The Final Frontier

William Shatner (Captain James T. Kirk) officially dubbed astronaut and the oldest person to go to space.

Obviously, as a Trekkie, I tuned into ABC’s news live to watch my fictional hero go to space. However, it meant so much more to the man behind the character. James Kirk had captained many voyages in space…Bill, on the other hand, had never been to space once.

Blue Origin has received a lot of hate for various reasons. But as I waited and watched, I honestly found myself excited by the technology and the dreams that made civilian travel to space an option. Maybe in the future…anyone truly can go to space. It’s thoughts like this that bring a smile to my Trekkie face.

I withheld an exclamation of “wow!” as I watched the ship called, New Shepherd, take off. The raw power and precision of it was astonishing. Watching someone I cared about—nerve racking!! As the ship gained speed, far surpassing 2,000 mph, I imagined the G-forces 90 year old Bill was facing.

And then, they were in space.

I could see the black coldness from the outer cameras on the rocket as it fell away from the lone capsule back to Earth. I gaped in awe as it’s thrusters were enacted and it landed almost perfectly back at the landing point—with a chest rattling boom.

It had successfully been to space (just past the Karman line) 15 times. This time marking its second manned flight. Here is the flight path of the rocket and it’s capsule:

When the capsule landed safely, everyone breathed a sigh of relief and the celebration commenced. Cars/trucks sped down the sandy paths toward the waiting crew, who are now official astronauts.

I watched as Bill exited, a little shaken up but moved by the whole experience.

I hope I never recover from this…” Bill told founder, Jeff Bezos. Going on to say that it was unlike anything he had ever experienced, and that everyone should go to space to encounter it for themselves.

Shatner: “I mean, the little things, the weightlessness, and to see the blue color whip by and now you’re staring into blackness. That’s the thing. This covering of blue is this sheet, this blanket, this comforter of blue around that we have around us. We think ‘oh, that’s blue sky’ and suddenly you shoot through it all of a sudden, like you whip a sheet off you when you’re asleep, and you’re looking into blackness – into black ugliness. And you look down, there’s the blue down there, and the black up there, and there is Mother Earth and comfort and – is there death? Is that the way death is?”

“…It’s so much larger than me and life; it hasn’t got anything to do with the little green and blue orb. It has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death. Oh my god, it’s unbelievable.”

Bill even breaks down on tears a couple times, so moved and changed by the experience. And it’s all very strange to see against the backwash of the other astronauts laughing and celebrating, champagne being passed and shot out all over the desert. Bill even subconsciously dodged the spurting alcohol, clearly apart from the young throng not only in mind, but in heart.

I was equally moved by his words. Although, such an experience for me would not be marred by the feeling that Earth is happen chance. Miraculous by mistake and doomed to be overcome by the black deadness of space should we fail to change how we treat her.

It’s fragility would not make me nervous or worrisome, but would give me a sense of wonder and peace that if it was not for God, we would not exist at all. This fragile blue orb is in good hands, and it is God that keeps it together. Are we able to destroy it? I don’t know…but I do know that what we are able to do is very different than what will actually happen.

God has a plan and a purpose. He has the final say.

As my son woke up, drawing me back to Earth—literally! I could not help but consider the brevity of life Bill encountered as he passed through the thin blue shield of our atmosphere into space. The lifeless void.

Is this death?

He asks, immediately feeling the absence of life for the first time. Whereas Jim Kirk would smile at the unknown, Bill struck me with a kind of fear and repulsion toward it.

This ugly black, this empty, cold, suffocating void of darkness…the total absence of life, in every definition of the term.

Our Earth resides here.

Our living Earth. And quite possibly—the only one.

When I look out at the stars, it’s majesty, it’s chaos, and now even it’s dangerous unknown…I encounter God there. He created it all (in my belief) for us to enjoy. Maybe even to explore….but I doubt we will find little green men or life on another planet….no, God spun the entire vast Universe into existence merely for us to look up at in wonder.

