It’s Federation Day!

5 sign new UFP Constitution
SAN FRANCISCO, Earth (SNN) – Declaring it a landmark day in the history of each of their worlds, five envoys today breathed life into the fledgling United Federation of Planets with the signing of the new organization’s Constitution amid much pomp and circumstance.
“We are truly entering a brave new world of peace, exploration and security with the establishment of this Federation, declared Earth ambassador Thomas Vanderbilt, whose remarks were echoed by representatives from Vulcan, Andor, Tellar, and Alpha Centauri.
“Following the end of your world’s war with the unseen Romulan enemy, such a union as we create here today is the most logical course of action any of our peoples can take,” added Ambassador T’Jan of Vulcan.
UESPA Maj. Gen. Georges E. Picard, an aide to Vanderbilt, noted afterward the irony of the conference – which met in exactly the same fashion as the founders of the Earth’s old United Nations, who came together only 215 years earlier in the same city in the aftermath of the horrors of another costly war.*
“What is occurring here today is one sign that some good can come of such a scourge,” Picard noted.
“We defy anyone, even the Romulans, to test our resolve now for collective security,” declared AmbassadorNatha Kell of Tellar, while Sarahd of Andor spoke of future greatness for the infant union and predicted rapid expansion. Ambassador Titus Oleet signed for the newly independent Centauri system.
Today’s events were but the ceremonial endgame for the often-tumultuous negotiations, which began in earnest after the defeat of hostile forces at Cheron effectively ended the Romulan War only a little more than ayear ago. Even today, some sources reported a later fracas involving the Tellarite Kell and Sarahd.
Although those taking part today waived off revealing many specific details, the five after signing immediately convened the first-ever meeting of the UFP Council long enough to elect Vanderbilt as president, with Sarahd as vice president.
Also, the Council sources unanimously voted to continue meeting in San Francisco, with an all-new building in the design stages near the historic old Presidio fort and Golden Gate Bridge. Council sources predicted at least three months would be needed before the fledgling UFP bureaucracy would be ready for business.

Geeks of Christ Presents! October 5, 2012 Edition

Here’s a list of what I’ve been reading, listening to, watching, whatever from around the web.

The Last Thing Ray Bradbury Ever Wrote

In which the master of science-fiction confirms the identity of his god and asks the questions he, nor his god, could ever answer.

When I was seven years old, I started going to the library and I took out ten books a week. The librarian looked at me and asked, ‘What are you doing?’

The Clues of Creation: God Is Not Hiding

by Jared C Wilson

They wake up, go about their routines, and go to bed, only to start the ritual all over again. Sometimes they suspect the world is trying to tell them something about itself and what’s outside of it, but they fail over and over again to put those clues together. They are like a person who finds a watch on the sidewalk and assumes it is the natural result of millions of years of sand, wind, and sun.

The Grimm Reality of Childhood

by Chris Nye

These students have been hidden from the one reality they need to know: life is dangerous.
In the attempt to keep their children “innocent” and “free,” parents tell their children a different type of fairy tale, a modern American story: everyone loves you because you’re special, you are good at everything you try, and if you work hard enough and be a good little boy or girl, you’ll be successful.

The Great TNG@25 Theology Trek: “Where No One Has Gone Before”

by Michael Poteet

“The sickly, shy, bookish, eight-year-old Roddenberry dreamed, he says, ‘of a better world in which people would look past our exteriors and see whatever loveliness we have inside us.’ In response to his parents’ no doubt well-intentioned concern for him, he reflects, ‘Ah, how lovely all our daughters are inside, how fearless all our sons, if only we could see it.’

Geeks of Christ Presents! September 14, 2012 Edition

The Gospel According to Roddenberry

by John Otte

“Oh, sure. There are divinities of a sort, such as Apollo or Trelane or Gothos. And let’s not forget Q. But by and large, religion doesn’t play much of a role in 23rd and 24th century society. The few times it does come up, it’s mocked (such as when the Mintakan people mistake Picard for a god, the belief of which is roundly snorted at by the Enterprise-D crew). Or it’s co-opted in odd ways.”

Life Lessons From Star Trek: The Next Generation

by Jayne Ricco

“I’ve found that we make the best decisions, the ones that properly take into account the very essence of ourselves, when we use both our head and our heart.”

Doctor Who Monopoly – 50th Anniversary Edition

by Paul, from Time Vault

Playing Monopoly with a Time Lord? It’s gonna be A Long Game!

But seriously, where’s the Kandyman figure?!

Star Trek : The Next Generation – The Last Outpost 1.05

Portal 63

The Enterprise and a Ferengi ship orbit a planet, in a tense stalemate. An ancient alien force on the planet below is holding them in a kind of tractor beam. Ignorant of this for most of the episode, the first contact between the Federation and the Ferengi was off to bad start, because each thought the other was being aggressive.

Resolving to free themselves, away teams from both ships beamed down to the planet. They find someone calling himself Portal 63. He’s the guardian of the long dead Tkon Empire. The Ferengi throw Riker and Co. under the bus, shouting that they’re barbaric and hostile. Portal 63 prepares to attack Riker, he doesn’t defend himself. He simply quotes Sun Tzu saying, “Fear is the true enemy. The only enemy.”

Q gets the blame for destroying the Tkon Empire in this book

Portal 63 backs off, accepting this as proof of the Federation’s civility. It generously offers to destroy the deceptive Ferengi. Riker declines, claiming that the Ferengi have much to learn and shouldn’t be denied that only because of their current crudeness.

Portal 63 asked, “What if they never learn, Riker?”

