When I was a child, my favorite show was Star Trek. Even into adulthood – Star Trek in various incarnations kept coming well into my 30s. I recognize that even though we have Star Trek movies today, which have done quite well, it is not quite the pop culture icon that it used to be. Nevertheless, I often think of it as a bridge in modern storytelling. So, for my older readers (or younger ones into scifi) excuse the explanations that you might readily know.
In the Star Trek universe, the Federation (good guys) venture out and explore the universe and run into various aliens along the way. Some are peaceful and friendly. Some become their enemies. When I was young, I thought the various opponent aliens represented adversaries of our country around the world. But today, I see all the aliens as our “shadow selves.” In other words, the aliens are us when we aren’t our noble best. The Ferengi (ruthless capitalists) are us at times. The Romulans (paranoid and into spying) are us. The Cardassians (a race who is always trying to recapture its past glories) are us. Even the Borg (we will assimilate you) are very much us.
But of all the aliens, the ones we have become most like are the Klingons. The Kiingons in the first series were the opponents of the Federations. By the time of the next series they were frequently Federations allies. But what was the hallmark of the Klingons? They were warlike. Run into a problem? Fight first, ask questions later. Even when they put a Klingon on the bridge of the Enterprise, he always would advise the captain to take the most aggressive course in any dilemma. The captain seldom took his advice but I would say Worf’s type of advice tends to be pretty mainstream in our culture.
I am not only a clergyman but I am also a military officer. I well recognize we live in a fallen world and that sometimes we must respond with force to stabilize various places. But I am dismayed with how frequently I will hear people, even in Christ’s Church, offering up the most aggressive response to various problems in our world. Jesus approach and the Klingon approach differ quite a bit. It means nothing to say we follow Jesus if we only follow him in the easy times.
If you raise up that there are more than one option in addressing problems, the aggressive types will frequently call you naïve. Have no doubt that this was how Jesus’ opponents saw him. Nevertheless, Christi’s way is the better way.
We need to keep all options on the table when approaching a problem. But heaven help us if the aggressive option is the only option we ever truly consider.
Until next time,