It proves that our problems really are quite small and infinitesimal. That He has the whole world in His capable hands.

I really hope that someday, Bill and others like him will come to the realization that God is in control. And it’s only by Him that this blue little orb survives and thrives amidst nothingness.

I pray as my son grows, he also will not fear the unknowns of space but will stare in wonder and the stars and, in turn, behold the wonder of God. Who exists apart from time and space itself. Who created this blimp of land, Earth, and sky for His beings to live upon.

“In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth. The Earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”…” (Genesis 1)

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Star Trek: Quotes

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“Things are only impossible until they’re not.”

-Captian Jean-Luc Picard

 

It’s impossible for man to fly ~ Wilbur and Orville Wright 1903

It’s impossible to land on the moon ~ US Apollo 11 1969

It’s impossible to create light without fire ~ Thomas Edison 1879

…the list goes on.

What has been considered impossible for one era has been proven possible in another. So the question is this, is anything truly impossible? Afterall, we label something impossible only when we personally cannot find a solution. Once someone is willing to stand up and challenge an impossibility, there is always a chance that he or she will succeed, solving the problem that no one else could and therefore broadening our abilities as human beings.

It is more than adaptation, more than growth, it is reaching beyond our limitations and societal boxes. It’s becoming something greater. Are we still human? Yes, but we are continuing to stand apart from the rest of creation, proving once and for all that we have a soul, and a purpose. That we aren’t just animals but that we have minds that see beyond this world.

If we were truly made for this world, it would contain us. However, it does not, we continually reach upward and outward, searching for more, driven by a great desire for more that only God can satisfy.

What do you think of this quote?

Have you ever faced an impossibility and have overcome it?

Star Trek: Quotes

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“A man either lives life as it happens to him, meets it head-on and licks it, or he turns his back on it and starts to wither away.” 

-Dr. Boyce, “The Menagerie,” (“The Cage”)

I heard about a man retiring from a factory, he had worked for 70+ years. Everyone was excited for him, but when asked, “are you ready to retire?” he replied, “no, I’m afraid that if I retire I will start to die.” You see, he had worked for so long, a life of ease sounded like a death sentence, and quite honestly, without hobbies and other things to do, the body would undergo quite a shock.

The health of a person involves so much more than we realize. Too much of anything can be deadly, too little of something can be just as hazardous. We must always be well balanced in diet and exercise. And then there is our mental health. Though eating right and keeping fit helps our minds, we need to face challenges…to face life. It is as Dr. Boyce said, we must live life as it happens to us, or wither away.

Many mental illnesses develop from a denial or refusal to accept/face circumstances. (I’m not saying this is the reason behind all cases) But it isn’t hard to see that any problem left unattended will grow into a larger problem. Denial, fear, anger….if not dealt with at hand can progress and very possibly consume us. The mind has both the ability to face a problem and to avoid it-though at considerable cost. The choices of the mind very much affect the health of the body. That is why it is common to find mental illnesses accompanied by body ailments such as chronic pain, immune deficiencies, asthma, and even cancer.

So, I believe this quote is true, though we may think at the time we are protecting ourselves when we avoid or “turn our backs” on life, we are really making life more difficult long term. It can be compared to this image; going with the flow of a stream, or fighting against the current. Eventually, you exhaust yourself fighting and end up swept away. More tired and worn then if you would have followed the stream, to begin with.

What are your thoughts on this quote?

 

Star Trek: Quotes

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“Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.”

-Mr. Spock

This quote is a well-learned lesson for Mr. Spock, as, throughout his voyages on the Enterprise, he discovered that logic isn’t always enough, especially when dealing with humans who rely on intuition and emotions to guide them.  Logic is simply limited by what we know. A logical response for you may not be so logical to someone else, or in this case, may not be logical in another world.

Logic is generally what “makes sense”, and what makes sense is brought about through experience and reasoning. But what about the unknown? The things we encounter that, on the surface, don’t make sense? This is where logic isn’t enough, and we must rely on something greater.

