way out is to state “the Gods saved us.” Or some other miracle.  Yet, when you are dealing with a people who have had their worth shattered, and are bearing witness to reclaiming/learning their spiritual/cultural heritage it begins to make sense. Think of a whole planet colonized and people living through a healing journey of PTSD, and what finally ends the new war with the Dominion, the evil that has emerged from the Celestial Temple (wormhole) like an Anti-Christ…why it is the Prophets that save.

Could the society have healed without coming to terms and embracing that intrinsic missing piece? How can one heal from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder of their entire cultural identity being stripped away by generations, if it is not by truly embracing their truth? Truly, to embrace the old light that shines through the new cracks of the pain to finally shatter the bonds.

It also led to thinking of a youth retreat where we discussed bio-ethics. How? Star Trek Deep Space Nine’s 5th season episode, Rapture wrestles with a child who has a parent that may be dying and needing to make a decision that may or may not be within the parent’s wishes on life and death and calling. The other was Spock and Sarek’s relationship in Star Trek’s Journey to Babel as the father has fallen ill, they are estranged, and duty calls Spock, a logical reaction is to follow duty for the needs of the many should outweigh the needs of the one?  What does one choose? Which part of themselves do they listen to…

It flows, there are many different ethical conversations that emerge from movies and shows. Hickock (2017) was a birthday present from my son, and is the fictionalized look at the time Wild Bill was sheriff of Abilene. A good movie with decent pacing as you explore what it means to follow your actual heart. To leave the comfortable trail, and to see the new calling laid out before you. That is what Wild Bill was speaking to. He was not being a hero or brave by going back to Abilene on his normal path as a gunslinger. He was taking the coward’s way. For it was the comfortable path, as the one that was calling him was the unknown—scary, and would take too much bravery. So, it was easier to simply go with the comfortable road.

These musings have meandered a might but they all speak to wholeness of self and community. For that to happen it means standing at the crossroads and making a choice. The choice that matters is the one that speaks to personal transformation.

The choice that matters, and which part of yourself you listen to…where you seek the intrinsic wholeness of self, whom your Prophets are if you will. These are only questions you can answer.

The question before you are much that same as what Wild Bill had to answer:

Will you be a coward or a hero in your own story?


Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.

-Captain (Admiral) James T. Kirk opening monologue to Star Trek; Star Trek the Animated series and Star Trek I thru VI

Ah Star Trek, a good sci-fi world to explore many things of morals/ethics and yes, even spirituality.  Thanks to the wonders of Netflix Canada I have had the fun of re-discovering the animated series, a simple 22 episodes from 1973-74. It was a show designed as a continuation of the original Star Trek series, though declared outside of canon. Which frankly I don’t give a damn about, I enjoy good stories with characters I love, this idea of which is to be paid attention to is simply a pain in the butt. Anyways, I digress and back on point. (Full episode guide here.)

The show was fun because with animation instead of live action many more aliens could be added to the crew and worlds, as well, many new things could happen. Many of the scripts were adapted from those that were too costly to make a go on the original show. Much like the comics series and book series that followed the shows, it opened up new alien worlds explore.

The series was voiced by most of the original crew, sans Walter Koenig due to financial constraints, but Leonard Nimoy refusing to be apart of the series if the rest could not speak to a high volume of community and friendship. Yet Koenig was not absent from the series, he was the first Trek actor to writer a Star Trek story in season one’s episode The Infinite Vulcan.

It is a story of creation of a master race, imposition of peace and what truly emerges as a choice between control and free will.

Is the reader starting to see what can happen with these 23-minute episodes over a 22-week period? They work for all ages with viewing, a group of them could be used during specific times of the church year as well (ala Advent or Lent) as a special discussion series.

They are stories that can be tied into discussions, teachings for all ages, or used to craft a specific children curriculum for a part of the children’s ministry as each episode would lend itself to game/craft creation out of the story, and can easily tie into different topics from the epistles.

Considering season one’s episode Mudd’s Passion is a treatise on living as you were truly created (a nod to St. Paul’s writings in Romans that have been oh so misinterpreted as scriptures of pain over time).  There are 21 other short stories like this, that are accessible for all ages.

Basically, I do not want to offer up what a curriculum could look like for spiritual growth and direction. I do not want to say it should only be tied to the Christian Bible, for it can be used within any religious or humanist settings (as Gene Rodenberry was a rationalist humanist). What it is, is another medium for discovery and learning that can be overlooked so easily.

What it takes is someone willing to be creative. Someone who is good with craft/game/music creation or working with kids/adults to create these things on their own. Tying it into some discussion questions and launching. One thing I always stood on when I was working in churches was that money is not what was needed to create multi-generational communities. What was needed was passion, fun and purpose that when lived out becomes contagious. It creates the space for belonging for all, and that is the space that is needed.

Here is some thoughts on a simple tool that can be used.

And to quote Captain Jean-Luc Picard…

“To Boldly go where no one has gone before.”