Riker answers that the Ferengi might never learn to be peaceful. In fact, they may develop a way to destroy them. But the values of the Federation demand that the Ferengi be given a chance to grow, and not face abortion at the hands of the more fully-developed Federation.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to shoehorn a discussion of abortion into this one. Not totally anyway.

Riker’s rejection of the Portal’s offer to destroy the annoying and dangerous Ferengi is an illustration of the Federation’s highest, most mature values. Instead of destroying the Ferengi, which would be convenient, they will tolerate them, and eventually form the beginnings of a peaceful  relationship with them (as Nog joins Starfleet Academy in Deep Space Nine).

An easy solution – annihilation – is presented. And Riker refuses, fully admitting the possible difficulties and dangers the Ferengi may pose. Because it’s right, the Federation chooses longsuffering.

Longsuffering, by the way, is the attribute of God that most impresses and confounds me. If God had not decided to withhold punishment, the world and our race would have been cleared from existence the moment after the first sin. Justice would have been served. Peace would have been restored. And God would continue on, being perfect and holy and full of love.

But He relented. He withheld punishment. And He watched as His creation continued to rebel against Him. Instead of punishing, He let us go on with our lives. His longsuffering kept Adam alive long enough to (presumably) teach Seth about the terrible gulf between humans and their Creator. Noah was given a safe place to build his Ark, despite the depravity surrounding him. Abraham made some strange and bad choices, but God’s longsuffering gave Abraham the time to see God’s goodness and His plan for him.

The Federation’s patience with other species, despite their aggression, is similar to God’s patience. But different.

The Federation is patient with the Ferengi because they may grow out of their crappy traits. God is patient with sinners because He decided to fix our crappy traits Himself.

But, the Federation is doing the right thing. Christians should act the way they act! Here’s why: We are not God.

We are supposed to tell people about God. We are supposed to act like God in some ways. But we are not actually God and fixing people is reserved for Him. Praying for restoration, healing, peace, justice, etc is acceptable. But we are never big enough that we can bring any of those about on our own power. We should be like Riker and let people continue to exist because we just don’t know what God might want to do with them.

That means we should be protectors of life. If somebody wants to off themselves, intervening would be good. If there’s a war, it’s probably wise to be working for peace. And yes, if someone is moving towards having an abortion, letting that little person live would be a very nice thing to do. And just like Riker, we should admit that things could get ugly. It’s easier to to just butt out and let people war or kill themselves. It’s less complicated to destroy the baby before it starts changing our lives or costing us money. But ya gotta let the Ferengi live or their wasted potential is on your hands.

Star Trek Deep Space Nine : Babel 1.05

The title is an obvious reference to the story in the Bible about the Tower of Babel. It was at the building of the tower that the human race was given its different languages.

The word ‘Babel,’ then and now, served as a sort of a pun on what the suddenly new confusion of languages sounded like. The story is found pretty near the beginning of the Bible, in the book Genesis. In fact, it’s used to introduce the basic human problem of language. The human race cannot communicate well – that’s why we crowd behind imaginary lines on the ground and have fought wars and just know what evil things so-and-so was thinking when she looked at me funny in the break room at the office.

It’s hard enough figuring out what’s going on inside our own noggins, how can we express it to others and understand what they’re trying to express to us? Well, we can’t. Not really well, anyway. We are mostly surrounded by people that speak the same language that we do. I imagine our ancestors kind of crowded around the people they could understand as a mass of humans apparently started gibbering gibberish. They stood there, at the base of their dumb temple or whatever it was, not understanding a word that the guy in front of them just said. They just had a dull conversation about the weather on the way in that morning. Now, he’s speaking another language. “That’s weird, we never had another language,” our ancestor thinks. “But – what if he’s speaking the same language and I’ve just suddenly lost the ability to understand and speak it?!”

Obviously, I have no idea about the mechanics of the event. Maybe it was sudden. Maybe it happened over the course of a year. Who knows. I am confident that the majority of our young race was gathered with a purpose and was scattered because of confusion. And their confusion was based on the new variety of languages. Like I said, it’s hard enough figuring our own thoughts out. Then try to share thoughts with others. Then try to do the same with another language. Minor tasks can be done, sure. But you’d have to be pretty patient to work out something at all complex. And that’s why some people walked off in one direction and other folks walked off in another. You go where you’re understood. I think we still walk off in the direction where we think we’ll be understood. Unless they’re a fight cat, you probably won’t see a liberal at a Ted Nugent concert. Or an atheist in church. You go where you’ll be understood.

In this Star Trek story, the crew of the space station contracts a bizarre virus that disrupts their ability to speak – even think – properly.  Eventually the whole crew is infected and useless. There’s some story about an explosion that’ll occur if the crew can’t get it together. But that’s not where the drama is. The drama, the tension, the suffering, the only interesting thing in this story is the confusion of languages. To see brilliant men and women struck completely useless to each other. It’s Roddenberry’s vision of a perfect future destroyed in a single stroke. What if they couldn’t understand each other? Complete breakdown.

The explosion story point at the end just provides a feeling of resolution. We need that feeling because we’re not getting any resolution for the real problem. The crew can’t understand each other – what can be done? Well, some scientist finds the cure and then it’s back to normal.

Why doesn’t that satisfy? Because it’s a bigger problem than this show can answer. They can show the effects of the problem and illustrate the need for a solution. But they can’t really get at the deep solution because that’s found in Jesus. People are divided by languages, then by nations.  What can reunite the people of the world?

Just them trying to fix it?
Waiting for a great idea to spread among them?
Wait for a charismatic leader to inspire them?
Just really trying hard this time to fix it?
Waiting for a really really great idea and this time making posters and websites to promote it?

All these have come and gone a thousand times already. What really brings the nations together? Look at Babel. Why were they separated in the first place? They were united against their creator.