To Mr. Spock, when logic doesn’t fit, he relies on his human side to fill in the equation. What feels right, or the things that aren’t logical but often true nonetheless. This is the beginning of wisdom as he describes it. A new level of understanding gained through time and maturity.

What I want to add to this is the Christian perspective, in that for us, wisdom is gained through a relationship with God. True wisdom, that which is understood only through revelation and faith. Though God created the world and it’s known science, He also created much that is unknown and even unseen. A world not governed or limited by our science or scientific laws. A world where our logic is not so logical at all. It is when we realize that limitation and start to see things openly that wisdom starts to grow in us. It involves humility and faith in that we must believe in something that can’t be fully understood.

That’s the heart of it, logic will only take you so far, eventually, you will have to have faith in something because we will never know all the answers to everything, whether you are a Christain or even an atheist, you will need to have faith to believe in what you do. And you will need the wisdom to make the right choice, a choice arrived at through objective means.

What are your thoughts on Logic vs. Wisdom?

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.”-Proverbs 3:13-18

 

 

Star Trek: Quotes

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The Enemy Within

Spock: We have here an unusual opportunity to appraise the human mind, or to examine, in Earth terms, the roles of good and evil in a man– his negative side, which you call hostility, lust, violence, and his positive side, which Earth people express as compassion, love, tenderness.
McCoy: Are you aware it’s the captain’s guts you’re analyzing?
Spock: Yes, and what makes one man an exceptional leader? We see indications that it’s his negative side which makes him strong, that his evil side, controlled and disciplined, is vital to his strength. Your negative side removed from you, the power of command begins to elude you.

 

In this episode, we see Captian Kirk split into two beings. One containing the more gentle and good characteristics of humanity, the other containing as Spock mentioned, the more hostile savage-like qualities of humanity. As Christians, that side is the flesh and sinful qualities that we long to be severed from, much like Kirk was. In a way, this episode is romanticising the fallen man. The animal man, apart from God and yet still somehow driven by God’s morality as a means to control savage urges. Symbolically keeping the beast locked in a cage. But is it truly these hostile qualities that make us strong?

I don’t believe this is so. The bravest acts of mankind I have ever seen were driven by love. Granted, hate is a powerful motivator, but love has proven more lasting and powerful. More men and women are willing to be martyred for the sake of love and faith than for selfish hatred or retribution. I would say that it is our love that gives us courage, as well as possibly our passion for justice, or our compassion for others. When we accept Jesus into our soul we cut away the old self, the fallen man. Becoming new creations, no longer enslaved to sin. Can we choose to sin and fall away? Absolutely, but to do so without repentance would be to openly declare allegiance to the evil forces of this world. As new creations, we have the Holy Spirit who convicts us, guides us, and comforts us in the ways of righteousness. To choose the old self, would be to ignore His leanings and to put aside His convictions willingly. It is much like being given a great inheritance and then throwing it in the fire.

Therefore, we are all better off without our savage fleshly urges, they weren’t originally a part of us. We took that identity when we turned our faces from God and His design. We still may be tempted, and at times we may fail, but when our heart remains for the Lord and His righteousness, we will continue to rise from the ashes and take up our new identity as sons and daughters of God.

What do you believe?

 

 

 

Star Trek: Quotes

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“Above all else a God needs compassion!”

-Captian Kirk

It amazes me that such a statement was even spoken on Star Trek, as I stated before, it is a highly secular show and yet Kirk makes a statement about God and the characteristics he believes God should possess above all else, “compassion.” I am sure that everyone on the face of the earth would at least agree that, given the choice, they would rather serve a compassionate God over one who wasn’t. Why go through the trouble of creating a world full of wonder for beings that aren’t really loved or valued? God put a lot of thought and passion into His creation, He even gave up His Son to see it restored. We truly serve a God who is compassionate towards us, and yet, if the world agrees that a God should be compassionate why don’t they believe that He is?

