JR. Forasteros - May 28, 2017
From Series: "Strangers in a Strange Land"
Great Science Fiction offers visions of a utopian future where humans have achieved peace and prosperity through progress. But Jesus' resurrection challenges the assumption that humans can save ourselves. In this series, we'll examine some of the most famous sci-fi visions of the future against the image of the Church we find in 1 Peter and see how the Spirit at work in us is the true hope of the world.
More From "Strangers in a Strange Land"
One of the great sci-fi properties of all time is Star Trek. I grew up loving Trek – Star Trek 3 was the first movie I saw in the movie theater (with my dad). There are a lot of reasons the original Star Trek was popular. It championed diversity and harmony in a time when the world and our country was deeply divided. It offered a relentlessly positive view of the future – no matter what dangers lurked in the far reaches of space, Kirk, Spock and McCoy would figure it out. And if the danger was ever too great, of course, they could say to the ship, “Beam me up, Scottie”. Then the so-sci-fi-they-were-almost-magical transporters would dematerialize them on the planet and reassemble them safely back on the ship.
Even if you don’t care for Star Trek (what?!), you know the transporters. Who hasn’t wanted one on a long road trip? How amazing would it be if we could just tap a communicator badge when we want to go somewhere and say, “Get me there, now.”
I fantasize, too, about having a transporter for awkward, painful or scary situations.
What if you were in a room where things were getting heated and you could just say, “Beam me up!” and poof, disappeared in a swirl of glitter-water?
Like many TV shows, Star Trek fell into a trap I’m afraid has warped us: no matter how bad the problem, it could be resolved in about an hour (including commercial breaks!). And on the occassions they couldn’t fix everything? Beam me up, Scottie!
We’ve nearly passed the point where we engage difficult relationships and painful conversations anymore. Increasingly, we stay safe in our social groups, surrounded by people who think like us. Those who disagree are the Enemy. End up in a difficult conversation? We cry, “Beam me up!” and bail out as fast as possible. We unfriend on FB, leave that friend circle. Look for a new church where people think like us.
Churches especially are guilty of this.
If someone comes to us with a problem that makes us uncomfortable, something we can’t fix in 40 minutes, we hug them and say, “I’ll pray for you,” which is the Jesus version of “Beam me up!” As a whole, we’ve been taught that faith is about huddling safe inside the walls of our churches until Jesus comes back to beam us up while the world is destroyed.
Beam me up. It’s about leaving when things get hard.
Beaming up is easier. I get it. But it’s not good, and it’s not what a people of faith are called to.
Let’s talk about how to stay. As the Church, we are called not to beam out, but to lean in. To stay. Because that’s what God does for us. God doesn’t beam up and leave us on our own. God is with us, working to bring life and flourishing.