That is the question, it isn’t that people don’t believe in God’s existence, as Romans 1:19-20 states:

19 because that which is known about God is evident [b]within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power, and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

His existence is proven, and yet many people choose to believe He doesn’t exist, why? Because it’s easier to believe there’s no God than in the existence of one who is angry and hateful towards His creation. People pretend for the sake of feeling secure and in charge of their lives. They believe God is morally inadequate and so they have placed themselves on the throne, failing to see that they are far from all-knowing and righteous. What is good and evil gets muddied pretty fast when everyone believes they are God. It’s all too easy to point and judge when you are sitting on the throne seat. In fact, you start to feel pretty entitled to do whatever you please, because as God you can do no wrong right?

And so there we have it, those who deny the existence of God so they can be, and those who believe in God. The monotheists and polytheists, and the very many religions under those categories. Believing in many doctrines, and in many types of God. Some believing He is unreachable, others that He is limited. Some believe He cares only about obedience and others still who believe He simply exists and cares not what the world does. And then there are the Christians and Jews who believe He is a good God….but the Christians go even further in that belief. He is so good He gave His one and only begotten Son to save mankind. He is more good than we can imagine!

Compassion? I agree, above all else a God needs compassion. And thank God, ours is so compassionate that He doesn’t just have love, but IS love. (1 John 4:8)

What do you believe?

Would love to hear your thoughts on this quote!

Star Trek: Quotes

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“You know the greatest danger facing us is ourselves, and irrational fear of the unknown. There is no such thing as the unknown. Only things temporarily hidden, temporarily not understood.”

– James T. Kirk, “The Corbomite Maneuver”

I remember the first time I watched Star Trek. Having watched 2009’s, J.J. Abrams-directed film, I immediately became captivated by creator Gene Roddenberry’s imagination. So I started at the very beginning, or as it’s called, The Original Series. And haven’t stopped watching since.

Why did I become a Trekkie and what’s this post leading to? Good point, I’m getting there. What first drew me to Star Trek was nostalgia, I have a fondness for the past and that includes TV shows. They take me to another time, to another world. Star Trek takes me there literally, with a whole universe of worlds to explore!

What I really love about the show, however, is that each episode reflects the problems and issues of the day, and asks all the deep questions that many of us struggle to answer. I’m not saying that I agree with the answers that Star Trek provides to these dilemmas, but I do applaud their openminded boldness to even ask such questions and try to tackle them. They are deep and personal things that can be painful to uncover and challenge, and yet this is the only show that I have seen take such a leap.

Lastly, I will say that I love how it explores humanity. It’s never truly about exploring new planets, though on the surface that’s what it would seem. With each new discovery, we also discover something about ourselves that makes us set apart. Whether that be compassion, creativity, love, or the thirst for freedom.

Now on to the point, I really wanted to start a blog series on Star Trek quotes that have stuck with me and have challenged me to think deeper. Although I would say this is a highly secular show, that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from it as Christians. In some ways, it gives us a broader understanding of what our society thinks and feels about different subjects from a non-religious background.

The first quote, though spoken by both Captain Picard and Doctor McCoy, originated from John Dalberg-Acton, a writer, politician, and historian from the late 1800s:

“Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Let’s discuss this quote for a moment, and let’s see if you agree. I believe this speaks to our need of God, in that we ourselves are ill-equipped to handle access power apart from Him. This also shows that evil does exist and tends to take over well-intentioned people of power. I truly believe that without God and His authority over us, we automatically place something else in that place of authority and power, and if we aren’t careful, that something can be ourselves.

We see this in society, this erasing of God and promoting of self. It is a weakness in humans to believe we know and perceive more than our creator does. That somehow we can surpass Him in our goodness, wisdom, and power. When we start to believe this, satan takes over and that is when we start to bring about our own destruction. There is a reason we live in a world that lacks a supreme ruler, power is delegated for the sole purpose of protecting ourselves from such a predicament.

Let’s chew on this one for the time being, what are your thoughts on this subject?